23 March 2016
We hung out at the boat all morning long and then went ashore to Salt Pond, Long Island around 11:00. The ladies went to Sou' Side to use the internet and the boys went to explore the cave.
Nile and I went down into the cave and went all the way through to the next opening. We then transited that opening and continued along into another network of caves. We then turned back and went into the lower cave back on the other side. We went in very deep until we got to a portion of the caves where the stalactites and stalagmites were still intact. The ceiling was only about four feet tall and closing so we turned around and went back out the opening to the cave.
The opening of the cave was right next to the rental place so Nile and I walked over and picked up our rental car to see the island. We went over to Sou' Side to pick up the girls and headed south from there. We drove to Clarence Town and had lunch at The Outer Edge Bar and Grill in the marina. The food was good but the service was slow. We are still on island time.
We headed south until we ran out of road. We walked the beach there and then turned around and headed north. We took one road east trying to find a beach on the eastern side of the island but gave up after a rough couple of miles of trying down an overgrown rocky road.
We went north another ten miles and then tried another road east. This time we did find a beach. There was an old tug there aground on the coral reef just off the beach. We walked this beach for a while and then headed back north to find Dean's Hole.
We found the road to Dean's hole and headed down the unimproved road east until it ended at the hole. We walked the blue hole and the beach nearby and then headed back north on the Queen's Highway. We are headed to Washington's for dinner just a few miles north of our anchorage.
We stop at the Esso Station and pick up my filled propane bottle and arrive at Washington's at about 17:30. We arrived during happy hour. We ordered our drinks and meals. We then went about visiting with the folks at the bar. Most of the people there own property on the island and were also cruisers. Foreigners can own land in the Bahamas but can only spend eight months a year in the islands.
We ran into Bruce and Gayle from Aquarelle at the bar. It is always good to visit with Bruce and Gayle. We all ate our meals in the back room and continued to visit for a while. We then said our good byes and headed back to Foxes' Dock. We left our rental at the dock and returned to our boats for the rest of the night.
March 24, 2016
We rose early and were in our dinghies headed for shore by 7:00. We took our rental car north on the Queen's Highway and headed for the Stella Maris Resort. We were looking forward to having someone else fix our breakfast.
We arrived at the top of the hill with a view of the seas on both sides of the Island where the Stella Maris Resort is located. We walk through the front doors, pass the reception counter and enter the restaurant. There are several other tables occupied. Several are speaking German. We pick a table by the north window and order breakfast.
There is a continental breakfast buffet set up near the entrance to the restaurant, so we help ourselves to sweetbreads and fruit while waiting for our order. The sweetbreads were great and so was the rest of the meal.
After breakfast we went out and headed down to the pool by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the development was created in the late 1960's and early 1970s. Not much has been done to update the motif but the grounds are well maintained. We walk the beach below the pool and then head back up through the resort. This area below is full of private homes, some are occupied others are abandoned. We walk by a truck parked in the entrance of the subdivision full of garbage. Attractive.
We leave the resort and head north for the Christopher Columbus monument. We walk up to the monument which is on this huge rock off of Cape Santa Maria (named after Columbus's boat) and then walk the beach nearby. We head back to the Queen's Highway and then continue north until we get to the end of the road. There is a park there and we spend a few minutes taking pictures and then turn the car around and head back south.
We take a road west further down that point to an old plantation ruins. The tour guide states that there are seven buildings there nearly intact. We push down the rough road with lots of overgrowth until we hit the beach. We get out and look around but never find the ruins. We head back to the highway quite disappointed. Maybe hurricane Joaquin took out the ruins.
We head south and enter Salt Pond again. We stop at the marine store and do some shopping. Karen picks us out a couple of new lures with steel leaders on them. We then head down to the Esso station to fill the car up and then head to our dinghies. We off load our stuff in the dinghies and then return the rental car.
We then head over to the grocery store to stock up on food. We come out of the store hungry and head over to Sou' Side for lunch. After lunch we return to our boats. Linda and Nile came over after dinner. We hung out and made plans to sail to Calabash Bay tomorrow.
March 25, 2016
We got up in no big rush. We were only going a few miles north to Calabash Bay on the northern part of Long Island. We sail out of Thompson Bay mid-morning and head north. The wind was behind us so we sailed wing on wing. I put the spinnaker pole on the genoa on the port side of the boat and put the preventer on the main which was on the starboard side of the boat. The winds were blowing 12 to 14 knots which kept the sails filled and the boat moving well. We sailed this way for half the trip.
Half way there we had to change our course to a more northerly direction and could no longer go wing on wing. I disconnected the spinnaker pole from the genoa and tried to haul it back up onto the mast when the pole lift line came undone. The pole dropped to the deck. I picked up the pole and cradled it in the bowsprit to deal with later. I then took the preventer off the main and jibed the main over so we could sail the new course.
We arrived at Calabash Bay around 13:00 and dropped the hook in nine feet of water just off the Santa Maria resort. We did not know the state of the tide, so we did not dare go into any shallower water. We were about a quarter of a mile from the shore. After watching the tide I found we could have gone in a lot closer.
We chilled for the afternoon. We thought about going ashore for happy hour but were not sure whether there would be a happy hour at the resort on Easter Sunday. A little bit before 16:00 we saw a bunch of dinghies headed for shore. We figured that was a good sign and headed into the resort in hopes of a happy hour.
We arrive at the beach while the other boaters are dragging their boats up onto the beach. They had called in and found that the resort was having their regular happy hour even though it was Easter weekend. We picked out a table just off the beach with an umbrella and ordered our drinks. We were seated just next to the rest of the boaters so we exchanged stories, shared boat cards, and enjoyed the comradery.
The three other boats we were hanging with were all travelling together. They all have 44 foot boats: Windlass a Brewer, Lady Hawk a Gulfstar, and Tanda Tula a Hunter. We ended up running into them on Cat Island and Eleuthera later on. They seemed to be following us north.
We head back to Mañana's boat for dinner and a movie. Linda makes a great pasta gravy and does up some gluten free pasta for the meal. They put on "The Wolf of Wallstreet" which was horrible. We did not even finish the movie.
March 26, 2016
We got up and hung around for while and then got bored. We dropped the dinghy and decided to explore the creek to the north of the resort. We entered the bay that led to the creek and went in as far as we dared. We could not see a clear way up to the creek. We sat there and coasted for a bit until we saw a fishing boat coming down the creek and cross the small bay. We watch them transit the bay and over to the resort. Now we know how to transit the bay.
Mañana shows up and we take the lead across the bay. We stay close to the western shore and then the northern shore. We find some poles that mark the deep water and follow them up into the creek. The water in the creek is much deeper than in the bay. We head up the creek.
The land around the bay was quite flat but as we enter the creek the elevation rises on the north side of the creek. The hills rise up and expose cliffs and high caves above the creek as we travel east. The creek turns south and we travel away from the cliffs back into the flattened landscape. There are mangroves and bush all about us as we travel south. We go as far as the bridge to the island where the resort is located on and decide not to go any further. The bridge is quite narrow and the tide through it is running pretty high. We turn off our engines and let the running tide take us back down the creek in a slow drift. The creek is well over six feet deep. You can clearly see the bottom which is covered with sand, choral, and grass. We even get to see a stingray as we travel down the creek. We tire of the drift and start our engines.
We travel out of the creek, across the bay and out past our anchorage. We round the point and enter another bay. This bay has much better protection from the southeast winds we are experiencing but much more exposure to the swells coming in offshore. We travel along the shoreline in about 13 feet of crystal clear water until we are just about below the Christopher Columbus monument . We have the entire bay to ourselves. The bay is surrounded by a rock shoreline covered by bush except for the beach in the center of the bay. It so quiet in this bay. We shut off our motors and drift for a while enjoying the view. We hang around for a bit and then head back to the resort for lunch.
We beach our dinghies and this time we eat at the bar. The bar has screening all around it which lets the wind in but blocks most of the heat from the sun. It is quite pleasant inside. After lunch we go back to our boats and chill for the rest of the day. Tomorrow we cross to Cat Island.