2019-04-12 — Abacos

Departing Eleuthera we woke up very early (03:00) in the morning so we went a ahead and got underway. Crossing the Northeast Providence Channel is no small thing. We consider it the “biggest” water we operate on. We have crossed the 50 miles of open ocean in swells so large the entire mast of companion boats disappeared. It is really something to experience. There is nothing to break the waves between here and the coast of Portugal. Note also the depth here can get to 15,000 feet…yes 15. No matter how small the waves are, when water depth goes from that deep to sea level, rest assured “stuff” is going to happen.

Before heading for the open ocean though there was the little matter of extracting ourselves from out anchorage off Royal Island transiting the cut between Egg and Little Egg Island. We had a little moon and been through here in the daylight before so extra attention brought us out in no drama.

The passage to the Abacos was one our best through here and our early departure meant we were not racing the sun to the other side. The passage was actually so good we made the decision to enter the Abacos via a different inlet than normal just to widen our experience a bit. Rather than enter the traditional Little Harbor Inlet at Lynyard Cay we continued up to North Bar and entered there. It was a non event which is just the way we like new experiences. Some day in a BAD situation we may need an alternative inlet and so now we have that in out back pocket.

We actually left Eleuthera sooner than we had wanted because of some approaching weather so after passing by Hope Town we continued on to Marsh Harbor to top up provisions before finding a quiet anchorage to ride out the next days storm.

We found the perfect little spot about 5 miles to the north-east off Man-O-War Cay. We expected to have good protection from the strongest winds from the NE and most important no other boat anchored near by!

We even arrived Man-O-War with time to head to shore and have some lunch, a little walk and of source and ice cream cone. While we were in town we saw a Moorings Charter Boat circling and looking for a mooring ball. (Mooring is a charter boat company where people rent the boat for a weeks vacation — sometime a little scary because of inexperience yet where most of us started) . As we headed back to Magnolia in Blossom (dinghy) we saw they we outside circling trying to figure out where to anchor. A bit later they found their way over towards us…we waved them over, got them anchored so where in the forcast biggest storm of the year we were anchored and ready to ride it out. As anticipated we were well out of any waves, lite swell wrapping in from the north during tide changes and a maximum of 35 knots though 50 was reported in Marsh Harbor…well boats drug at anchor and why we got out of there.

We were able to score a mooring ball in Hope Town (thank you Jay & Will). Annette quickly connected with her “boat ladies” and they set off on a walk around the island and catching up.

Meanwhile back aboard i made some “engine room dough” for grill pizza. We were happy to host the gang from Exuberant, Pegasus, Ilar, Renaissance Woman, aboard Magnolia . It was a fun evening and always good to spend time together.

A “neighbor” caught some lovely pictures of Magnolia on the ball in Hope Town Harbor.

Historic Hope Town Lighthouse is the singular iconic image of Elbow Cay

We met a lovely couple our first season here. J&C were looking to buy a house on the island. One thing lead to another and 2 years ago I was able to help for a few hours lifting and setting some heavy beams. They now have the beautiful cottage with an amazing view. Good people, who worked extremely hard to attain their goals. People who really inspire….so happy for them

Magnolia is the closest boat in the picture.

…and there was ice cream

and walks on the beach

Rod from Pegasus had a BIG birthday while in Hope Town and Mary organized a surprise party. It was a fun evening a great time to catch up.

It was time for Magnolia to get moving and we had one more challenging area before taking on the Gulf Stream. The cut around Whale Cay is very exposed to the ocean and can be very shall we say “rambunctious.” We picked a good day and had no problem.

We always get through the Whale and start looking for the next window to cross the gulf stream. This trip we did make time for a stop at Manjack which is known for the shear numbers of Sea Turtles and HUGE Sea Rays

One thing people do not appreciate about the Bahamas is the variety of “climates” they have…in the south Exumas the country is arid and desert like. Here in the north Abacos there trees and a totally different feel.

There in the middle of the harbour is our trusty steed….and home. Magnolia.

From here we will stop out to Great Sale Cay and depart for the United States from there.

2019-03-27 – Georgetown, Cat & Eleuthera Islands

After having a wonderful trip down the Exuma chain we arrived Great Exuma, aka Georgetown, aka “Adult Daycare.”

Great Exuma – Georgetown — Track to Cat

We caught up with Exuberant and enjoyed hanging out with Burt & Prue

After a couple days in “daycare” and topping up on provisions we were off to Cat Island, about 50 miles to the north east.

First stop is one of our favorites in the Bahamas, Fernandez Bay (
https://www.fernandezbayvillage.com ). The anchorage is protected except from the west, there is no west protection on Cat Island! We always meet interesting people and have a great meal…whats not to love?

Prue reminded us it was Fish Fry night in New Bight and also it was Junior Junkanoo ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkanoo ) night. It was also brought to our attention there were 3 Hylas sailing yachts in the anchorage and only one Krogen….which is completely backwards from normal

In the next couple of days we were expecting a lengthy blow, no significant west winds forecast but plenty of east. We also wanted to get away from the crowds so we would have plenty of anchor room. Bennetts Harbor was the perfect fit. A beautiful beach and easy access to a protected dock. What was not to love and it worked out perfect.

We even made it to the famous Yardies (
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g147427-d2092220-Reviews-Yardie_s_Restaurant_Bar_and_Conch_Stand-Cat_Island_Out_Islands_Bahamas.html )

After nearly a weeks slow down in it was off to Eleuthera Island. The trip from Bennetts Harbor Cat Island to Rock Sound CAN be done in one LONG day but why do that? We are suppose to be slowing down. We stopped Little San Salvador Island…known as Half Moon Cay to the Cruise Ship Community.

This particular anchorage is very complicated for me….not to anchor…no not at all super easy, stay out of the way of the ships and get in as close as you can to avoid the North Atlantic swell that is wrapping around the island. First, what they do here is amazing….these ships arrive about dawn…between the two of them what, maybe 10,000 people? They take them all to shore, give them a beach fantasy day to include beach horse back riding and then pile them all back aboard and be underway by supper. An amazing dance in my mind…then I am so very grateful. We get to explore this beautiful island environment for months on end…most of these passenger will be back in hectic world in the next couple days. What we do is not for everyone….but it is not wasted on us…I assure you.

The next morning we departed at first light to be sure we were out of the way of the next arriving ship and sure enough, Carnival Cruise lines was on the horizon….

After that we were off to round the Cape of Eleuthera and up to Rock Sound.

The Cape Of Eleuthera I think has the most beautiful water we have seen.

We arrived in Rock Sound just ahead of the next cold front which was expected to be “sporty” so it was good to be in a secure harbor. Additionally our Bahamian WIFI Hotspot needed a replacement SIM card which was being flown in. We anchored up near the airport and of course the flight arrived as the front was too. I jumped in the dink and beached it a couple hundred yards from the airport, walked into the airport with its typical
Bahamian chaos and a hundred arriving tourists. The whole thing was a bit of out of body experience. I picked up my package, raced back to Magnolia and was back on-board to finish my coffee to watch the rain and a rainbow. It made us chuckle about our life a little asking, “I wonder how others day started out?”

Our next and last stop in Eleuthera was Governors Harbor. We had never made time to stop and enjoy and this was our opportunity. What a wonderful stop. We just wish it could have been a couple weeks later so we could have enjoyed a day or two with Stan and Suzie from the The Pearl (
https://sscruisingadventure.blogspot.com ). Schedules seldom align but we keep trying!

Next stop, the Abacos.