Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Abacos I: Double Breasted & Green Turtle Cays

After a very expensive, but lovely and relaxing, week at West End, we had a very quiet trip across to Double-Breasted Cay, a deserted cay in the north end of the Abacos. The only weather we saw was some distant rainstorms.
The anchorage at Double-Breasted is almost totally protected off Sand Cay, which becomes a formidable beach at low tide. We had it to ourselves for two nights.Both sunrises and sunsets here are spectacular.The beaches are soft white sand and warm water.At low tide, we went ashore on Sand Cay and walked the beach.Our next stop was Manjack (AKA: Munjack or Nunjack) Cay where we anchored between the main Cay and Crab Cay on the south end.The south part of the island is owned a by a couple who welcome boaters to come ashore and enjoy the cay. They've set up beach chairs on the beach and made paths through the forest to the beach on the ocean side. They even supply a free and strong WiFi signal throughout the anchorage.There are often minor rain showers in the middle of a sunny day which produce rainbows everywhere.The main beach was being used to careen (or ground) a large sailboat when we arrived. Our own anchorage was peaceful and serene off Crab Cay which has its own beaches. Like many other places it in the Abacos, it shows signs of development that either went bad or were wiped out in a hurricane.
Even on a cloudy morning, the sunrise is not to be missed. Only a few miles south of Manjack is Green Turtle Cay with two excellent harbours (that's the way they spell it here so....when in Rome....) and a pretty little town an easy dinghy ride away. As we were heading into Black Sound, we got a radio call from brother Jock who was sailing up from the south, so we went out to take pictures of him under full sail. "Home at Last" (HAL for short) looked great!
A local charter fisherman, who was gamming on the fuel dock with a couple of other locals, offered us his spare mooring at the head of the harbor. Both fuel and water are metered. Fuel is around $5.00/gallon (US) and water is up to $.25 per gallon. (The difference between a CAY and an ISLAND is that islands have natural fresh water and the cays do not. On the cays, you get either rain or r/o (reverse osmosis) water.) It doesn't get much better than this! We took the short dinghy ride to New Plymouth, where Jock gave us the nickel tour. Like much of the Abacos, New Plymouth was settled by Loyalists during the American Revolution and the architecture shows its New England origins. There are flowers all over the place, although the Bahamas have never been able to support any viable commercial agriculture
The views are spectacular -- for both the living and the dead! (We read that they don't need any more cemetaries because they get washed away so often by hurricanes, so they just start fresh in the old location.)
We plan to continue our tour of the Abacos only as far as Little Harbour, taking a look at all the places that have anchorages or mooring fields. (The many "Destination Resorts" have little appeal to us or our cruising budget.) After we've done the tour, we'll find a spot to settle down for a while. Right now, the quiet anchorage at Manjack, with its easy access to the more protected harbours and supplies at Green Turtle, looks awfully good!
More to follow----
Contact us at: Communication is spotty here. Our cell phones (Verizon) are incompatible with local systems -- and would be prohibitively expensive if they weren't -- have been turned off. Free WiFi, which Jock says was common last year, has been hard to find. They alternative is "Out Island Internet" for $20/day, $40/week, or $120/month and is is quite slow and spotty. Where we can get WiFi, we can use Skype for outgoing calls -- free with folks who have Skype and about $.03/minute if we call them on their regular phone) and Windows Live Messenger for messaging and video conferencing with friends and relatives who have it.


Sally said...

If you stop again at Green Turtle Cay on your way back, you can find NCYC's birgee hanging with many others at the Greet Turtle Club bar in White Sound. We put it up there a while back. Also, on the way in to White Sound, on the left, is the small cottage (Shore Leave) my sisters and I have there, and our boat, Tiki, languishing on a mooring in White Sound. My family has been associated with Green Turtle since the mid 1970's. I'm glad you're enjoying the Abacos! I miss it so much, and it's great to see your photos and read your blog.

Stop in at David Bethel's at the end of the road, near the shipping pier, in New Plymouth and see if they have "the sauce" (pronounced "sowce") for you to try! Bring a hankie... it's hot! And considered a breakfast item, really.

~ Sally (Rothenhaus - to the Abaconians) Faulkner

Sally said...