We spent several days waiting out a weather system at our hidey hole by Green Turtle Cay before moving to Great Sale Cay where we would leave for our crossing back to the U.S. We have spent approximately one week in this Green Turtle anchorage during our time in the Bahamas, and we really do love it. We have had it to ourselves every time except for one night, and the protection is superb. Turtles and rays come by every day and we discovered some nice snorkeling on this last stop. However, it was time to go so we sadly waved goodbye until next time.
After many discussions over the past few months, Jeff and I agreed that we were ready to try a multi-night passage.Up to now we had only done two single overnights.We had the awful one down the New Jersey coast, and we had a mostly wind-free 20 hours when we crossed from Lake Worth to Great Sale Cay in early February.We had gained a lot of confidence while sailing in all kinds of conditions in the Bahamas, so it was time to push our comfort zone a bit more.
We set up custom weather routing with Chris Parker who is well-known among cruisers for his forecasting.Although we wouldn’t have cell service off shore and we only have an SSB receiver, he would be able to send detailed forecasts through our inReach device.When a good weather window opened up, it was time to go.
Our hope was to go from Great Sale Cay to Georgetown, SC or even Beaufort, NC if the stars aligned, but we agreed that we wouldn’t hesitate to bail out early if we wanted to.That proved to be a very good plan.
We left Great Sale on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and had good wind for sailing all day.The wind angle was a bit different than forecasted so right away we weren’t going to be able to aim for one of Chris’ suggested waypoints, but we kept chugging along with Bob (our Monitor windvane) steering like a champ.
Spanish Wells in Eleuthera was a charming stop, and a place where we would like to spend more time next season. It had an abundance of colorful, cute houses which reminded us of a larger version of Hopetown, and there was an amazing shallow beach that seemed to stretch out forever at low tide. Spanish Wells also had a large grocery store where we were able to stock up on more snacks. Note to self: bring more snacks next time!
We’ve had such a nice time in the Abacos that we repeatedly asked ourselves whether we wanted to stay for the remainder of our time here or move farther south to the Exumas.On the one hand, we’ve covered a lot of miles over the past six months and it would be nice to stay in one area for a few months.On the other hand, while Jeff continues to do well, we can’t just assume that we’ll be able to come back again in the fall, so perhaps we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Exumas.If we went to the Exumas we could finally see our friends on S/V Lone Star, and deliver the chocolate, almond milk, and whey powder that we picked up for them in Lake Worth.But if we stayed we would see them as they passed through the Abacos.
Back and forth, back and forth.We literally would change our mind a few times a day.Every time we decided to stay, we would think that maybe we should go.When we decided to go, we thought it was lovely here so why don’t we stay?Finally I decided to put our dilemma on the Facebook Bahamas Cruising group.The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of going to the Exumas.With the decision made, it was time to start making some tracks south.
After enjoying several lovely days in Hope Town, we backtracked to Marsh Harbor for the Junkanoo event.According to the Bahamian government website, a Junkanoo is a Bahamian national festival with roots that can be traced to West Africa.Participating teams spend months working on a theme, developing costumes, musical compositions, and choreography.Judges roam throughout the groups, scoring them on a page-long list of categories.The Marsh Harbor Junkanoo is on a much smaller scale than the annual event held in Nassau on Boxing Day, but we still very much wanted to see it.
The posters in town said that the Juniors event would be held at 6:00 on Friday, with the Adults the following night at 7:00.So being typical Americans from the northeast, we showed up slightly before 6:00 on Friday evening.This being the islands, the fencing was just going up when we arrived.Looks like we were a little early!
On Friday the weather had calmed down and we saw a good opportunity to go through the Whale on Saturday, so we said goodbye to our hidey hole for a welcome change of scenery.
The plan was to anchor at No Name Cay for the day and night, but as we approached I looked over and was entranced by the beach on the southern end of Green Turtle Cay near Gilliam Bay.Jeff asked if I wanted to go there instead, but I said that we had already decided on No Name so we stayed the course.I couldn’t stop looking over at the other beach though, which really did look much nicer, so we made a U turn and anchored by the prettier beach instead.
We had the anchorage all to ourselves, and it was lovely.
After a good night’s sleep at Great Sale Cay, we shoved off again bright and early for Green Turtle Cay where we planned to check in with immigration and customs.After getting our obligatory “rip roaring argument stemming from not putting the sails up in a long time so we’re rusty* (*Trademark)” fight out of the way, we had the sails raised and motorsailed the 57 nautical miles to Green Turtle.It would have been nice to turn the engine off, but we wanted to have the anchor down before dark.Now that we know how casual the check-in process is, next time we’ll sail as far as we can and simply arrive in Green Turtle on day three. Continue reading “Our introduction to the Abacos.”→