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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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A feast of the eyes with all the colors
76*, Mostly sunny
04/19/2009, Hope Town, Elbow Cay

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Marsh Harbor Great Abaco Island (N26*34.432 W77*01.555) to Hope Town, Elbow Cay (N26*32.311 W76*57.555)
8.4 miles, traveled;

Okay today we decided it was time to depart Marsh Harbor and head to Hope Town. The path is shallow so we need to leave on a rising tide to get there about high tide so we don't go bump, bump, bump. High tide is 4:40pm so we figured that any time after noon o clock would be good. This gave me time to make breakfast, clean up, and ponder the fate of a boat near us that seemed to hook something under his anchor so that it took him a couple of hours to get loose. Two other boats were helping him, so we stayed out of the way. It looked like he hooked into an old chain/cable along the bottom of the seabed or something. He finally got loose right before we released our anchor. I spotted a sea turtle last night and this morning hanging out near our boat, and then my first dolphin in a long time.

Leaving the harbor, we passed Sapphire coming into the harbor and gave him a shout out. They're going to be hanging out there a few days and hanging around the Abacos for a few weeks before heading North.

Coming into the Hope Town Harbor was easier than I thought it would be - Wayne had the helm LOL. Between Spirit telling us to make sure we go at high tide and the chart plotter showing 4-foot depths - I was spooked. The chart plotter was showing shallower depths than the charts did, but we followed the chart along with the tides and had no problem.

We picked up a mooring ball. These moorings are closely packed! The first one we were going to pick up was too close for comfort next to a trimaran so we pulled up to the next one. We were looking for the green ones owned by Lucky Strike, but the white one owned by Capn Jacks was a much better fit for us - more swing room without having to worry about hitting the trimaran.

Walked a bit through town and is it ever a cute little place. Well worth the stress of coming in. Since it's Sunday, everything is closed up, but the walk about town was wonderful. I can't wait until tomorrow to see the place when it's open and to head over to the lighthouse. The little cottages here are multicolored and well cared for. We're in front of the Harbour view Grocery Store (a sky blue building) and Capn Jacks (a white with pink trim building/restaurant). There are little pastel cottages lining the waterfront in colors of lavendar, mint green, turquoise, pink, yellow and orange sherbert with bushes of bougainvilleas, plumeria type flowers, frangipanis, oleander, flamboyant, and others such as impatiens, etc... including the foliage and all the coconut palms (even pine trees that remind me of home) - it's a very colorful place - A feast for my eyes.

Back at the boat - it was g&t time, some reading, and then I made some salad and we had that with the remaining turkey, homemade bread, cheese and wine for dinner. The sun is going down now - time to turn on the anchor light. By the way, there's a green 36 ft Bayfield about 4 moorings down from us called Zancada. Don't see anyone aboard though. It looks like a good Internet connection here (now that my subscription is about up) - much better than Marsh Harbor.

The light in the lighthouse was lit at 8pm and was flashing it's beacon out to sea at about 5 second intervals. Another first for us - to be moored under a working lighthouse! It's mesmerizing...

Burgers :)
04/18/2009, Marsh Harbor

Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco Island

Well we ended up staying put here again today. The winds last night were 20-25 knots. After listening to the Cruiser's Net this morning - the weather, and wave conditions were not to our liking. We'd have been banging into the waves the entire way to Hope Town.

I checked my bread dough, and it didn't rise as well as last time and seemed a bit looser too, but I loaded it into the bread pans, watched it rise some more, and put it into the oven. Hey might as well see how badly I messed up the dough at this point! I'm wondering if the mixing of bread flour with regular floor (I ran out of bread flour) may have also contributed to my breads demise.

I've never had dough run out of the pan before - but that's what happened. (What happened!?!?!). The order of mixing and the late addition of the egg to the mix DO seem to make a difference. I had drops of bread "batter" all over the bottom of the oven and it smelled like burning toast throughout the boat. When I checked it later, both loaves had deflated . My nice poofy tops were flat, and on the one pan it had dripped so badly around the pan I had to cut the crust away from the lip of the pan to get the bread out. On a brighter note - we both agree - it still tastes good LOL.

We went back into town (our little tender guard was there to protect our dinghy- once again) to get another awesome burger at the Golden Grouper and took a side trip to the grocery store for more flour. This time they had bread flour! So the next batch I make, I'll not mix all-purpose with bread flour but will use one or the other exclusively.

We chatted with a guy that was making conch salad for people on the street about conchs and conch horns. He makes a living by taking tourists out snorkeling and conching. He also sets up a stand to make conch salad and sell conch shells. Seems strange when you can find the shells all over.

We'll have the left over turkey for dinner tonight but right now I'm enjoying a nice breeze in the cockpit, sipping black tea and listening to the laughing gulls. It feels about 70 out now and the gulls are soaring in circles above the boats. I'll go below when the conch horns blow

Peaceful Turkey day
04/17/2009, Marsh Harbor

Friday, April 17, 2009
Marsh Harbor Great Abaco

We plotted courses, and replotted, to correspond with tides to get into and out of shallow anchorages. After that, I made breakfast and we decided we'd wait until tomorrow to depart for Hope Town. The loyalists of the revolutionary war that wanted to stay part of England founded Hope Town. It's supposed to be a quaint little village with beautifully restored, historic homes. We want to visit the lighthouse there with the fresnel lens - one of the last remaining working ones. It has a kerosene lamp for the light source and its beam timing is like a pendulum clock - where you wind it and man it to keep it running. These types of lenses go back about 200 years and this technology, for then and now, is something else. It sends out a beam for about 20 miles. The lighthouse is red and white striped like a candy cane stripe and Wayne says it's the one they use for brochures, etc. so most people would recognize it.

Wayne spent the rest of the afternoon reading and I got out my bread starter to make bread during the evening, and put a turkey breast in the oven for dinner. I should not do to many different things in the galley at one time. My gravy never got made for the turkey. The bread dough got mixed in the wrong order, then I forgot to put in the egg until I was doing dinner dishes, and had to scramble to get that mixed in at the last minute. Dinner turned out nice and hopefully the bread will rise and be ready to bake in the morning...

It was a nice restful day - I enjoyed puttering with the charts and chart plotter and then puttering in the galley.

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