Tuesday, 11 February 2014

February 9, 2014

This is January 27th and the first time that it has been warm enough for us to go swimming in the ocean, since leaving home!  We had a great day snorkeling and collecting sea glass.  Tuesday morning while we were listening to the Cruisers Net on the VHF radio, we heard our friends on ‘Silver Maple’ had arrived in the Abacos, so we called them and found out their plans.  We wanted to go to Hope Town after we left Tahiti Beach.  It is located about 2 miles north but has very shallow water between us and the harbour, so we had planned to leave in the middle of the afternoon and catch the rising tide.  Not long before we left, a couple from ‘Diva’ dinghied over to our boat.  They had seen our Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club burgee and Ben is the membership director for the club, so he and Margaret came over to introduce themselves.  We had a nice visit and they asked what news we had from our friends, Vic and Wendy.  

We made the short trip down to Hope Town in 7 to 8 feet of water on a rising tide.  The instructions for entering Hope Town Harbour are very interesting.  You must locate the range markers by finding the double Adirondack chairs and they are to the left of it.  You then go straight in on these markers until you come to the first red marker (post with a red mark on it) and turn a sharp 90 to the right and follow the channel markers in to the harbour.  Once you are in the harbour you have to find a mooring ball but the first red one that you see when you enter, is not a mooring ball, but the edge of a shoal.  We finally found a mooring ball and  tied up.

The next morning we set out to explore the village of Hope Town and it’s shops.  One of the first things we noticed was all the multicolored buildings in the village were well taken care of and the streets were very narrow (barely golf cart width).  We visited some of the gift shops and other stores and restaurants.  One of the more interesting shops was Vernon’s Grocery.  Vernon is also the baker, the minister, the Justice of the Peace, and a member of the town council, besides for the grocery store owner.  

Another one of the attractions at Hope Town is the red and white striped lighthouse.  It is one of the last kerosene powered lights in the world and in the evening, after dark, you can watch as the lighthouse keeper lights the light.  We didn’t have time, this trip, to climb the lighthouse.  We’ll have to try on our next visit.  

We decided to return to Marsh Harbour the following morning and go to a marina to get caught up on things (laundry, internet, showers and get water).  We also hoped to get a visit with our friends on ‘Silver Maple’ who were staying at the Marsh Harbour Marina.  We had a nice visit with them on their boat in the afternoon.  We spent the next day finishing up our jobs, one of which was Dave getting a haircut, the shortest since he stopped going to Walter’s Barber Shop in Thorold South with his Dad.  

One of the nice things about sailing and exploring the Abacos is the closeness of all our destinations.  So the following morning we were able to walk to a flea market, get some groceries, go to the hardware store and still have a nice sail to Guana Cay before supper.  

The next morning we dinghied to shore to explore Guana Cay.  There were 2 things that we really wanted to see.  The first was a bar called ‘Nippers’, which is located on a beautiful beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island.  One of the things they’re famous for is the ‘Barefoot Man’ concert that is held in the middle of March.  He sings many songs about Nippers in his concerts.  One of his other songs is called ‘Log Cabins by the Sea’.  This was the other reason we had come to Guana.  These log cabins are located directly beside Nippers and the special thing about them is, that they were built by our neighbour, on the 12th of Bruce, Andrew Hill.  They share the same beautiful Atlantic Beach and have very easy access to Nippers next door.  As we were leaving, a local stopped and gave us a ride on his golf cart, back to the other restaurant ‘Grabbers’, on the Sea of Abaco side of the island.  We decided to have lunch here, a far quieter location with a really good Wahoo and Tropical Salad.  I asked if I could use the washroom and the waitress said she’d have to check with her manager.  We thought this was a little strange.  Some other people overheard this exchange and said they thought she was thinking, I wanted to do my laundry, which was the case.  I guess the lesson learned, is that it is referred to as the ‘bathroom’ in the Bahamas.  

We decided to spend another day here visiting the beach and looking around the harbour area before returning to Marsh Harbour for a pasta dinner being put on by the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club the next night.  This group really likes to have social events, the afternoon started with a short annual general meeting, followed by wine and cheese, which was followed by a beautiful dinner and $2.00 cocktails.  One of the members who lives on the island gave us a ride back to our dinghy, thankfully.  

We left Marsh Harbour the next morning and sailed to Man-O-War Cay.  Each community we have explored so far has a totally different feel from the others, while only being a couple of hours away from each other by sailboat.  The settlement on Man-O-War Cay is no exception.  It is a dry island (no alcohol for sale) with the main employment being the building of boats, they are known for their runabouts in the 20 to 30 foot range.  They really seem suited for the waters here whether Atlantic ocean fishing or just going fast across the Sea of Abaco.  There wasn’t a lot for us to see on this Cay and we decided to leave the next morning.  

We had planned on returning to Marsh Harbour to restock, but neither of us was ready for another crowded anchorage.  Instead we headed south past Elbow Cay and Tahiti Beach to Tilloo Cay.  The charts show 3 anchorages along the western shore of this Cay.  The northern most one is in front of a bunch of homes, the southern most one has a beautiful beach, but no wind protection.  We chose the middle one, it had no beach, but also no homes, but was protected.  We had most of 2 days to ourselves to swim, snorkel and explore the shoreline with the dinghy.  It was fun and relaxing.  

Next day we came back to Marsh Harbour for supplies and a plan where we’re going next.  

Hope Town Lighthouse

Narrow roads in Hope Town

Navigation aids 2 Adirondack chairs showing location of range markers

Colourful Homes Hope Town

Colourful Homes Hope Town

Colourful Homes Hope Town

Guana Cay Atlantic Beach

Nippers Bar on the beach on Guana Cay

Log Cabins by the Sea 

Anchorage at Fishers Bay, Guana Cay from Grabbers Bed, Bar and Grill

Home in the Settlement at Man-of-War Cay

Home in the Settlement at Man-of-War Cay

Tilloo Cay Anchorage

Fish at Tilloo Cay

Fish at Tilloo Cay

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