Thursday, 16 January 2014

January 12, 2014

Our first full day at Bluff House Marina in Green Turtle Cay started out sunny and warm.  We met some of the people that helped us get tied up, in the dark the night before.  One couple looked very familiar and when we talked to them we realized that we had met in Fernandina Beach during Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012.  In the afternoon we hiked to the ocean beach, which looked beautiful (picture postcard)  but the waves were big and we were worried about undertow, so we didn’t go in.  Later in the evening the front that was forecasted, arrived, the winds picked up, the temperature went down and the rain started.  This kept us tied to the dock and limited as to what we were able to see and do for three days.

Thursday, the winds started to ease and change direction and we were finally able to dinghy into the village of New Plymouth.  We explored the shops and tried to buy some provisions.  The prices are very high for some items such as paper towels, up to $6.00 for a single roll, but other items such as  fresh baked bread is cheaper than the grocery store brands.  The supply ship comes in only once a week and we were trying to shop the day before it arrived, so we weren’t very successful.  The trip to town was fun, exploring the small pastel coloured shops, talking to the people, and dealing with the laid back attitudes.  

By Friday morning everyone was talking about moving farther south.  There is one obstacle between us and the southern Cays of the Abacos and it is the Whale Channel.  The water between Great Abaco Island and the Cays have silted in, so that deep draft vessels have to go out in the Atlantic through the Whale Cut and then come in south of the sandbar.  If the winds are from the wrong direction, this channel is susceptible to a rage sea condition (breaking waves all the way across).  We decided to anchor off New Plymouth Friday night and go have a look at the Whale Cay Channel early Saturday morning.  We had a report from another boater before we left that it was being well behaved, with only 3 to 5 foot swells, and no breaking waves, so we decided to go.  The winds were only about 5 knots when we left and the trip through the Cut was uneventful. But by the time we reached the southern edge of the sandbar, the winds were picking up and we saw up to 29 knots before we finally arrived in Marsh Harbour.  As we arrived at the anchorage in Marsh Harbour we were met by our friends from Quality Time in their Dinghy and they showed us where to anchor. What was really nice was being invited for supper that night on their boat as we were both really tired after the trip.

The following morning we had our first opportunity to listen to the Abacos Cruisers’ Net.  They read the local weather report for the area, and people out on the water will provide detailed conditions they are observing at the time.  They also let you know events happening throughout the Abacos and a lot of the local businesses get on the radio and promote themselves.  Marsh Harbour has a grocery store very similar to what we are used to in Canada, called Maxwell’s, and we were able to replace our fresh fruits, vegetables, and other items.  It seems strange, by Canadian standards, that going to a grocery store can be the highlight of your day, but it’s a real treat to find most of the items, that you want, all in one location.        

The main road crossing Green Turtle Cay

Coco Bay on Green Turtle Cay

High winds and waves on Atlantic Ocean beach
Green Turtle Cay

Shops in New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay 

 Dinghy dock New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay

Anchorage at Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas

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