White Pepper has been to Calabash Bay several times over the years and has many happy memories of the place. So it was with anticipation that we hauled past Cape Santa Maria and into Calabash Bay on the northern tip of Long Island. This was the third spot Columbus was reported to have visited in the New World. Conception Island was the second. Calabash Bay is 20 miles or so from George Town. It was made famous by Bruce van Sant as the first spot on a “Gentleman's Guide to Passages South”-- that is the trip from George Town, Bahamas to Lupron, DR. It is rolly and exposed to every wind except the prevailing Southeasterly.
Cape Santa Maria. One can barely see the Columbus Monument on top of the cliff.
We sighted on the famous Yellow House at the south end of the anchorage to avoid the fringing reef and anchored in 9 feet of crystal clear water over sand.
White Pepper's reasons for stopping at Calabash Bay were to show guest, Barb Mathis, another beautiful spot in the Bahamas and to explore Joe's Creek. Joe's Creek is a deep and wide creek with 360 degree protection just one mile south of Calabash Bay. We have always heard and read about this anchorage but were deterred from visiting by the entrance. We set out to explore by dingy. Indeed the entrance is formidable being only 6 feet deep at low water and about 30 feet wide with rocky shore on both sides. Today the entrance was peaceful. Once inside White Pepper was treated to an idyllic Bahamas scene of swiftly flowing deep and clear water over sand. There seemed to be plenty of space to anchor numerous boats. White Pepper may someday bring the big boat there at slack tide high water and when there is no swell running in Exuma Sound.
Entrance to Joe's Creek
The Captain Max on a bad day
Wide and deep. Plenty of room to anchor once inside Joe's Creek
If Joe's Creek was a place to hide and get away from civilization, then on the other end of Calabash Bay was one of the refinements of civilization—the Cape Santa Maria Club. This is a high end resort that competes with the near by and world famous Stella Maris resort. Rooms start at $400/night. However, they welcome scruffy cruisers in dingies. White Pepper went there with fellow cruisers, Ron and Linda from Escape from Reality, for lunch. We all had a relaxed and delicious meal. The contrast to the wilderness of Joe's Creek could not have been more vivid.
Very civilized lunch at Cape Santa Maria Club
Sunset over Calabash Bay