Sunday, February 24, 2013

South of the Abacos

I had so much fun in the Abacos, that getting south of it seemed to me like leaving the Bahamas. Far from that !

It all started with Spanish Wells where I had never been. We only stayed one day but we made the  most of it. The first night, dinner at Eagles Landing, the  only restaurant open that night. Next morning, after breakfast, we rented a golf cart and drove around the whole island, covering probably every inch of paved road that there is. Lunch was again at Eagles Landing after which we found the golf cart refusing to go. We had to get help  from the renter who changed the battery, and off we went again, going around Russell Island before returning to our boats and deciding to have dinner at the only restaurant open on Sunday night, the Anchor bar, right there on the harbour. We had a nice lobster dinner, since Spanish Wells is the  number one exporter of lobster in the Bahamas.
Spanish Wells is a very nice and clean island. It is almost only devoted to fishing, and although there are facilities to cater to cruising boats, it is obvious that tourism is not their priority and it kind of make the  island very special and different from the other Bahamas islands.
Then on Monday  morning, we were off to Governor Harbor in Eleuthera and we were planning to go through  the Current Cut since the current was favorable. Still, it is a very impressive cut and as you go through it, you sometimes feel that you are taken away and that you are no longer controlling the situation. It is very safe though.
We got to Governor Harbor early in the afternoon and found Rob, on  Hamshire Rose, waiting for us. We were planning to spend the whole of Tuesday with him and we had a very good and quality time. We took the opportunity that immigration was available to get an extension, as I had not been planning to stay that long in the  Bahamas.
After Governor Harbor, we went to Cape Eleuthera marina, mostly in hope of a good internet connection, but it was not working. Blue Moon instead went to Rock Sound and had a good time there.
We met again the next morning and together we went to Staniel Cay, but taking slightly different routes. We anchored in Staniel Cay off Big Major Spot and spent the evening together on Papy Jovial.
Next morning, I went briefly to the "Grotto" where the James Bond movie "Thunderbird" was partly shot, so that Robert could go and snorkeled in it. After that, we sailed to Little Farmer Cay where we took a mooring and went ashore, in tow behing the  dinghy of Blue Moon. There we had a beer at the Yacht Club, and another beer at the Ocean Cabin, where we met the crew of a Catamaran anchored across the moorings from us.
After Little Farmer Cay, we had to go to Georgetown where we were to meet Scott who  was flying from Norfolk. We got there in good time, anchored in front of the marina (Exumas Dock and Services) for  the  night and  then took a berth  at the marina the next morning. That  is where Scott found us, while Blue Moon came to the fuel dock. We went out to have a very nice lunch at the Peace and Plenty hotel after we had done our shopping and visiting of Georgetown.
Next day, we left, staying close to Great Exuma and taking the Hog Cay channel while  Blue Moon went to the outside to meet us at Simms, a very small settlement with one bar-restaurant, the Blue Chip. We had a couple  of beers there, before retiring to our boats on a sea totally calm with  no wind at all.
Next morning, we were on to Rum Cay. The crew of the cat that we met in Little Farmers Cay had told us a lot of good about Rum Cay, including an excellent internet connection and we were looking forward to visiting it. It all started with a overheating engine right at the entrance of the  channel that zig zags through coral heads. We dropped the hook in a hurry, found nothing wrong at first sight except low level of coolant, started the engine again and went in, not without running aground right at the entrance.
The marina is not really a functionning one and the owner does not charge for dockage but only for services like shower, garbage, etc...separately as you use them. There is no internet, unless you go sit under the Batelco tower or go inside their office, during office hours, and connect with an ethernet cable.
After we arrived, the  weather started deteriorating, and we got stuck there for four days. Not unpleasant though, as there were quite a few other boats as wells, and we were having events every night.
After four days, we finally got a very small window which allowed us to cross over to Clarence Town in Long Island, while  Blue Moon decided to wait for a window that would allow them to go back north.
In Clarence Town, similar scenario, we got  stuck there for  four days, but in a marina where all services are provided and with an excellent Internet connection.
 So, we rented a car and made the  best of the  situation, visiting the  island from Clarence Town to Salt Pond. We finally left Clarence Town on January 31st, after almost two months in the Bahamas. I had never stayed that long, but I have no regrets, having met new very good friends in Marsh Harbor, and having discovered with Long Island and Rum Cay places that I had never visited before.

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