Great Abaco Island
04 May 2011 | Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco, Bahamas
I got to be a tourist today. We rented a car and went off to see the island. In particular, I wanted to see Little Harbour, the place we didn't go in. Karin had loaned us a book about it. Randolph Johnston, an artist, along with his wife and 4 children homesteaded in Little Harbour in the early 1950's. After years of trying to scrape out a home and a living from fishing, farming and running sailboat charters, they finally got to the place where they could set up studios and start producing art again. Randolph was a sculptor and he got enough commissions in terra cotta to afford to build a foundry and start working in bronze. Today his son and grandson still create and sell works of art at their studios, foundry and gallery. They also run Pete's Pub, which is where we went for lunch and where this picture was taken.
In the morning we drove down to Sandy Point, on the southern end of Great Abaco. There is a cruisers' net on VHF here and I had heard a restaurant advertised so we thought we could get a snack there and then have a late lunch at Little Harbour. We couldn't find a restaurant that we wanted to try. I took one photo looking back from the public dock. It's a pretty setting, but it is one of the saddest little towns we've seen. It's very isolated (about 55 miles from Marsh Harbour) and there's nothing around. Looking on the charts, shallow draft boats could get in there, but there were only two boats in the harbor. One was a strange catamaran that looked like a down on the heels charter party boat. The other was a small fishing boat. There were no other cruisers and no other visitors in the town.
So back we went to Little Harbour. That, at least was interesting. The road in is still dirt. Until 2000 the only way to get there was by boat. The harbor IS little and the entrance is too shallow for our boat, but it is very secure. There were probably 15 or 20 boats there. If we had come in the cut, we would have anchored either behind Lynyard Cay or just behind the inside point, Tom Currey Point. Pete's Pub was a series of tables and platforms in the sand with roofs and umbrellas for shade. You ordered your food at the bar. They told us we'd have a bit of a wait so we took the time to walk through the gallery. Sculptures by Pete Johnston sold for several hundred to several thousand dollars. There were a few sculptures by Randolph Johnston; one was priced at $120,000. We didn't by it. We saw a beautiful lamp by Pete Johnston with a ray (the fish kind) incorporated into the base. But as Bud said, we could buy the lamp, or we could get a watermaker.
The food was good and reasonable and we had a nice lunch. I saw people from a boat we were next to back at Rock Sound, Eleuthera. It was Carl and Jan from White Pepper, a C & C 41. They were eating with another couple, but after we ate we sat and talked with them for a while. It's fun to bump into people miles later. We'd sailed 134 miles since we'd last seen them. I could be 134 miles from home back in the states and never see anyone I knew.
The harbor is protected from the Atlantic by a narrow peninsula. There is a boardwalk from Pete's Pub to the Atlantic side. We walked up there and we could see the cut from the Atlantic to the Sea of Abaco. This is not a cut I'd like to take except on a very calm day. I took a photo and you can see the point of land, and beyond that you can see the breakers on the line of reefs you have to miss. I'm glad we came through at North Bar Channel.
After lunch we drove a bit further south in the area of Little Harbour to Cherokee Point. I wanted to see the area where we saw the huge breakers on our way into the Abacos. The road only took us to the Cherokee Sound side. The town was tiny and had neat little cottages with cement streets mostly too small to fit a big car through. There was a parking lot on the back side of town. I guess if your car was too big you left it there. The sound was really shallow there, but there were a lot of boats. It advertised itself as a bonefishing center. We didn't stop in Cherokee; instead we came back to Marsh Harbour and used the car to finish our grocery shopping. Bud stocked up on cheap liquor to bring home. He took the food and drinks back to the boat and fed Fuzzy while I returned the rental car. The whole drive (of about 10 blocks) I kept reciting "Drive in the gutter" to remind myself that I had to drive our American made Buick rental car so the driver's side was at the side of the road, to keep on the left and correct side of the road here. This is the first time I've tried driving where you drive on the left. I was glad to get the car back and walk back to the dock. I got a nice shot of Bud and Fuzzy coming in the dinghy to get me (and take Fuzzy for his evening stroll).
We are not going to a dock here. A marina at Man-O-War Cay is having a "buy one night, get one free" sale. Since we were going to go there and pay for a mooring ball, we decided to just go to that marina and get water and finish the laundry. Karin and Ed of Passages are going, too, but they are getting a mooring ball (they have a watermaker, so can fill their tanks at anchor). The marina also has Internet at the slips. My reception here on the boat hasn't been great, so if I don't manage to get these last entries posted tonight, I know I'll be able to do it tomorrow. I'll also post the rest of the pictures I have for the gallery.