Leaving Hope Town for Man-O-War, Guana Cay and Green Turtle Cays

This is a bittersweet time for us, as much as we have enjoyed the adventure, we are both looking forward to getting home, yes the brick and mortar places in Mystic, Newport and Tiverton that need our attention.  Many times we referred to Firecracker as our home while we were cruising, a slip of the tongue, maybe not, she really was home for 5 1/2 months for Ginnie and 7 1/2 months for me. But most important of all is that we will be able to spend more time with family and friends.  I am so excited to be able to see Reese again and Graeme for the first time.

I guess if the flowers are on the trees in CT it’s time for us to go north.

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Now that’s a happy kid!

Hope town was such a surprise to us, we loved it here and plan to return next year.

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One of our last days in Hope Town.

On to Man-O War..

Man-O-War Cay is a small island about 2 1/2 miles long with about 300 Bahamian residents and a hundred or so foreign family calling it home.  It has been known for years for it’s boat building Albury family.  In the past the boats were built of wood but now fiberglass is the standard.

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When we walked up from the dinghy dock we found this submersible/submarine type contraption.  With all the rental boats here I thought about maybe inquiring, but Ginnie nixed that idea in a hurry.

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Back at the last post I mentioned a Lignum Vitae tree that was in Hope Town, well this tree is on steroids compared to that one.  Now I’m not sorry about not going back to take a photo of the Hope Town tree.

We were fortunate to be able to meet and talk with Don Albury.  He builds the Albury 20, 23 and 27′ open boats.  Check it out at www.alburybrothers.com.  Seeing these boats out in the Sea of Abaco in rough conditions is just amazing.  They are great boats.

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Here Don is showing me the last wood Man-O-War sailing dinghy built by his grandfather, it is still raced and continues to win it’s share of silver.

At the north end of the cay is a section of island called “The Low Place” by locals.  It is exceptionally narrow with a beach on both sides separated by a roadway built into the rock.   The distance between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Abaco is about 10 metres across.

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Ginnie on the Sea of Abaco side.

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Two photos looking out across the Atlantic Ocean.

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This is one of the golf cart “roads” heading back toward the settlement.

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Two Abaco sailing dinghies in the harbor.

Guana Cay and the famous Nippers!…

Stopping at Guana Cay and not going to Nippers would be reason to be keel hauled.  So we jumped on a golf cart that was waiting to take us to the most famous spot in Guana Cay.  On our way we saw a back hoe that broke down, sat a while and was then painted by a local artist or two.

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It’s just another “Bahama Ting”.

After we were dropped off from the cart we were excited to be getting to Nippers.

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We’re getting close now, I can hardly contain myself.

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We’re almost there…this looks like a a great place.

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The beach looks great too.  It really was a great bar to enjoy the view of the Atlantic.

At the north side of the harbor was another bar, Grabbers.  I wonder if it’s better to be Nipped or Grabbed?  You can be the judge.  We ran into Mary Wesley and Jerry from Canell, a beautiful Valiant 50, designed by Bob Perry, the designer of Firecracker.  We played tourist, after a few drinks we all had a great dinner at Grabbers.

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Ginnie is on the right, the one with the very long arm.

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Mary Wesley and Ginnie with Firecracker and Caneel on the horizon.

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It doesn’t get much better that this.  BTW the white inflatable is Fuse, our dinghy.DSC_0283

Well maybe it does get a little better, could it be that getting Grabbed is better than getting Nipped.

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This pool was at Grabbers, looking out onto Fishers Bay.

The next morning I decided to clean the bottom of the boat for our trip back to the States.  We have a SCUBA tank with a 60′ hose so I can dive and do maintenance while the boat is in the water.  With calm winds it was the ideal time to get this done.  After putting on the wet suit, weight belt etc. I eased into the water to find that I had a helper.  The barracuda didn’t help much so maybe just an observer.

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My new best friend, a 4 to 4 1/2 ‘ long barracuda.  That’s our keel behind the barracuda.

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He stayed with me for the hour it took to clean the bottom.

Heading Home

Today is Tuesday the 14th and tomorrow we will leave Green Turtle Cay at about noon when the tide is high.  We need all the water we can get.  Remember we draw 6’4″ and this is not an especially high tide so we should have about 7′ at the shallow spot near the entrance to Black Sound where we are.

We will be sailing direct to St Marys GA where we will have the boat hauled and stored for the summer. This leg of our trip is 345 nautical miles.  Normally we plan our passages at a speed of 6 knots, but with the Gulf Stream moving us north at up to 2 1/2 – 3 knots it should take us about 50 or so hours, getting us into St Marys in the afternoon on Friday.

Ginnie has been securing everything on board for the trip back and I have set up the jack lines (nylon webbing that runs from the bow to the stern on the port and starboard side decks) as well as our inflatable life jackets and safety tethers.  We clip our tethers onto the jack lines if we need to go on deck when sailing offshore.  At night we are always clipped in, even if we are in the cockpit.

When in the Navy I stood 4 hour watches, that’s the standard for on board ships.  On boats our size the watch duration is whatever works best.  Some cruisers like 2 hour watches, some 4, but we have decided on 3 hours.  I’ll start at 2100 hours, Ginnie will take the mid-night to 0300 hrs, and I’ll do 0300 hrs to 0600 hrs.  The rest of the time we will nap as needed.

Our route will be to head north west from Green Turtle Cay into the Sea of Abaco, passing to the south and west of Manjack Cay, Powell Cay, Spanish Cay, Allans-Pensacola Cay, then to the north of Great Sale Cay to the Little Bahama Bank.  At the western edge of the Little Bahama Bank we turn further north at Mantanilla Shoal and head for St Marys in GA.

When we were at the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) gam in Melbourne, FL last December we were able to obtain Local Boaters Option registration cards from the US Customs and Border Protection officer that was there.  These cards allow us to re-enter the US by simply making a phone call as we are arriving in US Waters which saves a lot of time by not having to go ashore to find a Customs office.