Middle Bahamas

11 February 2019   Pitts Town Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas
The unpleasant weather continued in the morning with strong winds coming from the south east making the anchorage a little more bouncy.  I caught up on some administration and signed the broker agreement to sell Alba.  Reality hit me when I clicked the button to send the email off to the broker – we’re actually going to sell our home.

The anchor chain has been slipping in the windlass for the past few months, so I dug out a spare gypsy from my spares locker.  It’s been used before, but it’s in better condition than the one on the windlass.  It was a quick job and fingers crossed, the chain won’t slip anymore.

Glenys

In the afternoon, in a lull in the squalls, we decided to go over to the lighthouse, which is about 1½ miles away.  Unfortunately, the waves were big and confused as we passed by Pitts Town Point – a combination of swell from the north and wind waves from the south east.  The waves were 3 foot high and very steep – too much for our little dinghy, so we beat a hasty retreat and went to look for somewhere more protected to snorkel.

The guide book says that there are some under-cut caves and good snorkelling south of Landrail point, but there was too much surge close to the small cliffs, so we went a bit further off shore to a random reef.  It was in terrible condition – most of the coral was dead and covered in green algae, so it has little chance of recovering.  I believe that these sorts of dead reefs are caused by the local fishermen using bleach to force lobster out of their holes.  I don’t think that they do this anymore, but the legacy of human greed will persist for decades. 

It really threw it down in the evening.  It looks like there’s a front coming down the day after tomorrow, so we’re going to head to Clarence town tomorrow to get some 360 degree protection.

12 February 2019   Pitts Town Point to Clarence Town, Bahamas
At 07:00, there was no wind in the anchorage, but I was expecting 15 knot ESE winds and big waves from the last few days of high winds.  So, before we left the anchorage, I rigged up the spinnaker pole to starboard– it’s about five times faster working on a non-moving deck.  

Sailing to Clarence Town

We motored for about 20 minutes, by which time the wind had picked up to 12 knots, so we put the main out to port and pulled the genoa out to starboard.  Thirty minutes later, we had 20-25 knot winds with 3 metre seas, so we were cracking along with a reefed main and genoa.

Despite the rolling, it was a very pleasant sail to Clarence Town.  To approach to the harbour, we had to go around the north of a headland, passing some scary breaking reefs before we could approach from heading south.  We had a look at the anchorage to the south of Strachan Cay, just past Sandy Point, but in the 20-25 knot ESE winds, we would have a lee shore too close behind us.  

We came out and anchored to the south west of the island at 23°06.26N 074°57.06W in 4 metres depth on good holding sand and weed.  I snorkelled around the boat to check the anchor and there are some patches of rock and rubble around. 

It continued to blow a hooley all afternoon, but settled down a little in the evening.

13 February 2019   Clarence Town, Bahamas
The weather forecast shows that a front will sweep its way south today, passing over us tonight.  The wind is going to slowly veer from ESE to South to West overnight, presumably with some rain.  Fortunately, the wind is only forecast to be 10-15 knots overnight, so it shouldn’t be too bad.  The weather for the next three days is very confused with a couple of weak lows and troughs hanging around, which will give us winds from the North-west through to South at 5-15 knots - it looks like we’re trapped here for a few days.

A Father Jerome Church

With the wind expected to veer to the south, I had a look at our anchor position and didn’t like the look of a dark patch to the north of us.  So, we pulled up our anchor and moved about 50 metres further south-west, away from the shallows.  We’re now at 23°06.25N 074°57.11W in 4 metres of water.  I snorkelled around the anchor and we’re in a nice flat patch of sand with light weed, so I’m happy here.

In the afternoon, we zipped across to the marina, where we were welcome to tie up to the most western dock.  They sell fuel, so I topped up my petrol jerry container.  We walked into the small settlement and called in at a small “convenience store”, which had basic items, frozen food and a few fresh onions and potatoes.  We bought a few things to last us for two weeks until we get to George Town.

There are two churches in settlement that were built by Jerome Hawes.  Originally he was an Anglican Missionary and built St Paul’s church in 1910, He later converted to Catholicism and then built St Peters church around 1939.  Both churches were locked up, so we didn’t get a chance to go inside.  There wasn’t much else to see, so we wandered back to the boat.