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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Uninhabited Conception: Tiny Bit O Paradise

cruising destinations, hiking, swimming, beaches

Perfect crescent beach for swimming on
Conception Island’s Atlantic side.
Bahamas National Trust claims "Conception Island may be the loveliest island in the Bahamas."

Granted, normally these platitudes should be taken with a large grain of salt, as it seems similar superlatives are used to describe most of the islands in the Bahamas (most beautiful, best beaches, etc.).   In the case of Conception, I genuinely believe it lives up to its claims.  That's saying a lot, as at this point, I've at least sampled the majority of the Bahamas better known or at least more touted islands (Bimini, Andros, Berry Islands, Exumas, Little San Salvador [missed San Salvador], Long Island, Jumentos and Raggeds, Rum Cay, Conception, 
Cat Island, Eleuthera, and now the Abacos).
cruising destinations, hiking, swimming, beaches

Wayne wanders Conception Island’s
Atlantic side beach.  Notice the wet 
sand line’s pinkish hue?

Simply put, Conception Island is the most pristine island of the bunch, and teeming with life.  
The beaches are clean.  The water is startlingly clear, in jewel tones of aqua, teal, turquoise, emerald, cobalt....


cruising destinations, hiking, swimming, beaches

Wayne rappels to
Conception Island viewpoint.
national park tucked between BAHAMAS Long Island and Rum Cay, Conception Island is a sanctuary, protected by the Bahamas National Trust .  Its unlawful to remove anything from the island... plants, animals, birds, eggs or fish.  The credo is to leave only footprints....


cruising destinations,

From Conception Island’s Atlantic side
limestone rock overlook, dark coral heads
dot the emerald waters.
Other than cruisers and the stray researcher passing through, the island is totally uninhabited.  While it's rumored to be among Columbus' stops, there are no homes (though there is tiny settlement in ruins, which we did not see), no resorts, no groceries, no restaurants, no marinas nor any other businesses.  There are also no trash bins, no Batelco towers, no electricity, no drinking water or any kind of man--made amenities; not even a picnic table.  


cruising destinations, hiking, swimming, beaches, anchorages

A tawny beach is lapped by warm turquoise waters on Conception
Island’s more protected, West Bay, Exuma Sound anchorage area.
Conception Island packs an incredible array of ecosystems in a mere three miles long by two mile wide island.  Mangroves.  Coral heads.  Tide pools.  Southampton reef (technically outside the island, but adjacent and stretching three miles long).  Gentle tawny beaches on the Exuma side.  Pink sand beaches on the Atlantic side featuring a perfect little crescent beach protected by a large limestone rock.  Dense, verdant palmetto and a variety of other underbrush covers most of the island’s terra firma, evidence that nature abhors a vacuum.

cruising destinations, hiking, swimming, beaches, anchorages
Pink peach and yellow highlight Conception Island’s
periwinkle clouds at dusk.
Conception island is a place to unwind, to unobtrusively observe mother nature's phenomenal beauty from the island's dramatic landscape to its rarefied inhabitants... the long tail tropic birds, sooty terns, oyster catchers, and ospreys, baby fish, sharks, conch, crawfish and green turtles....

Watch for two more upcoming Conception Island posts: one exploring the mangrove channel, and another on a serendipitous and unlikely cruiser reunion.



cruising destinations, sunset, anchorages

Dramatic sunset at Conception Island.
Location Location
May 8, 2014, BAHAMAS.  This blog post is a recent retrospective of our visit to Conception Island, BAHAMAS (N23.51.033 W75.07.298 ) April 13–16, 2014.  We are currently in the Abacos (N26.32.407 W76.58.029), anchored in front of Hope Town’s historic candy-striped Elbow Cay Lighthouse, which is still in operation.  Tomorrow we’ll anchor at Man O War Cay.  The Abacos 120-mile chain of islands are our last stop this cruising season.  Our plan is to arrive stateside in late May or early June.