Warning: This post is heavy on the lovely photos, simply because we have visited the most beautiful beach we have ever seen.
However, we had to go though a few trials and tribulations first so I hope this pic’ will keep you going until those are out of the way.
Clarence Town had been marvellous in many ways and was certainly a safe port in a storm. (You are allowed to use sailing clichés when you are actually sailing by the way. So many to choose from!! Anyway.)
Our island hopping plan through the Bahamas was roughly to work up to the north of an island, hop up to the next one up, etc, etc. The hopping off point to leave Long Island was to be Calabash Bay, a long day’s sail from Clarence Town but do-able before sunset – all being well.
L set his phone alarm for 6am – I don’t use mine as I will just wake up thinking I need to drive down the motorway to sell someone some desks. By 7am I was doing my bit which is to get the anchor up from off the sandy bottom using the electric winch and then start giving the course to steer to L on the wheel.
Being open to the Atlantic ocean swell which builds for 1000’s of miles, the east coast is pretty bumpy and that day was no exception despite an OK wind forecast. As the hours passed we slammed up and down, safe in our sturdy catamaran and clipped on with harnesses at all times, but uncomfortable all the same.
What made this journey extra tiresome was things kept falling over, first being the big table in the salon which apparently was not bolted to the floor! We righted it and wedged it with cushions temporarily – fortunately the only casualty was an orange, which we ate.
A trip to the loo down below in rough weather is always a trial, but when you hear someone on deck shouting for you halfway through you have the makings of a phobia. I came back up to find L trying to keep our wind generator upright after it had “bounced” off its 15 foot aluminium pole, presumably when we had dropped off the side of a wave with a slam.
With much swearing, lashing with ropes and tying it to anything else solid we managed to hang on to it. Amazingly the blades continued to turn and make electric juice from all that wind, even though it was now at a drunken 45 degree angle. We glanced at it nervously for the rest of the trip.
What a welcome sight were the calm, turquoise waters of Calabash Bay. A few other cruisers boats, a sprinkling of hotel beach cottages, green wooded hills and the most divine smell of flowers wafting out to us.
After we had fixed all the falling-over-crap, we lowered our kayaks and paddled towards the beaches and the intriguingly named Hoosie Harbour.
Many Bahamian islands, most famously the Exumas, have miles of very shallow sand bars which are fabulous for exploring and also for chasing Bonefish – an exciting sporty fish that loves these shallow water flats and breeds in the strange mangroves that sprout around their edges.
The natural inlet of Hoosie Harbour, with a depth of only a few feet at its mouth had just a couple of small fishing boats in it and even our shallow kayaks were sliding along the powder soft, sticky, palest pink sandy bottom as we pushed through the crystal water.
There is something about mangroves. They sprout straight out of the clean sand and sea water and the long stalks and leaves remind me of pictures on an Egyptian hieroglyph of lotus shoots.
Plus they are home to loads of baby fish, so we watched as schools of tiddly silver Bonefish were chased around by a baby Barracuda in 6 inches of water. Amazing.
The source of the wonderful smell is still without a name (my Google fail there) but the bush looks like this, with masses of pink fluffy flowers. It grows thickly along the beach edges, along with feathery casuarina trees, seagrapes, coconuts and many other beautiful shrubs.
After cooling off with a long swim we made our way back to the boat. Hopefully we will be anchored up back at Calabash Bay next year to explore this most idyllic spot some more.