Hawksbill Cay is an uninhabited cay owned by Exuma Park. The anchorage was practically deserted. We anchored here with Rene and Stacy, and a large yacht hovered a long way from the shore. We got in our dinghies and explored the western side of the cay.
We hiked up the hill on the side of the island and made our way up a steep trail to the old Loyalist settlement that populated the cay in the late 1700's. We saw a snake at the beginning of the hike, which put Stacy and me on high alert for future snake sightings.
A little bit of info about the Loyalists..... In the late 1700's, the American Revolution created a wave of immigration to the Bahamas. Loyalists to the English Crown moved to the Bahamas and settled in the Exumas. Most were southerners who moved there with their slaves. Early cotton crops were successful, but the thin soil of the cays and the attack of the chenille, a ravenous caterpillar, prevented long-term cultivations. After the cotton crops failed, a handful of the Loyalists stayed on in Exuma, hoping to resuscitate their fields. In many cases, the land was simply abandoned and the slaves were left to fend for themselves.
Photo Credit: Bahamas4U.com
We saw a big termite nest. Termite nests are a combination of soil, mud, chewed wood, saliva and feces (yuk!). They provide a protected living space and collect water through condensation. They have reproductive chambers and have tunnels inside. Most nests are built underground, but in the Exumas above-ground nests are quite common.
At low tide, there is a magnificent soft sand bar stretching across the end of the cay. We dinghied to the north end and walked across the sand bar to the east side of the island. It was deserted and very beautiful.
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