Sailing Joy

19 April 2018 | Hopetown from the Lighthouse
19 April 2018 | One of the many lovely homes on Man-O-War
19 April 2018
19 April 2018 | Anchorage with Moon
19 April 2018 | Pete's Gallery at Little Harbour
28 March 2018 | Pete's Pub and Gallery Dock at Little Harbour
15 March 2018 | Grocery Delivery
13 March 2018 | Roadside Mural at Rock Sound
13 March 2018 | Sunset at Rock Sound waiting for the storm
02 March 2018 | Rosie
02 March 2018 | Lobster Men selling on the beach
02 March 2018 | Levy trail walk through mangoves
02 March 2018 | Haynes Library
28 February 2018 | Governor's Harbour
28 February 2018 | Hoffman's Blue Hole
28 February 2018 | All alone at Hoffman Cay Beach
11 February 2018 | Entrance Cut to Great Harbour Cay Marina
10 February 2018 | Junkanoo at Port Lucaya Marketplace
01 February 2018 | Who says it isn't cold here ?
19 January 2018 | Joy at Beach Marine

Hope Town

19 April 2018 | Hopetown from the Lighthouse
We have always heard that Hope Town was a lovely settlement and looked forward to a visit. Similar to Man-O-War, Hope Town has a completely surrounded "pond" with one inlet that is again only passable in high tide. There is no anchoring in the harbour, only moorings and they are always packed. We left Man-O-War and went across the Sea of Abaco to anchor for one night in Marsh Harbour. Mostly a quick trip to the bank, and treat Diana to dinner out at a small local restaurant she wanted to try. As always, you never really know what to expect, and as we got ready to leave brought up our anchor and found we had snagged an old sea anchor from the bottom of the harbour. The anchor was huge, and to complicate matters has chain and lines that wrapped around our anchor. Our windlass struggled to even bring it up. With a lasso I was able to catch the old anchor and lift it off, but the chains and lines were still wrapped around ours, it appeared either I would need to dive it, or get a local diver to come out and get it unwrapped at the bottom with the tension off the lines. Lucky for us, sailors are good Samaritans. An Austrian, anchored next to us saw what was happening and offered to come over to help. With him on a dinghy to wrap a line individually around each of the old anchor lines, I was able to pull it up enough so he could push it aside from our anchor. Many thanks later, and a few stories, we were once again free to move on to Hope Town.
The winds were light but we had a very nice sail again across the Sea of Abaco toward Hope Town. We were arriving just after low tide, so planned to anchor outside and wait till high tide in the morning to go in and see if a mooring was available, As we approached the anchorage in about 6 ft of water we passed by a boat with a 6'6" draft hard aground waiting for the tide to come up. We decided not to press our luck getting in further and anchored in 6 ft of water with a giant star fish just off our starboard side.
Hope Town is known for its candy striped lighthouse, the only working kerosene lighthouse in the world. It sits high above the town and the mooring field and can be seen form miles around. You can walk to the top for a spectacular view !
Hope Town is a charming settlement with a close quartered complex of narrow streets lovely cottages, shops and restaurants. We took the dinghy in a number of times over two days where the Hope Town Sailing Club has provided a public dinghy dock rifgt in the middle of town. They have a Saturday morning farmers market where we were pleasantly surprised at the variety available.

Man-O-War Cay

19 April 2018 | One of the many lovely homes on Man-O-War
We set out on our Abaco journey to visit all the islands and towns. The Abacos is so rich with opportunities to sail for a few hours to a different location, visit, meet new people and sample what the island offers.
We left Abaco Beach Resort, bound for Man-O-War Cay, The island has an internal harbour, nearly surrounded by land, but entered by a narrow inlet that is only passable in high tide. It is also a very unique island, originally settled by Loyalists escaping the Revolutionary war and they brought farming and ship building to the island. Man-O-War has been know as the boat building capital of the Bahamas since the 1800's, They still built boats on the island, the Albury Ship Building Company remains quite active and we see Albury boats all over the Abacos. The island also has one of the best repair yards in the Bahamas, Edwin's Boatyard, where we also got help to finally resolve our minor water pump problem. Turns out I had fixed it, BUT then proceeded to put it back together wrong, damaging an 'O' ring. Once again, you learn something new every day on the boat!
Man-O-War also has another unique feature, they are the only "Dry" island in the Bahamas. Well I should say almost Dry. You can't buy beer or liquor, there are no liquor stores like there are on every other island, but a year or so back the restaurants started selling wine and beer, much to the chagrin of many of the residents. It seems that Dock-N-Dine kept loosing business because they didn't sell any wine, beer or mixed drinks. The straw apparently came when a group of 18 sat down for dinner and when they found out there as no alcohol, they all got up and left the island ! So now the two restaurants on the island both offer wine or beer with dinner. The town is small and we walked all of it, visited the museum/coffee shop, the small grocery, the sail canvas shop with the ladies sewing away on their "assembly line" production and across the island to the beach on the Atlantic side. Man-O-War doesn't allow anchoring on the harbour so we picked up a mooring. The harbour is packed tight and it was a real experience watching the boat swing through one night's front with boats on both sides of us within a few feet of making contact. It was a bit harrowing, but they actually did a pretty good job of laying out the mooring field.

Abaco Beach Resort

19 April 2018
Weather looks better for a few days and we moved again north toward Marsh Harbour. There appears to be a good anchorage just outside the Boat Harbour at Abaco Beach Resort. It is on the back side of Marsh Harbour, well protected from the north with a luxurious resort available close. The resort has an interesting policy, you anchor out free, then dinghy in. For $25 per day you can use their dinghy dock and all the facilities of the resort, showers, laundry, restaurant and bar and they give you a $25 credit against food and drinks at the bar. Now that is a good deal. So for a change, we dinghy in, walk to the best Supermarket in the Bahamas, and come back in the afternoon, get hot showers and lounge around the pool with a Kalik ! Don't tell me this isn't paradise !
Marsh Harbour is the largest City in the Bahamas after Nassau, it has just about everything you need and everything is in easy walking distance. We could walk outside the resort to Queen's Highway and get to downtown in a short time. Marsh Harbour is the only place we visited in the Abacos on previous trips, so it was fun walking by Harbour View Marina and Snapper's where we spent time previously. We enjoyed our stay so much we stayed three days, just relaxing and using the facilities at the resort.
Boat Harbour at the resort is one of the best marinas in the Bahamas and while there we also found out about the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. Many cruisers consider the Abacos, and Marsh Harbour in particular as their winter destination. They come there and stay all winter. The RMHYC was formed from those cruisers with their base is at the Abaco Beach Resort. The marina gives them significant long term rate reduction for dockage if they get in before December 31st. They can then buy 60, 90 or 120 day rates with their slip held if they want to take a trip within the Abacos for a few days. The Sailing Club does a number or projects (they erected a public dinghy dock in Marsh Harbour) and get discounts throughout the Abacos.

Still Hiding from Weather

19 April 2018 | Anchorage with Moon
On leaving Little Harbour, we moved north and west to Spenser's Point. Not much there, but a well sheltered anchorage from the south and west. The Abacos, offers so many interesting hiding places, and sailing north or east can provide protection quickly from opposite directions. Near Spenser's Point is a Bahamas National Trust Nature Preserve and Sandy Cay considered to be one of the best snorkeling locations in the Abacos. We sat out the initial front with high winds but sheltered from any waves or surge. Sheltered by the Great Abaco and islands surrounding us provided a comfortable location to weather through the storm. Winds still high, but shifting to the north we decided to move further north to Snake Cay, an old timber company location with an abandoned jetting and a small inlet to the back tidal basins that is considered to be an excellent hurricane hole by Stephen Pavlidis in one of his Cruising Guides volumes. Anchoring again we were well sheltered to the west and north behind the old jetting. While the reinforcing fronts were not nearly as severe, we were quite comfortable and enjoyed a peaceful night in another remote anchorage with only a few other boats, In the morning, we took the dinghy for a ride back the tidal basin inlet and found it an unusual location. Like an expansive salt marsh, this back basin area is sheltered by a delta of multiple islands and absolutely no sign of human activity. It was quite refreshing to find an area almost pristine, with islands with no homes, and only the occasional excursion boat, like, us just out to experience one of the few unspoiled areas remaining.
Its time again to keep moving, the fronts done for a few days, and we again began looking for our next location. Across the Sea of Abaco is Lubbers Landing, an island of mostly homes, with a couple interesting restaurants/bars, and Diana looked forward to not cooking and not dealing with our minor water problem washing dishes. To the east of Lubbers is Elbow Cay and a narrow channel between for anchorage and protection from the east, west and northwest. As we zig zag across the Sea of Abaco, we thoroughly enjoy the proximity and variety of locations available to us. We anchor near the channel between islands, next to "Barcelona express, a 100 ft luxury charter schooner, and dinghy across to Lubbers. Lubbers Landing, a resort and restaurant has been closed for the past year or more, but right next to it is Cracker P's one of those wonderful Bahamian restaurant/bars and its packed with lunch time visitors. This is probably more people in one place than we have seen in months ! Cracker's is typical of island watering holes, it can accommodate a lot of people and many of the resorts take vacationers there on skiffs for lunch. Realizing it is spring break week for many locations, we settle in for a long relaxing lunch and enjoy all the activity going on around us. It never fails, sitting next to us is a family from St. Louis, with their two kids, both high School age, we have a short visit before their launch takes them back to the resort they are staying at. On returning to Joy, we decide to stay the night at the anchorage and move on in the morning with milder conditions heading back again across the Sea of Abaco and north toward Marsh Harbour.

Pete's Gallery at Little Harbour

19 April 2018 | Pete's Gallery at Little Harbour
Pete's Gallery has many sculptures and looking at the prices, its evident you can make a nice living as an artist on a remote island !

Arrival in the Abacos

28 March 2018 | Pete's Pub and Gallery Dock at Little Harbour
We left an anchorage for one night at Egg Island and headed almost due north at first light for Little Harbour and the beginning of our Abacos exploration. We have been hearing for years about how nice it was in the Abacos and yet we spent almost no time there three years ago when we went into Marsh Harbour, then on north for our return trip to NC. Island Breeze was anchored on the other side of Egg Island and we touched base by radio, but with different schedules and departure times, we left separately. It was a lovely day heading north, light winds so we motor sailed the entire distance arriving at the Little Harbour Cut about 3 PM. Winds were forecast to increase from the east that night so we anchored on the west side of Lynard Cay along with a large number of other boats with the same intention and decided it would be a good time to take a day of rest and map out our next stops.
The Abacos are unique for the Bahamas. There are so many locations to visit, and each one has something different to offer. In the midst of these various islands and settlements is the Sea of Abaco. Like a large sound, the main island Greater Abaco lies to the west and extends nearly 200 miles north to south with numerous out-islands (like the outer banks in NC) across the Sea of Abaco to the east. To move east to west or west to east across the Sea of Abacos is never more than 5-6 miles and an easy couple hour sail. The Abacos is environmentally also different from much of the rest of the Bahamas. It is more lush, more flowers, and more frequent settlements, often with resorts and more development than all the rest of the Bahamas except Nassau.
We mapped out an initial travel itinerary with the intention to visit every location in the Abacos ! That had been our initial goal, and now it seemed that we could really could do it. Along with that plan was, as always the weather. Things really haven't changed much even though we are now well into mid-April. Over the next week, we are looking at three cold fronts coming in succession, the initial one somewhat more severe than the reinforcing fronts that follow. Initially coming out of the west, clocking to the north meant we needed multiple locations to hide. In addition, we have been having domestic water problems. Our tanks emptied unexpectantly while still in Rock Sound and I attempted to locate and repair the problem. It all seemed to be the input connection to the water pump, and while I tightened and tried to secure all the water lines, they had again broken loose and water poured from the pump inlet. Thank goodness our water maker was working to keep us supplied with just the inconvience of shutting off the water and the pump after each use, but we knew that repairs could be made at Marsh Harbour in the next week.
Our first stop had to be Little Harbour, and Pete's Pub. Located at the far south end of The Sea of Abaco. Little Harbour is a small lagoon on a narrow, shallow channel. We anchored outside and took the dinghy in. The entire settlement has a fantastic storey. An internationally recognized Canadian sculptor, Randolph Johnson had immigrated to the US and taught at Smith College in Northampton, MA. In the early 1950's Johnson sought a home for his family away from the "megamachine" and materialism he saw all around him. In his journal he wrote "I have been told of a place that sounds like the paradise we have been looking for" the date of the entry was May 30, 1952, two days later he and his family, wife Margot and three children set sail on his schooner, Langosta, for Little Harbour where he intended to settle. They lived in nearby caves, shared with bats and crabs, until a hut was built, and continued to build his home and a Foundry where he cast bronze sculptures that have sold around the world. One of his sculptures "St Peter: Fisher of Men" rests in the Vatican Museum in Rome. Randolph died in 1989 at the age of 89, but his son Pete has continued the Foundry and the life as an international sculptor. Pete also opened "Pete's Pub, which is known by everyone in the Abacos and throughout the Bahamas. The gallery at Little Harbour is stocked with bronze sculptures, many depicting the love of the sea and creatures loved by Pete and his students.
Little Harbour is an amazing and beautiful location. Sand beaches surround much of the lagoon, and the roads are all sand with heavy rope lines crossing for "speed bumps". The landscape is lush and tropical with flowers everywhere, but perhaps the most interesting is a community continually surrounded and sprinkled with sculptures. They are everywhere you turn, on a wood deck trail to the ocean, a grouping in a median in the middle of a small circular sand drive, at the front of buildings. It's a beautiful location, a wondrous place to live and work. Visitors come from all over the world, and for events and celebrations the anchorage around Little Harbour is packed with boats. For the beginning of our Abaco experience, we couldn't have picked a better location.
Vessel Name: Joy
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina Morgan 440
Hailing Port: Vandemere, NC
Crew: John Lark and Diana Borja
John has extensive racing experience on Lasers in Regional races near St Louis and in National competition and previously owned an Erickson 34. Diana has also raced as crew on C&Cs, J14, J36 and on her Ranger 26 (Tango). [...]
Extra: Oliver, the Second Mate/Dog loves sailing and will accompany his owners on the Chesapeake trip. Since he is not boat trained, he will stay behind with neighbors on the Bahama trip.
Joy's Photos - st Augustine