Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18th- Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abacos

Lat: 26 32N Long: 76 57.5W

Finally, it was time to get the boat off the docks at Marsh Harbour Marina. The steering is fixed and the davits have been installed, although we still have some tweeking to do with the davit installation to make them work right.
It actually looks like these davits were made to fit on our boat. The trip over to Hope Town is only a 10 mile run to the east of Marsh Harbour. That’s what’s so nice about this area. All the little Cays and towns are inside the Sea of Abaco and within about 10 miles of Marsh Harbour. It was a lovely day with little wind so we just turned on the iron spinnacre and chugged our way across. The entrance to this very pretty town is extremely small and leads south into a very well protected harbour.
We’re on a mooring ball in the right of the picture. We’re the middle boat in the group of three. Like I said, the village of Hope Town is very picturesque with its little narrow streets and colourful houses.
The pastel colours and the bright flowers just add to this quaint setting. It is very peaceful as everyone walks and the only vehicles you see are the occasional golf cart. Actually, there is a gate down by the ferry dock that is locked at night which stops all vehicles from entering Hope Town. We noticed that every single house is either for sale or for rent, with most prices between $700K and $1.3 million.
Just inside the entrance to Hope Town is a huge lighthouse that towers over everything here. They say that it is the most photographed site in the Abacos.
It’s open to the public, so who couldn’t resist the chance to climb the 101 steps to the top. Man it sure looks like a long way up. Let’s Go !!.......
Come on Jan, just a few more miles……. I meam STEPS…… but these are the steepest ones of all.
The light at the top is a pressurized kerosene light that is magnified by huge prisms that rotate around the light at night to provide its flashing characteristics.
Ok, we’re at the top. Time to climb out through the little door leading to the outside. WOW! What a view. We can see all over the entire island.
Behind Jan is the Atlantic Ocean and if you look far enough…. AFRICA!! What coulours. The barrier reef here is the third longest in the world at 110 miles and is known for fantastic diving and snorkeling. That’s on our “to-do” list for next trip. To the north of the entrance is this lovely home on their own island. The harbour entrance is just below it in this photo.
Ok, we’re back at the bottom. Will someone please take our picture? PLEASE??
Thank You. So now, it’s off to do a little more touring of this place. Like I said, the streets are very narrow and the houses very colourful. We found a plaque that said “IT IS BELIEVED THAT ON THIS BEACH THE FIRST LOYALISTS LANDED IN 1785”. Just on the other side of the town is a spectacular beach. Too bad the latest storm deposited a lot of sea grass on the sand.
Ok, too many pictures so I’ll have to continue this in another email after our rest stop at the local pub.

OK, so the pub rest is over and it’s off to explore a little more around Hope Town. Above the ferry dock is the Hope Town Lodge. It’s a quaint bunch of rental buildings centered around a 3 story lodge…… all painted white with blue trim.

All the views of this lovely place are of the Elbow Reef Lighthouse, which was built in 1826, in the background

There are still reminders of past tragedy here, as you can see.

This very old historic cemetery is being kept up as a reminder of those who have past through here long before any of us.

I've mentioned curly tails in the past. These are actually curly tailed lizards that are here in the thousands. They're very curious and run really funny. Most are only 4-5 inches long. Have a look.

April 19th - Hope Town to Guana Cay
Lat: 26 40N Long:77 07W

After a relaxing evening under the flashing light of the Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town, it was time to move on, so we dropped the mooring and headed out the narrow channel northward to Great Guana Cay. The water was a pretty green colour and as we discovered, the dark green patches weren't coral heads, but rather, grassy areas in a constant 8-10 feet of water. We didn't have to dodge them. Yay!

We arrived in Great Guana Cay after a couple hours and took a marina at the Orchid Bay Yacht Club and Marina. Not much of a yacht club and the marina was mostly empty but the facilities were very nicely kept.

Unfortunately, the rock breakwater has been damaged by hurricanes and offered little protection from the southwest wind that night. It was very bumpy and rollie at high tide, making it difficult to sleep.

The remainder of our afternoon was taken up with a short run over to "Nippers Beach Bar & Grill". It was a little on the quirky side with all the bright colours etc. and looked a bit like a circus.

However, it was situated overlooking another very nice beach.

After a few drinks and a nice supper it was time to head back to the boat.

On the way back we came upon this little house who decided to use his shutters in a useful way, "you supply the sunlight and we supply the power."

Just down the lane was the Pirate's Cove Tiki Bar. I understand the food is delicious .... and the deal is good ... as long as you supply the entree.

These three were destined for somebody's plate very soon.

Our taxi waited and it was time to go ... but the taxi was long dead!

We decided to continue through the back roads back to the marina.

Tomorrow is Friday April 20th, with bad weather forecast it's time to get back to Marsh Harbour and safe at a dock until Tuesday when we head north to Green Turtle Cay, then on to Great Sale Cay before heading back to Florida .... and the long trek home. Total distance travelled to date - 2,971 nautical miles by boat AND all hand steered! No Autopilot!

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