When last we left our intrepid traveller he was more or less safely ensconced at Fish Cay.
|Anchored at Fish Cay|
|Welcome To Great Guana Cay|
Funny story which falls into the category of good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement. As I came into the anchorage I saw this big spot where I thought people had left from. Boats all around, close to Grabbers. relatively calm. "So", I says to meself, "that looks like a brilliant place to anchor." And anchor I do. As I always do after anchoring, I checked my position with the boats around me. I have about 150 feet of chain in like 12 feet of water so I'm right sure of myself. But then it's starting to look like I'm shifting in relation to the other boats. Not a lot, and not fast, but it's showing. I'm right on the hairy edge of convincing myself it's just me when I decide to jump in the water and check the anchor...
Well, it turns out the anchor was sitting right on top of some bare coral and the only thing holding me in place was friction from the chain. It turns out no one anchors there for a very good reason. You can't.
|Entrance To Grabber's|
I met Kevin and Louise from SV Serena Rose and enjoyed a lunch with them at Grabbers. I had met them at Donny's in Black Sound at Green Turtle Cay and again at Manjack. A very pleasant couple of days, to be sure.
|Laundry Day at Treasure Cay|
|Lunch at Bahama Beach Club|
|Laura and Cory Return to Green Turtle|
It's interesting to note that the power went out fairly frequently as the Abaco power company did rolling blackouts. Apparently one generator had a failed pump and it took a long time to get the wrong pump, then some more time to get the right one. So I got to wash my clothes but had to dry them on the lifelines. Life of a cruiser!
|Treasure Cay Marina Office|
I stayed at Mangoes Marina and I am so glad I did. It's the smallest of the bunch but it's really well run and if you're liked, you're invited back. The restaurant had not yet opened for the season but would have by the time Lynn and I got back. Anyway, clean facilities, new washing machines and dryers, metered electricity and very reasonable water prices. And the people there, whether long term or transient are treated like family.
I had heard about Mangoes when I met Helen on her Shucker 36 again in Fisher's Bay. Scott, her friend, made a reservation for me - it turns out he lived there on his trawler. So it was good to see him again when I got there.
The day I arrived I also headed to Maxwell's, the big grocery store near by, to stock up on healthy food and so forth. Lynn likes fruit so I got that and other stuff for us to partake of. I didn't know how much eating ashore we'd do so I planned for food for every night.
The next morning I caught a cab for the airport and waited for Lynn's flight. Man, was it nice to see her come out of the arrivals door! My cab had waited and we made our way back to Pelican. We stayed the night and got ready to go the next morning-ish.
Since we were only going a few miles to Archer Cay we left around noon arriving around 3 and having had a brilliant sail for a couple of hours. The north of Archer/Water Cay is great protection from winds from the south east through the west. The holding is good, too. And it's about halfway between Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour, just a couple of miles west of Fish Cay. If you're thinking this area of the Abacos is small, you're correct. It is. It's very well protected except from the northeast swell from the Atlantic coming through the Whale Cay cut.
Anyway, the next morning we hopped in the dinghy and went snorkeling around Archer and Water Cays. There's a surprising amount to look at but a pale shadow of what was to come.
Around two, we left for Man of War Cay, again only a few miles away. We met Laura and Cory for dinner on Ursa Minor - a delicious dinner of fresh fish (Cory's the best at fishing and lobstering and that sort of stuff, and Laura is darn good at it, too). It was a great evening and we planned on snorkeling on the reef outside Man of War the next morning.
|Laura and Cory|
Around lunch time it appeared there was some weather coming in so we got ourselves together hoping to get a place in Hopetown, on Elbow Cay, for the evening. Nope. No room. No moorings, no slips. Nada. So we crossed back to Sugar Loaf Cay, just west of Matt Lowe Cay, and anchored. Well, that wasn't too comfortable so we moved again to Boat Harbor, south of Marsh Harbour (actually on the south side of the peninsula Marsh Harbour is part of.
|Conch Lynn caught|
|Little coral Lynn found|
|Lynn with her helmet conch|
It was still a bit rough at Sugar Loaf so back to Boat Harbor - but this time in deeper water to start. The nights were amazing - clear skies, lots of stars. The moon was becoming full. Just beautiful.
Anyway, the next morning sadness ensued as we went to the airport and I saw Lynn off. A slip became available and I took it to get some hardware I needed and stock up at Maxwell's. Also, to try Jamie's. Stayed for three nights, met Vince and Sharlene of "Finn MacCool" and see Scott and Helen of "Ain't Ms Behavin'".
I knew my time was drawing to a close. I wanted to get to Little Harbour, see the Coral Gardens, another underwater park, and see the 'nature trail' behind Snake Cay. Also, I hoped to get to Hopetown at least for a visit.
I have found that it is nearly impossible to back and fill Pelican to starboard. But it is possible and there are twenty or so people at Mangoes who are witness to that. At this point I am king of going down fairways sideways. For those of you who don't know what backing and filling is, it's turning the boat using reverse and forward to rotate it on its vertical axis (the axis of the main mast). If you have a strong prop walk (tendency of the boat to back in a particular direction) you can use that to help the rotation. For instance, Pelican has a strong starboard prop walk meaning the stern goes starboard and the bow, in theory, port. So you can leave the rudder to port and just by reversing and going forward you can make it turn. But to go the other way is far more difficult. Lots of wheel turning. forward and backward, swearing, sweating, and trying to convince people you're not going to hit them.
Anyway, it was a good fifteen minutes of amusement for those on their boats or curious enough to watch from shore.
Without any wind, it was about 4 hours to Little Harbour. Sadly, even within one hour of high tide I bumped going in and once there found no moorings available with sufficient depth. The boat I was following (Mt. Olympus) got the last mooring and then decided there wasn't enough water. I knew that as I ran aground. Then when freed, I went to leave the harbor but had to wait for ocean swells to get me past the entrance - every swell I'd go 20 or 30 feet then settle on the bottom. 10 seconds later, same thing.
|Oceanside Lynyard Cay|
|Path across Lynyard Cay|
|Oceanside Lynyard Cay|
Then I tootled off to the main beach on Lynyard found Linda from Linda Jane who had managed to find the one deep water mooring in Little Harbour. I had met them at Mangoes before they left. I explored to the other side of Lynyard and took pictures. When I got back, Tom was there so I hung out with him while Linda wandered off to hunt for shells. Very pleasant.
The next morning with the wind still out of the east I left for Tilloo Cay again. Sailed most of the way. There's a story, though. When Lynn and I were there she found a helmet conch. I found out you can't really eat them so suggested we leave it there. She was disappointed. Well, I figured I'd go back and find it again. Or at least search for it. It turns out they can travel 2-1/2 miles a day but they don't necessarily do that. In fact, it was right where we left it, more or less. So conch acquired. See above picture.
Once again on the move to a little bight north of Snake Cay. There's a little 'nature trail' you can take your dinghy on behind the cay. I did that the next day with the winds out of the south west. It's amazing how rough it can get in three feet of water. It's an interesting trail and if you have a portable chart plotting software bring it. You can get lost-ish. Which I did. Anyway, on a calm day you can see turtles and rays and even fish. There are pools and coral and things to see. On a cold rough day it's less interesting. As I look at my pictures I realize they're mostly worthless. Just go and see for yourself.
|Lighthouse Marina, Hopetown|
|I'm in Hopetown!|
|Pelican from Lighthouse|
That morning I went to town after having breakfast at Captain Jack's and had a walk to Firefly's and around the island. Firefly's is a must go to restaurant with a resort. They have courtesy transport to Hopetown and back. Just call. But I don't really like going to places like that alone. Who should come in that afternoon but Helen on Ain't Ms Behavin' with Scott and others. No small amount of drinking ensued. Also, I climbed the lighthouse.
A couple of days later I crossed Whale Cay to the Other Club in Black Sound to wait out weather for the start of my trip home. Got a chance to say goodbye to Kevin, Sarah, and Jesse. Also, met Ron from the Pearson 31 "True Blue" I had met waiting for the swing bridge in Virginia. Also "Old Sam" from Marsh Harbour. I also met Edgar and Laura on "Way Point", a Morgan 41 Out Island. What incredibly nice people - in fact, they offered me their slip in Lady's Island Marina in Beaufort SC, where I'm now writing this. I hope to see them again!
Next, the trip home.