The Far Bahamas
30 March 2011 | Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
Enjoying the sunset over Clarence Town Harbour after a week of travel through the Far Bahamas.
Last Wednesday we gave our repaired transmission its first real workout, motoring six miles up the coast to Emerald Bay Marina, so we could get our diesel fuel through a hose instead of having to carry it out to the boat in jugs. Of course their diesel fuel had "just gone up" from the advertised $4.88 to $5.42, the third time we've stopped for diesel and found the price had "just gone up", although this was the biggest jump. We pumped our diesel after doing donuts in the harbour for about twenty minutes waiting for a spot to open on the fuel dock, then paid and motored back to Georgetown.
We had our final drinks at the Sand Bar, said goodbye to Alvin, and after fueling the dinghy and a final burger at Chat & Chill, we turned in expecting a calm to motor over to Long Island on Thursday. The wind didn't die off, and we had a nice sail over to Calabash Bay, on the northwest tip of Long Island. We did some snorkeling, and then looked forward to heading to Conception Island.
Friday the wind didn't pick up enough to sail, so we motored up to Conception Island, a Bahamas park. It had a long mangrove creek, where the turquoise water slowly turned to green. In a murky green pond partway up the creek, there were a dozen sea turtles swimming around, as well as the other marine life like barracuda and nurse sharks. We watched them from the dingy, as well as snorkeling on a few of the reefs and walking the beaches.
Saturday dawned calm also, so our trip to Rum Cay was by motor also. As much as we like to sail, we'd rather motor in calm seas and no winds then bash into heavy seas with strong winds! We rounded into Nelson Roadstead, reeled in our hand line (no fish hits yet) and anchored in the light surge there. A string of trawlers that we had seen at Conception Island pulled into the marina following lunch, but they must have stayed at the marina as we didn't see them at Kaye's, a sand floor bar where we ran into several of the cruisers whose boats we had seen at Georgetown, but didn't get to meet. Two of the cruising boats, Rasmus and Earthling, are traveling south along our path so I am sure we will meet again. Since the wind was still calm on Sunday, we took the day off from traveling to do a few chores in the morning, and snorkel on the reefs in the afternoon.
The breeze had picked up on Monday, and we had an awesome reach down to Clarence Town, on the east side of Long Island. Once in the harbor, the reefs break the swell much better than at Rum giving a very nice anchorage. We snorkeled on the anchor to ensure it was set, and then continued to look around for a submarine cable that was charted, to ensure we were far enough away that our anchor wouldn't snag it (there were 2 at Rum Cay for us to avoid). We didn't see it, so we trust the GPS that we're a tenth of a mile or so away. I did see several conch, and one of them was large enough to keep. We have slowly become fans of conch, so I set out to clean our first one.
After following the directions in The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing, I handed over a fist size chunk of white meat to Linda, who sliced it thin, placed it into a baggie, and handed it back for me to "bruise", e.g. smack with the mallet until paper thin. The meat is slippery enough that it's difficult to keep it from slipping out from under the mallet (I guess that's why the meat mallets have the corrugated side!), but I did my best and Linda added a Panko breading and fried it up for dinner.
We looked around Clarence Town yesterday, and got a few supplies at the store and packing house. The winds today are from the SE, directly from the direction we want to go, so no sailing today. The plan is to start out tomorrow as the winds turn south, and then continue on, motoring as they get calm. We should have some wind from the North after the next calm, and we hope to make it to Provo before they can build up big seas. This will be our longest ocean journey since we transited the Florida coast. Wish us luck!