May 05, 2010
We are back in Marsh Harbor for a third visit during a month of cruising the sea of Abaco and some of its lovely islands. We have visited Great Guana Cay, Matthew Lowe Cay, Elbow Cay, Lubbers Quarters, Tilloo Cay, Sandy Cay and Lynard Cay, all with palm fringed white/pink sandy beaches, and bordered by coral reefs in beautiful turquiose water: I am still amazed by the colour of the water.
Marsh Harbor is the metropolis of the Abacos (Bahamas’ northern group of islands) and is about the size of Falmouth! There is a supermarket and shops and propane and marinas for fuel and water, and a huge and protected harbor to anchor in so it is a great spot to come to to stock up before we head further south to the Exumas (Bahamas’ central group of islands) by way of Eleuthera, about 60 miles south of here. We celebrated my birthday here at the beginning of april over the easter holidays and went snorkelling and scuba diving on Mermaid reef which was beautiful.
From Marsh Harbor we sailed to Great Guana Cay and anchored in Fishers Bay for a few days. We walked around the small settlement and visited a famous local restaurant called Nippers, which sits on a bluff looking east over the Atlantic Ocean and the beach which has a coral reef protecting it. After 5 nights our inverter (which keeps our batteries charged) started making bad noises: it turns out it needed a new fan so we had to return to Marsh Harbor where the only marine electronics guy in the Abacos is based. Also four days of strong winds were forecast so we decided to stay at the Marsh Harbor marina, what a treat, showers and shore power! Our stay coincided with BBQ night at the marina and we met some fun people there: 2 new yorkers aboard Weeshaboo, and a texan couple who invited us aboard their beautiful boat Wild Thing for dinner the next night: we left with a severe case of boat envy! We were dreading a hefty bill for the inverter fix, but by some miracle the electronics chap had the part in stock (we feared having to wait for a week while it was flown in from US) and sold it to us for $50 and Dickie installed it which was very cool.
Next we anchored off Matthew Lowes Cay for 5 nights and swam and snorkelled and fished (caught 3 yellow snappers). It was fab and what cruising the bahamas is all about. While there I hoisted Dickie up the mast to untangle the furling gear that lets the foresail out, which was a bit scary for me anyway, he didn’t seem too bothered. From there we headed over to Elbow Cay and anchored outside Hopetown Harbor. Hopetown, first settled in the 1780s, is a lovely village which has grown up around a well protected harbor about the size of eel pond in woods hole; it reminded us of martha’s vineyard too with lots of colorful little cottages and ferries coming and going. It is famous for its red and white striped lighthouse built by the british lighthouse service in the 1800s, and we climbed to the top for a great view of the Abacos, and we could see Harmony in the harbor….. I love lighthouses. It also has a beauitiful pink sandy beach on the ocean side with excellent diving and snorkelling on the reef just off shore. After a couple of nights at anchor we took a mooring in the harbor for 4 nights as another cold front was forecast to come through.
We headed south from there to Lubbers Quarters for the full moon party at Cracker P’s another beach front restaurant, and then on from there the next day to snorkel at sandy cay which is a protected sea park where Dickie saw tons of sea rays and other fish. Next stop Lynard Cay for a few nights of peace and quiet before we planned to jump south to Eleuthera. However the propane tank was empty again so we figured we’d better go back to Marsh Harbor for a final provisioning stop. We had a gorgeous 4 hour sail north with the wind behind us all the way, and were feeling very lucky being in such amazing surroundings, when the fishing rod started to spin and we had caught a fish: it was a big barracuda, about 30 inches long with giant teeth but no good for eating unfortunately, so we put it back.
Now back in Marsh Harbor we have just got back from the supermarket, and the propane tank for cooking is filled (it seems to last about a month) , we will weigh anchor and pull into the marina to fill up with water. We have done so little motoring that we dont need diesel, just some gas for the dinghy, and we will sail south later today to little harbor, last stop in the abacos. Exumas here we come!