10 January 2008 | Marsh Harbour, Abacos
Beth - sunny days; light showers at night
We had a most delightful sail across from Great Guana to Marsh Harbour on Tuesday. Steve Dodge's book gave excellent waypoints again, and a very clear diagram of the approach. It was tempting to just tack back and forth out in the Sea of Abaco, enjoying the breeze and the colours, but we had things to do.
We anchored just north of the centre of the harbour - and there was lots of space around us. The water here is not inviting to anchor diving, but the bottom is muddy so we were pretty sure our CQR would hold - and it has. The first order of business was to go find that generator - and get to a bank to procure the money for it. There are several banks here; Scotiabank obligingly dispensed some cash into Jim's pockets and after he talked with Terrance Roberts on the phone, Terrance obligingly traded that cash for a neat little 47 lb Honda 2000 generator. Easy come- easy go!
The evening's entertainment was a chili cook-off sponsored by the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. Jan and Cam from Te Amor had invited several of us to go as their guests and when I called Bob Mitchell - the RMHYC Commodore to let him know we were coming, he graciously seconded the invitation. A rainshower blew in just as we were about to leave the boat so I took a couple of pictures of the rainbow(s), we waited to see if there would be any gusts that might dislodge us, and when that didn't happen, we went off to the Abaco Beach Resort where the event was held. The Yacht Club membership is made up of folks who come here to hang out for the winter as well as those who drop in for a few days here and there as they travel around the Bahamas and they are a most welcoming crowd. We met many people whose boats we've seen around in the last few weeks.
Part of our surprise here is geographical. We expected Marsh Harbour to be an unattractive place where we would have a short and strictly functional stay. Yes - the area of banks and grocery stores doesn't have the charm of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay, but the marinas and waterfront properties are lovely. We can watch boats coming and going in the harbour, and we can look out across that beautiful green water from many directions - off toward Man-O-War Cay, or back at Great Guana, or around the corner to Hope Town. We can see the towers of the Castle - built by Evans Cottman, the Out Island Doctor - peeking through the trees. The other surprise is the people part - and I should have known enough by now to not be surprised by that! Both locals and visitors have once again been unfailingly friendly, helpful, and fun. I was offered a drive as I walked back to the dinghy dock with grocery bags. A boater asked if we needed directions to laundromat, grocery stores and bakery. When I lost an earring on our walk this morning, a couple driving by stopped and got out to look too, and a walker said she passes that way every day and would keep looking for it.
We hadn't been in the harbour very long before we got a call from Windswept - an Ottawa boat. The last time we had seen them was in Georgia when they were heading out for an outside passage south while we were continuing on the ICW. There are a whole lot of Canadian boats here - and a disproportionately large number of Nova Scotians - some with NS on the sterns of their boats and some from other ports but with their "roots showing" within the first few minutes of a conversation. We Bluenoses sure know where we're from. It feels like old home week!
I took our ship's clock to Derek at Simcoe Jewellers (so named because of the 20 some years they spent on the shore of Lake Simcoe in Canada) on the advice of Patty on the Cruisers net. The cruiser's net is on the VHF radio every morning at 8:15 and consists of weather, news highlights, sports, invitations from local establishments, open mike - for requests and information, and just about anything else that is helpful for the cruising community. It's a terrific service - started by Bob and Patty Toller, and now carried on by Patty and various cruising friends. I asked the question about where we might get our clock fixed and the answer was immediate. Someone else asked if anyone knew if a couple of people were in the area, and again, a boater came up with an immediate answer, "Yes, they are, and you can find them at..." The restaurants tell what specials they have on, the dive shops tell what the water is like and where they are running trips. Readings and speakers and charitable events all get publicized.
The multitalented Browntips cleaned Madcap's bottom and replaced the zinc anode. This is our second replacement since we started - and Browntips said it was ready - and also that the bottom looked in good shape.
Debbie and Bill (Deborah Lea), and Jan and Ed (Windswept) came over for happy hour on Madcap last night and we sipped and nibbled as we swapped stories. This morning, we went for a lovely long walk with Sandi and Steve (Princess) enjoying the views of the water, hearing their stories of how things have changed - or not - in the years they have been coming here. The afternoon disappeared in a series of errands: internet, groceries, battery charging - yes that little generator works just fine.
Tonight we'll be joining new and old friends at a happy hour gathering followed by a visit to Snappas where Jan and Paul (Te Amor) will be singing and playing Bahamian music with Browntips. From all reports, it will be a fine time.
We'll probably move from here tomorrow ... if we feel like it when we get up in the morning!