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Thursday, February 15, 2007

01 FEB thru 15 FEB 07: Treasure Cay, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas

GPS Position: 26°40'.367N: 77°16'.778W

Over the past two weeks, many boats have come into West End seeking shelter from the unpredictable weather. We met Gary and Catharine Johnson (s/v Wind Kist) today and they are really nice people. They have a Hunter 42 and Gary does really great woodwork, so their boat has a lot of storage. Really cool!!!

The four of us got another car today and went back into Freeport and Lucaya and played tourist. After leaving the Old Bahama Bay, you go approximately 15 minutes to get to the local village of West End where we stopped at the local bakery for bread, a piece of bread pudding, and a cinnamon bun for later.

Our main stop was the International Bazaar, with its impressive red Torii Gate entrance. Then, it was on to “Our Lucaya”, which is loaded with nice, modern hotels and where the cruise ships come in to Grand Bahama Island. We saw the pictorial red-and-white striped lighthouse at Lighthouse Pointe as well as The Westin Hotel with its beautiful beach, grounds, flowers, palms and outside pool area.

Then we walked through UNEXSO, circled around past the Dolphin Experience
and Miss and Mr. Pirate statues, toured the Lucayan Marketplace and visited the Arts and Crafts Market with stalls of straw goods, linens, shells and other Bahamian souvenirs. Afterwards, we headed back to Old Bahama Bay Resort to unpack our goodies and rest from our day’s activities.

We spent the day repacking the boat and making ready to sail. We’re supposed to have a three or four day window starting the 4th, and we can’t believe it’s true. We haven’t had a window that big since summer time. Went to the m/v BESO for cocktails. Chip and Kay Marsh are really nice people and their boat is beautiful. The three of us, BESO, Wind Kist and Current Jumper are all going to the Abacos tomorrow.

We got up this morning about 0630 EST and made ready to depart Old Bahama Bay Resort. The sea is like glass and there is a light (4 to 6 knot) wind out of the NE. No one can believe how calm it was on the water today. Most of the day was like sailing on a piece of glass. We arrived at Great Sale Cay around 1600 EST and anchored for the night.

The next day we were on our way to Allan’s Pensacola Cay. The transit today was a repeat of yesterday, calm seas, no waves or swells and the sun shone brightly all day. We followed “BESO” & “WindKist,” arriving at the cay around 1215 EST. What a pretty place this is!

Gary, Catharine, Kay, Kim and I all went shelling together. We spent most of the afternoon on these two beaches, looking for shells. I was very lucky and found a Sea Heart Bean on the eastern shore. If dried, sanded carefully and polished, it will make a beautiful souvenir of the trip.

On the 10th, we departed at 1000 hrs as planned. The wind was in our favor and we were finally able to put up the sails for the entire journey to Green Turtle Cay. We averaged 5.6 Kts on the trip and anchored in New Plymouth Harbour.

Once secure, we dropped the dinghy and went into the town of New Plymouth with WindKist and Beso. We walked around town, went to the grocery and ate lunch at an FNM political rally. We had freshly BBQ chicken and ribs, peas and rice and coleslaw. What a treat!!

We returned to the boat around sunset and made the dinghy fast in its davits. Around 2000 hrs, we started the generator and, after about 15 minutes, lost all electric power. I opened the generator housing and discovered that the electrical end pulley had broken loose and shredded the drive belt. I have an extra drive belt, but the pulley bolt holes are stripped and I cannot tighten them. I'll have to wait until Monday and try to get some parts sent.

Monday, we chose to move on to Treasure Cay. BESO is staying here at the Green Turtle Club and we'll reconnect later. There is a storm front coming and this may be the last chance to make it through the Whale Cay Cut. Once in Treasure Cay, we'll have good phone service and Internet and can, hopefully, make arrangements for generator parts.
We made Whale Cay Cut around 0945 hrs and it took an hour to make the passage through it. The seas became increasingly worse as me neared the other side of the passage, but once we got back in the lea of Whale Cay on the other end, things calmed down to normal.

We arrived at the entrance to Treasure Cay and pulled into the marina about 1150 and docked into slip L-17. WindKist is on the dock across from us. We all explored Treasure Cay and it appears to be really nice. Lots of stores and amenities make this appear to be a good place to wait out the coming storm. We went to the beach club for lunch. Cheeseburgers, real French-fries and really, really cold beer made it a great meal.

The main body of the storm finally moved in to Treasure Cay last night. The wind is in the 30 to 35 Kt range and it’s raining off and on in band after band of heavy squalls, but in the afternoon, it cleared off some. We rented a golf cart and explored the north end of the island. We found half a dozen good coconuts and a whale vertebra. We also met Dan And Debbie Skidmore from S/V About Time. They are from West Virginia and live on their Hunter 42. All in all, a pretty cool day.

Tonight, the 15th, is Pizza night at the Harbour Club. We went with WindKist and About Time to try native pizza. Boy were we surprised. The set-up was just like in a big pizza carryout in the US. Lot’s of toppings, cheese and sauce to make a pizza to die for. We had pizza and cold beer and enjoyed it to the sound of a “rake and scrape” band. Ah, what a night.

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