Abacos
Lynyard Cay - Wed May 18 

So much for waiting for the forecast.  Yucky weather.  South at 10 turned out to be north at 15 or south at 20, with 3 foot rollers on the beam.  That was before we ran into the thunder and lightning.  And the cruise was only 60 miles!  About 45 minutes away, we heard a "beep" and discovered we had internet service!  Got all our emails.  We finally pulled in though Little Harbor cut around 4 and anchored off Lynyard Cay for the night.  No internet! Little Harbor has a 3.5 foot entrance channel and low tide - and it was low tide, so we'll wait for tomorrow.

 

Little Harbour - Thursday May 19

Thursday - High tide was around 10:20, so hauled anchor at 9:30 and pulled into the channel with at least 7 feet under us.  AND - we picked up the mooring on the first try!  It's easier if I steer from above,  Much better visibility.

 

We heard on CruiserNet that the Johnson Foundry was having a "pour" today, so we headed on over. 

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Then, of course, we headed over to the Gallery and bought a small bronze sculpture of a shark mounted on driftwood.  Pete's Pub for lunch.  Really great rare tuna sandwich.  Explored the beach a little and headed back to the boat for R&R.  Then, Pete's Pub again for a "blaster" at happy hour.

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Hopetown - Friday & Saturday May 20 & 21
Friday - We waited until almost high tide and headed out the entrance channel, aiming for Hopetown.  The harbor there is filled with mooring balls ($20 a night) and we picked up a "double blue" from Hopetown Marina which would hold a 50 foot boat - 1st try again!  Hopetown is one of our favorite ports.  As soon as we hit shore we went to Sugar Shack for ice cream cones and then walked through the town.  At least, Nancy, Peter and I walked while Barry hung out at Cap't Jacks with a diet Coke.  A boat at the dock was selling fish and conch salad and we bought the best conch salad I've ever had for $10 a pound.  I think he used my recipe! 

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Saturday - The world is ending tonight, so we have to make the most of the day.  We walked through Harbor Lodge to the beach and looked for good stuff.  I spotted a large lump in the sand and found a helmet conch about 8" long!  We called Abaco Inn on Channel 16 and they sent a van to bring us to lunch, about a 10 minute ride.  What a great honeymoon spot.  Lovely patio dining with super food in beautiful surroundings.  We ate conch patties and plantains while watching a couple of surfers at the beach.  Abaco Inn is in White Sound, which is just too shallow for us to try to bring the big boat in.  There's a range set up to guide the boats - perfect photo op.

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After lunch, we went back and took the dinghy over to the Harbor View Grocery dock, so we could go to Iggy Biggy's and buy a Barefoot Man CD.  Then to Albury's Seafood Market (a shed in his back yard) to pick up a pound of conch so I can make my OWN conch salad.  Finally, a stop at the grocery for some Irish cheese and herb butter.  We made plans with our buddy boats and Barefootin' to meet at 5:30 at Cap'n Jacks to wait for the end of the world.  At 6:03 a cheer went up.  We were still there!  One of the women wasn't ready to celebrate just yet - in case the end was on "Bahama time."  After several drinks and a dozen conch fritters, we went back to the boat and  just had a cup of conch salad for dinner.

Man O War Cay - Sunday & Monday May 22 & 23
Sunday - Since we couldn't leave until around noon to get a high tide, Barry and I went to Harbor Lodge for their special Sunday brunch.  Eggs Benedict or Omelets with Mimosas included.  We invited another couple, Sarah and Chris, who we had seen at Abaco Inn yesterday, to join us for lunch. The water color from the patio was just calling for a landscape quilt.

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At noon we left for Man O War, where we anchored and just spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing on the boat.  Man O War is a dry island and EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday.  We had cocktails on Sea Angel.  They are planning to leave tomorrow for Guana and then start heading home. 

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I don't want to jinx anything, but Barry seems to have figured out the foibles of the outboard engine!

Monday - We dinked to town and found Lola, of the famous cinnamon buns (the size of a dinner plate.) I stopped at the shop with all the Androsia fabric and picked up a package of 32 canvas batik squares in 8 different colors to make a patchwork tote bag, and then I went back and bought a quarter yard of canvas to make straps.  I can line it with the lighter weight fabric I purchased in 2008.  Kindred Spirits called us on the radio:  they couldn't start their outboard, so we became a taxi and took them into town.  We went over to Amacola, Bob and Suzy Parker's trawler, which was anchored in the southeast part of the harbor, and spent some time getting to know them while Laura and Bill explored the town. 

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With all the boat-building experience on Man-O-War, there is no one to fix Kindred Spirit's Honda outboard, so they decided to leave mid-afternoon and head for Marsh Harbor, where there is a Honda dealer.  Sea Angel left at the same time for Guana.  So there we were, alone for the first time since leaving Palm Coast.

Marsh Harbor - Tuesday - Thursday May 24 to 26

Tuesday - We got an email from Kindred Spirit.  They had anchored in Marsh Harbor and then couldn't get the generator to stay on, so they're in Marsh Harbor Marina, next to the Jib Room.  We dinked to the beach, but as we thought, Nancy had cleaned out all the shells, so we returned to Iffin to pull anchor.  By 11 we were anchored in Marsh Harbor, but too close to a sailboat.  At noon we re-anchored.  Then, a half hour later, that sailboat and the one on the other side of us left, so we are all alone, anchored off Snappa's Restaurant. 

We visited Bill and Laura, who were waiting for the outboard guru, and signed up for the Jib Room rib night tomorrow.   Then we checked out Skaggs Seafood (yes, they have the 5 lb boxes of conch) and the Liquor store.  As we remembered, prices are low here.  Nassau Royale is $15 and Bacardi Gold is $9 a liter.  We'll stock up before we leave.  I still have some coconut and banana rum from our last trip, so mango sounds like a good choice.

Wednesday - Work day today.  We headed into town in the morning with two big bags of laundry.  We have a washer/dryer on board, but water is at a premium, and the amount we have would fill 3 of our loads at 20 gallons a load.  Cheaper and easier to go to the laundromat.  After starting the two machines, I left Barry with a book and a water bottle and headed for the "new" Maxwells grocery.  Big, clean, with a huge selection.  Prices are still higher than the US (think Edy's half gallon for $12), but they have almost everything.  I bought a selection of canned juice (tamarind, papaya, coconut-pineapple), fresh vegetables, containers of sliced papaya and mango, and for treat - Doritos.  An hour later, the laundry was finished and shopping done.

Tonight was Rib Night at the Jib Room.  Barbequed ribs and sides with a guy playing the saw.

Thursday - We walked to Mermaid Reef, behind the Jib Room, to snorkle.  At least the others snorkeled.  I got there and had forgotten my life jacket, so I just beachcombed.  There were lots of fish in the reef.  Barry said it was the best snorkeling he'd done here, but couldn't compare to Honduras. 

In the afternoon we went to Bristol Liquors to stock up, but their internet was down and they couldn't use their cash register.  Such is life in the Bahamas.  We'll return tomorrow morning.  Meanwhile, we walked back to Maxwell's and picked up more mango.  The supply boat had come in with lots more fresh goodies, like pea pods and radishes. 

Laura and Bill had met Cathy and John on Catharine E, a Krogen 42, at the marina, so we had everyone over to Iffin for cocktails and appetizers. 

 

Treasure Cay - Friday and Saturday May 27 and 28
Friday - First, a quick stop back at Bristol for rum and then a run to Skaggs Market for 20 pounds of conch (10 for me and 10 for Lynn Gallagher) and some grouper.  Then we pulled anchor and headed to Treasure Cay, dragging the dingy behind us.

Treasure Cay was one of our favorite places in 2008 and it still is.  It's a small resort on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  It's on a bay in Great Abaco.  After anchoring, you can pay $10 a day for access to the dinghy dock, a great pool, clean showers, a restaurant, a beach bar and the beach.  AND there's a pretty good grocery store and a bakery.  We just sat around the pool and walked around little, saving the beach for low tide tomorrow.

Saturday - Headed for the beach at 10:30.  The walk to the sand flats at the end is around a mile, past lots of pastel vacation villas.  Good place for the family to come!  The airport is close by, with flights to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and Marsh Harbor is not that far down the island.  This is the sand dollar beach, although there weren't that many this time.  Lots of tiny ones.  I picked up a bunch of shells to use in beach landscape quilts.  AND I found a starfish!  While shelling, it looked like we were about to be hit by an afternoon squall, but it passed over.  Barry sat on a towel on the beach near the beach bar, read and slept.

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Then the four of us got in the crystal clear water with sugar sand below us (and our noodles) and talked until we turned into prunes.

Bill and Laura decided to leave for Great Guana to try for a mooring ball in Settlement Harbor and we stayed to get conch pizza in the restaurant.  In the morning, we found a huge fish in or dinghy (see below).

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Great Guana - Sunday May 29
Headed for Nippers round 8:30.  We checked out Settlement Harbor but the moorings looked too close together to make us happy and anchoring didn't work.  Either too shallow or we were in the channel for the marina.  So we headed out and around the point to Fishers Bay.  Anchoring was supposed to be tricky and sure enough, we couldn't get the anchor to hold in the grass.  We finally gave us and went for a mooring ball.  Should have just reanchored.  The wind was 14 or 15 and I couldn't keep the boat close enough to the mooring ball once Barry had grabbed it.  That happened several times.  Lots of swearing, especially when Barry got his finger caught trying to pull the mooring line through around the stanchion.  Lots of "f" words as in "you broke my f-ing finger."  Finally, another boat sent their dinghy over and helped us with the mooring line.  After an hour with lots of ice, Barry started speaking to me again.  I HAD been using the shifters AND the bow thruster! 

We decided it wasn't broken, just bruised and cut, and we headed over to Nippers.  I had put a knuckle bandage and antiseptic cream on the horrible wound, and Laura (a nurse) talked Barry into using the finger splint and adhesive tape I happened to have in my fanny pack.  A Nipper's rum punch and some ahi tuna finished fixing up the finger.  Nippers was crowded, although not anywhere like at the Barefoot Man concert. 

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Near 2 pm, we left to walk over to Grabbers, where they had live music instead of canned.  Stone was playing, and we sat around or in the pool for 3 or 4 hours, sipping Grabber's and people watching.  Lots of people  watching.  Laura and I invented a charity called "Boobs for Barry" and had a good time pointing out the sights.  We got our payback when "Fabio" showed up in his Speedo. 

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Treasure Cay - Monday May 30
Monday - As expected, the winds picked up and the forecast this week is not great.  Sunny, clear, warm, but winds around NE 20.  To get to Greet Turtle Cay we must go out Loggerhead Channel into the Atlantic and then after around 4 miles, back through the Whale Channel.  The Whale, a narrow cut, is the trickiest part of the Abacos.  A northeast wind, especially against an outgoing tide, can result in uncomfortable and very dangerous waves.  Even a "rage" which no one in their right mind would try.  Each morning, the Cruisers Net on VHF 68 gives the conditions of the Whale.  Today, no one had a report, but North Mon-O-War, the next cut south, had 2 to 3 foot swells with a 1 to 2 foot chop.  Troy at Dive Guana, who controlled our mooring ball, said he didn't want us to stay on it with the forecast winds, so combined with everything else, we decided to spend the week back at Treasure Cay.