An Endangered Species
April 22, 2021
We took two days to travel from the Berry island chain past the island of New Providence (Nassau) and on to the northern Exumas. We had read about the iguanas at Allan’s Cay so made that our intended destination. Intended is the operative word as when we arrived, we found the winds from a direction that made only one anchorage viable, and it was too tight for my liking given the number of boats that were already there. Instead, we proceeded to a bay at the north end of Highbourne Cay just 1.5 miles away. With the winds out of the southwest, this proved a very suitable place and what the cruising guide called “a seldom used anchorage” turned out to have 13 boats in it by nightfall. Nonetheless, we had finally reached the Exumas.
This morning we loaded the dingy (her name is “Apart”) with snorkel gear and lunch and headed off in search of the famous iguanas of Allan’s Cay. Upon arrival, we quickly realized that while there may indeed be iguanas on Allan’s Cay, just a few hundred yards across the water on Leaf Cay there was a beach that caught our attention as it was full of iguanas. I stopped counting at 100!
While we saw over 100 of them on this one little beach, these iguanas are considered an endangered species with less then 5,000 left in existence. More troublesome, their population has decreased by 50 percent in the last 60 years and development of these island continues to take is toll on the populations.
Later in the morning, we went to another beach that looked empty, but no sooner had we stepped foot ashore, out came the iguanas. While you are not supposed to feed them, a tender from a mega-yacht showed up and the people proceeded to feed them. Video below.