Monday, June 14, 2010

Great Guana Cay

Greatt Guana Cay

Thursday June 10 – Friday June 11

We are underway by 10 after talking on the VHF radio to Fellow TMCA member & ex Texan Chris Blair. We had planned to meet up with them since they are cruising in the same area as we are. But they decided to head back to Florida just as we arrived at Green Turtle Key, so we just chatted a bit on the radio as they sailed past the island. We hope to meet up with them back in Florida or in November when we head back down this way. By 11 we are passing thru Whale Channel out into the Atlantic for a little jog past some very shallow waters on the Sea of Abaco side. By 11:30 we are heading back in and are passing Bakers Bay on the northeast tip of Great Guana Cay. We also pass mega yacht Gallant Lady, who is anchored off shore. You can rent her out like a hotel room, and have a fishing boat come take you fishing or a runabout boat to take you to shore. You do get to see two extreme ways of living down here, either very rich or just getting by. We are anchored in Fishers Bay by 12:45; Steve dives to check the anchor while I make lunch.

It looks like we will be getting another afternoon shower so we hang on the boat for a while. By 5 the rain has cleared and we take the dinghy to shore. We go ashore at Grabbers Bar & Grill & hotel with dock & pool right on the beach. We walk up the “main street” and over to the Atlantic side to another great Bar & Grill called Nippers also on the beach & with a pool. On this Thursday the place is almost empty, we wonder how they can keep such a big place running with such little traffic. We meet Bill & Kitty fellow sailors and visit with them for a while. They leave to eat elsewhere Steve & I eat at Nippers.

As we are walking back we see them again at Pirates Cove Tiki Bar & Grill (no pool) across from the marina at Guana Cay Harbor where they are anchored. We join them for another drink and compare dinners. We decide to check this place out the following day, they are thinking about moving on to another Island. We stop at Grabbers on the way back to the dinghy as the sun sets. Friday morning we go over to the dive shop to go out for a couple of dives. Before we even get on the boat we see an octopus right by the dock. Octopuses normally come out at night to hunt and hide during the day, but not this one. He’s well known to the dive shop and is frequently seen during the day. Once he crawled up into the lower unit of one of the dive boats engines and jammed it up so it couldn’t be raised or lowered. They tried to get him out, but had no luck and lost the use of the boat until he finally came out on his own. I tried out my new mask, not sure if it helped it seemed a little better but I will have to try again to see if I like it or not. We came up a little early from our second dive as a storm was overhead & the waves were tossing the boat around. It poured on us on the way back & I left a couple of windows open on the boat. We get back to Fishers Bay & luckily it had not rained that much here & when we get back to the boat it is just a little wet by the 2 open windows. It does rain after we are back on board so we just have a relaxing afternoon on the boat. Later it clears up and we go into Pirates Cove on the Island for dinner. We run into Bill & Kitty who had decided to stay an extra day and meet other friends Jack & Jackie, they are done eating but we join their table for dinner of BBQ ribs, drinks, and conversation. We head back to the boat just in time for another beautiful sunset here in the Islands. 

Saturday June 12 – Monday June 14

Man-O-War Cay and Back to Great Guana Cay

On Saturday we have a late morning departure, 11 am, as we only have 8 miles to go to this other island. Of course the wind is straight on our nose so we zig zag our way down the Sea of Abaco putting in 6 tacks before reaching Man-O-War. As we tack towards the main island we can see it is raining there so we get as close as we can to get a nice little boost from the wind before tacking back towards the east. We are anchored off the North West coast of Man-O-War by 2. There are two harbors here, one of which we could get in at high tide but we opt to anchor out, and take the dinghy in. We are glad we did, once past the entrance it is very narrow inside the harbors with docks and moorings & boats anchored, it would make maneuvering Ocean Star in those tight spots a little nerve wracking. After checking out the harbor we find a dock to tie up the dinghy and go walk around the Island. This island is known for its boat building and sail making. We see several shops but not a lot of activity going on in the middle of a hot day. We walk across the island past very neat little homes & yards to view the Atlantic. Some sand beaches but you have to climb over rock to get to them, we were hoping to be able to swim out to the reefs to go snorkeling but I do not do well climbing over rock. That evening we decide to go try another island on Sunday, but Sunday morning on the VHF cruisers net they mention that Nippers back on Great Guana Cay is having their Sunday pig roast bash. We’d heard this is a pretty big event so we decide to go back to Great Guana and check it out. By 10:30 we are headed back to Great Guana, wind is right behind us but we try to put the main out and she is stuck again. Steve tries to pull it in & out several times but the sail is stuck good this time and on one pull out the rope is so tight it snaps. We have a spare, so motor up to anchor at Great Guana before attempting to change it out. Steve had ordered all new lines before we left some he had switched out with the new keeping the old ones as spares some left the old & had the new as spares. The main outhaul was our old line so we got the new one out and ran it through to find it was 5 feet short, Steve somehow miscalculated the length and we came up short. Not to worry we had an old jib sheet line that was long enough so we switched them out again. Steve went on line & West Marine now carries Samson ropes so he orders another that his son Sean can hopefully bring with him on Wednesday when he comes to visit. The problem is that the main is still STUCK in the mast, but that will have to wait until tomorrow as we are off to the party at Nippers. What a party it is, we now know how the place can be almost empty 6 days a week. The place is packed!!!, the pools the patios and the beach. We have not seen this many people in one place in a long time, what a scene. We find a seat with some shade and drink some rum punch as we people watch. People come from all the neighboring Islands, via ferry or their own boat. This is the Sunday happening in the Abacos.

When the beach thins out some we go for a swim. We opted not to partake in the food here as we were not that hungry at the time as we walk back to the other side of the island we stop at Grabbers to get a bite to eat. This place is also busy on Sundays and as we are looking for a place to sit we run into Kay & Harold whom we met at Allan’s –Pensacola and join their table for dinner which confuses the waiter. We catch up on where we have been and enjoy visiting with them again. Monday Steve tries to work on the main sail, she will NOT come out, and it is jammed in good! To be continued.

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