Dear Steemit friends :
My travels in Bahamas have so far given me the opportunity to explore Atlantis and the legend that is The Lost City. In my last post about The Dig I was fortunate enough to visit the largest open air marine exhibit featuring some of the most exotic marine wildlife found in the Bahamas.
In my attempts to see other exotic animals and wildlife, I have decided to take a trip away from Atlantis in Paradise Island, and journey southwards to the Exuma Cays.
The Exuma Cays are a district of Nassau, and are a collection of over 365 named islands belonging to the Exuma district. Their largest island is called Great Exuma, an island home to the famous city called George Town.
To travel to Exuma, you have two options.
- Take the plane from Nassau, and within one hour, you can land in Great Exuma.
- Take a speedboat which will take around 2 hours.
For me, I opted for the speedboat. I prefer to take the extra time to live and breathe the island hopping experience. It's an exhilerating feeling traversing through the shallow waters of the Bahamian Cays and feeling the cool air run across your face, watching in detail as we pass by islands of very different sizes.
Some islands are the size of small bedrooms, whilst others are several kilometers in circumference.
Many are actually owned by celebrities who have built very beautiful holiday homes on the islands. Perhaps the most famous one is Johnny Depp, who has a fairly sizely island under his name as well as a few Yachts to match.
The powerboat is a 39' Vulture and can comfortably travel at around 55 knots cruising speed with 25 passengers. If the wind is strong, the waves can be quite high, and result in quite a bumpy ride. I wanted to sit at the front, but I was told the front is where the worst of the bumpiness can be felt.
I abstained and like a good girl, remained seated in the front row of the rear section.
This is a picture of me and the Captain. He is such a funny guy and you can really feel his passion for the seas.
Bahamian Rock Iguanas
Interesting facts about Iguanas
The Bahamian Rock Iguanas refer to 3 main species of Iguana, the largest is the Andros Rock Iguana which can grow up to 6ft in total length!
Iguanas are cold blooded and cannot regulate their body temperature without the heat from the Sun. This is why they spend most of their day 'chilling' at the beach.
Iguanas can lose their tails and regenerate a new one in full.
Iguanas can grow to 40 years old!
Although Iguanas look quite vicious, they are herbivores meaning that they only eat vegetables and fruits. As a result, Iguanas have physically adapted to eating fruits with hard shells by having large skulls which can withstand large biting forces, as well as serated teeth.
Feeding the Allen Rock Iguanas
I arrived at a fairly small looking island with a landing beach area. From quite a distance, I could already see these little colourful creatures dashing around and looking rather welcoming.
I realised that the Iguanas knew we came bearing gifts such as fruits and veg and so they waited on the beach looking pensive as we climbed off the boat.
Although not as large as the ones in Andros, the Iguanas at Allen Cay are a respectable size. Around the size of a common domestic cat.
Because of the regular visitations from tourists such as myself, the Iguanas at Allen Cays have adapted to the presence of humans and also the food that have been fed to them.
Some scientists have noted that there are already behavioural and physical differences between the Iguanas which come into regular contact with humans, and those that do not.
One difference would be that Iguanas which come into contact with humans on a regular basis are no longer afraid of humans and will even bite them.
This beautiful Iguana came over and took off as soon as he got the grape.
Did you know that Iguanas can actually swim?
The waters around most of the Exuma cays are only a few feet deep. This along with the white sands make the water some of the lightest blue I have ever seen.
The power boat easily moors on the sandy beach, and me and my group spend the next half an hour or so feeding the iggys!
Remember, use a stick to feed them grapes. Although Iguanas are herbivores, they are known to bite!
Someone in my group told me that they know someone who had parts of their finger bitten off by an Iguana!
Also, avoid feeding them with Grapes that have fallen on the sand. They cannot digest the sand properly.
All the Rock Iguanas in Bahamas are protected by the Wild Animals Act and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Rock Iguanas as "rare" meaing that they are an endangered species very close to extinction.
Because of this, the Bahamian Government have made it illegal to hurt or damage the natural habitat of the Iguanas.
Several threats still remain :
Poaching for food / Pet industry
Falling Prey to introduced predators
Natural disasters such as Hurricanes and fires
In the early 2000's, through the frequent visitation of tourists, the few islands with native Rock Iguana populations became under strain due to the introduction of house mice who began reproducing and thriving on these islands shared by the Iguanas.
Although the Iguanas do not eat the mice, Owls do. In the breeding season, the owls would come and hunt for the mice on these islands, but also catch many young Iguanas unable to fend for themselves.
This is one of the reasons that the population of Iguanas have failed to increase, very few Iguanas survive to adulthood.
The Bahamian government have since taken action to get rid of the house mice on these islands inhabited by the Rock Iguanas and hope in doing so, the population may grow significantly larger than the current 1000 or so remaining world wide.
This little eager Iguana came back for seconds, being attracted to red and pink colours, it must have thought my finger was another fruit, so gave it a quick gnaw. Thankfully, it was just a scratch!
Take a look at my video of Feeding the Iggys!
Feeding the Iguanas was a real treat, I certainly don't regret travelling across the ocean, getting sunburnt, for the opportunity to see these incredibly beautiful creatures living in their natural habitat and getting to interact with them.
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从拿骚码头坐power boat能量小船去Allen Cay，大概要一个小时。刚开始的时候，我以为会是个平稳的小船，但是当船加速开起，大家都变成了水上的兔子，被海浪颠簸的一蹦一蹦。原来是为了赶时间，所以船长选择了能够跑的最快的。说实话，刚开始我真的有点担心，这么快速会不会不安全，但是船长技术非常精湛，完全没有把我们甩进海里。
期盼已久的蜥蜴岛Allen Cay终于出现在眼前，从远处就看见岛上站满了大大小小的天然野生蜥蜴。岩鼠蜥大多分布在加勒比地区，是非常珍惜的品种，全世界目前大概只有1000只， 巴哈马有3个岛住着岩鼠蜥，其中巴哈马最大的岛 -- 安德罗斯岛分布有最多的岩鼠蜥。