Green Turtle Cay has been my home base for the month. I think I've mentioned I've been on and off the dock here at the Other Shore Club.
My first week here I spent exploring the island - Gillam Beach, Brita Beach, in and out of town, so forth.
|Beach Dis Way, Mon|
The beach itself is wide, white, and very easy to walk near the water. Most of it is marked above the high water line as a bird sanctuary so you're not supposed to wander around in the woods. To be truthful, you can get lost in the woods so you're best off just exiting the beach where you entered. It seems like it would be easy to find your way through. It's not. Even locals get lost in there. Anyway, there's swimming from the calm to the challenging. All up to you.
|The beach, New Plymouth in the |
|Sands Pink Radler|
So off we went to the Bluff House Beach Bar for a cool drink, mine being a new favorite of Sands Pink Radler which sounds girly but is, in fact, a healthy drink being only 2.5% alcohol and the rest grapefruit juice. It's refreshing, it can be had with breakfast, and of course, it's a good source of vitamin C which helps with the dreaded rickets so very prevalent here.
|The bar and deck|
The Beach Bar is really beautiful, overlooking the Abaco Sound. The bar isn't always open so you have to choose your visiting time. But as I later found out, the food's pretty good and it's a pleasant place to while away the hours.
Anyway, Jeff and Nancy gave me a ride back to Pineapples where I retired to Pelican for a quiet evening.
The next day or so I rented a golf cart and donned my thin wetsuit, loaded up the fins and snorkle and headed off to see the other beaches. One beach in particular, Brita Beach, is a small cove protected by an even smaller cay and looked to have some fish and protection. It has both. Most of the ocean beaches are wide open to the reef and in east winds are unswimmable. Also, when the wind kicks up the water is way too cloudy to see anything. You can see the change from a clear greenish water to a milky turquoise.
After snorkeling all morning at Brita Beach and at the beach at the northwestern tip of Green Turtle Cay (where there are conk, helmet conch, barracuda and other fishes I can't even begin to identify) I headed to the Beach Club Beach Bar again for lunch... That's how I know the food is good.
I'd like to say that I was active every day. No, I wasn't. Oh, sure, I wandered around and so forth but seriously how much drinking and eating cracked conch can you do? There is a limit. I say this while eating cracked conch at Mangoes Restaurant in Marsh Harbor. But I digress.
Pineapples and the Other Shore Club are owned/run by Sarah and Jesse. Kevin is the dock master. So I spent an incredible amount of time pestering them. They were all unfailingly kind. They may not have the best facility on the island but they definitely have the friendliest with good, fresh food. Jesse goes out every week for fish and lobster (which they call crayfish).
|Manjack Cay south harbor|
Bill and Leslie purchased most of Manjack some 26 years ago and lived on their boat for a while there while they built a house. They have great cisterns to collect rainwater from all their roofs and solar panels which supply all their power. Cruisers who have taken the time to meet them find them lovely people with hearts as big as all outdoors. If they like you, they'll offer you some special lemonade. However, they are private people and you are discouraged from just wandering up to their home unless introduced.
|Manjack Cay Ocean Beach|
Anyway, I spent a week there on anchor wandering to the beaches and meeting people and generally hanging out. It's a very social environment - every Sunday afternoon there's a little get together on the public beach. You bring a drink and some food to share and as many stories as you can remember. What I found, sometimes uncomfortably, is what a complete newbie I am at this. But everyone was kind, full of good advice, and welcoming. Fortunately I wasn't the only newbie, so there's that.
|Ben on the helm|
The next day they met me at Pelican and off we went in a nice 15kt breeze - sailing up to Manjack again where we anchored, had some beer and stuff, went swimming, took pictures and so forth until we sailed back. The only fly in the ointment was running a little bit aground leaving the harbor. More annoying than anything else.
|Swimming in Manjack|
The next day we met again around lunch - all hopped into my dinghy and went over to the Leeward Yacht Club for lunch and drinks. Well, sir, the day went downhill from there. Somehow we managed to meet later for dinner at their rental place for pizza and much imbibing. All in all, a pretty good day.
Another day passed, I figured they'd had enough of me so I went a wandering again. At Pineapples once again I am greeted by the trio - after some snacks and drinks we all went off to Sundowner's in New Plymouth for pizza and more drinks. If you're in Green Turtle Cay you should go once. That's enough.
Another place in New Plymouth that cruisers meet on Fridays is Plymouth Rock Liquors and Cafe. You can have breakfast in a liquor store, which is perfect if you're an alcoholic. But seriously, the food's good and the prices are pretty fair as well. Friday nights - remember that.
Some other places to eat in New Plymouth include Harvey's Grill - good food, fancy prices. Like a real restaurant. Usually they have fresh fish specials. Then there's Two Shorty's - it's a take out that you can get a lunch for $5! Or $10 for the large size. Brilliant. Good food. Kevin's sisters run it. Also there's The Wrecking Tree. Odd name, decent food, worth the trip. There's Macintosh's that does breakfast and it's good. They're also a bakery. Good cookies. Never made it for dinner. Or lunch, for that matter. I'm sure I'm forgetting someplace.
The next day dawned brilliant and calm so I weighed anchor and headed to the Whale Cay cut. After all the hubbub about it it was a bit disappointing. Don't get me wrong. In a northeast wind it would be treacherous but there were 4 foot swells and no waves to speak of. Also, the cut is short and the distance in the ocean is only like 2 nautical miles. The channel back to the southern Abacos is wide and deep as it was dredged for cruise ships which no longer stop here.
There are rumors that the channel markers which were steel poles remained but below the waterline because of storms and corrosion. I sailed down the edge of the channel looking for them and didn't see them. I think they were removed when a vessel got holed on one and sank. There are still poles around the turning basin, though, which are still visible but a little worse for wear.
I decided to anchor off Fish Cay which is an archipelago of about six islands. Because it was calm it was ok. The eastern side is deep but not good holding ground - good enough for the weather or for winds out of the west.
Anyway, that's the northern Abacos. Next up, the southern Abacos from Great Guana Cay to Treasure Cay, Archer Cay, Marsh Harbor, Elbow and Lynyard Cays, Tilloo Cay and so forth.