It seems to me that the Bahamas really is a mixture of high highs and equally low lows.
This dichotomy is pretty well represented in today’s video and blog. After hiding from some windy weather in Aklind Island we headed to Long Island. This was another long day sail of about 65 miles and despite looking forward to exploring what Long Island had to offer, we were feeling quite impatient to just get to the Exumas. They are, after all, considered to be the jewel in the Bahamas crown, so to speak, and I had seen so many gorgeous photos on Instagram of crystalline turquoise water lapping sugar-soft sandy beaches that I just had to get there now. But Bo and Allison managed to convince us to stop at Long Island and, quite frankly, Nick and I couldn’t be bothered with doing an overnighter. So, Long Island it was.
The day was not a good one, weather wise. The wind was fluking around non-stop, and because a bird had stolen our wind vane (or at least, I’m blaming the bird…), we were unable to discern the wind speed and direction, except by using the old fashioned method of looking around us and feeling the breeze on our face. We had enough wind for the Parasailor until we didn’t, and the heavens opened just as Nick was taking the thing down on the foredeck. He got absolutely soaked, bless him.
The sun eventually came back out, but the wind continued to fluke around and we spent the day putting up sails, taking them down, poling out the jib, taking the pole down, turning the engine on, turning it back off, etc etc. Not a ‘set the sails and leave them’ kind of day at all. However, we made it to Clarence Town in daylight- our only real objective- and weaved our way around some coral heads and sand banks before setting anchor in a sandy shallow patch. Bo and Allison had caught a mahi mahi that day, so we launched the dinghy and went over for fish tacos, before heading to bed early. This sailing thing can be really exhausting!
One thing Nick and I hardly ever do is rent a car and explore an island by vehicle. It just doesn’t happen. It’s expensive for one, and also we’d rather explore the different parts of an island by boat. Also- we’re lazy. However, Bo and Allison’s presence took care of the first problem, as we could split the cost in two, plus we desperately- and I do mean desperately– needed some provisions and there was nothing within walking distance. So, we headed to the car rental place, managed to haggle down from $90 to $45 because the car was in a bit of a state, and took a day exploring Long Island.
We had read that there was the World Freediving Championships taking place that week at the world’s deepest blue hole. This seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up, so we made that our first stop. We weren’t sure how we were going to be able to watch a sport that’s taking place several hundred feet underwater, but figured the atmosphere would be entertaining enough. When we got to Dean’s Blue Hole, however, there didn’t seem to be much activity. Allison was sent to investigate and it transpired that we managed to time our day out with a rest day. Of course we did. One of the competitors, a lovely Italian chap called Davide Carrera, chatted to us for some time about the competition and freediving in general. It turned out his PB was 116 metres!! Like, I can barely dive the anchor when we’re in 4 metres! I guess that’s why I’m not competing in the Freediving World Championships…
It was a shame we weren’t going to be able to watch some truly awesome freediving, but Nick and Bo got over their disappointment by ordering a surprisingly good burger and beer from a nearby hut on the beach, and we headed off again. This time our destination was on the very northern tip of the island, a resort called Cape Santa Maria in Calabash Bay.
This was slightly more upmarket than we were used to: lots of white villas sitting on the world’s most perfect beach. Shallow blue water, white sand, swaying palm trees: you name it. We had a decent lunch in the upstairs restaurant before returning back to the boat via a grocery store that from the outside looked very unpromising, but actually stocked loads of good fruit and veg. We stocked up on the important things- chips, dips, beer and cereal- and headed back to the boat.
Calabash Bay was so beautiful- not to mention directly en route to Georgetown, our next destination- that we decided to spend the night there. The conditions weren’t quite as ludicrously idyllic as they had been the previous day, but that didn’t matter; we went for an evening pina colada to celebrate Bo and Allison’s anniversary at the bar, had dinner and then the next morning went our separate ways. They were heading to Conception Island (which turned out to be their favourite island in the Bahamas) but Nick’s parents were flying into Georgetown in a few days and we thought they would take a dim view of us not being there to pick them up.
And so, after an enjoyable upwind sail (not a typo- it really was a great sail!) we arrived in Georgetown on Great Exuma, was welcomed by another mad thunderstorm followed by an equally mad sunset, and rolled out the welcome mat for our latest guests.