Iguana Go Home

Today’s the day…we’re leaving this afternoon for a four-or-so day passage to Beaufort, North Carolina (or thereabouts). We’ll be leaving this afternoon from Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahama.

But while I have your attention (and the only wifi connection we’ll see for at least four days), I’ll tell you about the endangered Rock Iguanas of Leaf Cay…

After we left Highborne Cay on May 16th, we made our way to Allen’s and Leaf Cays (another re-visit for me). We had to wait for a few day-tour boats to leave before we could get settled (doesn’t look like it from the pictures, the anchorage is cramped due to the narrowness of the channel and very shallow water outside it).

Anchored Between Leaf and Allen's Cays
Anchored Between Leaf and Allen’s Cays
Anchored Between Leaf and Allen's Cays
Anchored Between Leaf and Allen’s Cays

Leaf Cay is famous for its population of the very endangered Allen Cays Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata). So famous, in fact, that day-tours come from Nassau, well, daily, and tourists feed them grapes and other veggies (a bad habit that’s tolerated by the Bahamian Government because it’s been going on for years). Non-day-tour visitors are discouraged from feeding or otherwise harassing the iguanas…

So we went ashore and this is some of what we saw.

Beach at Leaf Cay
Beach at Leaf Cay
Landing at the Beach at Leaf Cay
Landing at the Beach at Leaf Cay
Beached on the Beach at Leaf Cay
Beached on the Beach at Leaf Cay

We walked around, but didn’t see any iguanas at first.

Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side
Leaf Cay, Windward Side

Then we saw their tracks…

Iguana Tracks
Iguana Tracks
Iguana Tracks
Iguana Tracks

Then we saw them…lots of them. I will bombard you with an excess of pitures, because I can’t choose just a couple.

Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana (with unsightly garbage)
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana
Endangered Rock Iguana

The white dots you see in a few of the pitures are not a natural feature. They’re paint marks indicating that the iguana has been counted in the latest visit of Dr. John B. Iverson’s Allen Cays Iguana Research Project. Dr. Iverson is a researcher in the Dept. of Biology, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, and we ran into him and his students conducting their research on the island. You can read more about his project here.

We got Dr. Iverson’s and his students’ permission to share some photos with you.

Dr. Iverson and Students
Dr. Iverson and Students
The Paint Dots I was telling you about...indicates the iguana has been caught, weighed, measured and "sexed" in the latest phase of the research
The Paint Dots I was telling you about…indicates the iguana has been caught, weighed, measured and “sexed” in the latest phase of the research
Measuring an Iguana
Dr. Iverson Measuring an Iguana
Determining the Iguana's Sex
Determining the Iguana’s Sex

We thanked the professor and his students for their time with us, then moved a long to clean the four conch we had.

One of our Conch (see its eyes?)
One of our Conch (see its eyes?)
Conch
Conch

We were just finishing up, and one of Dr. Iverson’s assistants came over and said “Uh…can you keep doing that?” (we were pounding the conch to tenderize it) “The sound seems to be drawing the iguanas down to the beach.”

Apparently the iguanas were also used to scraps from conch fisherman.

Anyhow, that’s it about the iguanas…gotta go. We have to get out of where we are before the tide gets much lower.

Until North Carolina…

m&p

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6 Responses to Iguana Go Home

  1. Pauline says:

    What great pics and lesson in one…not sure I could kill & eat the conch like the two of you did …with those eyes staring @ me! Amazing adventure you two are sharing….Safe travels to S.C. xox

  2. Andrew says:

    Have a safe passage.

  3. Julie says:

    Bonjour! wow… those iguanas are big!

    Wishing you a good four-or-so day passage ;-)

    Ricardo et Julie xx

  4. Susie says:

    You’re already on the way so hopefully your have fair winds and a safe passage.
    Let us know your itinerary once your in Canada, we’re often in the 1000 Island area who knows we might even see you!

    • Maryl says:

      Hi Susie – it looks like we’re going to be coming home via the Lac Champlain route, but we’ll figure that out for sure in the next few days…looking forward to seeing you when we get back!

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