Friday, February 19, 2016

On to Hopetown

Simple Life in the shadow of the Hopetown Lighthouse
     When the time came to depart Green Turtle Cay we felt quite torn. Having spent the better part of three weeks in the harbor, exploring the island and its sugar sand beaches, sampling authentic the local Bahamian cuisine of conch burgers, conch salad and fritters and being welcomed by the the locals made us feel wistful when we dropped our mooring lines at dawn a couple of weeks ago. I suppose as travellers we acclimate quickly and new harbors soon feel like home.
Hopetown Settlement




Hopetown harbor from atop the Hopetown Lighthouse
     According to our weather router, Chris Parker it was a favorable day to negotiate the Whale Cay Cut. Seas had been raging at 11 feet for days and it sounded like a favorable time with six foot seas to make the passage and get ourselves into the protected Sea of Abaco where it would be easy to make short hops to many of the cays (pronounced keys) within its boundaries. As I've said in previous blogs this is not our normal route south, but it seemed like a good alternative rather than fighting unpredictable wind and seas on the southern route in such a tumultuous winter weather pattern.

     Our original plan after departure from Green Turtle Cay was to head to Marsh Harbour to provision and fill our water tanks which were last topped off in Vero Beach on December 29. We have a 90 gallon water tank. The tank was half full or empty depending on your outlook on life. We'd been able to catch more than eleven gallons of drinking water from rain as well as about a quarter of our 90 gallon tank. I think I can safely say we conserve water. Think about it. Could you live on 45 gallons of water for more than three weeks? It means dishes washed once a day, shower in a gallon of water twice a week. I don't mean to sound righteous, but out here water is expensive not wasted. We have no choice since we don't live at marinas.

     Even though we were experiencing a near gale Joe ventured in to a local pub, Captain Jacks to watch the Super Bowl festivities. I happily opted to work on a new classical guitar piece J.S. Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring arranged by David Qualey. This particular arrangement is featured on Windam Hill's Winter Solstice Album. David Qualey also performs this piece on YouTube. After working on this piece for awhile I also played the Bodhran with some recorded Irish tunes just to loosen up after all the rigors of studying the classical piece. It was a fun musical night aboard the Simple Life. Sometimes I relish my alone time aboard. I can go crazy with my music!

Ruins at the now closed Elbow Cay Club
     Recently, our new Canadian friends from Manitoba, Eileen & Bud aboard Sea Camp invited us to join them for an exploration in the mangroves trails on Elbow Cay. We had a few diversions due to private property but, eventually found our way out to a road, but not without the help of a few Haitians who directed us. After the hike happy hour was aboard our friends Scott & Kitty's boat Tamure joined by Marcia and Dan from Cutting Class. Both couples are fellow New Englanders from Connecticut. Scott and Kitty have been cruising since the early 1970's and have circumnavigated twice and completed the Atlantic Circle! Their stories are so interesting and we have dubbed them the social directors of the "harbor rats" (those of us living on moorings in Hopetown).
A spontaneous game of Petanque on the beach in Hopetown


Joe's lobster catch after snorkeling
for only15 minutes.

     For now we are settling in here in Hopetown. Our future travels south remain uncertain since weather windows have been few and far between. If we spend the winter here in Hopetown that's fine with us. As they say...there's no point messing about with Mother Nature. She has delivered a turbulent winter so far. We'll see what develops in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime we'll enjoy our time here in beautiful Abaco. There's plenty to keep us occupied such as free diving for those elusive lobsters until spring's arrival in the northern Bahamas.

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