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Passage to Turks and Caicos

December 11, 2015

Well here we are in Turks and Caicos. 

Another milestone under our belts.

Let me take you back to the beginning or our journey to this point.

We left Georgetown amongst comments of "why are you leaving, it’s perfect here”. It is perfect in the Bahamas. It is for sure one of the most beautiful places we have ever been and to have our sailing home floating there amongst that beauty… so privileged.

Our goal was not to sit still for too long and we had been in GT for well over a month. We could have easily spent another month there exploring and enjoying all that GT has to offer but we were feeling stuck. There is so much more to see, I think I’ve said that before...

We left at day break headed for Concepcion Island, the island that is reputed to be the first landing spot of Christopher Columbus. It is 10 hours away sailing NE. Unfortunately as all our sailing has been of late, the wind and waves were coming from the NE. 

We pounded into them for yes… 10 hours. 

Concepcion was beautiful and incredibly remote. If there were over a hundred boats at anchor at GT. There were 2 here at Concepcion. 

Not many people venture out this far.

Concepcion is protected only from a E- NE wind and has a rolling swell that comes right into the anchorage. If the wind here were anything but E we would have been in trouble.

We arrived late in the day due to the rough and easterly seas. So as soon as the anchor was set we were off to explore. 

 

There are mangrove swamps here with channels and canals leading into larger open watery spaces much like Shroud Cay. It is know for it’s turtles and the middle of the Island is aptly called Turtle Sound.

We saw many turtles swim past our dinghy and even more lucky, we saw spotted Eagle rays, both large and small. 

We followed a larger one with the dinghy. I don’t think it was used to seeing many people or boats and didn’t spook until it got close to the surface and saw us flowing it, then it practically flew out of the sea trying to get away from us. 

 

We spent the night here and raised anchor in the morning, bound for Clarence town on Long Island, another 10 -12 hours south east. 

The wind was better this time but the seas were lumpy and confused. It was not a nice 12 hours. We tacked back and forth as we watch the clock tick away, bringing sunset and impending darkness closer and closer. 

We didn’t know this harbour at all. Entering along a coral head infested entrance and then anchoring inside was not something we wanted to do in the dark. It was inevitable though. 

 When we would tack we could easily reach speeds of almost 8 knots, but when is seemed the tacks were taking us too far off course, and ultimately forcing us to arrive in the dark, we decide to motor into the wind for best speed. Not really though, boat speed dropped to a pathetic 4 knots. Arrggh! What were we supposed to do? 

The answer; arrive and anchor in the pitch black dark. 

Well our chart plotter could handle the job although we weren’t happy about having to steer a huge Catamaran through an intricate harbor entrance using an 8 inch screen to steer by, we could see nothing else, it was pitch black. 

 It’s a little spooky anchoring in a strange harbour with no other boats around, no lights to see by and after a long exhausting day.

We awoke in Clarence Town harbor with the Cat anchored in a pretty good spot. 

We had done well at anchoring in the dark of night.

 

 

 

 view of Clarence town from the hill

 

Clarence Town was hit hard by hurricane Joaquin and it showed. Rebuilding was going on everywhere. the marina seems to be getting the most attention, it was looking spotless and new, but when we walked into what was once Clarence town, nothing looked spotless and new. Houses were destroyed, roofs were missing, garbage was everywhere and no one was around except for men that were working on the rebuild. Everyone, it seemed, had left the island to go and live with family or friends on other islands. Clarence town was at the moment, a ghost town. 

 We wandered around looking for something to see. Nothing here except the ancient and beautiful churches perched high up on the hill, sorry, as with all Bahamian islands there was a nice beach and we did enjoy playing on it before we left.

We left Clarence Town that evening at 11 pm bound for French Wells on Crooked Island another 12 hours away. Once there we had a narrow cut to navigate through with strong current, we needed to time this tide.

Saling at night is a little spooky. We like it, but it is still a little spooky. We like arriving at our destination with daylight and time to explore but we’re usually quite exhausted from the 3 hour on, 3 hour off nighttime watches. Cole doesn’t do watches yet at his young age, but possibly sooner than later as he is quite the capable boy. I think when it comes time for him to do his first watch and any consecutive ones too, we will sleep near him in the cockpit possibly in a hammock but near him just the same.

I will leave it here and report next time on the beauty of French Wells, Crooked Island.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Brad

 200 year old church at Clarence town

 200 year old church at Clarence Town

 At Clarenece town beach just before picking up anchor

 

 

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