The Adventure Begins

22 May 2011 | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
20 May 2011 | Chacala Bay, Mexico
19 May 2011 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
14 May 2011 | Ipala Bay, Mexico
13 May 2011 | Chamela Bay, Mexico
12 May 2011 | Tenacatita Bay, Mexico
11 May 2011 | Manzanillo, Mexico
06 May 2011 | Caleta de Campos, Mexico
05 May 2011 | Zihuatanejo, Mexico
25 April 2011 | Mexico
20 April 2011 | Mexico
16 April 2011 | Guatemala
13 April 2011 | Nicaragua
09 April 2011 | Nicaragua
02 April 2011 | Costa Rica
01 April 2011 | Costa Rica
30 March 2011 | Costa Rica
29 March 2011 | Costa Rica
28 March 2011 | Costa Rica
23 March 2011 | Costa Rica

Blue Hole Heaven

04 March 2010 | Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
Nancy
After checking the weather reports and listening to Chris Parker on the SSB each morning, it sounded like we had a small weather window to head further east, before the next group of storms hits the far Bahamas. The problem we have been having is that the storms have been hitting every few days and the area we are in has even less anchorages to hide out from the strong westerly winds that blow through with the storms! We are ready to leave the Bahamas but seem to be stuck with all the storms. Oh well, there are worst things in life, right? We decided to sail approximately 32 nm to Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas. We left Rum Cay in the late morning because we needed a rising tide and good sunlight to get out of the very shallow entrance of Sumner Point Marina. It helped that we had our GPS track from our arrival that we could follow out. Exiting was nerve racking especially sense there was a recent sailboat that ran aground on the reef at the entrance just days before we arrived in Rum Cay. We have a picture of it sitting on the reef in the picture gallery. While we were waiting out one of the storms at Rum Cay, we watched the sailboat that was on the reef get blown off and gradually sunk...not a pretty or comforting sight! Definitely nightmare material. Luckily the captain of this boat was safe and was able to get majority of his items off the boat and supposedly the boat was covered by insurance.

Surprisingly, the weather report was not exactly correct. Hmmm. The winds were supposed to be light and SE but as we got underway we experienced stronger SE winds consistently 20nm on our nose! Needless to say, we did not make our timeline because we had to tack many times just to make any headway in hopes of getting into the anchorage at Clarence Town before dark. We do not like breaking one of our golden rules entering an unknown harbor at night, however Clarence is the closest area we could get to before the next storm hit, which was 5 am the next morning (30 knot winds and 3-4 ft swell)! Fortunately the anchorage has a fairly large area with entrance clear of coral heads. We set the anchor in the dark and shortly thereafter fell asleep, after a long day on the sea. We rode out the storm only after re-anchoring further into the anchorage, to reduce our exposure to wind and swell. Clarence Town anchorage is fairly protected except from the NW winds and swells...and of course the clearing winds are from the NW. There were several boats in the anchorage that were also waiting out weather. We enjoyed sundowners and appetizers, with a bomb fire with other cruisers on the beautiful beach that was off the anchorage area. Brian got a chance to go lobster/conch diving with the other captains, with some success of getting couple of conch. We were excited to try making our own conch fritters, well until we realized how hard it is to get the conch out of its shell. I will keep it simple....it was not a pretty sight and there was not much of a shell when we were done! I am not sure how we did it but we were able to get enough conch meat to make a few fritters. We figured that if the conch were larger maybe it would be easier to get the meat out?? Anyway we need to work on our conch extracting skills!

It was predicted to have 2 more storms back to back that kept us in Clarence Town for a while longer. Knowing that 2 more storms were coming and by this time we have had little sleep, we decided to move into the Marina (Flying Fish Marina). We got settled into our slip, filled our fuel tanks with diesel, and reluctantly filled our water tank (partially, only b/c water was fairly expensive at 0.30 cents/gallon). We were excited to see m/v MaryClare in the slip across from us. We had met the owners, captain and chef/first mate of m/v MaryClare and of course, we cannot forget their two dogs Rusty & Sammy at Rum Cay.

With the time waiting out the storms, we got a chance to explore Clarence Town a bit. We explored the area on foot. We are actually getting use to walking on the wrong side of the road and looking left first since the Bahamians drive on the left side of the rode. We got to see some interesting churches and visit the bakery for some fresh Bahamian bread. The Bahamians are very friendly and it is not uncommon for them to slow down to see if you want a ride while walking along the road. As we return to the Marina from our exploration trip of town and countryside, we ran into Gini, chef/first mate from m/v MaryClare as she was returning from her trip back to the US. We joined Gini, Rusty & Sammy on a walk to a nearby beach, just off the government dock. It was here that we discovered, Rusty's ability to dive for conch! It all started with his love for diving for rocks. Well, he was able to turn this skill into something useful. As we were walking in the water at low tide, Rusty dove and brought out the biggest conch we have ever seen. It was twice the size of the ones that Brian had dove for the day before...... actually, I think that he might have been a little jealous of Rusty's find. We made plans to grab dinner/drink at the local restaurant, "Rowdy Boys", only a short walk from the marina. We met some other crew from another motor yacht and had a great time, sharing stories and laughs!
The next day we made plans to visit the Blue Hole with Gini, Rusty & Sammy. What an amazing place! The beach is absolutely beautiful with crystal blue water at various shades of blue, with a 600 ft "blue hole". This "blue hole" is considered as one of the longest caverns opening to the ocean in the world. We have some of our pictures in the gallery! We pretty much had the place to ourselves. The dogs went wild! They were free to run, swim and dive! It was great fun to hike along the beach, swim and enjoy watching Rusty dive for conch as Sammy cheered him on. The water was very refreshing and we could see some of the tropical reef fish while swimming. We enjoyed the blue hole so much we went back the next day!
During our stay at the marina, we got a chance to meet some of the sports fisherman as well as enjoy the "fruits" of their labor of love! The fisherman were catching wahoo, mahi mahi and tuna and sharing it with the locals and marina guests. Doesn't get any fresher than that!!
Once the last storm cleared, it looked like we were going to have a decent weather window to head for Dominican Republic. We met some really fun/nice people during our stay. We really enjoyed Gini's company (and the dogs) and became close friends with her during our stay. We hope to stay in touch with all who we met in Clarence Town.
We hope everyone at home is doing well. We love hearing from you so if you get a chance pls drop us a line. We miss you all!
Comments
Vessel Name: Four Points
Vessel Make/Model: C&C Landfall 43
Hailing Port: San Diego
Crew: Brian & Nancy McCluskey
About:
Nancy & I have been planning to go sailing for years. We are not ready to retire but decided to take this trip before we get to old. Sailing takes a lot of energy and commitment so we didnt want to wait until we cant physically handle the trip. [...]
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Port: San Diego