Having missed the last weather window to jump north by about a day, we have instead slowly explored a couple of Cays in the Abacos, while we wait out tropical storm systems passing north of us. The past few days we have been hunkered down in a protected harbour on Green Turtle Cay while we wait out thunder squalls and shifting winds and prepare for an upcoming window to sail north.
We spent a few days at Great Guana Cay in warm settled weather, anchored a ways off the beach at Grabbers Bed Bar n Grill. We wandered the central part of the island near the settlement and went to try the famous Nippers on the north shore. A beautiful view overlooks the beach and they have a two level pool with a waterfall. Apparently they pack hundreds in on a Sunday, but we visited on a Friday and it was just steady. If you ever visit, be sure to ask for a menu before ordering appetizers. I was blown away when the bill came and the conch fritters were $17. The exact same fritters elsewhere in the Bahamas were usually $6 to 8.
From there we moved to Black Sound at Green Turtle Cay as the projected path at the time for tropical storm Colin suggested we might get battered with 30 to 40 kn squalls. In the end the storm passed further north and we’ve only seen isolated squalls with occasional thunder instead.
From the harbour it is just a short walk into the town of New Plymouth, so that has been a daily morning routine for Magnus and I, and then often again with Chrissy later in the day.
Someone getting their fill of the thick Bahama grass.
High season in the Abaco island chain is just beginning now, although all the Canadian snowbird boats are now sitting on the hard with their hurricane straps on. Crazy canucks, you don’t see them anchoring out on Georgian Bay in May because it’s too cold, yet they will spend several months in the same weather here and fly home just before the best season. To their credit, at least the water is warm here in the winter. Now, all the boaters I’ve spoken too are mostly from the southern US where this is a short jump to enjoy the uncrowded and extensive beaches.
The town is neat and tidy but unfortunately the harbour is really shallow, so the only sailboat we’ve seen in there is a 22′ Catalina pop-top.
Somehow, with a population of 500 residents, they manage to have 3 little grocery stores on the island. I think Chrissy has now used all three.
Naturally we are in the Bahamas, so there must be a white sandy beach somewhere. If only we could figure out how to find it.
Ah, here we are!
So there it is, we have reached the end of our Bahamas tour. This group of islands covers quite a large area and has quite a bit of diversity. My favourite places have been the outer islands but unfortunately many of these places only have shallow anchorages that can be used in unsettled and changing weather. So we will have to return someday with a shallow draft vessel if we want to truly explore some of the remote islands. The Exumas were another favourite last year as even with our draft we were able to sail up the banks a couple hours a day and found some of the best snorkelling anywhere. Despite the hype from other boaters, the Abacos were actually my least favourite.
Of all the places we’ve travelled, the Bahamas have felt the safest, particularly the out islands. In fact we have often left the boat unlocked and wide open while we’ve been ashore.
Then the other day Chrissy asks if I recognize the boat below. Yes, they were anchored next to us the other day at Great Guana Cay.
Well, turns out the authorities had good reason to board them, confiscate their undeclared weapons and ammunition and take them into custody. Evidently its not the locals you need to fear. Seriously, why on earth would you need that much firepower on board? Between this and all the Trump crap in the news, I have half a mind to change our plans and point the boat straight for Halifax.