We left Conception Island just before noon on Tuesday, the 15th, for an overnight passage to Acklins Island. The timing of the departure was established to take advantage of a brief period of lighter winds from the east which we could motor into for awhile. The forecast was for the winds to shift to the southeast and intensify. Since Acklins Island was on a bearing to the southeast, we wanted to get as far east as we could in order to have a better angle on the wind for the remaining part of the passage once the winds shifted and became stronger. The trip went generally as planned. We motored slightly south of east in winds that built from 8 knots from the ENE upon departure to about 14 knots from the SE by 10:30 p.m., at which time we were almost due north of our planned anchorage on Acklins. The winds remained from the SE throughout the night and increased in intensity another knot or two. It wasn’t the most comfortable with the winds and the four-foot waves, but it was tolerable. Neither of us slept much when we were off-watch with all the banging of the waves into the bow and all the jostling about. But, when we passed Umbrella Rock pulling into Atwood Harbour, we were happy. Nothing broke en route (that we know of) and, although we were tired, we were in good shape.
We dropped the anchor just before 8:30 a.m., in about 9 feet of water. Cindy noticed the chain-rode wasn’t laying like it normally does, but when I backed down on the anchor we didn’t move. However, when I went out to dive on the anchor, it was obvious that things weren’t right. Our chain went through a large tree branch laying on the bottom before wrapping around a rock at a right angle leading to our anchor. This wouldn’t do, so I motored forward to unfoul the anchor rode from the rock before we brought it up to try, try again. We motored over to a much cleaner patch of sand and dropped anchor in 8 feet of very clear water. The next snorkel confirmed that our anchor was buried in the white, sandy bottom. The very next order of business was a nap!
We slept until 11:30 and then had brunch on board. I had purchased a BTC (Bahamas) cell phone simcard with a data plan that allows us to stay in touch with the world when we don’t have wifi, but have cellular service. Such was the case with this anchorage. So, after brunch, we did a little web surfing and I worked on the blog. We had dinner, watched another holiday movie, and relaxed. There was not another soul in sight — another picturesque beach-lined island paradise all to ourselves.
Thanks to Wednesday’s afternoon of rest following our overnight trip, we were re-energized to explore and play on Thursday. So, after morning prayer and our daily Shakespeare (yes, just a few more days and we will have read through the entire works of Shakespeare in a year), we splashed our 2-person kayak into the water and paddled across the harbour to the creek on the other side. The creeks on these Bahamians islands do not fit my concept of what a creek is, which was formed in my childhood by playing in “the woods” in Georgia. Unlike the sometimes muddy creeks of the Peach State, these creeks are filled with crystal clear waters with white sand bottoms, and lined with mangroves. One of our best experiences while cruising was kayaking up the creek on Shroud Cay in the Exumas. It was breathtaking, especially when it opened up onto the deep-water side!
When we had successfully paddled ourselves up the first two hundred feet or so of the creek, I casually mentioned that there was a shark following us in. Big mistake. Cindy was ready to head back. We did continue another couple of hundred feet up the creek before we turned the kayak around and headed back to the circular harbour. Upon reaching the relatively wide and deep mouth of the creek, we pulled the kayak up onto the sandy, windward side of the waterway and did a little shell-collecting and exploring. On the return walk, as we neared the spot where we left our kayak, we noticed that there was no kayak. A quick glance upwards revealed our kayak in the mangroves on the other side of the creek. Now, I love the water and I love to swim, but I’m not a “great” swimmer. I’m not all that smooth and I waste a lot of energy, which makes it difficult for me to swim long distances (for me, that means a couple hundred feet, not a mile). But, I really had no choice. We were the only humans around. Either, I had to swim back to Beatitude or swim to the kayak. So… I plunged into the beautiful waters at the mouth of the creek and began kicking and flailing my way across. I stopped several times, hoping I could touch bottom, but each time was disappointed by the lack of sand beneath my toes. While crossing, the current was taking me up the creek and away from the kayak. Cindy just knew I would be washed out to sea and lost forever. I wasn’t nearly so concerned, because I knew I could float (at least in salt water) and eventually this creek would shallow up as it continued inland. Finally, I was filled with relief when I paused to feel for sand beneath me and found I could stand and walk my way back up the creek to our kayak. This little swimming expedition, coupled with the extended paddling back to Beatitude in the 20-knot wind and little waves, left me exhausted the rest of the day. What a fun adventure, though!
We settled down for a dinner of shrimp scampi with pasta at anchor as we noticed a small fishing vessel make their way into the anchorage for the night. We were no longer alone. Time to put back on all the clothes. 🙂