Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marsh Harbour /Hope Town/Treasure Cay/Great Guana / Sean’s visit

Marsh Harbour
Wednesday June 16

We are up early taking a quick bike ride into town to see the other grocery store; we had seen a “big box” store the day before but wanted to see who had the better selection before coming back to provision. Stopping for breakfast, something we almost never do, at Jamie’s the same place we had lunch at on Tuesday. Decent food at better prices then what we have seen in the Islands and huge portions. Tuesday after a late lunch we did not need dinner and Wednesday after breakfast we did not need lunch. We drop the bikes back at the rental place walk the rest of the way to grocery store, do our shopping and get a taxi back to the boat. We have the afternoon free to relax in the shade by the pool, swimming and reading as we wait for Sean to arrive.

Sean gets to the boat around 6 after having trouble convincing customs that the box he is bringing with boat “parts” is for his Dad’s boat that has already been through customs. He sweet talks the customs lady into not having to pay the import duty tax. We needed 3 items, a dinghy oar after losing one of ours (fell off at Green Turtle Cay), main sail outhaul line and the generator PVC fitting, that Steve THOUGHT would be easy for Sean to pick up & bring with him. Well Sean will be telling his West Marine experience story for a while. During lunch breaks and as he is trying to get things done at work before vacation he has to go to several West Marine stores trying to locate the items we need. He has called ahead and was told that a nearby store had what he needed only to find out when he arrived that was not the case. The generator part that Steve had sent him the scanned picture & details of, was NOT a very clear picture and in GERMAN (Panda generator made in Germany). But somehow he managed to pull off a miracle and was able to at the last minute get all 3 items. Even as I write this I laugh at his story of his dealings he went through to get everything. We go for a swim at the pool and have a drink before heading out for a late dinner. We go to Curly Tails restaurant, who in spite of being VERY busy this night and loosing electricity several times during the evening deliver a delicious meal. Back to the boat where we stay up late visiting, and making plans on where to go during Sean’s visit.

Marsh Harbour photos

Elbow Cay / Hope Town
Thursday June 17 – Friday June 18

Thursday morning Steve & Sean make a quick last minute run up to the liquor store to get a case of beer and some extra adult beverages. We are leaving the marina by 11, for the short trip over to Elbow Cay & Hope Town. The main sail outhaul line that Sean brought with him was put in earlier and we have no problem getting the sail out. Originally the plan was to get there at high tide so we could get into the harbor & pick up a mooring ball. As we are approaching we see several other boats anchored out in front of the channel going into the harbour.

The water is clearer out here, not as crowded and we do not need to worry about the tide, so we anchor out. The hook is just barely set and Sean is already jumping off into the water, amazed at how clear it is and all the starfish you can see. It is another hot day so it does not take long for us to join him; we put the ladder down first so we can get back on the boat. We are right opposite the light house and with the blue sky background and pastel houses it is an awesome sight. While in the marina we had put the dinghy away so we go through the process of getting it back out and blown up. We have lunch on board watching the thunderheads form over the main Island, hoping the rain stays over there. We take the dinghy into town; it is a beautiful Island with a lot of nice & VERY nice homes to rent out. Walk around checking out the shops & restaurants, stopping at a grocery store to get an ice cream to cool us off. We find a bike rental place but I want to rent a golf cart for the next day to help get our snorkel gear over to the Atlantic side beaches & reefs. We see a LOT of golf carts so I ask several people where the shop is & they all just tell me I have to call the phone #’s listed on the carts or by VHF radio on 16. I guess it is a big Island secret on where they are kept so I make a note to call in the morning to arrange for one. We take the dinghy across the harbour to the lighthouse dock and go up to see the “famous” lighthouse.

The walk up the 101 steps is worth the breath taking views; we take lots of pictures as we marvel over the views. We head back down & go back to the boat and go for a swim. Steve makes a great dinner that we enjoy up on deck. Sean comments that we really are having another day in paradise, and keeps remarking about how incredible that this is now our life. How true that is. Friday Sean found a place that would let him in early for breakfast so he could watch the World Cup soccer games so Steve drops him off in town while I sleep in. Steve makes a few phone calls to the 5 golf cart rental places to find out that they are ALL rented out. Hard to believe that this tiny Island is all booked up with no golf carts available, but there are several weddings going on so all the people in for those events have booked ahead. We rent bikes instead, and of all the Islands this would be the one to have a golf cart as it has more hills. We manage with backpacks and the bikes have baskets, so by noon we are riding away with our snorkel gear.

 First stop is lunch at On De Beach Bar & Grill recommended for a great location with good food. And it is as well as a great place to snorkel. Lots of coral and sponges, a 4-5 lb lobster, sting ray, and the biggest parrot fish we’ve ever seen (10-15 lbs at least). Afterwards we ride down towards the south east side of the Island to the Abaco Inn. It is quite a ride (for me) with the hills on a bike with NO gears. But the scenery along the way is worth it and great exercise. We find the Abaco Inn located off White sound and enjoy the fabulous view while rinsing off the salt in the pool and relax & have a drink.

 Sean is just about to fall asleep until Steve tells him there is soccer game on up at the bar. Off he goes & Steve takes his place on the lounge chair falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing up against the rock. We drag ourselves away to head back towards “town”, It is only 5 so we decide for a little more bike riding towards the north west side of the Island. This side the roads become sand, dirt & rock !!! Making it much harder (for me) to get up some of the hills. Again the scenery & views make it all worth the effort definately got my exercise today. Back to town stopping for a drink at the restaurant we plan to eat at but thinking it is a little too early for dinner and it sure would be nice to shower & put dry clothes on, so we go back to the boat. A quick shower & change and we head back to the Island – NOT as easy by dinghy as it is by car. Of course now there is a short wait for a table, but once again worth the wait as we have a wonderful meal. We have a light on the dinghy now, and we had a flashlight with us but still worry at night that some speed boat might miss seeing us. We make it back to the boat after another truly fabulous day. A perfect day, until the generator overheated again so no A/C for bedtime. Steve had fixed the leak, and that was holding fine. We let the genset cool down, and Steve checks everything, he cannot figure out WHY it is overheating?? He is exhausted so after two more attempts he calls it quits for the night. Sean has a pleasant night sleeping up in the cockpit and we have enough windows in our room to be comfortable through the night.

Link to Hope Town pictures

Treasure Cay
Saturday June 19

Before heading off to Treasure Cay, actually not a Cay but part of the Main Island of Abaco, Steve works on the generator again & of course now it seems to be working fine. We are under way by 9:30 light winds behind us so we have the jib out and enjoy a nice slow sail in beautiful emerald green water. Steve & Sean take turns napping on the way over. We make our way into the channel, and to the anchorage where there are supposed to be mooring balls, but none are there so down goes the anchor. We go exploring / sightseeing on the dinghy then over to the marina and a short walk over to the beach. The beach claims to be one of the top 10 in the world and we have made comments on the way over as what could be so different with this one from the ones on the other Islands. Well when we get there it is easy to see how they can claim this, miles of beautiful white sand up against turquoise water, it is a magnificent sight.

What makes it even better is that we almost have the place to ourselves. It is late in the day but it is still Saturday so maybe it is off season, but hardly anyone on the beach. We’re surrounded by a school of angelfish in the water. People must feed them, because they stick close to us, and if you move your hand like you’re dropping something in the water they swarm all around. There was not a pool to rinse off the salt but the bar/restaurant that was closed did have a fresh water hose available to rinse the salt & sand off. We go back to the boat, where Steve makes dinner that we enjoy as we watch the sunset. Evening time and we start the generator up and after about 45 minutes it shuts down from being overheated again. Steve is not happy about this as he has looked at everything and sees no reason for it to be acting up. Finally a thought occurs to him that with Sean here we have all 3 A/C units coming on at the same time. After the cool down time he starts it up with just 2 units running to begin with. Once they have cooled things down, he starts the 3rd one up and now they all can work together. So the problem was just too much load on to start up with, needed to bring the load up slowly. We all get a good nights sleep.

Link to Treasure Cay pictures

Return to Great Guana Cay for Nippers Sunday Event
Sunday June 20

Sunday we sleep in a little until Steve sees that the tide is going out and gets a little concerned about the depth in the channel to Treasure Cay, so we are under way by 10. A short motor sail back over to Great Guana Cay, where we will take Sean over to Nippers to experience the Sunday Pig Roast Event. There are a lot of boats anchored in the harbour but we finally find a spot and get the anchor set. The out board motor for the dinghy had been acting up, so after a failed attempt on getting it started he decides he better check it out. BUT to do that he has to take the motor off the dinghy and put it back on the boat, we do NOT want parts falling in the water. Luckily it was an easy fix; the drain plug in the carburetor fell out so once he got it apart he was able to put it back in & reassembled in a short time. Motor back on and away we go, following the groups of people all walking across the Island to Nippers. True to form it is a party on the beach.

We luck out & get a table in the shade, get a round of drinks and I make it a point to find a waitress to order some food. Sean & I order off the menu (not the buffet pig roast) Steve says he is not hungry so will eat later. Sundays at Nippers is always prime people watching, and today is true to form. There’s a bachelorette party there with matching turquoise bikinis and hats, with the bride to be in a white bikini with “bride” on her butt. After an afternoon of fun, sun, swimming & dancing & drinking someone who did not eat had trouble staying awake. Walking back to the boat we stop at Pirates Cove so I can use their internet phone connection to call home and wish my Dad a happy father’s day & Mom a happy B-Day and I get to talk to my sister who is there also. Once Steve sat down the afternoon caught up with him and he was out like a light,
so we let him sleep awhile while Sean & I visit. After a short nap we proceeded down the road stopping at Grabbers to finally get some food into Steve. As we wait for dinner Steve & Sean take a dip in the pool. It is a dark ride back to the boat in calm waters after another wonderful day in the Abacos. We have had a wonderful few days visiting with Sean, and showing him a little of the cruising life. Monday we will have to return to Marsh Harbour for Sean to catch his flight back to West Palm then home to DC.

Link to Nippers pictures

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