March 31, 2019 Sunday Hope Town, Elbow Cay to Lynyard Cay 23.1 nautical miles.
26°21’30.8″N 76°59’03.7″W 26.358555, -76.984368 Elevation: 0 ft
Along the Way
Today was a blast. We connected up with
other Looper boats THE BLESSING (Jay and Barbara), LETS GO (Marshall and Judy)
and KNOT JUST DREAMING (Shawn and Cindy). The flotilla was off with THE
BLESSING Jay as the Commodore heading out to snorkel a blue hole.
Getting to the blue hole area was the start of the adventure. We needed to take our dingys about 1.5 miles towards shore, past rocks and through skinny water. It was not a straight shot in.
Blue Hole: 26°20’42.3″N 77°01’48.4″W 26.345081, -77.030100
There were a lot of fish and a big old turtle in the blue hole. Mary also saw a big eel. The water in the hole was chilly but the water all around it was warm.
Dang I miss my underwater camera. Too
bad I fried it ☹ The blue hole pictures would have been awesome. I
tried talking pictures with my regular camera but they just didn’t turn out.
We flotilla-ed on to Pete’s Pub and Gallery in Little Harbour. This was not a straight shot either. After securely anchoring the big boats we took the dingys around Tom Curry’s Point and into the harbor. Swells from the Atlantic were crashing into the point. We needed to circumnavigate the Tom Curry’s Point with great care … in our little dingys.
Last, we relocated to Lynyard Cay for an overnight sleep over. The anchorage was full (boating barometer 20 boats) but we nestled right in there with them.
Drolleries and Yuks
The best channel 16 radio calls we heard today were: — Fish Camp calling Home Fries — Tenacity calling Stubborn
March 30, 2019 Saturday Marsh
Harbour Marina, Jib Room, Marsh Harbor, Abacos
to Hope Town, Elbow Cay 8.2 nautical miles.
Elevation: 0 ft
Crossing to Hope Town on Elbow Cay.
Along the Way
First stop was the iconic red and white candy stripped lighthouse on Elbow Cay.
Up you go!
Hope Town 360 from the top of the lighthouse.
After Mary took way too many lighthouse pictures we were off and wandering. Definitely looking like tourists when a gentle man stopped his golf cart and offered us a ride. Never to turn down an opportunity we said yes and were on our way. Sherman, the golf car owner, had just finished cleaning out his friends rental house and had the left over beer on the car. Never to turn down an opportunity we said yes to the beer too. A little ways down the road Sherman let us off at near the Da Beach Bar and Restaurant where there was a great beach for us to walk. Sherman owns the Elbow Cay Cart Rentals http://www.elbowcaycartrentals.com/ If you are ever in Hope Town and need a cart get it from Sherman!!!!!!
I’m fascinated at the location the wave and the sand boil.
Just in case your forgot your junior high American High history class….. Loyalists were American colonists who stayed loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War. When Great Britain lost the Revolutionary War the Loyalist took off. Many people moved back to England, Canada, or south to the British Caribbean.
Today Dale Fixed
Da dingy motor. After pondering over
the Suzuki manual and a brief discussion with the Marsh Harbor Suzuki dealer Dale
fixed the dingy motor. The manual lead him to a fuel value that had been bumped
probably while lifting/lowering the dingy and was partially shut. Opening the
valve put the dingy full into speed ahead.
The 89 foot Elbow Cay Lighthouse was built between 1862 and 1864 to warn mariners about the Elbow Cay reef. The light was renovated in the 1930s. To keep the light on, lighthouse keepers must wind the turn mechanism (426 turns) every two hours. This turns the enormous 7,000 pound Fresnel Lens assembly, which floats in liquid mercury around a fixed kerosene burner. The lighthouse is still operational! The Coleman Company has been helping keep the lights on since 2012 building custom mantles.
Elevation: 0 ft
Along the Way
Yesterday we bought two loaves of bread, a wheat bread at the Island Bakery and a coconut loaf at the Da Bes Yet Bakery. Today we took Looper boat LETS GO neighbors Marshal and Judy in the rental car bread shopping.
Of course we bought a loaf of coconut bread from the Island Bakery so we could taste compare it to the coconut bread we bought yesterday at Da Bes Yet Bakery. We really needed to try the white bread from the Haitian Bakery too.
The Haitian bread was baked as long loaves placed next to each other on a sheet pan instead of individual bread pans. The loaves looked like GIANT hot dog buns.
Besides the 4 loaves we’ve bought in the past two days we are still working on the jalapeno cheddar bread we bought at Authur’s Bakery at Dunmore Town.
The coconut bread from both bakeries is first rate. We are bread rich!
We said good bye to the Buick at noon…..
Dale did a great job driving on the left side the road. The many roundabouts
were the most challenging. It was fun.
The evening ended with delicious home made chocolate walnut pie at neighbors Marshal and Judy on Looper boat LETS GO.
Today Dale Fixed
We’ve had this gosh awful smell in
our aft cabin for the past couple of days. So awful we’d taken to sleeping in
the forward v-birth. Yesterday Dale isolated the smell to the bilge and dumped bilge
cleaner in it. Today he pumped it out into our blackwater tank. Yuck.
A first rate job Dale!
First rate – From the 16th century on until steam powered ships took over, British naval ships were rated as to the number of heavy cannons they carried. A ship of 100 or more guns was a First Rate line-of-battle ship. Second rates carried 90 to 98 guns; Third Rates, 64 to 89 guns; Fourth Rates, 50 to 60 guns. Frigates carrying 20 to 48 guns were fifth and sixth rated.
Elevation: 0 ft
Along the Way
Mary was on a mission today. She wanted to see the brass sculpture foundry in Little Harbour and the Abaco parrots found in the southern Great Abaco Island pine forests. The Abaco parrot is a subspecies of the Cuban Parrot.
First stop breakfast.
Road to Little Harbour
Little Harbour is an artist community centered around the Johnston family brass foundry and sculptures.
Abaco National Park and Abaco Parrot Preserve is on the south east side of the island. The park has parrots, wild horses and wild pigs. (of which we saw none). 25°59’36.5″N 77°17’23.7″W 25.993476, -77.289908 The road we wanted to take said 4 wheel drive only. No rental cars. Below is the good road, the road we took. I really wonder what the other one looked like.
Sandy Point on the south west side the island. 26°01’50.4″N 77°24’05.6″W 26.030659, -77.401558
Other points along the way
We toured (were chauffeured in a golf cart) Schooner Bay to see the man-made island and marina. http://schoonerbaybahamas.com/ The community thinks itself so exclusive you cannot take picture of it. The prime minister of the Bahamas owns a cottage on the little island. It sleeps 4-6 and rents for $350 a night. The marina has transient slips and would be a good Looper stop if a waypoint is needed between Marsh Harbour and Eleuthera. Schooner Bay’s visions is to be a self sustaining community some day. Eleven years into the project and they are still a LONG ways off. The community looks a bit like the gulf coast of Florida. If you are shopping for unaffordable housing, go with Florida. You get more bang for you buck.
We never saw a darn parrot the entire trip 🙁 The locals said it was a little too windy for them to be moving around. The closest we saw ….
One amazing thing about driving around the island is that there is NO road kill along the sides of the road. I haven’t seen any deer, rabbits, squirrels or other rodents. I’m not sure what there is to hit other than chickens.
Speed bumps. Great Abaco Island is speed bump crazy! In some areas you can hardly drive more than 1,000 feet to .2 miles with out hitting a speed bump. Little Harbour had the best speed bumps. Large, 4 inch diameter sections of rope.
Cup of Joe – This was named
after Josephus Daniels who was secretary of the Navy under Woodrow
Wilson. One of the changes that he made was the abolishment of the
officer’s wine mess aboard Navy Ships. From that point on, the
strongest drink aboard a Navy ship was coffee. Sailors eventually
started referring to the caffeine laced drink as “Cup of Joe”.
Elevation: 0 ft
Along the Way
We rented a car and headed west (and north).
At first there was a lot of tall pine slowly switching over to the othern kinds of trees and foliage. All the pine trees did surprise us. None of the other Bahamas Islands had pines. It was still all pretty much scruffy and rocky.
Our Buick rental car came with unlimited mileage. Not sure if that is because the odometer is not working or Great Abacos is not big enough to have a concern about excessive miles on rental cars. All the safety warning lights were on in the car but the air condition worked and it drove well.
The hardware store in the picture below is about the size of my living room in Lake Elmo.
Westward Ho! Crown Haven, the western tip of Little Abaco. You can’t drive any further west than this. 26°54’40.9″N 77°49’12.6″W 26.911371, -77.820153
The Bahamian government built a new port north of Cooper’s Town, Great Abaco. It was completed several years ago but never opened.
Cooper’s Town had sidewalks! A rarity for small towns (most towns) in the Bahamas. New side walks running the entire length of the main road. We are guessing they were put in about the time the new port was built………
Treasure Cay is an exclusive community and probably all white. Million dollar homes and a golf course. I have to wonder, if you had that much money why did you get a house here? All the Bahamas have to offer is crappy land and beautiful water. It’s a better deal to get a house on the gulf side of Florida.
I skipped the pictures of unaffordable housing at Treasure Cay. I did like the below.
Affordable housing. The homes either look like the the ones below or they are well over $1,000,000. There is not a lot of middle ground. We read a local free paper and it had about 8 pages at the end with $1 million plus homes for sale. None of them looked like the ones below. I found the boards over the window interesting. At least half of the houses had them. I’m guessing it is protection from the wind. When people are home the front doors are wide open to let the air in. As we drove by we could see people through the doorways doing things inside. For the most part no lights were on inside. Probably too expensive. There were people walking to the local R/O water faucets to fill containers to talk home.
The Exhumas had an abundance of junk boat trailers. I can understand that. Someone gets a new boat and it gets shipped in on a trailer. Then what do you do with the trailer one you put the boat in the water? The islands are so small you aren’t going to pull it around. Here in the Abacos there is an abundance or junked cars kinda like in the poorer areas in the southern USA, like Arkansas.
We stopped at a little restaurant The Bae on the west side of Great Abaco. The view was pretty. (We don’t know the people in the picture.) 26°33’45.2″N 77°08’15.8″W 26.562546, -77.137708 The view was pretty. (We don’t know the people in the picture.)
The prediction was for wind under
10 knots and 3 feet 7 second swells. Not bad for this water and this time of
the year. Indubitably do-able. Neptune was looking out for us.
Along the Way
Our Providence North East Channel passage was across massive undulating mounds of water. Giant rolls of 3 to 5 foot swells. Some of the swell tops were 15+ feet across. Then we were sweeping down into equally massive gullies. It felt like riding on giant a merry-go-round.
With the weather in our favor we cut straight across the open water to Marsh Harbor rather than hitting the south east tip of Great Abaco and bouncing along the shoreline to anchor at Little Harbor as planned. Not having a functioning dingy motor also played into the decision. It’s boring to anchor and not have a dingy.
“I got one!!!!!! I got one!!!!!!” it
was game on for Dale. Mary slammed the engines into neutral. The fish was jumping. The fish was running. The
fish was beautiful.
Guess what we had for supper.
Working our way to Marsh Harbour
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
March 25, 2019 Monday Papa Docks, Spanish Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera to Egg Island, Eleuthera 9.8 nautical miles.
25°29’44.2″N 76°53’07.7″W 25.495611, -76.885461 Elevation: 0 ft
Along the Way
Ready, set and tomorrow Go to the Abacos. Au revoir, sayōnara, auf wiedersehen, adieu, adios to Spanish Wells and relocated to Egg Island for our ~60 mile jump to the Abacos tomorrow.
Today we are anchored just off a small sand beach on the west side of Egg Island that is at the tip of Eleutheras north west archipelago. According to Walter (see Full Worm Moon March 20, 2019) and some other historians, the is where Columbus first landed in the New World. Not San Salvador. I am certain our anchor is dropped in the same place the Santa María’s anchor was dropped (but we have better anchor, a Rocna Vulcan anchor). I can also see places where the La Niña and the La Pinta must also have dropped anchor.
The Santa María was probably a medium-sized, about 49 to 59 ft (15 to 18 meters) long on deck. Not much larger than Yes Dear.
Quite likely after anchoring Columbus called his coxswain and asked him make him a Bahama Mama drink and to drop his cock. (Well, maybe the Bahama Mama drink isn’t true. It could have been a Goombay Smash.)
Egg Island is the quintessential Bahama cay with a small beach, ragged rocks and mangrove lake center. Mary summoned her coxswain to go ashore.
Mangove creek stuff.
The spiny sea urchin reminded me of sputnik ornaments Dale’s mom had on her Christmas tree. Anita’s sputniks were white and glistened. They were beautiful.
And then there was the dingy ride back to Yes Dear. I neglected to mention the dingy motor died on the way to Egg Island’s beach. Mary waded it in through chest deep water while Dale tried to get the motor started. It’s probably a fuel filter issue. We weren’t over concerned because we had oars.
The water held other amazing creatures. Reef sharks. Dale got to push the dingy out this time. (Mary at least let him wait until it looked like the shark had moved on.
The evening ended with 2 for 1 fishing. Dale caught about a 2.5 to 3 foot barracuda. A second barracuda followed the caught barracuda up to the boat just to see what was going on.
I thought I’d seen all the the shades of blue the Bahamas waters could offer. Wrong. New shades of blue.
PS. We saw the best green flash yet tonight.
By tradition Spanish ships were named after saints and usually given nicknames. The Santa María’s original name was La Gallega. La Niña’s actual name was the Santa Clara and the Pinta’s real name has been lost to posterity.
Coxswain: a boy servant (swain) in
charge of a small cock. This cock was for the captain’s use only. The cock was
a small boat used to transport the captain to and from the ship. Thus, the cock was a vessel used to deliver
seamen to fertile shores. (I didn’t make this stuff up).
This term has its origins all the way back in
the 15th century. It has since been replaced with “helmsman”; “helmsman” can
also refer to the person currently in charge of controlling the actual ship
itself and not just the small cock.
March 22, 2019 Friday Papa Docks, Spanish
Wells, St. George’s Cay, Eleuthera 0
25°32’34.7″N 76°45’38.2″W 25.542958, -76.760596 Elevation: 0 ft
Mary loves it here!
Along the Way
We were at the Government Dock at 9:30am with bikes for today’s adventure on Eleuthera Island. For $20 ($10 each) we both had round trip tickets.
There must have been 20+ cars parked at Gene’s Bay dock landing. The only car rental on north Eleuthera Island is several miles a way at the airport. If you want to rent a car you can arrange it by credit card and they will leave a car for you at the Gene’s Bay dock with the keys in it. Likewise when you return it, just park it and leave the keys in it. There is virtually no car theft in Eleuthera. If you steal one, where are you going to go?
Taking our lives in our hands we were off on our bikes to look for the Sapphire Blue Hole and Preachers Cave.
Then on to Preachers Cave. In 1648 William Sayle and, a group of Christians seeking religious freedom from Bermuda, were shipwrecked off the Devil’s Back Bone reef and took refuge at Preacher’s Cave after coming ashore. The island’s first religious services were held here and for about 100 years afterwards, earning the cave its name. A rock in the back of the cave was used as the alter.
The Atlantic and Devils Back Bone was a short walk.
Then around Long Point in the east came a pilot boat its customer through Devils Backbone. The safe passage line is surprisingly close to shore through this section. The charts minimally recommend you hire a local pilot the first time you navigate these waters. The sand shoals are rearranged every time there is a storm. Dangerous waters and they too are taking it on the beam. Yes Dear will not be doing this either.
The morning was still young
so we ventured on to Long Point.
Returning to Spanish Wells
And then there was laundry to do. There are no public laundromats in Spanish Wells. The woman who live is the house in front of the dock will let people use her washing machine for $4 a load. No dryer. So we hung things out to dry. With beautiful weather like this clothes and towels were dry in under 2 hours.
Mary loves it here!
The conversion rate for Bahamian money to USD money is 1:1. The Bahamian and the USD money can be used interchangeably as legal tender. One thing we have noticed is that if you pay in USD the merchants try to provide your change in USD.