Conception Island, The Bahamas

Mon 23 May 2011 18:19
In order keep making good progress, we only spent a couple of days in Rum Cay and set off with Scott Free for the 25nm sail  to Conception Island, where we found a beautiful sheltered anchorage in West Bay along with 2 or 3 other boats in 2.0m of water. Conception Island is a National Park, which means nothing on the land can be disturbed, removed, damaged, or any rubbish left (but this law excludes the Sea! ). We rode one of dinghies ashore, to facilitate a swim from the beach to one of the reefs, where we saw plenty of colourful fish swimming around. Other times we would swim from the dinghy anchored to the sea bed, but Chris and I always had a fit of the giggles when trying to haul ourselves back into the dinghy (‘whale’ and ‘beached’ spring to mind!)


Leaving Rum Cay


Arriving Conception Island (above & below)



Nimue anchored in West Bay, Conception Island


What a pair and they didn’t half make mess of Merlin


Nimue’s turn for sundowners and Michael picking up Steve and Chris in Merlin

After a day, we noticed a large US Coast Guard Vessel coming towards the anchorage and instantly thought we were in for an impromptu visit.  Both Scott Free and ourselves were still flying our yellow flags, as we had not yet cleared into the Bahamas.  At US$300 for the pleasure, we were in no desperate hurry to hand over such a large amount, as we were only ‘passing through’ the islands. Anyway as it turned out, a bunch of customs cadets were on an R&R for a few days and were enjoying the solace of the island. 

A couple of miles south of West Bay was a fairly large creek, which was recommended as a good place to explore by dinghy.  So on an incoming tide, we took both dinghies down to the creek, which was ‘filling up’ as we drove in.  We still managed to hit the ground with our outboard engines, the further we headed into it, but there’s always a good reason to carry oars and this was one occasion when they were put to good use.  In the absolute crystal clear waters, we spotted the odd turtle and also a number of small stingrays hovering over the sea bed looking for food, but they didn’t really appreciate our company and soon took off.


Entering the creek


Steve and Chris in very shallow water


Yes, a photo of Anne’s feet, but look how clear the water is.


This dark shadow is a sting ray


Such natural beauty?


Looks life the locals have made these stone structures


We’re following behind on our way back from the creek


Just one last swim in these crystal clear water

After a couple of days we decided to make the 200nm journey to Marsh Harbour in The Abacos, as this would be a good starting point for the crossing to the USA.  Although Chris and I had worked out what we thought was a good weather window in terms of wind, we were not prepared for the two day onslaught of lightening and thunderstorms. (you can read the account in the Passage Making blog entry). Even as we were arriving at The Abacos, we were deluged with our final thunderstorm and this was just as we were about to negotiate one of the ‘cuts’ into the Abacos Sea.   Not the best passage, but one we will never forget!


Cloud formation behind us, following the first night of storms.