I mentioned Green Turtle in our last blog. We have bounced around the Abaco’s since then. There were plans to cross over to Eleuthera, but the weather has been prohibitive, unfortunately. Truly, anywhere here is good and enjoyable and we don’t mind the delays.
Some of the activities we have enjoyed so far are exploring the islands, snorkeling and paddle boarding, sea life watching and reading The weather has been mostly low 80’s, humidity in the 80-90%, winds 10-20 knots from the south and occasionally squalls that get us up and moving quickly in the night to close all the hatches and portlights (windows). Mike bought an inflatable stand up paddleboard when we were in the boat yard. When I inflated it, I noticed an air leak around the inflation site. I fixed that (I think) with 5200 adhesive. The first time using it, I lost the detachable main fin. It slides in and has a clip to hold it in place. I guess this wasn’t a great bit of engineering. Now, when paddle boarding, steering straight is a challenge. It’s still fun, so I’ll keep using it. I hope I can replace the missing fin, eventually.
One disappointing sight is the amount of plastic rubbish on the beaches. We were anchored at Black Point for 2 nights and spent time on the beach and exploring an abandoned house. We gathered the trash that was nearest the water and tried to pile it up where it wouldn’t make it’s way back into the ocean. Mike considered having a bonfire and burning some of it, but we ended up not doing that as we weren’t sure of the rules here. So far, this has been our routine when going ashore on any island that isn’t populated.
Treasure Cay has a beach that is one of the top 10 in the world. It is long and white and calm and gorgeous! We picked up a mooring ball (a fixed type of device that has a buoy type ball and a rope that a boat attaches to, rather than dropping an anchor) here and spent a few nights. It is a touristy area, which isn’t really our speed, but it was nice to have a “real” shower and get some laundry done. The kids enjoyed the pool and we played on the beautiful, clean beach and had a meal of snapper and Bahamian mac and cheese.
When we made our way into Marsh Harbour, we were happy to see Mambo again and anchored just forward of him. He was able to advise us more on a few points of Bahamian travel, where to get some provisions, have lunch, etc. While here, we were able to get our My Island Wifi. This is a Bahamian hotspot, so we have wifi nearly everywhere we go. This is a blessing for keeping in touch with family and writing this blog. It’s $75 a month and we rented it for 2 months. Considering the poor mobile service we were getting, this seemed like the most reasonable thing to do. So far we are very pleased with how it’s working. Getting to facetime with grandson Luc is a highlight we look forward to.
There have been a few little islands we have anchored at. Everyday is a gamble where we are, where the wind will be coming from, will the waves reach us, will we have a comfortable night or a rocky one? This means that each day is begun with a discussion on whether or not we are moving or staying put. Today, we are anchored outside Hope Town. Inside the bay there are mooring buoys that average $25 night from what we have gathered. Anchoring is free, so we are happier to do that and dinghy to shore as we need to. Today, however, the sea is a little rough for the ride into town on Meg, the dinghy. This leads to the next question; will we spend the night here, again? We are pretty far out, so we could move closer to shore. It’s shallow closer in and the wind looks like it will switch and be coming from the Northeast, whereas now, it’s Southeast. So, we will potentially have less protection. We are bouncing around quite a bit right now with waves and motor boat traffic. I don’t mind it too much, but there is always the question of the anchor dragging on our boat, or someone else’s. I am beginning to lose track of where have been and where we just stopped to play or rest and where we actually anchored.
Hope Town is a really interesting little settlement. The population is only 450 residents. It was established just after the American Revolutionary War by Loyalists escaping America. They originally fled to Florida, then when the Spanish lost the territory to America, they came here. The streets are amazingly narrow and are open to foot traffic only. Golf carts and bicycles are the main means of transportation outside the center of town. The buildings appear to be old stick built, colonial styled structures. I read that any new building must blend in. The houses are all very colorful as well, pinks, turquoise, blues, greens, orange, giving a vivid, quaint appearance that pulls one in to explore. The character of the place is really welcoming. In the harbor, there are several docks, at the grocery store, at restaurants, also public docks. Cruisers are really made to feel welcome. On the Atlantic side of the Island (a 5 minute walk from the public dock) there is a beach with a sand dune dividing the 2 sides of the island. At the base of the harbor side is a “cholera cemetery” that dates to the 1850’s. Over 100 residents died at the time of the outbreak. Another interesting bit of Hope Town trivia is the Lighthouse. It is a lovely white and red candy striped structure. What makes it unique is that is one of only a few lighthouses that still uses kerosene and a fresnel lens, in the world. If you have read Jimmy Buffet’s book “A Salty Piece of Land” he talks about this type of light. Here is a summary from http://visithopetown.com/lighthouse.html
Hope Town Lighthouse
Hope Town is the home to the famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse. Probably the most recognizable landmark in Abaco, the lighthouse is one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized Kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The Fresnel lenses concentrate the mantle’s light into a beam directed straight towards the horizon. The lenses and burner equipment, weighing 8,000lbs, float in a circular lubricated tub. This reduces friction so that the 700lbs of weight, when wound up to the top of the tower by hand, smoothly rotates the 4-ton apparatus once every 15 seconds. The lighthouse keeper on duty must wind up the weights every 2 hours in order for the red and white candy-striped lighthouse to be seen from 17 miles away.
When coming into Hope Town, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses in scripture from Hebrews. Of course there are several reasons it resonates with me, hope, anchor, etc. But here is the scripture in it’s length. The hope referenced is God’s unchanging nature. Having a firm and secure anchor and having the confidence in it while at sea is invaluable. I can appreciate this reference more than ever, now after having relied on a secure holding anchor holding.
‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, ‘
The Ventolines crew has had a stomach bug for several days, probably the Noro virus. We have kept our distance and so far we are virus free. We have felt terrible for them, however and tried to be supportive and provide medical advice. They seem to be on the mend, presently and we can’t wait to get together again. Hanging out with our buddy boat family has been a highlight of this trip and we have missed it! The boys, especially are missing each other. With Easter approaching, Jennifer and I were hoping to get to shore and get a few treats purchased.
There was a couple in Treasure Cay that Mike was able to provide some medical reassurance for. They were anticipating taking a flight somewhere to see a doctor about an eye issue the gentleman was having. Mike was able to help them out and they were happy to not have to fly somewhere and be able to continue on their way. I hope we are serving our “purpose” for this trip. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we have distributed a few of the items we brought along and just hope we are a blessing to those we come in contact with. As time goes along, I can only imagine we will get better at being a light for Him. On the other hand, isn’t this what we are supposed to be doing, anyway, regardless of where we are?
Right. So, our next passage is to Eleuthera. This is where we spent a week on Mambo, 2 years ago. We really enjoyed our time there and are looking forward to going back and seeing more of the island. Matthew remembers hitch hiking there to get around and is looking forward to doing so again, haha. Hopefully the wind and waves will be favorable to cross either tomorrow or Wednesday. That’s what we are praying for.
Until next time~