From “Paradise” back to the States

May 13, 2015

We had a few “Night to Remember” moments crossing back to the U.S. on Monday and Tuesday but are now snug and secure in our old slip at the Loggerhead Marina in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The long delay in Sylestial Star and Carolina Moon departing for the states from Leeward Marina on Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas was primarily a function of the development and passage of the pre-season Tropical Storm, “Ana”. Once it slowly moved into the Carolinas, a “weather window” opened and boats began leaving Leeward Marina to begin their homeward journeys, to the Fort Pierce Inlet, Brunswick, Georgia, Fernandina Beach, Charleston, or, in our case, the Lake Worth Inlet in Florida.

Tom and Mike are still looking for

Black Sound – Tom and Mike are still looking for “the girls”.

After our departure from the Leeward Marina, we headed northwest and dropped the hook overnight at Powell Cay and then Great Sale Cay on our second night out.  The next morning we departed our anchorage at 9 am and began our long last leg back to the states. As we headed west from Great Sale Cay, the whitecaps on the shallow Little Bahama Bank proved to be an early indicator of what we might expect when we reached the ocean for our overnight crossing.

Sylestial Star at anchor

Sylestial Star at anchor

Deploying our Wind Scoop while at anchor near Powell Cay

Deploying our Wind Scoop while at anchor near Powell Cay

Sylestial Star beginning its westward run on Little Bahama Bank

Sylestial Star beginning its westward run on Little Bahama Bank

A forecast southeast wind increased at 5:30 pm, almost as soon as we completed our 8 1/2 hour run over the Bank and through the reef just south of “Memory Rock” and then onto the ocean. Ten to twelve knots now became fifteen to eighteen knots with gusts blowing to twenty four.

Sailing west towards the ocean

Sailing west towards the ocean

This “weather window”, which we had waited almost 2 weeks for, did provide us with the opening we needed to return to the states. It did, however, nessesitate a rather sloopy ocean run throughout the night with 3′ or more waves running against our port stern quarter from the southeast. With a wave period of only 4 seconds, Sylestial Star was constantly being twisted and turned as we(or our autopilot) maneuvered unevenly up, over and down swells and occasional cresting waves. The masthead light of Carolina Moon, with Mike and Bejay aboard, swayed in the darkness 1/2 to 1 mile away as they accompanied Sylestial Star on our return voyage.

Motor Sailing west on Little Bahama Bank

Motorsailing west on Little Bahama Bank

Earlier, once we passed through the reef and onto the ocean, we had turned south to compensate for the effect of the strong northbound Gulf Stream current and allow us to better angle our passage northwest to our destination, the Lake Worth Inlet. This resulted in wind and waves more on our port beam for several hours until we turned northwest, bringing the weather against our port stern quarter for the rest of the passage. We deployed our headsail throughout the night in an effort to counteract the sloppiness and stabilize the boat.

Throughout the evening we monitored the track of multiple storm systems moving across the nightime sky from the southeast. Ugly clouds, rain and lots of lightning provided us with quite a spectacle, but none of the storms passed close, so our passage was a dry one, at least as far as the effects of rainwater were concerned. Lightning over a nightime ocean has always seemed somewhat errie when experienced from a sailboat.

We eventually settled into a routine with the sea conditions during the night, interrupted occasionally by the effect of a cresting wave on our port stern quarter.  The waves continued rolling under us with a frequency of 4 seconds. As we expected, the sea became sloppier the closer we came to the shallower waters off the U.S. east coast. That’s when the real fun began!

The chart shows our Great Sale Cay anchorage, Memory Rock, our departure point over the reef and our Lake Worth Inlet destination

The chart shows our Great Sale Cay anchorage, Memory Rock(our departure point over the reef) and our Lake Worth Inlet destination

It is a real challenge to enter an inlet against an ebb current of around 2 knots with ocean waves of 3′ or more rushing toward shore in opposition. So, the original plan was to enter the inlet at the break of dawn, as long as possible prior to the appearance of the maximum ebb current flowing out to sea, thereby allowing for a smoother entrance.

The untimely arrival of an incoming cruise ship in the pre-dawn darkness, however, caused a significant delay in our entrance run.  And so we circled offshore, riding up and over cresting waves in the darkness as we awaited the ship’s arrival. At one point, we saw Carolina Moon dissapear from view after taking a direct broadside hit on a wave crest as we waited in the turbulent waters outside the inlet.

The cruise ship, “Grand Celebration” eventually informed Sylestial Star and Carolina Moon that it was going to wait outside the inlet for the arrival of a Harbor Pilot who would bring the ship into port.  Rather than continuing to wait any longer, we decided to run the inlet now that dawn provided us with better visuals and to avoid entering later at maximum ebb current. We began our run as the pilot boat pounded its way by on its way to the cruise ship.

Carolina Moon, with more local knowledge, went first. The rapid exit of a large fishing boat knocked her sideways in the witches brew of confused water that passed for the inlet.  She recovered and we both hugged the port side jetty as close as we dared in order to minimize the effect of the turbulence.  Amazingly, the cruise ship began bearing down on us as we were half way thru the inlet. At full throttle, we eventually slid into calmer water ahead of her, passed Peanut Island and turned north on the ICW, arriving at our slip in Loggerhead, Palm Beach Gardens, around 9am. A very interesting 24 hours!

We bring back with us many special memories from our 6 week adventure in the Bahamas.  Beautiful waters and islands, getting to know the character and history of the people(when there were any) on each island.  Seeing old friends and making new ones and sharing adventures with them and our fellow travelers, Mike and Bejay on Carolina Moon.

Stark Bahamian Beauty

Stark Bahamian Beauty

So what will our next chapter be?

Stay “Posted”.

Waiting Out The Weather In Green Turtle Cay

May 8, 2015

Roosters crow at sunrise and people blow on conch shells at sunset.  These 2 phenomena bracket each day while we continued our wait at Leeward Marina for the offshore weather to clear.

But now our time at the Leeward Marina on Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay is quickly coming to an end. The forecast is favorable for our departure in 2 days. A potential pre-season Tropical Storm, with its Gale Force winds, has moved further north and boats are beginning to depart for their journeys back to the states.

So we will leave here on the high tide of Saturday May 9 and begin our 2+ day transit( anchoring twice overnight) of the Little Bahama Bank followed by an overnight passage on the Atlantic to Florida.  We will have no internet access after we leave here, so we need a well defined weather window good for when we begin our ocean crossing on Monday.

While here we enjoyed the “Green Turtle Heritage Festival”, held annually in early May.  The festival is a celebration of the cultures that came and settled Green Turtle, in particular American Loyalists, slaves and freed blacks.

At the

At the “Green Turtle Heritage Festival”

The

The “Royal Bahamian Police Marching Band”

Local girls of all ages participate in the

Local girls of all ages participate in the “Maypole Dance”

We continued to take periodic dinghy rides across Black Sound followed by a short walk into “New Plymouth”, primarily to partake of the delicious pastries at the MacIntosh Bakery.  Making new cruising friends, including some with Rock Hall/Spring Cove connections( Hayden and Radeen introduced Sylvia, Tom, Mike and Bejay to cruising friends from 2 other “Island Packets”), enjoying nightly sunsets, walking on the beach, playing “Mexican Train Dominoes”, reading and trying to stay cool took up most days.

On the beautiful, and usually deserted, beaches of Green Turtle Cay

On the beautiful, and usually deserted, beaches of Green Turtle Cay

At Leeward Marina

At Leeward Marina

This nightly scene brought out the island's Conch players

This nightly scene brought out the island’s Conch players

Eddie, the Leeward Marina dock-master, plays a great conch and films the sunsets

Eddie, the Leeward Marina dock-master, plays a great conch and films the sunsets

Enjoying a delicious meal at

Enjoying a delicious meal at “Harvey’s” in New Plymouth, L to R, Mike, Sylvia, Hayden, Eric, Craig, Sharon, Pat, Radeen, Tom and Bejay

“Harvey’s” outdoors

The

The “Public” Dock – New Plymouth

Did we say colorful buildings?

Did we say colorful buildings?

This is a tree stump?

This is a tree stump?

New Plymouth Harbour with developing whitecaps

New Plymouth Harbour with developing whitecaps

Hayden and Radeen enjoy a dip in the Leeward Marina pool.

Hayden and Radeen enjoy a dip in the Leeward Marina pool.

New Plymouth Harbour with a 3' tidal difference

New Plymouth Harbour with a 3′ tidal difference

Revisiting the founders Loyalist Sculpture Garden

Revisiting the founders Loyalist Sculpture Garden

Following our departure from Green Turtle Saturday morning, our “Float Plan” as of now is to spend Saturday night on the hook at Allan’s-Pensacola Cay and Sunday night at Great Sale Cay.  We will depart Great Sale around 10 am Monday for arrival at the Lake Worth Inlet in Florida at sunrise Tuesday.  From there we will head north to temporary dockage at Loggerhead Palm Beach Gardens Marina.

We’ll miss the sailing, the beauty of these waters/islands and the people here. We’ll miss our very different lifestyle aboard “Sylestial Star”.  No doubt we will need at least a few days to acclimate ourselves when we return to the states!

Through “The Whale” to Green Turtle

May 2, 2015

We very much enjoyed our time in Hopetown.  It is truly a jewel of the Abacos. But weather considerations have now required that we begin our passage northeast back through the Sea of Abaco and eventually position ourselves for a return to the United States.

The wind was moderate and modestly favorable for sailing when we left Hopetown. With the main sheet traveler pulled over and the jib cars all the way forward, we were able to enjoy a nice run at only 25 degrees off the wind.

Close hauled and heading northeast on the Sea of Abaco

Close hauled and heading northeast on the Sea of Abaco

The Admiral is at the Helm.

The Admiral is at the Helm.

According to our various weather sources including Mike’s long range Navy Forecast and the 6 day a week “Cruisers Net ” broadcast, there is some nasty weather on its way.  So our first necessary step was to move Sylestial Star out through the reef, into the Atlantic and back into the Sea of Abaco via the Whale Channel.  This we did the other day after dropping the hook overnight in Fishers Bay at Great Guana Cay.

Waves crashing on Whale Cay as we transit the channel

Waves crashing on Whale Cay as we transit the channel

Sylestial Star at anchor in Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay

Sylestial Star at anchor in Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay

Sunset over Fishers Bay

Sunset over Fishers Bay

Tom dove under the boat to check the status of things while we were at anchor in Fisher’s Bay at Great Guana.  Overall, it looks good.  Most of the Zinc remains intact, hull looks good and the keel looks OK except for the usual nasty rust spots covering about 15% of it.  Most, but not all, of the brown “mustache” on the waterline came off with a mild scrubbing.  The green grass covering the first 10′ of waterline on both sides, not so much.

The Admiral thinks the Captain has gone native!

The Admiral thinks the Captain has gone native!

With the off-shore weather beginning to deteriorate, we were fortunate to get 2 slips at the Leeward Marina in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay.  This is the last location where we will be able to obtain reliable weather forecasts before departing for Florida. From here it will be a 2 plus day run on Little Bahama Bank before we can begin our passage back across to Florida, so we need a good window.  Most other boaters are here for the same reason. So now, this little marina and it’s pleasant “Lizard” bar and grill will be our home until we see a consensus weather window sufficient for our crossing.

Green Turtle Cay - White Sound to the left and Black Sound and New Plymouth to the right.

Green Turtle Cay – White Sound to the left(NW)and Black Sound(SE)and New Plymouth to the right.

Sylestial Star in Leeward Marina on Green Turtle Cay

Sylestial Star in Leeward Marina on Green Turtle Cay

As one can see from the pictures, Leeward Marina is the antithesis of a large “all inclusive” resort and we love it here.  There are a few pretty rental cottages grouped around the bar and grill which overlooks the small marina( 28 slips).  The staff is very friendly and Eddie, the dockmaster(he is a spitting image of NBA star Tony Parker) runs the marina effortlessly.  As is the custom in the Bahamas, he blows on his Conch shell each sunset.  No one here can blow nearly as long as Eddie.

View from the outdoor bar and grill overlooking the

View from the outdoor bar and grill overlooking the “Girls”, Leeward Marina and Black Sound

Bar and Grill at Leeward Marina

Bar and Grill at Leeward Marina

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Directly across Black Sound( which, of course, we could only enter at high tide), is the peninsula on which the picturesque town of New Plymouth is located.  We dinghyed across to pick up some provisions from each of the 3 small grocery stores in town and to visit The Mcintosh Bakery for some pastries and it’s delicious Coconut Bread, which we enjoyed when we passed through here early last month.

New Plymouth Harbour near low tide

New Plymouth Harbour near low tide

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Curry’s – one of the 3 small groceries in New Plymouth

Vert's, an amazing place and builder

Vert’s, an amazing place and model boat builder

We can't seem to avoid the McIntosh Bakery

We can’t seem to stay away from the McIntosh Bakery

Playing an intensely competitive game of

Playing an intensely competitive game of “Mexican Train Dominoes”

For Mom & Dad

For Mom & Dad

Conditions offshore continue to deteriorate.  Chris Parker is tracking a developing low pressure system to our northeast that might make things worse.  We’ll just wait and watch for now.  And Read. And enjoy Green Turtle.  We are in no immediate hurry.

More From Hopetown

April 29, 2015

Thanks to Bejay, fellow traveler and photographer extraordinaire, here are a few more pictures from Hopetown.  She has captured the colorful Bahamian architecture quite well.

On the Harbour front

On the Harbour front

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Monument to the 1st Loyalist Landing on Elbow Cay

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The “Sugar Shack”, home to its legendary “Caramel Chocolicious” ice cream.

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Some homes have intricate “gingerbread”

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The

The “Guys” are looking for the “Girls”.

The

The “girls” are relaxing in the Coffee shop.

The Lighthouse from the bottom up

The Lighthouse from the bottom up

On the Atlantic side of

On the Atlantic side of “Elbow Cay”

“On Da Beach”

Hopetown, The “Jewel” of the Abacos

April 23, 2015

Arriving in Hopetown on Elbow Cay, from Marsh Harbour feels a bit like landing on a different planet.

And Sylestial Star has landed in this “Jewel” of a Cay.

With as much as a 3′ tidal difference, the timing of entering many Bahamian harbors is critical.  Along with Carolina Moon, we departed Marsh Harbour at 6:45 am for our crossing of the Sea of Abaco and arrival in Hopetown Harbour at high tide.

Preparing for an early departure from Marsh Harbour

Preparing for an early departure from Marsh Harbour

Bejay on Carolina Moon, pre-departure.

Bejay on Carolina Moon, pre-departure.

Mike is ready to go.

Mike is almost ready to go.

“Island Mon” on the way to Hopetown and Elbow Cay.

Hopetown is unlike any of the other areas we have visited since we arrived in the Bahamas. Its well protected harbor is full of mooring balls with no anchoring allowed.  The harbor is partly surrounded by a small but busy and picturesque town and overlooked by a well known lighthouse( purportedly one of only 3 kerosene lighthouses in the world).  And a golf cart tour of the island reveals it as very scenic, and inhabited by the 1% whose “winter” homes are tucked away behind the Cay’s rough vegetation and imported Palm trees. It seemed to us to be a smaller and very much Bahamian version of Nantucket.

Hopetown Harbour from the Lighthouse

Hopetown Harbour from the Lighthouse

Mike made a reservation for mooring balls for Carolina Moon and Sylestial Star from “Captain Jack”, who also runs a very popular harbourside restaurant here. He seems to be a rather long time fixture in these parts and at $20 a night( cash only) the price is right.

Another view of Hopetown Harbour from the Lighthouse - Can you spot Sylestial Star?

Another view of Hopetown Harbour from the Lighthouse – Can you spot Sylestial Star?

Arriving at "Captain Jack's" for another fine meal.

Arriving at “Captain Jack’s” for another fine meal.

Enjoying another meal at

Enjoying another meal ( one of many), at “Captain Jack’s” – Sylestial Star is behind Sylvia

image While here for 4 days, we were able to rent golf carts to drive to beautiful “Tahiti Beach” and otherwise tour the island, use the “public” pool at the upscale Hopetown Inn and Marina and tour the famous lighthouse.  We became addicted to a local ice cream flavor, “caramel  chocolicious”(it tastes even better than it sounds) and dinghyed over to “Captain Jack’s” on a regular basis for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The meals did not disappoint.

Mike and Bejay arrive at "Captain Jack's" for another breakfast

Mike and Bejay arrive at “Captain Jack’s” for another breakfast

Sylestial Star moored in Hopetown Harbour

Sylestial Star moored in Hopetown Harbour

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Atlantic Ocean Beach, Elbow Cay

Atlantic Ocean Beach, Elbow Cay

Plaque marking the

Plaque marking the “Loyalist” founding of Hopetown

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The founder arrived with her 4 sons.

Monument Garden for important Hopetown residents

Monument Garden for important Hopetown residents

Breadfruit Plant from Captain Bligh's second voyage

Breadfruit Plant from Captain Bligh’s second voyage. This one on HMS Providence.

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Low Tide on Tahiti Beach

High Tide on Tahiti Beach

Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay

Our mode of transportation for touring Elbow Cay

Tahiti Beach

Tahiti Beach

Weather on the Atlantic

“Weather” on the Atlantic

The Garden of the Beautiful

The Garden of the Beautiful

One of favorite Island Vistas on Elbow Cay

One of our favorite Island Vistas on Elbow Cay

Sylvia & Bejay

Sylvia & Bejay at the Elbow Cay “Coffee Shop”

The world of cruising sailors can sometimes seem awfully small.  Under the category of “What are the chances?” we had 3 serendipitous encounters in the confines of Hopetown Harbour.

Our friends from Rock Hall, Gary and Kathy, who we had sailed with 2 years ago to the Florida Keys, had long tried, unsuccessfully, to introduce us to their Rock Hall buddies, Hayden and Radeen, who sail “Island Spirit”.  So what are the chances that “Island Spirit” with Hayden and Radeen aboard, would enter Hopetown Harbour, in the Bahamas, and pick up the mooring ball ahead of us?  They did.  And we dinghyed over and finally met them.

“Island Spirit” from Rock Hall

And then, on a dinghy ride to the Hopetown Inn and Marina for a swim, we passed “Rally Point” from  Masons Island.  Geez!  Could it be Tom Lane, past Master of the Corinthians during my tenure on its Afterguard? Indeed it was and so we caught up on things with Tom.  He is the first and only other Corinthian that we have encountered since crossing from Florida.

Lastly, we managed a “shout out” to “Neverland”, formerly from our marina, Spring Cove, in Rock Hall. Five years ago, we had given the owners some ideas on several places to spend time as they embarked on their first cruise to New England.

The Admiral, Captain and their dinghy

The Admiral and Captain explore Hopetown Harbour.

Sylestial Star at rest in Hopetown Harbour

Sylestial Star at rest in Hopetown Harbour

Hopetown Harbour and Lighthouse

Hopetown Harbour and Lighthouse

Mike returns through the hatch on top of the Hopetown Lighthouse

Mike returns through the hatch on top of the Hopetown Lighthouse

On top of the Hopetown Lighthouse

On top of the Hopetown Lighthouse

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“Joyriding” Hopetown Harbour in our dinghy

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Another Lighthouse vista – the Harbour in the foreground, Atlantic Ocean in the background.

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Hopetown Harbour, Sylestial Star, Elbow Cay and the North Atlantic

Marsh Harbour

April 18, 2015

We entered Marsh Harbour rather inauspiciously – following behind a garbage scow that was entering at the same time.  There must be some pithy comment that covers this sort of welcome!

Sylestial Star followed by a garbage scow - picture from the stern of Carolina Moon

Sylestial Star followed by a garbage scow – picture from the stern of Carolina Moon

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Entering Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour is not quite what we expected.  Fortunately, Bejay had forewarned us that, despite it being the  center of things in the Abaco island chain of the Bahamas, there is no real town per se. Instead, there is a pretty good size protected harbor supporting quite a few anchored vessels in its basin., many apparently there for the season. The harbor is lined with 3 medium size marinas and one working boatyard. Behind the marinas there is a 2 lane road ringing the harbor and continuing on past some small strip center stores, a few shops and restaurants, several hardware stores and Maxwell’s, the only real supermarket in the Abacos.  Oh, and one very small but heck of a bakery.  In fact, “Da Bes Yet” bakery.

With the best freshly baked cinnamon rolls and bread around

With the best freshly baked cinnamon rolls and bread around

Of course, we had to try some of their goodies, especially the frosted cinnamon rolls.  Geez, they may have been the best we ever had!  – Yummy!  We then ordered several loves of bread for later pick-up from Jay, the cashier, including the Bahamian specialty of delicious Coconut bread.  We met the smiling baker, who is Jay’s mother-in-law, on a return pastry run.  She is “retired” but continues to bake because she loves doing it.  We inquired about them opening a franchise outside Philadelphia so as to satisfy our addiction. One can only hope!

The "Hunter-Gattherers" return "home".

The “Hunter-Gatherers” return “home”.

Sylvia and Bejay returning from a provisioning run

Sylvia and Bejay returning from a provisioning run

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Are Mike and Tom lost?

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373 slip neighbors in Marsh Harbour

With a population of around 5,000, Marsh Harbour is, by far, the largest “town” in the Abaco chain of islands.  Walking the Harbour area, the impression is of fewer residents and certainly no “town” in the normal sense  of the word. The physical infrastructure is mostly 3rd world. By and large, the people seem quite happy.

Sylestial Star and Carolina Moon, cockpit to cockpit

Sylestial Star and Carolina Moon, cockpit to cockpit

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Sunset from our dock in Marsh Harbour

“Sunsail” and “Moorings” charter 40 monohulls and catamarans out of the “Conch Inn and Marina, which is where we tied up. Needless to say, it is a very active marina with lots of comings and goings.  The young Bahamians that work here scramble on and off the boats as if they were born into it, which maybe they were.imageimage We took advantage of our time here to do some work on the boat – oil and filter changes – and to troubleshoot some persistent issues including reconciling some seemingly inconsistent data we were receiving from our solar controller and our Xantrex Link Pro battery monitor. Thanks in large part to Mike’s patient instruction, we now have a better understanding of these 2 measurements.  Our refrigeration unit has not failed, but it has been a source of some angst as temperatures have varied widely and problematically requiring the attention of the crew.

Also,  there was the little matter of the Captain breaking the port filler cap dipstick when changing the gear oil.  Despite contacting every boat supply and boatyard around Marsh Harbour and obtaining the help of a member of the “Moorings” staff in the search for a replacement part, it appears that we would need to request the part from the states.  That is clearly a non-starter.  So Sylvia, Tom and Mike jury rigged a replacement with a part from a hardware store.

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Can you guess what this is?

Can you guess what this ominous scene is?

Besides continuing to enjoy the Bahamian sunsets, we sampled most of the small restaurants(typically outdoor bar and grills) on the harbor front.  Most were OK but we eventually became regulars( breakfast, lunch and dinners) at “Jakes” , a rather plain strip center restaurant geared more toward the locals, and serving predictable quality food at reasonable prices.

At "Jakes"

At “Jakes”

Now that we appear to have regained some of our landlubber footing, it is time to move on. Next port of call is “Hopetown” on the other side of the Sea of Abaco.  Mike calls it “the Jewel of the Abacos”

Transiting “The Whale”

April 13, 2015

The passage from Green Turtle Cay to Fisher’s Bay on Great Guana Cay is not a long one, only 15 nautical miles.  But it can be tricky as one leaves the Sea of Abaco through the Whale Island Channel, crosses the reef into the Atlantic Ocean and then recrosses the reef further south back into the Sea of Abaco.

Our passage through the reef to Guyna Cay - Presented depths are in meters.

Our passage through the reef to Guyna Cay – Presented depths are in meters.

Standard procedure is is to wait for a favorable weather report, which includes listening each morning on VHF channel 68, otherwise known as “Cruisers Net”, for direct reports from other cruisers and then to depart, and, upon approaching the inlet, broadcast an update request to other boats that have just transited the area. Our planning and timing was good as waves were only about 1′ to 2′, winds 10 to 17kts from the southeast and our crossing occurred during slack tide.

Sylestial Star approaching "Whale Channel"

Sylestial Star approaching “Whale Channel”

Passing Whale Island on the Atlantic side

Passing Whale Island on the Atlantic side

Along with “Carolina Moon”, we dropped anchor in Fishers Bay off “Great Guana Cay” at 1pm.  We dropped our hook well off a beach we would use for landing our dinghys.  Charts showed some rocks ahead of us so we choose to be safe rather than sorry and anchor further out. During our 4 nights at anchor here we saw a sailboat try to move into that area, only to run up on said rocks.  It took about 10 “tug” dinghys and a dive boat to pull it off.

Sylestial Star dropping anchor in Fishers Bay.  The Captain is on the bow.  The Admiral is moving forward to see what the heck is taking so long.

Sylestial Star dropping anchor in Fishers Bay. The Captain is on the bow. The Admiral is moving forward to see what the heck is taking so long.

Great Guana Cay is well known for 3 reasons.  First, for “Nippers” beach front bar, located on a small bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Second, for the seemingly endless beautiful beach below “Nippers” on the Atlantic side.  And third, for “Grabbers Bar and Grill”, located on the beach on the Sea of Abaco side of the island.

“Nippers” is reached after walking a dirt trail across the island and turning left at an old broken down and rusted tractor.  It is famous for its “stiff” drinks.  We can attest to the accuracy of that statement!  The beach and adjacent reef is as beautiful as advertised.  And “Grabbers”?  Let’s just say that after an interminable (and normal for the Bahamas) wait for our food, the black flies seemed to enjoy the conch more than we did.

Approaching "Nippers" on Great Guana Island

Approaching “Nippers” on Great Guana Cay

"Nippers" overlooks the Atlantic Beach

“Nippers” overlooks the Atlantic Beach

Sylvia and Tom walk the beach on "Great Guyna Cay"

Sylvia and Tom walk the beach on “Great Guana Cay”

View from "Grabbers" out into the anchorage at "Great Guyna Cay"

View from “Grabbers” out into the anchorage at “Great Guana Cay”. Our dinghys are tied to a tree on the beach to the right.

Some overcast skies and rain while we were at anchor for 4 nights at “Great Guana Cay” resulted in reduced solar panel production and a needed running of the engine to charge the batteries.  It looks like our new panels will keep us sufficiently charged for up to 3 nights at anchor without the need for an engine recharge.  After that, we begin approaching a 50% discharge on our house bank of 2 – 200 amp AGM batteries.  An LED  anchor light and all LED cabin reading lights have reduced our consumption.  That, and adjusting a set screw on our newly installed fresh water pump (thereby reducing its run time), have also contributed to our improvement. But, it appears from our revised consumption chart that we will still need to run our engine from time to time while on the hook.

Great Guana Cay, like all others to date, is simply beautiful.  The water is pleasing to the eye, as the pictures will attest.  The sky is almost always blue, a fresh breeze blows through most anchorages (at least so far), and, unlike some other islands and areas further south (e.g. Nassau), are either uninhabited or sparsely populated.  The temperature has been in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s with increasing humidity.  Can you say “Picture Postcard”?

Where does the sea end and the sky begin?

Where does the sea end and the sky begin?

Marsh Harbour, on the other side of the Sea of Abaco, is our next destination.