BooBoo Hill provides a magnificent panaramic view of the central Exumas. Plus legend has it that it’s named BooBoo Hill because it’s haunted by the souls of a missionary ship that went aground on the reef below and sank with everyone still aboard. Others will tell you that the missionaries are buried on BooBoo Hill beneath the rock cairns. Regardless, on moonlit nights with the wind howling supposedly you can hear them singing.
Tradition has it that cruisers leaving an offering to King Neptune and the sea gods at the top of BooBoo Hill will incur good sailing and safe passage. Needless to say, anxious to please King Neptune, cruisers have been leaving driftwood offerings with the names of their vessels for years.
Some, obviously, come equipped with all the stuff to make the driftwood offering, or sometimes have it pre-made before arrival, but that takes all the fun out of it. We Winterluder’s didn’t give a thought to our contribution until we picked up a national park mooring at the North Mooring Field at Warderick Wells in the shadow of BooBoo Hill. Our first hike after registering was to take in the amazing view – and then we were hooked looking at the hundreds of boat plaques — what fun to find other boats we knew that have gone before us!
The very next day, in search of a suitable piece of driftwood to make our own offering, we hiked over BooBoo Hill to BooBoo Beach, a wild windswept rocky beach on the leeward side of the island. There we found seaweed, coral, conch shells, zillions of sponges and even a big chunk of brain coral far from home, but very little driftwood. Undaunted, we began the Exuma Sound Trail which runs from the north end of the island to the south — down by the pirate’s lair, once inhabited by Blackbeard, Mary Read and Anne Bonney – the lucky pirates of the 1700’s, but more on that in a future post!
Finally, David found the perfect chunk of driftwood for our project! Not too big (or too heavy to carry all the way back to the boat!) or too small to be missed in the piles of offerings. We certainly didn’t want to go to all this trouble to have King Neptune not even notice! 🙂
Now came the hard part – what should we put on it and how do we inscribe it? This is where it would have been nice had we been a bit better prepared with some paint, a wood burner, anything. The “kid” boat next to us used finger paints covered with varnish for their contribution, but we had nothing like that available. In the end, I wrote on the driftwood with a Sharpie black permanent marker and David routed the letters using his trusty Dremel and a screwdriver for tight corners. Then I colored in the letters with the Sharpie — I wish I had my dark Green sharpie that’s at the house in my desk, but I had to make do with black.
We jumped in the dinghy and braved the rough seas for the 200 foot ride to the beach and climbed the hill to leave our offering. At the time it was blowing 20-25 gusting higher — enough that David opted to leave our offering low rather than in a highly visible higher spot because he was afraid the wind might blow it away before King Neptune noticed!
That was about lunchtime … when we left the driftwood we wished for 12-15 knots instead of this crazy gusting over 30 crap that we’ve had for the past two days. Now it’s about 6 PM and the wind is ….. (drumroll) 12-15 knots! THANK YOU KING NEPTUNE!!!
The moral to our story is … if you go to The Exuma Land & Sea Park, make sure to take whatever you need to find your piece of driftwood & turn it into a masterpiece of art for King Neptune! 🙂