Passage South. Crooked Island to Aclins

Day 1  George Town to Long Island

Day 2  Long Island to Crooked Island

 

Passages South map

Passages South map

Day 3 Crooked Island to Aclins

Tuesday, March 11

After we rest for a day in Pittstown, we lift anchor early the next morning but it takes us 3 hours to cover 2 miles in almost becalmed winds until we pass Bird Rock with its 1876 lighthouse.

Bird Rock Lighthouse

Bird Rock Lighthouse

Built from Crooked Island stone with nineteen-century mechanism and Frensel lenses, the lighthouse machinery got damaged by a lightning strike and is no longer working today. Abandoned, it is rapidly deteriorating and the recent attempt by the Bahamas Defense Force to fix it failed. There had been an idea at some point to turn the lighthouse keepers’ quarters into an ‘out-of-the-way’ refuge but it is still just an idea. As we pass very slowly only a few feet from the small island the lighthouse sits on, we have the opportunity to kind of explore it.

Bird Roch Lighthouse  close-up

Bird Roch Lighthouse
close-up

When we round the corner the winds pick up and we are back in business.

We sail all day near the north side of Crooked Island direction east-southeast, tacking many times as the wind has now turned from east, blowing at 10-15 kt, and thus we cover almost double the distance, which is 35 NM from Pittstoun Landing to Atwood Harbour. We are getting the prevailing inevitable Trade Winds, but very mild and easy to deal with. The sea is calm, slow Atlantic waves coming from port. Fata Morgana is doing about 4 kts, smooth slow sailing, no stress on the boat and crew, and at about 9:30 p.m. we enter through the breakers inside the vast remote anchorage in Atwood Harbour. The anchorage is more like quick rest-stop for cruising boats as it offers nothing but refuge from east, west, and south winds (don’t go there in north winds). There is no marina, no settlement, no nothing but a beach and mangroves around a shallow sandy bay.

The cruising guide says that entering Atwood Harbor “requires care and attention and good light. In the last few years about dozens of boats have run into trouble entering Atwood. Be warned!” For us it is one of the easiest going-through-the-breakers entries at night, no problem whatsoever. But I guess the wind and waves can make a difference. The place could turn to a monster in strong northern winds and swells. Yet, with the light easterlies we are getting, it is a pussy-cat. Good planning again!

We drop anchor, sleep like bay-bees, lift anchor the next morning, and sail some more, perfect like sailing-nerds.

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Pittstown, Crooked Island

Maya and Evo Welcome to Crooked Island

Maya and Evo
Welcome to Crooked Island

The next morning we wake up late, in paradise, and we take the day off.

Sunrise in Crooked Island

Sunrise in Crooked Island

The beach is a few feet away. Evo and Maya go spearfishing. There is so much fish around the boat, that Evo asks me what I prefer for lunch, grouper or snapper. He spears two decent-sized Nassau groupers, much more tender and safe to eat than barracuda.

Maya with a grooper

Maya with a grooper

Later, we take a walk on the beach, about a mile south to the tiny settlement of a few houses, to find internet and check the weather updates.

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Pittstown is charming with its stone walls and banana trees around perfectly trimmed loans, its fishing-boat harbor cut in the rock where young people gather at sunset to dive and swim and chat.

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Inside the library

Inside the library

 

Afternoon in the harbour

Afternoon in the harbor

 

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In just a few minutes we see more wildlife here than anywhere in the Bahamas.

Osprey

Osprey

 

Green Heron

Green Heron

American Oysercatcher

American Oysercatcher

 

Osprey with lunch, Bird Rock Lighthouse in the background.

Osprey with lunch, Bird Rock Lighthouse in the background.

Almost no one comes to Pittstown, Crooked Island, ‘the unexplored Bahamas,’ remote and unspoiled, and maybe this is the reasons why we love it so much. (Even though, sadly, they are out of ice cream for months now.)

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The girl working at the small library makes us sign the town’s guestbook.

          How long are you staying?, she asks.

         We wish we could stay a few more days but the wind is good now; we have to keep sailing. We are leaving first thing tomorrow morning, we answer.

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