"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

March 31, 2015

Mar. 30 – Little Harbour, Great Abaco Island

Pete’s Pub Mooring

“The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” —BeyoncĂ© Knowles

We returned to a few of the small beaches this morning during low tide to do more beach combing. Stan found a new record holding sea biscuit and we also found more sea glass on our special beach. Our anchorage was beginning to fill up so after lunch decided to head over to Little Harbour.

Little Harbour is a picturesque and well-protected harbor with an almost perfect semicircle white beach on the east side and high cliffs on the west side. The shore is lined in palm trees and is exactly what you’d picture in your mind if you think of an island paradise. The only businesses in Little Harbour are Pete’s Pub and Peter Johnston Gallery, Studio and Foundry. Pete's Pub is a very laid-back island pub that was fashioned out of the pilothouse and deckhouse of the sailing ship "Langosta", one of the Johnston family's original live-aboards.

We picked up a mooring ball and then went ashore to explore. We sat and enjoyed one of Pete’s Pub’s special rum concoctions before exploring the beach on the north side. It’s a very rugged beach and we could hear the breaking waves from the boat this evening. We also wandered through the gallery. I really wanted to get here last Saturday for an art show they had, but the weather and wind didn’t cooperate. Little Harbour is a cute, quiet, relaxing place…a deserted island, that makes you feel like you’re a million miles from the real world.

Our view this morning on Lynyard Cay
Lynyard Cay 
Looking towards Pete's Pub from The Pearl 
Pete's Pub 
Pete Johnston's Gallery & Foundry 
The beach on the north shore of Little Harbour 
A make shift shack on the beach
Cliffs around the harbor 
The entrance to Little Harbour 
An aerial view of the habor 

March 30, 2015

Mar. 29 - Lynyard Cay

North Lynyard Cay anchorage

"Keep your sense of proportion by regularly, preferably daily, visiting the natural world." —Catlin Matthews

The wind was still blowing when we got up, so we had a slow morning enjoying breakfast and surfing the Internet. Around 10:00 we both decided the wind had laid enough for us to move on...we were both getting a little tired of just hanging around on the boat. So we dropped the mooring and headed south to Lynyard Cay. Lynyard Cay is a private island with a few homes, but all the beaches in Abaco are public and it’s said to be a great place to look for shells and sea glass.

The water in our anchorage is unbelievably clear...even with the wind blowing some. We dropped the hook and then took the dinghy down so we could explore the small beaches. We found more sea biscuits, larger than any we've seen before. I thought I'd collected enough of them, but we had to keep these just for their size. We also found some very unusual sponges on the first beach and a few urchins. Our best find of the day was beautiful polished sea glass and lots of it. We discovered Abaco's glass beach. Well maybe not a real glass beach, but better than anything else we’ve seen. It was everywhere and each wave seemed to bring in more. It's the best sea glass we've seen since we were in Maine.

Getting back to The Pearl was a rough ride since the wind had picked up again. We were both soaked by the time we got back, but it was still fun to get out and do something today. Our anchorage is beautiful and it looked even more spectacular with the large moon reflecting off the gorgeous clear water.

Our anchorage
Our view on the way back to the boat
Some of our earlier sponges...airing out
A close up of one of our sea biscuits
The sea biscuit on the bottom left was our largest until today...the largest now is 6"x4". Believe me that is pretty big!

March 29, 2015

Silent Sunday

March 28, 2015

Abaco Picket Fences

We’re sitting in Man-O-War waiting on what we hope is the last winter storm to pass through the Abacos. The wind howled all day, but we did have a chance to go ashore for a while and walk on the beach before the threat of rain chased us back to the boat. Weather like this forces us to relax and unwind, but it also makes blogging a little more difficult. So today I thought I’d share part of an article that I read in the Abaco Life magazine.

“Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote Robert Frost in his famous poem “Mending Wall.” In Abaco, nothing is more American about the island village scenery - or more neighborly - than white fences.

Wall fences were, and still are, the most common property definition used in the British Isles, especially in rural areas. The idea of picket fences in the American colonies, particularly in New England and New York, was inspired by pointed iron fences in Europe, which symbolized the affluent status of the home owner. But metal was expensive in the New World, and wood was abundant, so picket fences were born. The same laws of supply and demand existed in Abaco when American loyalists began arriving in 1783 to build settlements, the majority of the fences were built from local cedar and pine.

Picket fences make a bold and sturdy statement, and while they may serve at times to keep out the neighbor’s dog, their main purpose in Abaco is beautification. The standard height of four to five feet actually invites socializing rather than discourage it.  

The best examples of these fences today are in the settlements of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay and in Hope Town on Elbow Cay. But wherever they are found, construction and care still add to the home owners’ status in the community, just as his garden does. Sometimes, a white picket fence blends regally with a flowing and fiery bougainvillea, and different styles can express individual tastes for simplicity or ornateness.

March 27, 2015

Mar. 26 - Man-O-War Cay

Man-O-War Mooring Field

I love the sea's sounds and the way it reflects the sky. The colors that shimmer across its surface are unbelievable. This, combined with the color of the water over white sand, surprises me every time." —John Dyer

We went back to the grocery store this morning and picked up a few more things and then wandered through what they call the marina district. It had a few nice gift shops and three or four upscale places to eat, but to us it didn't seem to offer much else...not a place we'd want to spend much time. So we finished our to do list by we filling our water tanks at one of the marinas and we headed back to Man-O-War.

We had plenty of sunshine today but the wind has really picked up. We had a choppy ride across the Sea of Abaco, we picked up a mooring and spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging around the boat listening to the wind howl. We'll probably spend the next few days here waiting for the weather system to move through and then hopefully spend the first of the week snorkeling a little south of here. We will then start moving north, visiting places we missed on the way south.

Fresh vegetables and lamb for dinner
Our neighbors blowing their conchs at sunset

March 26, 2015

Mar. 25 – Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island

Marsh Harbour – Anchorage

“One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much.” —Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Our plan today was to move to a marina in Marsh Harbour so we could provision, wash clothes, wash the boat and fill our water tanks, but the marinas were full. The wind has picked up and rain is predicted for the next few days, so I guess a lot of other people had the same idea. No one wants to give up a good day to take care of necessities. Since there was no room at the "Inn" we anchored in the harbor with another 50 boats.

The dinghy dock is pretty close to the two large grocery stores and laundromat, so our first run to town was to buy groceries and check out exactly were the laundromat was. Marsh Harbour is the third largest city in the Bahamas and Abaco's commercial hub. It definitely doesn't have the same cuteness and charm as the small settlements, but it does have everything a cruiser needs. Maxwell's is the nicest grocery store and we felt like we were back in the States. The prices were very comparable to those in Florida with meat prices cheaper than we pay at home.

We returned to the boat with fresh meat and vegetables...our first since leaving Marathon. We actually have been doing well on most items. We just ran out of a few things this week. Our next job was to wash clothes. Something else we haven't done in 3 1/2 weeks. We loaded the dinghy and then lugged everything about half a mile to the laundromat. While I did the laundry Stan went to the bank and ran a few other errands. He returned to the laundromat just as the skies opened up and it began to pour. The rain took care of job #3...washing the boat, but we were stuck at the laundromat as the streets began to flood.

About two hours later when the rain lightened up a little we wadded through puddles and made our way back to the dinghy dock. As we headed back to the boat it began to rain AGAIN. We took care of two normally routine jobs today, jobs that we take for granted when we're home, but getting them done here took most of our day. Most days the cruising life is fun, but it's not always glamorous.

The street in front of the laundromat when the rain started
The street after a little rain

March 25, 2015

Mar. 24 – Man-O-War Cay

Man-O-War Harbor Mooring Field

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” —Mother Teresa

We finally pulled out of Hope Town Harbor this morning. We had rain during the night, but this morning was sunny with light winds, a great day to be on the Sea of Abaco. It was nice to have the rain during the night, it gave The Pearl a much needed bath…we’ve been collecting a lot of salt the past few weeks. Our destination today was Man-O-War Cay, just five miles north of Elbow Cay.

Man-O-War Cay more than any other island in the Abacos, has retained the strongest ties with boat building, boat transportation and boat maintenance. It’s the boat building capital of the region. The Albury family, which founded this cay, once built remarkably large sailing schooners here. They still built hand crafted boats on the island and run the Albury’s Ferry Service, which provides service from Marsh Harbour, Hope Town, Man-O-War, and Great Guana Cay.

This island is only about 2 miles long and at the "Narrows" it isn’t much wider than 20 yards. There are no cars on the island and the best way to get around is either by walking, golf cart or bicycles. As with neighboring cays, Man-O-War was settled by Loyalists and a trip to this cay is like stepping back in time. The pastel colored homes and white picket fences make visitors feel like they are visiting a New England fishing village.

The island is quiet and has beautiful beaches, which we spent time exploring this afternoon. But the main reason I wanted to come to Man-O-War was to visit the Albury's Sail Shop. It’s a family-owned business that has been operating for three generations on MOW. They make all kinds of totes, bags and other accessories from bright sturdy canvas fabric, the kind that was traditionally used for sails. All the items are made on site by the ladies of Man-O-War and can only be purchased here...no online sales, no catalogs.

Albury Sail Shop
You can get things in all sizes and colors
This display shows some of the sizes they carry. I bought a sling bag like the one on the right, but mine is made out of Androsia Fabric (canvas).
This is my bag. All the bags are a little expensive, but you can only get them here. This sling bag was $70. the bags on the table above run from $40-$110 depending on size.
Annie, using the same sew machine her grandmother and mother used to sew sails and then bags for the Sail Shop
The "Narrows" - the Sea of Abaco on one side and the Atlantic on the other. What a great view that house has...they get a clear view of the sunrise and sunset.
A few of the pictures I took of the gorgeous water today
Even the lizards enjoy looking at the beautiful water
One of the roads leading to the beach
The Methodist Church - built in 1912
Our view from the deck this afternoon...reminds us a little of Maine, especially when the tide went down.

March 24, 2015

Mar. 23 – Hope Town, Elbow Cay

Hope Town Inn & Marina Mooring Field

Tan your toes in the Abacos – Abaco Inn

We enjoyed our last few days in Hope Town...everything that is except the nightly concerts at one of the local restaurants that were much too loud and lasted too long. It's spring break and not everyone here is living on a boat. Vacationers don't party more than cruisers, they just party later.

Anyway enough complaining...back to the good stuff. Here are a few highlight and pictures of our last three days here in Hope Town. We've been doing a lot more relaxing and absorbing the scenery than exploring…just watching the world go by.

You’ve got to love it in the Abacos; the resorts are open to everyone. They don’t care if you’re their guest or not, everyone is welcomed to use their pools, tiki bars, restaurants and beaches. They’re wonderful small resorts that are quiet and relaxing. We’ve enjoyed spending warm afternoons sitting by their pools taking in the tropical breeze and amazing views. If you want a relaxing vacation away from the hustle and bustle of major resorts…this is the place to come. It’s definitely not a shopping or restaurant mecca…just a place to take in the true beauty of the islands without all the crowds.

This evening we met friends at Cap’n Jack’s to enjoy happy hour, dinner and bingo night. It was a lot of fun, but could have been a lot better if we could have won one of the $300+ pots. It’s been a fun week in Hope Town, but we are both ready to move on and do a little more exploring. This week is going to be a bit breezier than the past one, so we may get stuck in Man ‘O War or Marsh Harbor a little longer than we'd like. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

More beautiful homes along the harbor in Hope Town 
Rosie belongs to our friends and she keeps an eye on everything in the harbor 
Pictures from the sailboat races we watched on Sunday 
Vernon and his wife Bobbi have owned Vernon's Grocery Store & Bakery in Hope Town for years and it is a staple on the beautiful island of Elbow Cay. Vernon is a direct descendant of the founders of Hope Town Settlement and is also a Minister at the Methodist Church. 
Having fun at Cap'n Jack's
One more picture of the beautiful "Candy Striped" Lighthouse. It's been our view for the past week.