As the tiny island disappeared in our wake, I marvelled at the beauty we had seen during our short visit to this “little bit of paradise”.
Conception is roughly diamond-shaped, approx 3 miles long and wide at the maximums. It is almost completely ringed with dangerous reefs, some extending up to 5 miles from the island. There are two areas to anchor, one on the west side and one on the east side. Even these areas are littered with coral heads and you must keep your eyes open when proceeding. This is not a place to arrive or depart in darkness.
We sailed to Conception Island, from Thompson Bay, Long Island, a distance of approx 40 miles. Another beautiful day under sail. Once anchored, we noticed the roll. The waves wrap around this tiny island as it sits out in the Atlantic, with no protection from the waves except for the surrounding reef. A bumpy night.
In the morning, we hastened to explore. First, a dinghy adventure into the shallow mangrove creeks, in the centre of the island, where the turtles cavort in the warm waters. Wending our way between sandbars, we spotted a few of the sea turtles while another dinghy group, later in the day, saw hundreds! In the sky above us, we saw many tropicbirds, dipping and soaring in groups of 4 or 6. Seldom have we seen more than one tropicbird at a time. They look like a small white tern but have a very long tail plumage, about 6 to 8 inches. Just lovely. Bahamian mockingbirds trilled from the bushes on shore. It was so nice to hear the birds singing in the mornings.
Now it was time to check out a beach, to search for treasures. It seemed as though we were on a slalom course as we threaded our way through the reefs, while fingers of elkhorn coral reached out to snare the dinghy. Whew! We made it. The beach was littered with debris and seaweed, but no beans were found. Seabeans are the seeds from plants that grow in the Amazon rain forest. The pods drop into the waters of the Amazon and the seeds are carried with the currents onto the beaches of the Bahamas and Florida. Some are rare and beautiful. Those we polish and wear as jewelry.
Afternoon found us in the water by those samethey reefs and Doug, from High Stepper, shot himself a nice lobster. We dove several spots before realizing that the tide was very low and the reefs were protruding above the water. How to get out of here? One grounding and one collision with a reef later and we were safely back to the anchorage. Time for a shower and then cocktails with Fran and Mort, aboard Alato, where all of us aboard saw the elusive “green flash” as the sun set into the ocean behind us. Plans were made for diving, beaching and a picnic the next day.
Overnight the wind switched around and was blowing from the south. The boat was lurching, rolling and bounding. Not a good direction for this island. All plans were changed as we decided to use the wind available ( not forecast! )and we hauled anchor to sail on towards Cat Island. One bumpy night was spent there and off we went in the morning, with plans to stop at Little San Salvador.
But, the wind and waves had other ideas. The waves were building from the west and they would roll right into the anchorage there. It was past time for a good nights sleep and this would not give it to us. After discussing our options with High Stepper, we decided to press on and sail to Powell Point, Eleuthera, a total of 70 mles. Here we anchored, just the two boats and the wind died. A wonderful nights sleep! Today we will move on towards Rock Sound, where a friend from our time at Killarney Mountain Lodge, Mike Medved, will join us for two days. A cold front is expected and , once that passes, we will move on towards Spanish Wells.
Future plans? Ten days to 2 weeks around Spanish Wells, then on to the Berry Islands for a day or two. Hopefully, crossing to US near the first of April, to take advantage of the full moon. We will head to Ft Pierce, to retrieve objects left with friends in Vero Beach. Then on to the marina, haul and head north before the end of April. Will the snow be gone by then???
Hugs to all, Heather & Murray