Ahoy from Fresh Creek on the island of Andros in the Bahamas!
We hope that everyone had a great weekend. We're in the middle of a 4 day weekend in the Bahamas. Friday was their equivalent of Labor Day and on Monday they're celebrating Whit Monday, which is the 6th Monday after Easter. Sue's bummed as she wanted to go to the Batik studio, but they've been closed since we arrived. High on our priority list was getting cleared into the country as we hadn't been anywhere to clear in before now. While we had read that there wouldn't be any overtime charges, we didn't want to risk it. We didn't have any issues, but the cost was the standard $300. Clearly they want to keep out the riff-raff....ouch!
Fresh Creek is actually the name of the creek that we're anchored in. On the south side of the creek you'll find Andros Town and from what we can tell, the only thing in Andros Town is the Lighthouse Motel and Marina. The marina has about 30 slips, most of which were occupied by power boats used for fishing, but there were a few sailboats. Dockage was $1.30/ft. The docks were in good shape and they have a deep fuel dock for gas and diesel. Be prepared to pay...gas was $5.45 a gallon! Ughh...They also have a nice pool, a small laundry, restaurant and bar. We tried to go to the restaurant three times, but each time after being ignored for 5+ minutes, we left and went to Hank's. We're told that the food at the marina is good, but it takes a long time.
On the other side of the creek you'll find Coakley Town which is much more of a real town. We found 3 grocery stores, a large laundry and lots of government buildings. We also found lots of houses that look like they were abandoned after a hurricane. Over all it felt like Coakley Town is just hanging on. One business that seems to be doing very well is Hank's Place, which is a restaurant right on the river. Most of the times that we were in there it was packed. The food was quite good and very reasonable. My only warning is that on Friday nights they have a DJ on their outside deck, which is right next to the anchorage...We should have just gotten up and gone over there as it was like they were in our cockpit. Thankfully they stopped at 2 AM.
I got a list of dive site locations from a local and we checked out several of them. We did find several sites where the coral had been spectacular but now it was mostly dead and covered by algae. We ran into a group (www.GreenForce.org) which monitors the reef and I was able to find out what was causing (at least in part) the death of the reefs. It seems that there was a die-off of sea urchins and sea urchins are critical consumers of algae. Without the sea urchins the algae over-runs the coral and kills it. Attempts have been made to re-introduce sea urchins with limited success. GreenForce calculates a ratio of live coral to the surrounding sand/algae and around here it's 9%. Compare this to a healthy reef where the ratio is 70-90%! The group that I spoke to didn't sound very hopeful for the survival of the rest of the reef around here. Sad...
Tomorrow we're headed N about another 30 miles in search of better diving. I'll report in from there!
-- Geoff & Sue
For the cruiser:
The entrance to Fresh Creek is straight forward, but the guide is very confusing. Simply stay in the southern 3rd of the channel entrance and then stay close to the Lighthouse Marina docks. We anchored just past the marinas docks but were told to move because the ferry uses that space as a turning basin and the ferry is BIG! There are 3-4 mooring balls that are available for free, but only 1 is usable for keel boats. That one is the northern most one. We were lucky enough to grab it, but you definitely need to put a stern/side anchor out to keep you from ending up on the shoals to the S. One day when we were swimming of the boat, I could stand (with my head above the water) at the stern of the boat, but the rudder still had 6" of water. Simply moving a few feet to the right I added another 2' of depth. Make sure that the anchor is set well as the channel has been scoured of sand.
I also believe that you could anchor to the NW of the mooring balls as it appears that there was sand where you could drop a hook. Note that the creek's current is predominately outbound and moves very quite quickly at flood.
The marina has a large washing machine and drier that costs $2/load. Sue was very happy to find this.
Log ID: 862
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