THE ABACO’S – FINALLY

We finally made the crossing from Royal Island to Lynyard Cay in the Abaco’s after waiting out some strong winds and high seas. We left Royal Island at 6.00am. on May 4th arriving in Lynyard Cay at 5.00pm. We were lucky, light winds and about at 2 metre swell. Peter caught a large Mahi Mahi, but not as big as Scott’s!

 

 We anchored at Lynyard Cay because Scott Free draws too much to make it into Little Harbour. It was about a 15 minute dinghy ride across the bay. We all went in the next morning for a long walk over the island followed by lunch at the famous Pete’s Bar. The lunch was long and liquid and a lot of fun – of course.

PETE'S PUB

 From Lynyad Cay we made the three hour trip to Marsh Harbour where we found a good anchorage close into the shore.

MARSH HARBOUR 

Marsh Harbour is a favourite spot of most cruisers and can be very busy at time. There is not much to offer other than a few good bars and restaurants and some nice homes. We decided to stay a few days; however as it is a sheltered anchorage and easy access to other islands. We hired a car for a day and drove for about an hour to the north part of the island, then caught a water taxi across to Green Turtle Cay, the capital of which is called New Plymouth.

 

 We spent a great day there, enjoying at festival and all its fun. Lots of food stalls, local craft, and of course music. One of the highlights was Police Band from Nassau who paraded down the street in all their finery, starched white shirts and highly polished back shoes. They were very good, but as soon as they reached the main part of the festival they broke into local music and began dancing and swinging away thoroughly enjoying themselves. Boy those guys can boogie!!

 


The following morning, Mother’s Day, we joined Scott and Heather on Scott Free and sailed to Great Iguana Cay where they w ere spending the night. We walked over to the far side of the island to Nipper Bar and Restaurant for the Sunday pig roast. What fun. All you can eat washed down with their famous Rum Punch. Music blaring, people dancing, lots of fun.

 

THE ” GIRLS” ON THE BEACH AT NIPPERS

 Nippers is also situated on a lovely beach so we enjoyed a swim later in the day. Peter and I took the ferry back to Marsh Harbour where we were meeting Diane and Graham Molineux who were flying in from Fort Lauderdale. We enjoyed an evening drink on Anything Goes, followed by dinner and a reasonably early night! The next morning we sailed over to Hope Town, about two hours away. Hope Town is famous for its cute candy striped lighthouse. It is a very sheltered harbour with a number of mooring balls. We tied up just before lunch and waited for Scott Free to arrive from Great Iguana.

 


What a gorgeous island. We all walked for miles looking at the beautiful homes and beaches, and enjoying the few local shops.

 

 On Tuesday we ordered a taxi to take us across to the Atlantic side of the island to the Harbour Club restaurant for a gorgeous meal. Nice to dress up for a change!

 


It was while we were in Hope Town that I had a call from my brother to say Mum was to have spinal surgery to release the pressure on three nerves. It was pretty urgent as the pain was tremendous but also the surgeon warned that if left, she would inevitably loose the use of her legs and be wheelchair bound. It rather put a spanner in the works, as the logistics of getting the boat back to the US so it could be left, and flying home were a bit difficult when you are so weather dependant. Fortunately we did have a couple of weeks to make it. Graham and Diane decided to stay the distance and although they had planned to spend a bit more time in the Bahamas, they did get to see a few more islands and ultimately a bit more of Florida as we made our way back.
We started the journey on 11 May sailing first to White Sound on Green Turtle Cay. We had just tied up at the Bluff House Marina (gorgeous) when a squall hit with high winds and torrential rain. Poor Heather and Scott were still making the trip through Whale Cay Cut, which is exposed to the Atlantic, and they had a few unpleasant moments. The following morning we left at 8.00am for the eight hour trip to Great Sale Cay. This horseshoe shaped island is uninhabited but makes a sheltered stopover point for those wanting to leave for Florida. There were about eight boats anchored overnight. We all left first thing the next morning for various points up the Florida coast. Our weather guru, Chris Parker, had forecast a great crossing so we were all taking advantage of the few days’ good weather. Chris’s idea of a great crossing really means no northerly winds! It wasn’t so bad, just ten foot swells and light winds for most of the trip. We made good progress even making nearly 11 knots at one stage. Poor Diane may not agree entirely, especially when we had about an hour of 20+ knot winds that came out of nowhere and made the swells break, but it was a following sea so really not too bad. We arrived at Cape Canaveral at 5.45 am, 23 hours later. We had to wait outside the entrance to the harbour until 7.00am firstly for better daylight, but also the marina we had booked did not open until 8.00am. After passing through the harbour, under one bridge and into a lock we made it to the Harbour town Marina. We had booked ourselves in for three nights and it was lovely to tie up finally and relax. We had to clear customs and immigration at Cape Canaveral, but the local office doesn’t open at the weekend so we had to wait until Monday morning. The one real positive was that we watched the space shuttle take off. A great experience to be right there.

 

Immigration was easy, but rather longwinded, fortunately no hassles and we and the boat were “admitted” back into the States!

 

FAREWELL DINNER AT CAPE CANAVERAL  WITH GRAHAM & DIANE, SCOTT & HEATHER
We left Cape Canaveral on Tuesday morning after farewelling Scott Free who were taking the outside route to Green Cove Springs, a 150 mile trip. We enjoyed a great trip up the ICW in beautiful conditions apart from the incredible Love Bugs. These disgusting creatures come in their thousands, literally, and just swarmed all over us and the boat. Peter was sitting at the helm with a broom in one hand and a spray can in the other just so he could see where to go!!
We decided to go straight to Daytona Beach after trying to anchor at Sheep’s Head cut, about an hour south of Daytona. It had silted up quite a bit over the winter months so the anchorage just didn’t work. We decided to stay a couple of nights at a marina in Daytona which gave us the opportunity to have a look around this rather ordinary city. Big plus, no bugs!
On the morning of the 19th we left Daytona for the five hour trip up a very picturesque ICW to our “new home” in St Augustine where we have left the boat. We had to make a decision before we left the Bahamas, where we should leave the boat for the hurricane season. Finding a facility with a trave lift wide enough to take us was a problem. We just did not have the time to go south and then through the Seven Mile bridge at Marathon and back up the west coast to Cortez where we usually leave the boat. St Augustine is a gorgeous city, the oldest city in the US. Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to look around but we did manage a couple of meals which were lovely.

 

 Diane and Graham left us after spending a couple of days cleaning and scrubbing. They were a wonderful help, certainly made it easier for us to get away in time to make our flights back home.

We arrived in Brisbane on the morning of the 27th and went straight to the hospital to wait for Mum to come out of surgery. She has made a remarkable recovery, given her age, and is continuing to improve every day, is home and walking around the neighbourhood in the glorious weather we have had since our return.

So, that is it for 2011. We are looking forward to what 2012 brings! Keep you posted.

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One Response to “THE ABACO’S – FINALLY”

  1. Francie & Ruedi Says:

    Wow,again. all those wonderful memories, & beautiful weather. with all the last minute happenings. & still you found time to write this lovely long Blog.
    Life back in Aussie will seem very quiet!
    Very pleased to hear that Joy is making great progress. Absolutely amazing, considering her age.
    We look forward to having a chat once you are back in your home.
    The bombsite at Ruedi’s new premises is gradually getting sorted. Thank goodness! Another box ticked! The countdown is on until 1 June next year!

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