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The Adventure Continues
Hopetown Too
03/21/2013, Hopetown Harbor

What a great place. We stayed 8 days, met a bunch of great people, missed some great photo moments because we forgot the camera, and look forward to coming back here in April. Part of the Hopetown experience is walking along the quaint streets among homes that were built around 1785 by Loyalists to the British Crown who were not too happy with the Revolutionary War and how in ended. They migrated to the Bahamas from places like New York, Mass., Rhode Island, etc. Not a bad idea at least during the winters. The photo gallery contains a couple of pics of the streets. Not a lot of room for anything but a couple of people or bicycles.
The beach is another part of the experience. Miles of beaches on the Atlantic side of Elbow Cay, absolutely un-interrupted by anything. The dunes are very fragile after Sandy and everyone is doing all they can to keep the uninformed off of them. We came across a Conch that had been washed up on the beach. It was trying to pull itself back into the water. Pretty gross looking if you don't mind me saying so. I gave it a hand and was told by friends that we missed an opportunity for fresh conch. No thanks.
Other places that were on our must-see list were the beach bar, On Da Beach. A very cool place with good eats at a reasonable price. Also, the Hopetown light house was a must visit. It is the only working lighthouse in the Abacos. It uses a kerosene lamp that is magnified by huge Fresnel lenses, and can be seen at night from 17 miles away. I took some pictures from on top of it.
So on March 20th, we will depart Hopetown for Great Guana Cay. A pretty good storm is predicted for Weds. night so we will stay at the Orchid Bay Marina in Settlement Bay. Supposedly, there is good protection there. We'll probably stay there two nights and then move on. Stay tuned for more of the adventure.

Hopetown Harbor
03/21/2013, Hopetown, Elbow Cay, Abacos

Our departure from Mangoes in Marsh Harbor on March 12th was about an hour before high tide. That way we would cross the bar in front of the entrance to Hopetown a half hour after high tide. Although the sea going to Hopetown was pretty bouncy with strong South Easterly winds, our arrival was uneventful and on time. The approach was interesting. You steer for the yellow house on Eagle Rock and line up on the road on the mainland extending back from the water. Keep the two range markers lined up and then turn to a heading of 149 degrees into the harbor. Or you can just look at the chartplotter and follow the dotted line. Once inside the harbor, our chore was to find a mooring ball. Since the weather was not so good, people stayed so finding a ball became a snipe hunt. After circling the harbor a couple of times, a kind soul yelled over that a boat had just left and pointed to the double blue floats waiting for us. Thank God. So Peg/Marg snagged the pendant and we were attached. Then I called Hopetown Marina on the VHF, and for all to hear I asked, "Are you the guys with the Blue Balls?" I became an instant celebrity.
Hopetown is a beautiful place. All who have been here were not exaggerating its beauty. We will be here for at least a week so I will share pictures of the town in later posts. For now, check out the gallery for some shots of the harbor and a party we went to at the Harbor View Inn. We heard about the Harbor View from Jeff and Sandy Bacon. It's under new ownership now and the new owners immediately pissed off the entire community when they fired most of the old staff. The party last night was their attempt to reach out to the community and rebuild relationships. Of course the boating community, not ever hesitant to partake of free beer, wine and appetizers, showed up en masse. I'm not sure the new owners realized what they did when they hung up all those posters around town, but they didn't turn anyone away. After the party, a group of us went to Captain Jack's for Taco Nite. They were the worst tacos I ever ate, but the company was great and when left around 10 pm driving our dinghy around the harbor in search of our boat. It's very dark out there and when you don't leave a light on to guide you back, you run the real risk of sleeping on someone else's boat you don't even know. Especially after too many beers and wines.
This cruising life style is very interesting. Yesterday, after we got settled in, our friends Bill and Mary came by. We hadn't seen them since Fort Pierce in mid-January. Later in the day, Ed and Chris from Michigan came by in their dinghy. We saw them last in Treasure Cay. We all go to pretty much the same places so it is not unusual to see people you've met earlier in your travels.
The weather is expected to be a little funky the next couple of days as another cold front goes through, but Friday and beyond is expected to be warm and sunny. We will get caught up on stuff in the meantime and as soon as we get a decent wifi signal, we'll upload to our blog. Keep in touch and stay well.

Marsh Harbor
03/09/2013, Mangoe's Marina

We sailed over from Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbor on a northwesterly breeze on our headsail. We finally got to go somewhere without listening to an engine. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to go 15 nautical miles but it was fine. Marsh Harbor is a very unique place. Some refer to it as the Detroit of the Abacos because it has an commercial port and is somewhat industrial. But along the harbor it is very pretty. We are in Mangoe's Marina, maybe the best deal in the Bahamas. We pay $.90 per foot per day and $5 per day for water. That adds up to less than $45 per day to stay in paradise. And if we wish, we will just slide over to the anchorage for nothing per day. We got here on Thursday, March 7th and will stay in the marina until about Monday. I don't know what we'll do then. All depends on the weather.
Yesterday (Friday) a guy came up to the boat and asked if we would like some lobster. It's Lent so of course we would like some lobster. Better than Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks. Eight tails for $30. We ate six and made a lobster salad with the other two. Unbelievably delicious. See the picture in the Gallery.
Wendell and Linda left us on Friday to return to Cleveland and Toledo respectively. They were great crew and we'll miss their company. I hope the weather up north is a little more moderate for their arrival.
Tonight, (Saturday) we are dining at the Jib Room across the bay at the Marsh Harbor Marina. They are only open two nights a week for dinner so this will be a treat.
Today the temperature should get up to the high 70s. Peg and I are going to do a walk-about and see whats going on in the business district. Liquor is very cheap here so we probably will stock up. BTW, Peg/Marg's Roadrunner email account does not work here. We can't figure it out so if you need or want to send her an email, send it to me at [email protected]
Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for the next chapter, probably still from Marsh Harbor.

Treasure Cay
03/08/2013, Treasure Cay Marina

This is called catching up. Treasure Cay was a beautiful stop but the wifi connection was non-existent, hence the delay in posting.
We rounded the Whale Cay Cut in very calm seas and wind and the dreaded crossing from Green Turtle Cay to Treasure Cay was a non-event. The Sea of Abaco was as brilliant a blue as I've ever seen. Once in Treasure Cay, the winds piped up again and it made getting around a little more difficult. Big on our to do list was to visit the beach we heard so much about. It was everything advertised and more. The sand was the consistency of sugar and there were hardly any people around. We also got our Bahamian cell phone in Treasure Cay. Now we feel a little more in touch with family in the event of emergency. International minutes are a little pricey ($.80 per minute) but texting is cheap ($.15 per text). We will stay in Treasure Cay 3/6 and 3/7 then push off to Marsh Harbor. Check out the photo gallery. Another beautiful sunset, the beach, us on the dock and Alize under sail to Marsh Harbor.
We will probably stay in Marsh Harbor awhile so we may have a couple of posting from there. The northerlies have been persistent for the last 3 weeks with one cold front after another. The locals say it is very unusual. That appears to be a theme. But, high pressure is building and we think we will see a warming trend and more moderate winds in the coming week. That will make for some great anchoring opportunities. Keep in touch with us. We'll try to keep it from being boring.

Green Turtle Cay
03/04/2013, Green Turtle Club

We got here Friday, March 1st and settled in for a few days due to weather. Winds were pretty strong and we had to deal with bands of rain that seemed to lash us about every half hour. And then there was the cold. One night, it actually dropped to the mid 50s. But eventually the skies cleared and the sun came out and we went on an island excursion. This place is beautiful. The only town on Green Turtle Cay (pronounce Key), is New Plymouth. Founded in 1786 by American Loyalists, it has lost none of its old world charm. By the way, American Loyalists were Americans who opposed the Revolutionary War and were loyal to the King of England. They endured the act of treason against the crown and ten years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, they left the mainland and migrated to Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. Here, they are revered and remembered as the American Loyalists. There is a park in New Plymouth with their busts and names in bronze. The beaches are pristine and undeveloped. The town is completely un-touristy. The roads are little more than rutted cow paths and nothing travels faster than 10 miles an hour. I could live here.
The grocery stores are spartan and pricey. Your best bet for prime produce is when the boat comes in, but you'll not starve to death. Fish is abundant. Snapper and grouper are a staple. How bad is that. Everywhere we looked, we saw beauty. We'll be back.

Great Sale to Green Turtle Cay
03/02/2013, Green Turtle Club

After being bogged down for a couple of days in West End, we left for Great Sale on Weds, Feb 27. Although the wind was blowing pretty good from the North, our first challenge was navigating through the Indian Cay Cut. This required a series of turns through a very narrow channel with rocks and shoals on either side, guided by electonic waypoints on our chart plotter. Thank God for technology. About eight hours later we arrived at Great Sale Cay which is an interesting island in the middle of nowhere. We anchored out on the east side of the cay and got a good night's sleep. The following morning we set off for Spanish Cay. The picture at the top of this post shows the color of the water we saw on the way. Also, there is an interesting picture of a rock we passed called the Center of the World Rock. Hit it and it will be more like the End of the World Rock. We got to Spanish Cay about six hours later and thought we were in the wrong place. We were the only boat in the entire marina! Check out the picture in the gallery. The most absurd thing I ever saw. But there's more. We fished for dinner off the dock and caught a bunch of snapper. They were delicious. But one got away and became dinner for a 6' shark. I hooked the snapper and was reeling it in when this shark decided he needed the snapper more than me. He swallowed my fish and took off with a hundred feet of my line before my fishing pole bent over and broke in half. At least we had enough fish for dinner. We set off to Green Turtle Cay the following day. Looks like we will be here a few days waiting for the weather to improve. I am loathe to admit it has been cold. Like 66 degrees overnite. Around here, people are walking around in parkas. When we can, we'll traverse the Whale Cut which is considered the most dangerous passage in all of the Bahamas. If we make it, I'll let you know how it went. Stay tuned.

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Who: Dick & Peggy Dragonette
Port: Fort Pierce, FL
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