We motored to Long Island in a brief calm. Jazz, at the helm, making art with the Dremel:
Long island was pretty. Captain especially enjoyed the sunset, as always.
But we just stayed for the night and moved on immediately: we were in the last day of calm before the promised thunderstorms, which would be followed by many days of wind out of the east. With east wind, Long Island to Conception (or to anywhere else, really) is a slogging motor into wind at best, whereas south from Conception to Rum may even be a sail. So, we passed by one paradise for another. But we did take a couple of pictures over the side, because the water was so perfectly clear that our shadows reached the bottom perfectly.
On the way, we noticed we weren’t getting any power from our alternator, and that’s not a good thing. We’d snapped the old belt back in Ft Lauderdale, though, so we guessed that it was probably just a tension issue, as the new belt stretched out and broke in. We have a lot of solar power, but when we motor we tend to treat power as free, so we found ourselves with uncomfortably low batteries and the prospect of a couple of cloudy days. Time to fix the alternator. As expected, tightening the belt helped. Thinking the problem solved for good, we breathed a sigh of relief and settled into two days of waiting for the weather to clear up, anchored off our own private deserted island.
We were waiting out intermittent squalls, but in between them, we had enough sunshine to walk around and snorkel a little. The beach at West Harbour is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen so far: long, thin, slightly pink, and very clean. Hardly any seaweed to be found, and some of the softest sand my feet have ever sunken into.
The other side of the island is a “short hike” away – about 100 yards over a tiny hill. It’s not quite as clean, but still beautiful:
The snorkeling, however, made us sad: the coral we saw was almost entirely bleached. We’ve heard that this is an amazing place to scuba dive, and to be fair, we didn’t venture far off the island. But at least one guide book that raved about the diving said that the coral near the island was just as good, and that information is clearly out of date. Conception is already pretty remote; this does not speak well about the health of our oceans.
One of the other draws at Conception is the river into the center of the island. We dinghy’ed over, and saw lots of turtles, birds, and sting rays. And of course, lots of mangroves, and a rainbow.