We began our exploration shortly before noon landing the dinghy on the western shore. It was a short hike to the narrow northern tip of the island and soon we were scrambling across the eastern shore. The north eastern shore alternates between lovely white sand beaches and high rocky cliffs. Thankfully there were huge ropes to use for hand holds as we climbed up and down the sides of a few scary places. The trails were nicely marked using various things that had been found washed up on the beach, like fishing bouys, old shoes, etc. Although this is a National Park, it’s not like one you’d find in the States. There is no park ranger or office. There are no trail maps or guides either. All the trails were made and marked by other boaters over the years.
We hiked to the top of a cliff overlooking the shore and countless coral reefs where we found just a tiny bit of shade under a rocky ledge. There we enjoyed part one of our picnic lunch. We’ve learned over time that it’s better to eat a little at frequent stops, rather than have a big lunch all at once. It was simple fare, PBJ’s on homemade wheat bread, apples, peanut butter cookies, and popcorn. Still it hit the spot and soon we were on our way again.
A fair bit of the trail was narrow, along the cliff and I found it best not to look down, but just focus on where I was putting my feet. I do have a fear of heights that I seem to be working out as we continue to explore. How I managed to rappel down some of those hills is beyond me since I’m afraid to go down a ladder. It was way outside my comfort zone. We did have a rough time getting the dog up and down in a few spots, but thankfully DJ was able to carry him and climb at the same time.
After a couple of hours we were at the top of a hill overlooking an awesome curved white sand beach well inside the reef. We were excited to see that the trail led down that way. Soon we had ditched our backpacks, set up the umbrella to make shade for the dog, shed our clothes and were in the lovely water. (DJ kept hiking so it was just Coleen and I for this part.) We had great fun splashing in the waves and just laying at the waters edge in the soft sand letting the waves splash us.
We spent an hour or so tucked up under the shade of a bush, relaxing, reading, and taking a nap before DJ came back with a basketball and soccer ball he’d found washed up on shore. This of course led to more beach games. All too soon we decided it was time to head back and check on the boats. I must say that sometimes it seems crazy to leave your boat/home anchored on a remote shore in the middle of nowhere, while you hike away for hours, pretty much hoping it will still be there undisturbed when you return. Thankfully it was! We were all so tired, especially after trudging our way the last ½ mile through very soft sand. We were back in the boat and sipping frozen drinks by 5:30. It was all we could do to grab showers. I had cooked some beans in the pressure cooker for dinner, but we were all too tired to eat and decided to save them for tomorrow. It was lights out early for us.