Last leg in Bahamas – The Abacos

I have put this post on back burner, but it’s time to finally catch up.  Our cruising life gets busy with 3 kids, schooling, maintaining the boat and having all the fun, so I often run out of time for blogging. Now (almost 3months later) is way past due.

 Little Harbour, Abacos

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The last time I posted we were waiting for a weather window to cross from Spanish Wells, Eluthera to Little Harbor, Abacos. In the end we left day prior to our original plan. We had some potential bad weather coming our way and, as it often happens, it seemed to speed up our movement. That made us leave beautiful Spanish Wells a day early. We opted to go the longer way through Egg Island Cut instead of the closer option, Ridley Head Channel. Ridley Head Channel cuts through a coral reef and local knowledge is recommended. That said many people take Ridley, but it could be deceiving, so we decided to take the safer route. The day started with a beautiful sail. We were flying for the first few hours, waves were 4-6 feet,  but very comfortable. Then the wind shifted to straight behind us. We have no downwind sail, so we were trying to use our genoa and the mainsail. The waves were hitting us from the beam and we had a hard time to keep our sails full. We tried wing and wing, we tacked back and forth, but couldn’t keep up with our friends on North 45 doing constantly over 6 knots.  We finally gave up and started one engine and motor sailed into little Harbor. To our surprise we learned that our friends were motoring the whole way and were very uncomfortable on the monohull.  So a big shout to Walden! Our boat did great on the 60+ mile sail. Maybe there is downwind sail in our future?

Little Harbour is must see place. The harbor was settled by American Randolf Johnston and his family in 1951. They sailed down on an old wooden boat and actually lived in a cave for a while until they built a house. Later he built a bronze foundry and it is still running today. We took the tour through the foundry and visited the famous Pete’s Bar. Pete is one of the children still residing in the family compound.

Little Harbour was also the place we finally caught up to our friend’s on Summercamp. Together we snorkeled Blue Hole  two miles outside the harbour. It is a deep hole inside of the shallow water. Kind of scary to snorkel over the dark abyss that was over 600 feet deep. The sign on the shore indicated a couple of divers lost their lives here in the depths. We decided to stay close to the surface.

The next day we snorkeled Sandy Cay reef. This was one of the best looking reefs we have seen. Our Gopro footage didn’t turn out good. It was a beautiful sunny day, but the waves were coming from the open ocean and were building up during our snorkel time. We had a limited window, but it was all worth it. Here is Mei with our friends dog Annika.

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Hope Town, Abacos

Our next stop was Hope Town on Elbow Cay. It is a small town filled with Bahamian architecture. This (aside the Chub Cay Resort) was the first place we saw freshly cut green lawns without weeds. Most of the houses were rentals for tourists so everything was super expensive. The main mode of transportation here were golf carts and walking.

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The kids also found a playground and quick friends to play with, all while Dad bought a couple of beers for us to drink while watching our children play.

I took our kids to the Hope Town Light House. Brent had to do some fix on the boat, so he sent us out there. This is one of the last operational kerosene-fueled lighthouses in the world. Some pretty interesting history we learned here.IMG_7153IMG_7164View of Walden with Brent somewhere in the bilge fixing stuff – that seems to be the curse of our cruising life.IMG_7161

Easter in Marsh Harbour

At first we were very apprehensive to go to Marsh Harbour as we read it is a very industrial busy city, but we need to some provisioning (the last one in Bahamas), and ugly weather was heading our way. The bay is protected from all directions and is known as a safe heaven from storms. Most boats are anchored here, but there are few mooring balls available. We always question the quality of mooring balls and in case of bad weather we would rather stay on anchor if a marina is not available or too expensive. We know of plenty of mooring balls that have been broken in the middle of storms with boats slamming into other boats. We have seen boats dragged several times on anchor and the same happened in Marsh Harbour. Out of the approx. 50 boats anchored there, 3 were dragging their anchor while the storm hit the harbor. Luckily all had their owners on them and were able to react. The winds got over 40 knots during one of the blows.

One of the highlights of Marsh Harbor was the Easter Bunny was able to find us. Here is how we do an Easter Egg Hunt on Walden.

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We celebrated Easter with our friends, the Browns, from Summercamp in the nearby restaurant. The Easter bunny here left $20 in one of the eggs! The kids painted some eggs and played games while the parents sipped their beverages.

Not only kids but also us adults have built great friendship over the last few months staying on and off together in beautiful anchorages, sharing meals, beverages, repairing boats, crying over our homeschooling and lots of fun. Much to our dismay they are going back to live on land. We just have to figure out how to go visit them in Rhode Island.IMG_7193.JPG

Fowl Cay Snorkeling

We stopped for a quick snorkel at Fowl Cay Preserve. The anchorage was beautiful but too rough for an overnight stay.

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Swimming with a Manta Ray at Great Guana Cay

Great Guana Cay was our next stop. We visited the well known Nippers. Brent stayed on the boat again making repairs. The kids had a good time playing in a pool attached to the bar. Maybe there should be more of these in the USA? Restaurants, bars with pool or playgrounds. It is common in Europe to have a restaurant with a playground or playroom for kids. I bet families would love to come to these establishments in the US also.

We had a speicial visitor at our anchorage – a huge Manta Ray! Manta Rays are very rare in the Bahamas. We have some pictures from a drone above with me in the water and the kids following it above. What a beatiful creature!

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Here is my footage from under the water. He was massive.

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After Great Guana Cay we headed for Treasure Cay with our friends from Summercamp to spend  a couple of days before we part ways. By this time our kids didn’t believe us that this is  goodbye for us and they were right.

Here I had a episode with a shark that taught me not to be to curious. It wasn’t an aggressive shark, just a nurse shark probably my size. I had the Gopro in my hands while Brent pointed out that there was a shark nearby.  I decided to go and snap some pictures. The picture didn’t turn out well, which was my fault. I didn’t go close enough. But I did go close enough for the shark to turn and go after me.  No he didn’t attack me, but he was probably just curious to see what is this crazy creature following him. The situation drastically changed. Me trying to swim away from him. I turned backwards flipping my flippers in his face. And no I didn’t take pictures, different things were going through my mind. Like hoping if he decides to bite, he should go for my huge yellow flippers. No more shark hunting for me, nor anybody in my family as long as I have say so. Here is my shark picture.InkedGOPR1853 (2)_LI

 

After a couple more sunsets, fishing, playing in the water, our handsome captain brought us to West End – our final destination in Bahamas. This is the place where our friends caught up with us again. We crossed to the US on May 7th to Fort Pierce, Florida!

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On the way home with my boy.

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