April 24, Day 4
(I have added a link to an interactive map of the Abacos, for readers see travel locations) http://go-abacos.com/theabs/theab_map.html
We woke at Manjack Cay to a beautiful Sunday sunrise solitude. We decided to head off for an early morning spearfishing. I agreed to manage the dinghy while Mike and Jeff would snorkel – spearfish.
In the Bahamas, you cannot SCUBA and spearfish, you must only use snorkel. This mandates excellent diving skills along with the ability to shoot a speargun. I had mentioned in a previous blog something about a user failure in spearing a supposed great fish. With greater knowledge that morning we set out on a flat sea for more. The “fishing” was uneventful. The morning ended a bit early due to an approaching squall. We watched waterspouts and dark clouds as we motored the dinghy back to Lost Loon. After relaxation time, an afternoon meal, we motorsailed for Green Turtle Cay.
Green Turtle Cay
We had decided to obtain fuel as well as tour the island on a Sunday. It was a very hot day that afternoon as we made our slow approach through the narrow but adequate channel to Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina.
We initially tied up at the fuel dock, procured island transportation and then anchored in the marina to have lunch and secure the boat before we took off for the day.
Our tour took us by beautiful beaches that were absolutely beautiful. We made our way to Gillam Bay Beach and then onto New Plymouth (primary town or settlement on Green Turtle).
Being Sunday we only found one restaurant open, McIntosh Restaurant and Bakery. A welcome respite from the heat, we devoured lobster bites, conch bites and ceviche! And cold beers! We procured some famous coconut bread for breakfast onboard. This was a lazy-Sunday town where kids were playing in neighborhood lots and the adults keeping cool in the shade of porches.
We were surprised to find most of the beaches deserted…I guess you live there it’s the same paradise everyday. We made our way back to the Green Turtle Club Resort, returned the golf cart, and headed for quick dip in the pool before returning to Lost Loon. The pool was deliciously refreshing following a hot afternoon of “beach hopping”.
We pulled the anchor and headed out to our next stop in the Abacos, Powell Cay, which was located mid way between Green Turtle and our final stop before heading back to the US Great Sale Cay. Once out of the small harbor we were sailing!
We had a very relaxing sail to Powell. This was a 3-hour sail, in which we were rewarded with another great swim to cool ourselves off after anchoring sand then a dinghy ride to another idyllic beach.
We hunted for shells and unfortunately saw the washed up ocean debris. Always a joker, Mike was able to share the humor.
Our evening meal was galley prepared chicken and rice accompanied by the compulsory homemade bread, following another sweet sunset. The mundane sailing life had set in just as we were to make our home journey. We were fortunate to have such great weather to escort us through our Bahamas sailing tour.
Shortly after sunrise we were up took the dinghy to shore for long awaited hikes across the island. We followed a pretty well marked trail up an unusual “hill” on these flat islands.
We had a beautiful view of the anchorage and Lost Loon sitting patiently waiting for another travel day. We made our way back to the beach to find another well-marked trail from the bayside to the oceanside of the island.
Well marked with single crocs or flip-flops hanging precariously from the trees. Washed up ocean debris like marker buoys or plastic containers.
The trail moved through thick tropical foliage and open grassy ravines. We could hear waves crashing long before we arrived at the empty beach that stretched north to south. We commented that the setting was so desolate and remote that at any moment we expected a triceratops to appear out of the thick palms or pterodactyl to swoop down from the sky as if a scene from Jurassic Park.
We were quickly brought back to reality on the littered trail back to the anchorage. We found signs of a healthy ocean with numerous live starfish that inhabited the bay.
Our travel goal that day was to get back to Great Sale Cay in order to push off for GA early the next morning, eventually making our way back to the US. Once we were organized for the morning we were off sailing.
We had a Southwesterly that gently headed us northwest on a calm ocean. We spent the day aboard navigating, reading, cleaning, and discussing our planned 3 day passage across the gulf stream the following day. Great Sale greeted us with a host of other passage-makers that afternoon.
A quick swim to refresh and bathe followed by Captain’s hour was much welcome after a hot day’s trip. I made the predetermined 1600 radio contact and through several ham relays was able to get a reassuring weather report for our Gulf Stream passage the next few days: clocking winds 10-15, SE moving to SW and possibly W by day 3. We had hoped we were closer to Brunswick by day 3 as Westerly winds would again be on our nose (but we were used to this by now and had confidence in managing the boat into the wind).
We rested well as usual, waking to calm seas and East-Southeast winds. We were headed west (young man).
And knew we could be motoring or sailing for 3 full days. To pass the time we spent several hours rigging our sails for a wing on wing configuration.
This is used when you have following winds (at your back) that truly now push the boat through the water. What was unfortunate was by late afternoon –early evening our wind had died approaching the Gulf Stream and we lowered sails for motoring.
Wait , what day was it? Tuesday? Where had the week gone?…despite our desire to stay and enjoy more of the Bahamas we needed to be back by Friday morning, clean the boat , and pack her away for the summer, to get on the road for our 23 hour trip back to Wisconsin.
It was our luck to find an uneventful, but hot day sailing across the Bahamas Banks. We encountered a few porpoise and attracted a stow-away bird.
At some point during our stay at Great Sale, we acquired this passenger who would fly out and away from the boat and return to sit on the combing of the cockpit. I’ll spare other details, but this gentle creature ended up in some oily dishwater, unable to free himself. I placed him on the combing to dry out, he flew away (I would guess to dry out his wings), but never returned.
We made a brief stop in the late afternoon that day, mid-ocean before hitting the Gulf Stream to refresh ourselves in the still Bahama blue waters. We experienced another sunset partially clouded, but it was a enjoyable as the rest of the great ones we had experienced this maiden voyage to the Bahamas.