April 25, 2016
We had buddied up with Aurora and they said they would be ready to leave at 7:00 am. I was ready at 6:00 am but waited until 7:00. We never saw any movement on their boat and left without them. They did call us at 7:45 to tell us they were leaving after they had breakfast. We were well on our way by the time they decided to leave.
We pulled out of our little harbor at Royal Island and headed for the cut between Little Egg and Big Egg Islands. After passing through the cut and clearing most of the coral we turned north and set the main and the genoa. We continued to run the motor at low rpms to keep our speed up.
The seas are running two to four feet and the winds are blowing 10 to 12 knots. The seas are a bit confused so it is not a comfortable sail. We are doing better than most of the boats around but they all are strictly sailing.
At noon time we have a little excitement. Karen had just handed me my lunch, so I took my attention away from the boat and sat back to enjoy my lunch and look out at the sea. Just then two killer whales breach just behind the boat. At first I thought they were dolphins but realized they were way too big for dolphins and then I noticed they had white bellies. I screamed "Whales, Whales" to get Karen's attention and she came up from below and got to watch them head southwest from where we are. We also got on the radio and let the other boats around us know so that they might get to see the whales. Their passing was very exciting.
As we got closer to the Abacos the seas continued to build. It getting pretty rough so we change course a bit to ease the rolling. We only have about ten more miles to go before we get into Lynyard Cay.
We arrive at Lynyard Cay and take the cut through the reef and head up north to the anchorage there. There are already several other boats anchored there. We pick a spot right off the beach and drop our anchor in 20 feet of water. It is very comfortable there compared to what we had just gone through.
We dropped the dinghy and headed to the beach. There were many sea biscuits for Karen to collect along the shoreline. We also crossed to the Atlantic side of the island but it was only iron shore. We then hopped into the dinghy and went over to visit with Quiessence. They were the only boat that responded to our whale sighting and they are friends with Mañana. We caught them taking a shower off the back of the boat but stayed away until they could get decent. We chatted for a while and then headed back to the boat. Along the way back we ran into Aurora again so we sat and chatted with them for a while. Then we went back to our own boat and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
April 26, 2016
We drop the dinghy and take it into Little Harbor. There is a bronze foundry there that was started in the 1960s by an artist and is still being run by the sons of that artist. We have to take the dinghy pass the cut in the reef which is quite rough before entering the protection of Little Harbor. Once we get into the protection of the harbor it is quite peaceful.
We motor up to and tie off at the dinghy dock. We then walk ashore and take the road to the beach to do some exploring. The scenery around the beach was quite nice but there was nothing to be found on the beach.
We headed back to the foundry but they were not giving any tours at the time so we walked the road around the harbor until we got to the caves. These caves were used by the first settlers here to live in. The artist that started the foundry here also lived in the caves for a while. We did not get a chance to go into the caves because there was no easy access from the road we were on.
We headed back to town and toured the foundry gallery. Karen picked out a bronze turtle to purchase and then we went over to Pete's Pub for lunch. It was 11:15 and they would not be serving lunch until afternoon, so we decided to just head back to our boat for lunch. It is a rough ride back once we are out of the protection of Little Harbor.
We pull up our anchor and head for Marsh Harbor. We would really like to go into Man of War which is on the way to Marsh Harbor but are not sure we can get in there before low tide. We push hard up the channels but with about a one knot opposing current we are not making good time. I take some shortcuts and we arrive at Man of War a couple of hours before low tide which should just get us enough clearance to get into the harbor.
We do a little mucking at the entrance to the northern harbor and try to take a mooring ball in front of the marina. We hit a huge cement block at the bottom of the harbor after missing the mooring ball the first time. We do get the mooring ball the second time. When I try to pay for the mooring ball at the marina, they tell me I am on a private ball and suggest I pick up one closer to the entrance. We pick up the ball they suggest which is in a nice spot away from all the other moorings. This is a nice picturesque spot away from everything.
As soon as we tie up, Maana putters up in their dinghy to say hello. They say that they were planning to leave tomorrow but since we arrived maybe they will change their plans and stay another day to hang out with us. This sounds like a good plan to me.
We head over to their boat in the evening and meet the folks from Departure. We hang out and play games all evening. I am wore out but still we play until 23:00.
April 27, 2016
We get up early as always and head ashore to wander around Man of War. After our wander we head back to our boat by the way of Mañana's. The invite us to go snorkeling with them, so we head back to the boat , load our snorkeling gear, have lunch, and head north to the park. Many of reef systems in the Bahamas are part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park which is protected as part of the National Park Trust.
We pick up the most northern mooring ball we find and tie off. The reef we dive on is incredible. It rises off the thirty foot deep sandy floor to almost the surface of the sea. The reef is honeycombed with caves and canyons. There are fish swimming all about that seem unbothered by our presence. We spend as long as we can snorkeling the reef until we get so cold we have to get out. We sun ourselves in the dinghy and get warm. We then move to another mooring ball further out and dive there. The reef there is in rough shape and the fish are not as plentiful. This spot is not near as spectacular as the last spot. After getting out of the water we warm ourselves in the sun. Once we are warmed up we head back to our boats.
We have dinner ashore with Mañana and Departure. We then meet up again on Mañana's boat and learn a Czechoslovakian card game to play all evening. Marketa from Departure is Czechoslovakian. The game is a lot like playing Rummy Cube but a lot more chaotic. We make plans to do the reef one more time tomorrow before Mañana leaves.
April 28, 2016
Mañana begs out on the snorkel trip and heads to Treasure Cay. Departure leaves and heads for Gauana Cay. We head ashore and run into Aurora. They are tied up to the dock at the marina and are having charger problems. They have looked all over the island for a charger and can only find a ten amp charger for $140.00. I tell them I have a 100 amp car charger on board if they want to use it. They offer to buy the charger for convenience sake and I take $100.00 for it. Everybody's happy. They head out for Marsh Harbor. We head over to the beach on the southwest side of the island to explore.
We don't find much on the beach but good exercise. We head back through town and then back to the boat for lunch.
After lunch we head back up north to the park for some more snorkeling. This time we pick out the most southern mooring ball to tie up to. Departure comes by on their dinghy and says hello. They then head back to their boat on Gauana Cay. We snorkel here and the coral is great but there are not a whole lot of fish around. We then head back to the boat to chill for a while.
We go into shore to use the internet. We have a good connection until this fisherman sits down and decides to facetime with family right next to us and takes up all the bandwidth. Not only does it take forever to do something but we have to listen to this foulmouthed hillbilly talk to his family about what a good Christian he is and how the rest of the world is going to hell… We were glad to see him go. Once he was gone it took us about ten minutes to finish our tasks on the internet.
April 29, 2016
We slipped our mooring and headed out on the rising tide. We are headed to Marsh Harbor for some supplies. It is a short ride to Marsh Harbor and we drop the hook just off of the dinghy dock. We dinghy ashore and first head over to the liquor store and check it out. We find nothing we need. We then head on to where we think the grocery store. We get lost, and get some directions including some backtracking.
We finally find the grocery store. It is a huge grocery store. We walk every aisle but only pick up maybe five or six items. Seems like a whole lot of work for just six items. We head back to the boat, pull anchor and head north to Great Guana where we anchored for the night.
April 30, 2016
We got up this morning and dinghied in to Grabbers after breakfast to explore Great Guana. We walked all around and then walked to Nipper's which is supposed to be a famous bar and grill on the beach. It wasn't that spectacular in my opinion. We then walked the beach on the Atlantic side. We came up with no sea shells or creatures. So we headed back to the boat to cross the Whale, which is actually Whale Cay.
The Whale is an area exposed to the Atlantic ocean which you have to cross to get to the northern Abacos. It can be a really dicey area. We crossed the Whale wing on wing. The seas were about three feet. It was an easy cross.
We brought the sails in once we got to Turtle Cay and took the narrow cut into White Bay. We picked up a mooring ball and dropped the dinghy to go ashore. We visited a couple of the local resorts and walked the beach on the north side of the island before heading back to the boat. We figured we would have to wait here for several days before we got a good weather window for a crossing.