Friday, 28 February 2014

February 23, 2014

We once again have returned to Marsh Harbour to restock.  One of the things that Dave wanted was varnish for the boat and none of the stores in the downtown area had it in stock.  It was suggested that we try the boat yard on the far side of harbour, just a five minute walk.   After fifteen minutes of walking and not getting anywhere close to the boatyard, we stopped and asked at Wonderland Garden Nursery for directions and met Andree Albury, the owner, who gave us a ride in his truck to the boat yard, only to find they didn’t have any either.  When we returned to the Nursery, we asked if we could have a tour of his Nursery.  From the front of the building it didn’t look like much but when you walked through to the back, he had created a yard that held all the plants and trees that would grow in the Bahamas.  It was amazing and we left with a bunch of different samples that  he gave us from the unique plants he had growing in his backyard. 

Barometer Bob (the website for weather in the Abaco’s) is calling for a big storm in the next couple days with gale force winds so we are staying put in Marsh harbour for a few days waiting it out.  So we were spending time walking through stores for something to do and went into Dive Abaco, the local dive shop.  The owner asked where we were from, we said Ontario, he asked where in Ontario and we told him Port Elgin.  He told us that he really enjoyed staying at the Port Elgin Motor Inn when he used to come up the Bruce.  Keith the owner, used to work for Ontario Hydro before he quit to buy his dive business  in Marsh Harbour and he knew a few people that Dave did at Hydro.  Small world... 

We had been looking for someplace to get my hair cut and found Najah’s Salon and Spa.  Novia did a lot better job then Dave had at the Barber shop!

Every evening at sunset all the people who have a Conch shell, blow them.  A new boat has come into the harbour this afternoon from Ottawa and he played the bagpipes at sunset.  I don’t know from the shouts if it was appreciated by the conch blowers but it did sound like harbours back home.

The storm hit us the next afternoon right when Barometer Bob said it would with 40 knots of wind and just a solid wall of water.  Thankfully it didn’t last long and none of the boats near us, including us, had their anchors drag.  During the storm it would have been impossible to have reset a dragging anchor if they had dragged.

We left the next morning to go to Treasure Cay and about half way there, the Dock master came on the VHF radio and announced that for Valentines Day they were offering a free night’s dockage.  We took it plus another night.  Laundry was on our to-do list so we went to a small laundry mat at the resort.  The lady-owner had a hand written sign posted saying that they had fish for sale.  Dave asked her about it and we ended up with a meal of Grouper and 5 lobster tails for $16.  

While we were at Treasure, we took the dinghy up a shallow long bay and then got out and hung off a rope on each side of the dinghy, with our masks and snorkels, drifting with the tide towards the outlet of the bay.  Our friend suggested this and we saw a bunch of fish and also got a sea urchin.  Shortly after we got back in the dinghy, we saw a Nurse Shark and a turtle.  Was a fun afternoon.  

The following morning we left Treasure Cay and sailed south to Tilloo Cay and anchored for the night.  We had heard there was a nature preserve on the Atlantic side for nesting sea birds on this Cay.  The person from the Bahamas National Trust, that we had spoken to, told us that there was a dock, in a small bay called Tilloo Pond that would allow us access to the preserve.  The following morning we dinghied over and found the dock, but could find no path from the dock to the  Atlantic side.   If there was a path, it was overgrown.  We followed the shoreline with the dinghy looking for another possible access point and didn’t find one.  We did find 5 or 6 sea turtles in this area.  

We returned to ‘Time 2 Go’ and loaded the dinghy on the back and started south again.  Lynyard Cay is the last Cay in the Abaco chain of keys that people go to wait for the weather to go the the Exumas. It is uninhabited and we were told that it was a really quiet anchorage with nice beaches. So that’s where we were headed for some quiet walks on the beach. We had no trouble finding the anchorage as there had to over 20 boats already there. The beaches on the Atlantic side were all on top of rock ledges good beach combing but not good for swimming.  The thing that made our time specially here was we were invited to watch the sun go down at a bonfire on the beach and to enjoy munches and sundowners with a bunch of the other boaters.

We started north the next morning not sure where we going to stop for the day, Tahiti Beach or Hope Town.  When we got near to Tahiti Beach, we saw that the anchorage was really crowded so we decided to go on a few miles to Hope Town.  There was a few things that we didn’t do on our first visit that we hoped to do before we had to head home.  One was to climb to the top of the lighthouse and check out the view.  It was spectacular and we got a lot of good pictures.  The following afternoon a couple we met from Owen Sound, Ben and Jane Eckensweiler, dinghied over and invited us to a Songwriters Festival that evening.  These songwriters were the folks who wrote songs for the big name Country and Western  stars and they performed and talked about the songs that they had written.  Dave met a young lady at the bar who was from Tiverton, Ontario and her parents lived in Kincardine.  Small world... 

The next two nights the annual Junkanoo was scheduled to take place in Marsh Harbour, so that’s where we headed.  The first evening was the junior Junkanoo, this included 16 groups from schools around the Abacos.  The Bahamians treat Junkanoo competitions similar to what we in Canada treat kids’ hockey.  They get very involved.  Each group had a theme and the costumes of all the members of the group were made to represent that theme.  The kids were from kindergarten age to high school.  They were  being judged on many different things.  The little ones were really cute to watch as they tried to perform the dance routines that the older kids did.  

We had planned on going to the senior Junkanoo the following night but found out it wasn’t scheduled to start until 9 pm. and thought it would be too late a night, by the time we would get back to the boat.    The next day we heard it didn’t get started until 10 pm. and with only 2 groups, it was after 1 am. before it was done.  

Just outside of Marsh Harbour there is a small reef called Mermaid Reef, that we had been hearing about.  So we loaded our masks and snorkels into the dinghy and went to check it out.  The Reef was loaded with all different colours of fish that would swim right up to you, because people had been feeding them.  It was fun swimming with the fish and we got some really great pictures.  It was awesome!     

Atlantic ocean beach on Lynyard Cay

Sundowner party on beach at Lynyard Cay

Hope Town Lighthouse

View from the top of Hope Town Lighthouse

Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Abaco Junior Junkanoo 
Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Abaco Junior Junkanoo

Fish at Mermaid Reef, Marsh Harbour

Anne and friends at Mermaid Reef

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