Windy but Wonderful
11 December 2007 | Green Turtle Cay, Abacos
We moved from Manjack Cay to Green Turtle Cay on Sunday afternoon - just an hour or so along the way, and as of Monday morning, we were all legally checked in. We dropped the anchor just off the government wharf - thinking that we'd stay out there overnight and then move in. It turned out that we liked it pretty well out there so we stayed. We were near New Plymouth - the town part of this Cay, and had lots of room around us. There were no worries about bumping anyone if we dragged again. A major plus is that we had a bird's eye view of all the action at the government wharf and a 360 degree view of turquoise water, fluffy clouds and unbeatable sunsets.
About the dragging - a couple of updates: We've talked with a number of cruisers and know a few more things. One suggestion that has come up often is the wisdom of "diving the anchor". That means someone dives down to a) have a look at it, and b) help to get it set by pushing down on it and wiggling it into the sand. This job would fall to Jim as he is more comfortable in the water than I am. So on Tuesday when we moved in a little closer to the shoreline, he swam over it and could clearly see it dig in better as I backed down on it harder. (i.e. put the boat in reverse to pull really hard on the anchor). He will have to work up to being able to hold his breath long enough to go down there and push on the thing!
Another suggestion has been to switch to a Danforth anchor, which some cruisers tell us holds better in the sand. One cruiser swears by his Delta Quick -Set, and another says that a Bruce works better than a CQR. Our second bow anchor is a Bruce so we may switch the chain over to that and give it a try.
And one last thing on the dragging topic - remember that I said last time we didn't think we had woken the folks on the "other" boat? Wrong! As we walked along the road here in New Plymouth on Monday evening, we encountered another couple, struck up a conversation and introduced ourselves. They are Catherine and David on Solitaire I, and when I said we are Jim and Beth of Madcap, they both gasped and said MADCAP? The penny dropped and Jim and I asked, "Are you the boat we almost dragged into the other night?" Yes indeedy. They had been awoken by our voices but were so calm and collected about it that they just quietly watched us get ourselves out of the predicament. It was lovely to meet them, and especially lovely to meet them in daylight and out of danger.
Monday was quite a sociable day for us. As we walked up the main street in New Plymouth - with me oohing and aahing over the gorgeous hibiscuis, and pink and blue and yellow houses, we met John, a wonderfully warm man who welcomed us to the neighbourhood, told us about the Christmas potluck that the cruisers have here, showed us where to buy heavenly coconut bread (Sid's grocery store) and where to get the best conch sandwiches at the best price. Cindy and Rick of Dragonfly came strolling along, as did some new friends, Joel and Kalin of Achates II (from Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.) And so we all stood in the middle of the street by the Customs office having a good old chinwag - just like in any village anywhere.
Jim and I went to the Plymouth Rock Liquor Store and Café for lunch - the famous conch (pronounced conk) sandwiches - that really were delicious. Conch has to be pounded thoroughly to make it tender, and these were wonderfully tender morsels. Somebody must have good arm muscles. Cindy and Rick came in, and so did Todd and Joe from Crisis Mode. They were especially helpful as I perused the rum selections and decided which bottles would best fit the needs of the Madcap bar. We dinghied over to White Sound to see Blair and Mary, and then ashore to check out the Green Turtle Club where we met up with Cindy and Rick again and went to the Tipsy Turtle for afternoon drinks. I saw a sign that said they make the best rum punch around, so of course I had to check that out. I haven't done a lot of comparing yet, but it sure tasted fine!
We gobbled half the loaf of wonderfully sweet and tender coconut bread that evening, and finished it off for breakfast the next morning.
On Tuesday, I spend a good part of the day doing laundry at Bluff House. Laundry is considerably more expensive here - probably reflecting a scarcer supply of water. However, I was very happy to pay the price - $3.50 per load - and get rid of those bags of grubby sheets and towels that we've had sitting in the bathtub since Florida. Between loads, I met up with Jay and Bonny from Florida and enjoyed a lovely chat on the terrace. They were interested in our trip and so encouraging. It is conversations like this that make me reflect again on what we have done and how it feels and what a remarkable way it is to make connections with people. Marco, the marina man at Bluff House, gave me a ride up the hill in his golf cart and told me his cousin went to university in Nova Scotia. There is that small world thing again.
While I was hanging around Bluff House, Jim and Blair were trouble shooting Madcap's newest problem. We had been having trouble getting the house batteries to a full charge, and when Jim tried to fire up the engine to charge them some more, the starter battery failed to start the engine. Jim manually combined the two batteries so that the house battery started it, but then found that the engine battery was discharging when it was supposed to have been charging. The battery combiner was not combining the house battery with the starting battery and so it was not getting a charge. If this all sounds like some foreign language to you - it does to me too - and Jim's grey hairs are increasing with the effort of comprehending it all!
We are hoping this will be a quick fix so we'll be able to sail back to Manjack Cay for some more exploring there before we move onward. The wind is too strong just now for a comfortable passage through Whale Cay Cut (between here and Marsh Harbour/Hopetown area.)