Bahamas Northbound

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Bahamas Northbound

  Long Island Conception George Town  

Clarence Town, Long Island
30 May to 1 June 2006


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The skipper of a boat at Landrail Point recommended that we go to Long Island and try the Stella Maris Marina for a lock nut. So we changed our plans of going to Samana Cay and headed off to Clarence Town. There was absolutely no wind again so we motored 45 miles. We visited Clarence Town last year and quite enjoyed the anchorage. It is scenic and fairly well protected.  

As soon as we arrived, we dived to check the propeller and removed the nut to take as a sample to Stella Maris.  

No mosquitoes!! - We are facing east with no land in front of us

Around 40 miles from Clarence Town to Stella Maris and no public transport and no car hire. We were offered 4 lifts that took us right to Stella Maris. But …. No nut!

On the way back we wanted to stop at Salt Ponds, half way down the island to go to a grocery store there. We were offered lifts and arrived in time to see the local cargo boat bringing in the island sailboats for the Long Island Regatta, a big local event.

Then we were offered another lift, one that Geoff will always remember. (Iza was invited into the cab!). An open flat bed truck with no sides, the flat bed covered in slippery grit, nothing to grip and a driver from hell! Geoff re-discovered the powers of centrifugal force on every bend and has no fingernails left!

Dived on the prop again on our return to refit the one nut, hosepipe and hose clip.


1 June 2006


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Iza’s birthday.

Filled up with fuel from Flying Fish Marina in Clarence Town Harbour. Just a little tricky without reverse.

Set off for Conception Island, 40 miles away. Good wind to start with, then cloud and rain followed by a drop in the wind, so we had to motor the last 12 miles. Anchored in West Bay.

Conception is one of our favourites and is a protected park. No fishing!

Snorkelled some of the shallow reefs around West Bay and Southampton Reef. Drift snorkelled holding on to the dinghy. One of the other boats in West Bay was a trawler called “Dive Adx”. We had seen them at the dive buoys in the Turks & Caicos but had not previously made contact. We had been envious of their outrigger stabilisers in the swell! We called them on the radio in Conception and met up on the beach later to swap dive site information.

On 3rd June, we motored Dream On around to the east side of Conception. Not a good anchorage in anything but westerly and north-westerly winds. However, the south-easterly wind was light so we used it as a day anchorage to explore the shores of Booby Cay and South Rocks, neighbouring bird sanctuaries. A few distant frigate birds on Booby Cay, but on the smaller South Rocks, thousands of seabirds nesting. They became very aggressive at our arrival so we beat a hasty retreat and returned to West Bay and sundowners on the beach with Fred and Michelle from Dive Adx.

As we motored into the beach in the dinghy, Fred and Michelle who were already on the beach gave us the shark sign. A Caribbean reef shark was circling along the shore line having been tempted into the bay by crew cleaning their fish catch on an expensive looking mega fishing boat.

Fred also warned us and all other boats of the first tropical wave of the season that was likely to hit the Bahamas on 5th or 6th June. We checked our weather info and found an advisory to find a secure harbour by Sunday night 4th June.

Having intended to spend a few more days at Conception, then move to Cat Island, Little San Salvador, the Exumas and on to Nassau for June 10th when Simon is coming to visit, we were now faced with a weather hitch. More decisions!

Decided to head for George Town where there are a number of anchorages with a choice of protection in the event of strong winds from the tropical wave. We left Conception early on 4th June with a reasonable wind for the 43 mile hop. As we approached Cape Santa Maria on the north point of Long Island, the wind shifted from SE to SW, right on our nose, dropped completely, then briefly picked up to 18 knots. Very confused. All part of the cloud debris from previous squalls we assume. So we motor-sailed, then motored the last 10 miles in calm seas with no wind. 

George Town, Great Exuma Island

4 June 2006


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Anchored at Volley Ball beach on Stocking Island while we await an update on Wave 34W heading towards us from Cuba.

Being anchored off Volley Ball beach gives us a view of the Chat 'n Chill beach bar and restaurant. On Sunday when we arrived, the place was jam packed with young folk strutting their stuff during Chat 'n Chill's Sunday pig roast. This is obviously the place to be. Everyone arrives at Volley Ball beach by boat or ferry from George Town so it is like being anchored in the middle of the M1 or I95.

Tropical wave 34W fell apart in the mountains of Cuba so we stayed to do the washing, catch a wi-fi connection, try to find a prop nut then find an enjoyable route north to Nassau. There are still many squalls around and we will no doubt find a few of those on the way.

Left George Town on 7th June, heading for Nassau. We still have not found a lock nut for our propeller so still not using reverse.

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