Bill Gives Santa His List At Grabbers on Great Guana
After passing through "the Whale," we put into Great Guana Cay, and picked up a mooring from Dive Guana. Guana Cay is the home of the infamous Nippersbar, located on the Atlantic Side of the Cay, a short walk from the anchorage. Known as quite a boisterous hangout, the lyrics of a popular Bahamian song say that it's impossible to get thrown out of Nippers if you've had too much to drink. On Sunday, Nippers puts on a pig roast, all you can eat for $20. This drew a large crowd, probably most of the Cay's locals as well as visiting cruisers. We also visited another beach bar, Grabbers, where Santa (aka Tom of s/v Polar Pacer) was able to grant most of our Christmas wishes.
Breakers On Atlantic Side of Whale Cay Cut After Passing Through
We left Green Turtle Cay Saturday, after waiting for a good weather window to pass through the Whale Cay cut, which has a well deserved reputation as a difficult passage for several reasons.
First is a phenomena of weather called the Abaco Rage. Its name pretty much conjures up something quite fierce, which is correct. When conditions are right, storms often miles off shore from Abaco and often nowhere in sight, produce large ocean swells. As the westward headed swells approach the abrupt shallows of the Sea of Abaco, they "swell up" to 3 times their original height and also compress the distance between them. This phenomena is especially prevalent at the passages between the cays. One place of renowned is the Whale Cay Passage. This spot is notorious because the shallows behind the cay prevent large craft from passing even in normal conditions forcing them out into the ocean and back into the Sea of Abaco on the other side. When a full blown rage is present, any attempt of passage could be suicide and to pass with even small outboard type craft on an inside passage is also dangerous because the rollers can lift the boat upwards only to have it come crashing down on to the shallow sand bar behind Whale Cay, reeking havoc on running gear and even ones hull. It is an area to be avoided in such conditions. Just the same, and the south end of Whale Cay in an area known as Bakers Bay, Disney would moor their Red cruise ships and tender folks to their "Out Island Home" on Guana Cay. It didn't take long for Disney to realize their mistake, having to deal with often treacherous anchoring conditions in the area and pulled anchor for good and moved their island sanctuary to Gorda Cay, now called Castaway Island. There is many a tale to be told of vessels of all types meeting their doom in the "Infamous Whale Cay Passage".
We waited for the north winds to decrease to light and variable, before attempting a passage through "The Whale." The sea state had been improving slowly over the week, until it finally decreased to 6-7 foot swells in the cut. As we approached the cut, heading back into the Atlantic from the protected Sea of Abaco, large breakers framed the narrow cut on both sides. It appeared impassable at first, but as we grew closer, it appeared less formidable. Our passage through went uneventfully, although we were tossed around a bit in the swells. The "Whale" is one of the few cuts that will allow a boat to reverse course if the going gets too rough.
Bill, Joe (s/v Onward) and Tom (s/v Polar Pacer) enjoy a Goombay Smash
The original Goombay Smash recipe is a secret, passed down from mother to daughter at Miss Emily's Blue Bee bar in New Plymouth (Green Turtle Cay), Bahamas
At the Blue Bee, they serve this from plastic 1-gallon containers (similar to milk jugs). The recipe below, which is not the original but is smooth and strong and pretty authentic, makes one quart. Multiply the recipe by 4 to make a gallon for a party.
16 oz pineapple-orange juice
6 oz rum
8 oz Malibu coconut rum
2 oz apricot brandy
Shake well, serve over lots of ice.