Conception Island

imageConception is possibly the first island that Columbus set foot on and we are on our way too.  It is a beautiful island less than 3×4 miles with a crescent white sand beach on the west side and Atlantic coast cliffs on the north east and a center filled with mangroves. It is part of the Bahamas National Park system so there is no trash, water, fuel, buildings. in short, no civilization except the boaters that arrive with east winds. The anchorage is not comfortable in a lot of wind conditions so the island is often empty. The first night we arrived, there were over 30 boats anchored and enjoying the beauty. 018 Tina walking the beach on the Atlantic side. 041 Ed traversing the cliff walk, complete with ropes to help you down. 012 Parts of the coral reef on the Atlantic side.  Not the side to bring the  big boat. 039 The limestone cliffs and beaches and the blue, blue water.

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On to Long Island

A belated post.  We had a lovely sail to Long Island on Sunday the 16th.  Every sail was up to take full advantage of the 8 knots of wind.  We sailed directly to the anchorage at Chez Pierre and dinghied on in for a gourmet dinner with our buddy boaters. The next morning we wandered around the point to an anchorage in Thompson Bay. Tuesday and Wednesday we rented a car and drove south and then north on the 80mile highway of Long Island.
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Driving south, we visited Dean’s Blue Hole which is the world’s deepest blue hole at 623′. While there we saw an instructor, assistant and four students working on their free diving skills from the platform. The hole is well-visited by world free divers and also hosts world competitions.
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Clarencetown is on the east or oceanside of Long Island. We visited the church and the marina as well as having a late dinner.
Going north the next day, we trekked to the Columbus monument before stopping at Stella Maris resort for a lovely lunch.
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Georgetown

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The Farmers Cay Regatta is over so we got up this morning and decided to use the calm winds forecast for today to move the 48 nm to Georgetown. Leaving at 7AM we were among the first boats leaving, but after 20 minutes we looked back and there were 10 boats behind us. Georgetown is a logical next stop after Little Farmers Cay and since there were over 100 boats at Farmers we shouldn’t have been surprised at the crowd. By the time we were through the Cave Cay Cut into the Exuma Sound there were 30 boats within eyesight. Other than pouring rain for an hour it was a pleasant trip with time to charge the batteries fully and make enough water to fill the tanks. We are anchored off Sand Dollar beach and although there are lots of boats there is plenty of space.
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Georgetown is a moderate sized town with a fully stocked grocery store, liquor stores, laundromat, and a handful of restaurants and shops. After a couple of days here doing our housekeeping chores we will head of to where the weather allows. Maybe Long Island or Conception. we’ll see

Famous green flash

There is a phenomenon when looking at the sun set on the ocean horizon with no clouds and little moisture in the air, called the green flash. It happens as the sun disappears behind the blue sea and we both saw it clearly on Wednesday. It was very cool.
We are currently at the 5Fs in farmer’s cay, the first Friday in February Farmer’s Cay Festival. The main event is racing the c class Bahamian sloops. The boats are small racing dinghies with a big sail extending past the boat. It takes 3 big men sitting way out on a board (pry) to balance all the sail.friraceboat

They line up for the start with the sails down and the boats at anchor. When the signal is given, the sails are raised and the anchor pulled simultaneously. The course is long with a number of turns which are determined as the boats travel. Frirace2

Really interesting racing. The other events were men’s best legs and bums as well as the women’s wet tshirt contest. We missed all of those. Weather is in the low 80’s with a light breeze. There are over a 100 boats in the anchorage and at night their anchor lights look like a little city. We’re still having a good time.

Moved on for the Super Bowl

We sailed north with the SE wind for a day/night at Shroud Cay, a mangrove filled island.  Near high tide we motored up the estuary (salina) into the center of the cay and then on to the eastern Sound side (the deep water side).  The first part of the journey was through the mangroves in small creeks but just as  the mangroves started closing in, we came around a corner and there was a lagoon, a sandbar and breaking surf on the other side.  Also several families with children and a dog.  A wonderful, lively scene.

The next morning we headed south into the SE winds and motored our 38 miles to Black Point settlement.  After anchoring in their very protected harbor, we headed ashore for walking and checking things out.  We are spending the next days doing laundry, having a Superbowl feast and wandering through the town.