Mar 18

We had the pleasure of meeting Troop 230 Sea Scouts from Katy, TX this morning before we left Treasure Cay. They came in last night on a sailboat and this morning when we headed out for our morning walk I counted about 6 sleeping bags on deck with the crew all fast asleep. What a great program for the boys to be able to fly over here for Spring Break and work, crew and learn to sail as Sea Scouts on the Sea Base boats that are here in the Abacos and in the Keys.  The most exciting badge I remember earning from Scouts was in birdwatching at the local park.  But we are making up for it now. Today is day #152 of our trip. The half way point is fast approaching if we are going to be able to complete this trip in one year. Arrived at Orchid Bay Resort on Guana Cay today. The Sea of Abaco was rougher than we have seen it before, but we only had a 10 mile hop. We have been to Guana for day trips twice but will make sure we see the entire island before we leave. It’s time to start watching the Whale to see when we will be able to cross back over to Green Turtle. Perhaps Friday. Some rain again today but it is suppose to clear up tonight. Lunch at the Orchid Bay Restaurant. I had the Lobster Wrap. Steaks on the grill tonight. Added new definition to Cruiser’s Dictionary. Water weight--the weight I have gained since living on the water.   

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Mar 19

Socked in! Yesterday it sprinkled rain with the occasional passing clouds. Today it is total gray with a constant soft rain. The locals are thrilled.  Guess it’s ok to give up a little time for what is good for the area. Looks like we should make veggie soup, read & play Mexican Train. Cruiser’s Net reported “Don’t even think about crossing the Whale today”. Eye witness Troy on Guana said the Cut has high waves coming at you fast. The Whale Cut is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean & can show an ugly side known as a “Rage” even on a clear sunny day.  Rage conditions are big nasty seas that are by-products of storms that could be hundreds of miles away. When high seas hit the Abaco shelf, you are definitely going to see some violent breakers.  Everyone here respects the Whale.  We will be here in Guana until she settles from these fronts that are moving through. We suited up in our rain gear to visit the grocery (or an abbreviated version of a grocery).

Mostly we just wanted to get out. Along about 3pm, the sun broke through and we walked the island. Came back to dock and visited the ship “Bayou” for cocktail hour. They were from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (like the Sarvers) but now reside in Cocoa Beach, FL.  Nice float! We will check Whale reports early tomorrow morning to see if it is a good day to go thru the cut. We suspect that if it is not “doable” tomorrow, we will remain in Guana for another 2-3 days waiting on the next front to pass.

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Mar 20

Up early & out of there. Forecast has another front headed our way and sea conditions worsening as the day goes on.  We radioed Troy at Dive Guana because he could put an eyeball on the Whale. He said go now!  She laid down like the gentle mammal she is named after except for about 45 minutes of uncomfortable beam rollers hitting 5-6 ft but they were mostly swells until a 150 ft yacht came flying  by to add a 4 ft wake. We turned and took our first 10 footer head on. Big eyes, a little sweat, no bruises, no problem!!! Arrived Green Turtle Club 16 miles away by 10 AM. Sorry we missed hooking up with Gentry Shows who arrived Marsh Harbour a day after we left. An old friend who moved North some years ago, Bob Gallant, came down to the boat as soon as we docked. He comes here from Indiana for 2 months every winter & I had called him as soon as I saw that our route would bring us through Green Turtle. So good to see Bob & Brenda. Most everyone here drives golf carts as the island is less than 3 miles long.  Bob gave me the tour while Brad did boat chores and Bob & Brenda joined us & the Sarvers for cocktails & dinner at the Turtle Club Restaurant.  Wish I had a picture of all 6 of us loaded into Bob’s golf cart for our trip to Pineapples, the beach bar that had live music! We had to be quite a sight!! Lots of fun!

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Mar 21

We rented a golf cart for the day to explore Green Turtle Cay. Visited Bluff House across the harbor from our marina. Dark clouds gathered and it began a downpour. Shucks! We had to sit in their lovely dining room with Bloody Marys and Eggs Benedict while we waited for it to pass. Then it was off to New Plymouth. One reason everyone drives golf carts is because the roads are so small they can’t accommodate a full size car. In fact, some of the “roads” are really just unpaved paths. It all adds to the charm of this historic city. New Plymouth was the earliest settlement in the Abacos and has a rich history of pirates, wrecking and bootlegging. The current city location was founded 1784 but many of it’s residents moved to Key West in the 19th century and literally dismantled their homes to have them reconstructed in Key West.  The two cities legally became “sister cities” in 1977.  Some visitors to the island from Houston, TX were dock walking this afternoon and “recognized” us from this website.  Stopped and said they felt like they knew us because they are “vicariously traveling along”. That’s so cool.  Invited them over for cocktails tomorrow.  Bob and the Sarvers joined us this afternoon and we had another marvelous meal at the restaurant. 

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Mar 22

We woke up to a gorgeous day! Captain’s meeting with the Sarvers determined that we would pick the best 2 of the next 4 days forecast and move on to West End in order to be in position for crossing back to the States hopefully sometime this weekend. Boat chores, laundry and filling water tanks to be ready in case tomorrow is a travel day. We have 2 70+mile days to make West End with an overnight anchorage at Great Sale Cay.  Bob Gallant came by on his way to the ferry dock. They have friends from Birmingham arriving today. The day flies by and we have cocktails and appetizers with dock friends.

Somedays we have had some variety of fish for lunch & dinner. I couldn’t be happier about that diet. But last night we bragged to the waitress about how good Brad’s filet with blue cheese was when we passed through here in January and we hadn’t seen it on the menu. The Chef insisted on taking a special order from us and we all had the Blue Filet Mignon tonight at the restaurant. Spectacular.   A last look at the forecast, looks like we will cast off early tomorrow (Mon) morning.

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Mar 23

We cast off at 0730 hours and suddenly it is real. We are leaving the Abacos. We will carry with us so many great memories. The rake & scrape of the saw always featured in the island bands, beaches so white you have to wear shades, fresh seafood eaten hours after it was pulled from the sea, the aquamarine color of the Caribbean water & the pastel painted houses, Junkanoo Parade, Pirates Party with the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club, petting the Pelican’s beak at the far end of our morning walks, searching for marine life on the reefs & shallows with our viewing buckets, the Jib Room dinners, visiting all the islands, Barefoot Man Concert at Nippers, the Blue Burgers and Art Gallery at Pete’s Pub, Cracker P’s, impromptu Looper’s Luncheon at Hope Town Lodge, the Gully Roosters Band at Pineapples , Salty Dawg’s party on top of their boat, the Beck/Grace visitors from home and getting to spend time with the Gallants on Green Turtle. And the people, well that’s the best part. Too many to list, we have many new friends and they haven’t seen the last of us.  We promise!!!!! We are at anchor at Great Sale Cay after a 7 hour cruise and I made conch chowder while we were underway. Wonder what Mary has to throw in with it? Traveling with “Good News” has been really special for us. No doubt we will be friends for life. There are 9 boats at this anchorage tonight. Some headed east and some headed west.  It is clear and I don’t think I have ever seen more stars in the sky. It must have been spectacular out here in the dark last week when the shuttle flew directly overhead of this uninhabited little island.

 

Mar 24

We pull anchor just before daybreak. Holding our breath that our windlass is going to work properly with the temporary repair the guys devised. It slipped a little but it did work. Brad has already ordered the part from Scott Forbes at Blue Water in Foley, AL  who will drop ship it to us. Early start on another long day of cruising but the weather is cooperating beautifully. Old Bahama Bay at West End Grand Bahama is where we will perch ready to fly through the good weather window when it appears.  Perfect crossing day?  Seas at 0-2 ft, Winds not above 15mph from any direction that does not have a northern component.  Lots of boats here waiting like us so there is no shortage of information being shared. Thursday is a possibility but iffy. Monday looks better right now but it’s so far away, that could change. Several boats we have docked with before at different marinas so nice reunion company for docktails (that’s cocktails with dock neighbors)!

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Mar 25

“Stuck” in West End at Old Bahama Bay Resort!! We feel like Brer Rabbit must have felt being thrown into the briar patch! Although our plans were made to leave here tomorrow (Thurs), the wave heights are just a little too high.  Guess we will have to stay here in paradise until the Gulf Stream lays down a little more. From all the websites we consult, it looks like that could be as late as Monday.  In the meantime we will once again enjoy all the amenities of this wonderful resort. Rode bicycles out to where the local fisherman come in and watched them take conch from the shells. They will sell hog fish, conch, and lobster on the side of the road and it will be bought by other locals mostly. The guy with the boat said the economy here was bad like in the states. He said “When things get tough, his boat gets going”. The sea provides him with extra income. A couple of boats left today because they had time deadlines to be somewhere. Several more dropped by our boat this afternoon saying they are leaving tomorrow morning 5 AM.  We hope they all find fair skies & calm seas. We choose to wait for the odds to be better for a pleasant crossing. 

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Mar 26

Another gorgeous day! Workout in gym, bicycling, pool, collecting and cleaning conch shells to take to the grandkids. Narrowly avoided a beer crisis. We provisioned for 6 weeks & have been here for 8. Brad had to buy Coors Light at $44 case. Jack Nicklaus was here last week in his 130 ft ride called “Sea Bear”. He likes to come here to fly fish for Bonefish. John Travolta’s sailboat, “Ella Bleu” is no longer here in the marina.  We heard from some of the boaters that were here in February that 2 Captains came to pick it up. The people here in West End loved John & his family and have the nicest things to say about them. He was frequently here and all the people who work here are still mourning the loss of his son in January. His “cottage” is in the rental program and everyone is afraid he will not ever be back here. It’s so sad! (Pictures of his cottage & sailboat are on Jan 30th Blog) A lot of fisherman come over for the weekend. The ones that came in today said it was a pretty rough crossing. We are hoping they fish well, catch lots of Wahoo and share it with their dock neighbors like last time we were here. We had a nice dinner at Bonefish Restaurant.

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Mar 27

We continue to watch for crossing conditions but they are not here yet. Today was beautiful but breezy with 24 knot winds & seas at 3-5 on top of 10 foot swells.  No thanks. One 70 foot boat left this morning only to return 3 hours later. We stayed tucked in and enjoyed our day. It’s amazing how many people stop to talk who have Birmingham or Alabama connections when they see our homeport on the back of the boat. Today we met Jeannie Hill who was from Birmingham but is currently living in Atlanta. Here mom lives on Euclid in Crestline. And being Friday, we also enjoyed the Manager’s Cocktail Party this afternoon.

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