Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Visiting some quiet spots

Visiting some quiet spots - sorry no good WIFI for a few days
Our excuse was recovery time to Julia and snorkeling time for Steve, so we hung out at Man-O-War Cay an extra day.  One afternoon was spent in town visiting their tiny but interesting museum which had photo displays of many of the residents we found in their cemetery. The building on this cay are very simple compared to the ornately decorated homes on Elbow Cay.  But the very simplicity was charming.  The museum is located in a lovely example of one of these traditional homes – complete with a kitchen and two tiny bedrooms.  Even more than the displays it gave us an idea of life here in the early days.  Like Hope Town, Man-O-War  was settled primarily after the American Revolutionary War by those who were loyal to the British.  Evidence of this connection was everywhere. These days there are many more modern structures and vacation homes spreading out from the harbor.  We made the requisite visits to the Albury sail shop and the traditional ship building yard.  We were not tempted at either place although both are still producing modern goods for the tourist trade.

From Man-O-War we trekked a few miles to Great Guana Cay to get Nipped and Grabbed at their two famous restaurants – Nippers and Grabbers.  Nippers is a short walk up a sandy hill which overlooks an Atlantic beach.  Their pig roast buffet on Sundays draws big crowds for a very good reason – the food is bountiful and delicious.  Grabbers is a more relaxed back place on the shores of Fisher Bay where we were anchored, so their rum drinks and conch salad were an easy dinghy ride away.  It was easy to relax here and take short runs on the dinghy to check out the mega yacht harbor at Bakers Bay and possible dive sites around the corner.  Somehow the days slip by with mild temps an cooling breezes – it is hard to believe the water is 80 and so is the air! 

Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour
Marsh Harbour is the hub of the Abacos. It is a typical big city with all the issues – ok not big really but compared to the villages on the outer islands, it is a massive place. (Only actual cars and trucks – none of the ubiquitous golf carts we have seen everywhere else.) There is an airport which attracts commercial planes and also a Publix style grocery store.  The store was a big attraction as well as the bakery which Steve visited twice.  We had stocked up on most provisions before we left the USA but after three weeks needed some fresh produce and milk plus a few strange essentials like sesame oil (for that maple syrup ginger fish sauce).  Everything that can be imagined is in the famous Maxwells of Marsh Harbour. 

Another thing that did not disappoint was the Jib Room at Marsh Harbour Marina.  We managed to extend our stay to include Rib Nite and have no regrets.  Sadly our camera died so we can’t share photos of the dinner requiring two plates and the dessert brownie filling a dinner plate. Just trust us, it was good.  As was a long visit with Rick and Debra on What’s Next.  They are looper friends who are still on their boat – as they noted, most of those looping in 2013 have stopped cruising full or even part time so it is a special treat to meet a couple of the very special folks that shared some of our looping adventures.

The Marsh Harbour Marina is across the harbor from the heart of town, but in this case that is a good thing.  The shopping or town attractions are easily reached by bike or a short dinghy ride.  The Mermaid reef, on the other hand, is a few steps from the dock behind the marina.  Steve took a snorkel swim there and reported an abundance of interesting fish in addition to several big lobster – of course now that the season has closed they are visible everywhere! Julia rested up – hopefully finally recovering from a strange bug – promise no rum involved. Off to Man-O-War and Great Guana…

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Week in Hope Town BAH

Easter Week in Hope Town BAH
After several weeks roaming the back waters, we tucked into Hope Town harbor for a taste of city life.  Hope Town is cute, cute, cute and chock full of history.  No fake cute either as many of the cottages in the picturesque village have long roots back into the 19th century.  This community has links to the Loyalists who moved here after the American Revolutionary War, but traces its history much further back than our revolutionary period.  The earliest inhabitants were the Lucayan Indians that suffered after Columbus visited these islands. We met a “native”, Red Boy,  who now makes and sells his homemade ice cream in White Sound and claims to be a descendant of the first true settlers on Elbow Cay. He was mighty miffed that the museum in town is dedicated to Wyanne Malone the purported founding lady of Hope Town rather than his family the Sawyers. Whatever the truth of his story, the ice cream was fantastic.

Hope Town surrounds a beautiful secure harbor on Elbow Cay on the eastern edge of the Sea of Abaco. This gives visitors access to the Atlantic reefs as well as the mostly calmer and shallower waters of the inland sea.  The channel into the harbor, however, is shallow for our nearly 5 ft draft, so we had to wait for a rising tide to make our entrance.  We had scouted the harbor and made a reservation with Captain Jack for one of his mooring balls just inside the harbor.  It was a prime location for access to the dinghy docks in town and the amenities such as groceries, shops and restaurants, but it also was exceedingly close to the nightly entertainment.  Our host, Captain Jack, also runs a restaurant that has special events such as bingo and trivia nights as well as music for dancing that can be heard throughout the harbor.

 following the rules ?

The sights of Hope Town and this scenic location have more than made up for any noise pollution.  The harbor is guarded by a striking red and white lighthouse – 120 feet high and visible for 20 miles (or so they say).  It is the only light reported to still burn oil.  The tanks and equipment were visible when we climbed the lighthouse to enjoy the view of the area.

Is that chicken guarding the tank???

Our stay here also included a few bike rides like our jaunt with Marty and Suzanne out to Papa Nasty’s BBQ and White Sound – home of the Abaco Inn and Sea Spray Marina (as well as the Food Store where Red Boy sells his ice cream). The number of hills we have found on these coral islands have challenged our mini boat bikes and made us envy the full size bikes Alizann cleverly hoists on and off their boat.

Surprisingly between chores and relaxing, we also managed to walk out to the north end of the cay for some amazing views of both the BIG pond and the little pond.  Steve went diving on the reef one morning, and we took the boat out into the Atlantic (BIG pond) for a day chasing Mahi and tuna – the fish won yet again. 

Somehow the days slip away as we float on this mooring field watching the “action” in the harbor and on shore – the prevalence of bikinis on spring breakers has only added to the show….. Although truthfully, most of the cruising boats, both sail and power, seem to be occupied by folks in our age bracket. Once again we have enjoyed meeting several experienced hands who are generous in sharing suggestions and recommendations. In fact, as a bonus, we crossed paths with Martha and Parker who we first met back in 2013 on the Erie Canal.  Martha kindly provided advice on all the most important stops along Lake Michigan – her home cruising waters as well as getting us a recommendation for a Detroit area marina.  The world of cruisers is indeed a small one. Easter Monday we are off to Marsh Harbor to see our friends Rick and Debra.