Excellent dinghy piloting on DJ’s part and soon we were in a new kind of paradise. The saltwater creek winds its way through an abundance of mangroves sprinkled among white sand shores into the interior of the island. The water was too shallow for the outboard in most of the creek, but that was ok as we planned to take turns rowing so as not to scare away the wildlife. Our quest – to find the green turtles we’d read about in our guidebook.
The first branch of the creek veered off to the right into a thick mangrove, below a huge hill with a broken navigation tower. Mangrove creeks are often a nursery for baby fish and this one was no exception. Soon we saw little tiny little snappers, baby barracudas, a variety of colorful reef fish, even a couple of baby sharks. We spent a few minutes oohing and awhing while trying to drift quietly to take it all in.
The next creek branch took us past a strip of white sand beach. Prince was sniffing and dancing and carrying on so much that we decided to land the dink and let him have a run. I spotted what I guessed to be an orangequit, a small tropical bird. Then a huge white bird with an enormous wingspan flew closely overhead. I’m not sure what it was, but am certain I’ve never seen such a large bird. Of course there were many white-tailed tropic birds too, as the island is their haven. But lest I bore you with birding, suffice it to say there were a wide variety of many, many birds and I’ll move on.
The entire creek ran with crystal clear water until we reached a small branch where the water was more of a clear emerald, a perfect camouflage for green turtles! How cool is that! Sure enough we began to spot green turtles and as we were slowly and quietly drifting they did not spook, and we had quite the show for about a ½ hour as they played on the waters surface. All of a sudden a four foot nurse shark decided to come up and take a closer look at the dinghy oar. Of course this just made DJ wiggle the oar around a bit more to make it more enticing. This was the my closet shark encounter and I was surprise to see that a nurse shark is a bit of a brown color. He hung around for a few minutes while we checked each other out. As it turns out we weren’t that interesting and he swam away.
We followed the emerald green branch of the creek drifting with the turtles until we reached its end where we beached the dinghy on a small white patch of sand. It was time for a hike to stretch our legs. As it happened just up over the hill was a beach not far from where we’d anchored the Glass Slipper. We could just make out her swaying mast in the distance. Coleen and I were hot so we sat for awhile on a big rock at the waters edges letting the waves splash us while DJ continued on. Soon he was on top of a hill waving to get our attention. We clambered up after him and were led to the site of some old plantation ruins which we happily explored.
During our walk back down the beach among the rocks, Prince took pause and started barking like crazy. Something was behind a big rock. I rushed over and from my view above I could see that it was a very large, angry bird sitting on a nest. I quickly used my umbrella to shoo Prince away as that bird could have eaten him for lunch! He had a fierce looking beak, made a lot of noise and was clearly very mad. (Note: I always carry an umbrella while hiking as the sun is too much for me without it. Yes, I’m sure it looks crazy, but there’s no one to see anyway.)
All too soon we were back at the dinghy, and had to head back to the Glass Slipper as storm clouds were brewing. The mangrove creek on Conception Island is by far my most favorite place in the Bahamas. I’m so thankful we took the time to explore it.
We had a wild, wet ride back out the creek entrance as the tide was coming in and there were a few standing waves. I managed to get a video of it and will try to post as soon as I have a decent internet connection. In fact, lots of video and pictures are forthcoming. So stay tuned!