Published: April 3rd 2010April 3rd 2010
Off Abaco Doug caught this 41 inch 18 pound MAHI. Proud fisherman.
Winter 2010 on About Time
We realize we have been a little slow at sending out an update on our travels this winter. At first it seemed like there wasn’t a lot to tell about, but now as I sit to write about our winter, I realize that there is almost too much for one blog.
The best way to summarize the winter is that it has been colder and windier, than we, long term cruisers, and even the fishermen can remember in a long time. Some weeks we had 2 or even 3 cold fronts pass over us. We have had much more west wind, and that makes for difficult anchoring, so we have spend much more time hiding from the fronts. I know that you don’t have much sympathy for us as we hear it was a pretty brutal winter up north as well.
The last time we wrote we had just arrived in George Town Exuma. After a brief stop there, some provisioning and catching up with friends, we headed for Long Island and on to Cuba. In Long Island we participated in the events of a sailboat race from George Town to Long Island.
Treasure from the Ocean
Doug found float on Lond Island beach.
We also visited with our friends, Mike and Dawn Arbo, winter residents of Long Island. With a forecast of strong west wind and several fronts, we returned to George Town.
The Cruising Regatta planning and events start by February, so, …. there were many things to do, and good friends to see and meet. It’s no great hardship going back to George Town while all the boats start arriving for the regatta. And of course there is Volleyball, beach walks, and many other social things to do. Unfortunately this year, it seemed every few days a cold front would arrive, and we would have to hide from strong west winds. This year we found a great hiding cove that we named Tiki Hut cove. It gave us great protection from most wind directions and another beautiful setting. We could dream we were in Tahiti, or some Polynesian haven!. For one of the cold fronts we went to a marina just north of George Town called Emerald Bay. Approximately 100 boats hid out the cold front and we had a great time, even getting to check out the new Sandals resort at Emerald Bay. Four Seasons had previously run this
Blue Bahamain Waters
This is what keeps one coming back to the Bahamas.
resort, but it looks like Sandals are doing some very good things to make this a successful venture. It certainly is beautiful.
The next thing we knew the regatta started, and we selectively entered events including, sailboat racing, volleyball, golf, and sand sculpture. In the sailboat race around Stocking Island in addition to racing they have a competition for the best baking during the race, best picture taken, and largest fish caught. We raced on our friend’s catamaran “Double Wide” and in addition to winning his race class, Sharon won the best baking for her killer rum cake. (We also won a photography award and the biggest fish) That was a great day. In Volleyball my team won first prize , and Sharon’s won second. In the sand sculpture we won first but golf…. No flag this year! I also sang in a band in the opening night show. We had also planned to play in the talent night but it was cancelled due to bad weather. So enough bragging!
This year we decided to finish the season by going back to Long Island, and then to the Abacos in northern Bahamas. Long Island has become a favourite
About Time Hiding out at Tiki Cove
With all the west wind we spend many days hiding out at Tiki Cove in Georgetown.
spot for us, especially after all the events of the regatta and George Town, it is a much easier pace. We stayed in Long Island this time for a week, then started north with our first stop Cat Island. We anchored in New Bight , a very pretty anchorage in Cat Island. A short walk, up Mount Alvernia, the “highest hill” in the Bahamas is The Hermitage, the retirement home of Father Jerome. Father Jerome was an Anglican Priest/architect that was sent to the Bahamas to repair damaged churches after hurricanes. After doing this he converted to become a catholic priest , and built catholic churches in the Bahamas. The Hermitage was his retirement home and the view is absolutely stunning, looking down on the bay with the aqua blue water, and white beaches!
From Cat Island we next visited Little San Salvador. This island is now owned by a cruise line, and they have named the bay we anchored in Half Moon Bay. Almost every day , a cruise ship or two anchors in front and brings thousands of their guests to a day at one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere. Where we anchored, we could watch
Tiki hut made one think we were in the Pacific instead of Bahamas.
their activities during the day, and after they leave for the next port, we went to the beach to explore. It is such contrast to have so many people on the beach, and a few hours later to have it all to ourselves.
Rock Sound Eleuthera was our next stop. Eleuthera is much different from Exuma. Most of the nice beaches are on the ocean side, and the west side is fairly rocky. Rock Sound is an excellent anchorage with great wind protection. There were quite a few boats we had met in George Town that were also in Rock sound, so we had a little sing song, cocktail party the first night we were there. From Rock Sound we went to Governors Harbour. While it is not one of the best anchorages, it is a very pretty town. It used to be the capital of the Bahamas, and there are many signs of it’s early prosperity. There are many beautiful houses and estates in Governors harbour that we saw on our walking tour.
From Governors Harbour, we went through Current Cut, and onto Spanish Wells. Spanish Wells is a very prosperous settlement in the Bahamas, that was
Jamming at Elmerald Bay
One front we and 100 other boats went to Elmerald Bay Marina for the big front. Music can happen anywhere.
settled during the 1600’s . Over half of the fish caught in the Bahamas are from fishermen from Spanish Wells. It is a very well run community, and very different from other parts of the Bahamas. While waiting for weather to go on to Abaco, Sharon and I took a side trip to Harbour Island, a beautiful but very difficult place to get to . You have to travel across the “Devils Backbone “ with many shallow areas and coral heads, that have sunk many boats. At one place you are travelling parallel to the shore , and it seems you are only a boat length away, with pretty big swells, broadside to the boat. We took a high speed Ferry boat and it was definitely the way to see Harbour Island. Harbour Island in addition to being very quaint, has a long beautiful beach with pink sand. Again very stunning. The day we were enjoying Harbour Island, a Tornado hit the next Island, Grand Bahamas causing serious damage and killing 3 people. While we did get a storm, it was really localized to Grand Bahamas, Freeport and Lucaya. (Where we spent the fall)
That brings us to Abaco
Beach in front of the new Sandles in Exuma.
where we currently are. We sailed from Spanish Wells to Little Harbour Abaco. We always fish while we are travelling, but this year we haven’t been very successful. About 10 miles out of Little Harbour our luck changed and we got 2 strikes at once. After a pretty good fight we landed a 41 inch 18.5 pound Mahi. (Our biggest catch ever) . We invited the 2 other boats we were travelling with to a great barbecue Mahi Mahi dinner! That was definitely a season highlight.
We are now anchored in Lubbers Quarter. Tomorrow we will go to Hopetown. Our plan is to spend a few weeks in Abaco, then head back to the US and St.Mary’s Georgia where we will again leave the boat for the summer. We are looking forward to getting home, we have lots to look forward to!
Happy Easter Everyone!
Doug and Sharon
SV About Time
There are more photos below