Hopping through the Southern Abacos

As we continue our trek South through the Abacos, we find that the farther South you get, the fewer and more far between the settlements persist. This means infrastructure gets thinner, presenting less opportunity to get stuff you might need aboard. By this time, we pretty much have what we need. The “I knew I forgot something” phenom has worn off and we feel fairly confident that if we break it and don’t have it…we can fabricate it or it’s so special and expensive that it’s cost prohibitive to keep as a spare. On the perishables side, winter cruisers and boating vacationers have already knocked on the boat in the mooring field and gifted us their unused condiments as they clean out their fridge on the charter catamaran and pack up for their trip back home.

Spending nearly a week at Hopetown afforded us the opportunity to meet some new friends. We visited with a sister Gulfstar ketch that briefly entered the anchorage and met Ken on SV Journey. We met Gary and Diane on MV Moonshine who were just departing to go on a cruise for two weeks…hmmmm…a vacation from a vacation? We also met Nick from SV Marie Elena – a beautiful yawl in the mooring field.

As the weather patterns stabilize, we have begun to shave down our time on station at each Cay we visit so that we can hop over to the next Cay to see what it has to offer. This week it was Elbow Cay (Hopetown), Lubber’s Quarters, Tahiti Beach and Tavern Cay. The latter three guard the exit through Tilloo Cut to the Atlantic (from the Sea of Abaco). What a beautiful setting we dropped our anchor in on this hop. Water as clear as a swimming pool. No bugs. Expensive private estates bristling from each island spit and a mobile beach bar on Tahiti Beach (a houseboat looking thing that is actually a floating bar)!

We snorkeled Tavern Cay and saw some live coral and beautiful fish…but not one lobster! Geeez…what’s a guy gotta do to get some free lobster around here? The answer is go where no one else is…which is our plan for the Exumas. We trekked over to Tahiti Beach and enjoyed the sun for the day. It was essentially one big sand bar where lots of center console boats (mostly rentals) come to hang out. From Tahiti Beach you can get a good look at Tilloo Cut…a narrow, breaker-affected channel into the Atlantic. We had no intentions of busting out into the Atlantic from here so it was nice to look at. We plan to use North Bar Channel, another 6 miles South, when we are ready to hoist sails for Spanish Wells Eleuthera. Sandy Cay is near North Bar and it is reported to be some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Abacos…can’t wait!

A cruising week is seemingly incomplete without something to fix on the boat. This week is was the hydraulic davits. We popped a reservoir seal on our pump and spent two hours repairing the reservoir chamber. Thank goodness for environmentally friendly hydraulic fluid…basically vegetable oil…it was a messy, slippery job but a successful one as well…the davits are back in business!

As I (Steve) finish this post, I must share how beautiful the Bahamas sky is. At night. With very little light pollution here, the stars are just breath-taking! It’s a shame we don’t have camera equipment to to capture (long exposure) such a tapestry of stars…what a truly wonderful gift from God.

We expect the next two days to be fair, warm and windless…a perfect peacefulness to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the Southern Abacos. The water is warm and the sun is hot…Next stop…Sandy Cay!

Stay Tuned!