Post #48: THE BAHAMAS (Part 2): Day 338; April 4, 2015. On board: Barb Stabile, Louise Bombardieri, Trish K, Jim K. Partial: Jenny K, Chris Hart
We were fortunate enough to have Barb Stabile and Louise Bombardieri fly into Marsh Harbor to meet us on Friday (March 20). Jenny & Chris weren’t flying out until Sunday, so we took the opportunity to go to Man of War Cay after the girls landed. On the way, Chris put out a fishing line and soon we had Friday night dinner:
We left Man of War Cay on Saturday and spent the day anchored in the Sea of Abaco. From the first anchorage, Jenny & Chris took the dinghy fishing while Barb, Louise, Trish & I hung out on the boat. It was hot, so after awhile the girls wanted to swim off the boat. However, the tide was running hard and the current was strong, going out to sea. So for safety, we tied a rope to the stern of the boat and they had to hold onto the rope anytime they were in the water:
Although his birthday was still a of couple weeks away, but we celebrated Chris’s 30th in Marsh Harbor that evening:
Our next stop was Turtle Cay – purported to be one on the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Crescent shaped and miles long, it is truly stunning – the sand is fine and white, and the water is an incredible shade of light teal:
From Turtle Cay, we ran the next day back to Man of War Cay. We had met Harvey and Mary Helen on the vessel Lollygagger six months earlier when we arrived at a marina in the dark after getting stuck for 5 hours waiting to be put through a lock on the Tennessee River – Harvey guided us into the dock with a flashlight then invited us onto Lollygagger for a badly-needed drink! They were docked for a few weeks at Man of War Cay, so we had the good fortune to spend some time with them:
Our next stop was a re-visit to Hopetown, this time with Barb & Louise aboard. Here are some pictures:
My week with the girls ended when we ran back to Marsh Harbor – they flew home while the next crew – Jim Small and Chrissie Bell – flew in. It was then time to start working our way back to the West End to look for a favorable weather window to cross the Gulf Stream back to the States. Although conditions were not ideal to navigate Whale Cay Passage, wide open to the Atlantic, we picked our way through 5 foot seas to get to Green Turtle Cay. Green Turtle has two separate harbors, one near each end of the island. White Sound is the “resort” type harbor where most cruisers go, while Black Sound is the “local” harbor. We, of course, opted for Black Sound, and rode our bikes a short distance to the town of New Plymouth. It is a small, charming, unspoiled settlement where Bahamians make their living mostly from the sea. We ate at a small, local restaurant where the owner was the baker, cook, waitress, and everything else that was needed.
Here are some pictures from Green Turtle Cay:
We continued to retrace our steps as we moved towards the West End, cruising about 60 miles to Grand Cay. We left Grand Cay the following morning and anchored at Double Breasted/Sandy Cay, which we had visited a few weeks earlier by dinghy with Jenny & Chris. We stayed the entire day and intended to stay the night at anchor, but a 20 knot wind was predicted to kick up overnight from the one direction from which we were totally exposed. So we decided to cook dinner on board, then leave at dusk and tie to the dock at Grand Cay. Here are some pictures:
We left early the next morning on a somewhat rough, 65 mile run to the West End to look for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. While spending a day exploring and riding our bikes around the West End Village, we came upon my new friend with the beard that I had met a month earlier. We couldn’t resist taking a picture of the two of us together:
After a month in the Bahamas, we left Grand Bahama Island early on Friday, April 3 and headed due west across the Gulf Stream for Palm Beach. We had a 10 knot wind on our port stern quarter, so the passage was a bit rolly – not quite the smooth, calm water of our trip east, but quite tolerable. Culture shock hit us upon our arrival – the inlet at Palm Beach was crowded with boats and the narrow channel at low tide near Sailfish Marina was jammed with boats of every size and description heading every which way. Much different from the laid-back outer cays of the Bahamas!
One last anecdote regarding out visit to the Bahamas. My daughter Jenny loves to bake, and has a “baking blog” entitled “Sugar Mason”. She is a talented writer (brag, brag) with a unique way of looking at the world and at her surroundings, and a unique way of expressing what she sees and feels. After she and Chris had spent ten days with us in the Bahamas, Jenny posted the following excerpt on her blog. I thought I would share it with you:
“we spent ten days on the sea. floating along. intermittently pulled through the mouth of a harbor by the sounds of people cracking conch. we turned off our phones that can sometimes be too smart. and felt a headache dissolve that we didn’t know we had. on the first day we yelled about politics. by day two we found ourselves wanting to talk of nothing but fish. when the fish stopped biting, we mixed ginger beer with coconut rum. we gaped, breathless, at the water. and stared long and hard, hoping our eyes would absorb the translucent color, the greatest of all souvenirs. we put fins on our feet and escaped to a world where the grass grows blue & orange & purple. we hunted fish with spears in our hands. humbled by the fish with spears for teeth, hungry like us. we cannonballed into waves. and read words from paper. we spent an evening mesmerized by a lone beam of light, merry-go-rounding it’s way through the dark. we imagined the lives of sailors it spared. and dreamt about the lives it did not. we ended each day around a table. looking at maps for tomorrow’s journey. already nostalgic for yesterday’s magic. an internal mantra echoed through my head. louder with each passing sunset. i am grateful for the sea. i am grateful for the fish. i am grateful for the rum . but mostly, i am grateful for the company.”
If you’re interested in baking and great recipes, or just interested in some unique writing and great photographs, the link to her blog is: sugarmason.com/
We now start our journey north along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway toward Boston and the completion of our voyage. We have about 1500 miles to go, so there are still plenty of adventures and challenges ahead. On we go…