Location: North of Rum Cay
Conception Island may be the loveliest island in the Bahamas. The uninhabited island is located on a platform that rises out of the deep ocean 15 miles east of Santa Maria, Long Island. The island has miles of pink sand beaches, gorgeous sandstone cliffs, and an extraordinary abundance of wildlife on the land and in the sea. There are numerous locations for spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling.
The main island, Booby Cays, and South Rocks are home to an extraordinary number of wildlife species, many of which are threatened or endangered. Long tail tropic birds, sooty terns, oyster catchers, and osprey nest on the island and cays. The center of the island is a large mangrove and creek habitat and an important nursery for fish, sharks, conch, and crawfish. Green turtles forage in the creek, off the southwestern shore, and in the northern bay. The coral reefs and grass flats in the surrounding sea are unusually healthy and are home to an abundance of sea life.
The ruins of five buildings are located between West Bay and the mouth of the creek on a hill overlooking Long Island. The ruins are constructed of native mortar, limestone, and shells. These buildings housed a small settlement of people who probably lived on the island in the early 1900s. Very little is known about this settlement. There could not have been much farming, but there would have been sufficient fresh water and sea life, plus turtle and bird eggs, to sustain a few families.
This creek is part of a magnificent mangrove system. The only opening is about 2/3 of the way south on the western shore. The channel into the creek changes with the shifting sand bars, and the entrance can become untenable in westerly winds and swells, so mariners should approach with caution. The tide follows Nassau by about an hour and a half.
Near high tide the navigable water for dinghies runs about a mile into the mangrove flats, and there are several arms off the main channel. Take your time and bring a camera. A drift dive out of the creek at the beginning of the ebb is a beautiful experience.
There is a speed limit of 4 knots inside the creek, and visitors are asked not to harass the turtles or other wildlife.
Green Turtle: The Island is also an important breeding site for the Green Turtle. These along with the Hawksbill turtles are common in the interior lagoon.
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