On Friday morning the 12th we left Little Harbor for a relatively short trip to Marsh Harbor. We had heard that Marsh Harbor was the “big city” of the Abacos, a great place to re-provision, both for us and the boat. Maxwells Supermarket, a short walk from the dinghy dock, was a full fledged supermarket rivaling markets in the US. What a delight to be able to get just about anything we needed. However we were not ready for a “big city” experience quite yet. So after a couple of days we left for Hope Town.
Hope Town, Elbow Cay, in the Abacos
Timing our arrival into Hope Town was very important, the depth of the water getting to the harbor entrance was as low as 1.5 meters (5 feet) at low tide in a few areas. Being that our keel is 6’4” below the water we had to time our arrival for high tide. The tidal range here averages about 3 feet. That should have given us about 8 feet of water. We actually only had 7’ 3” at one point, that’s only 11” under our keel… plenty of water for the Bahamas.
Hope Town is different from any other place we have been so far in the Bahamas. Hope Town was founded in 1775 by British Loyalists that were escaping the American Revolution. Many of their descendants continue to live here. There is also a large expatriate population here as well. I have decided to stay here rather than Marsh Harbor while Ginnie goes back to Connecticut to see her new grandson Graeme next week.
The village of Hope Town is very charming with narrow streets with well kept colorful houses and lush flowers and plantings. We saw a lignum vitae tree growing in town, this is the national tree of the Bahamas. The belaying pins and deadeyes aboard USS Constitution and many other sailing ships were made from lignum vitae.
Some of the houses along the harbor.
The flowers and plants here in the Abacos are just beautiful compared to the Exumas to our south. There is more rain and cooler weather here.
One of the many,many lizards we see every day here in Hope Town and other islands.
Hope Town is the home to the famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse. Probably the most recognizable landmark in Abaco. The lighthouse is one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The Fresnel lenses concentrate the mantle’s light into a beam directed straight towards the horizon. The lenses and burner equipment, weighing 8,000lbs, float in a circular lubricated tub. This reduces friction so that the 700lbs of weight, when wound up to the top of the tower by hand, smoothly rotates the 4-ton apparatus once every 15 seconds. The lighthouse keeper on duty must wind up the weights every 2 hours in order for the red and white candy-striped lighthouse to be seen from 17 miles away.
Taken from our dinghy at the entrance to the harbor.
Climbing to the top of the lighthouse gave us an incredible view of Elbow Cay and Hope Town harbor. Wide angle view (8 MM lens) of hope Town Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean
Ginnie with the entrance to the harbor in the background.
View from a window near the top.
I’m loving that 8MM lens.
We’ve also discovered some of the best restaurants on this entire trip with wonderful atmospheres, great views and service that rivals the best restaurants at home. What a delight Hope Town has been.
Tahiti Beach at the southern end of Elbow Cay.
When we arrived we were listening to the morning net on the VHF radio, one segment is for cruisers to announce their arrival or departure. We heard that Stan and Diane Cardinal aboard Dealers Choice were here from Mystic. After our arrival announcement they called us on the VHF and then dinghied over to say hello. Together we have snorkeled at a sunken barge, went out to collect conch, toured the island in a golf cart, and had dinners out and on board our boats. BTW, Stan makes a great conch salad, but watch out for those hot peppers! For those of you who are familiar with Stonington, Stan and Diane own the marina that has Marilyn Monroe and the Italian Chef fishing off the end of one of their docks. Marilyn and the Chef are there all year. You can see them when you drive on Route1, right at Cardinal Cove.
Stan being towed behind the dinghy looking for conch, we didn’t have much luck this trip.
It was an overcast day, sorry not much color.
One of the sunken trucks, looks like a VW minibus.
When we arrived in the harbor we picked up a mooring that is part of the Hope Town Marina. Along with the mooring we were able to enjoy the pool and free WIFI. This marina was recently rebuilt and is spectacular. Here are a few photos.
This sculpture is made of fishing rods and the copper fish over a simulated reef.
One evening just at sunset the sky and the water were the most incredible color. The sunset was not great but the color seemed to be surrounding us.
No PhotoShop here, everything took on this coral color.
Even Oliver (AKA Velcro) came out for a stroll on deck. I don’t think he’s figured out what to do about the large turtles that come by the boat.