Cruising the East Coast and the Abacos in our Camano Troll
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Bachelor Cruise I: Man-O-War Cay
I put The Admiral on a plane to Dallas and left that day for Man-O-War Cay, just a few miles across Abaco Sound. As the sign says, there is no place like Man-O-War.
Yes, it has the same glorious sunsets that happen here all over the place.
I found a nice spot to anchor right at the south end of Settlement Harbour where I could watch the comings and goings around the village (aka: settlement).
Man-O-War is unique among the Cays because it has a very active business community, centered on boat building and repair and is not totally dependent on tourism and 2nd home owners like everywhere else in Abaco. Our friends on Bravo were hauled to replace their broken shaft. The labor rate is $40/hour as opposed to the $90 or so found in most of the East Coast of the US.
They actively repair and restore older wooden boats like this traditional Bahama sailing dinghy. They also build modern fiberglass boats, mostly center console outboards. Since all the yards are owned by Alburies, they are named for the owner's first names.
The cay is virtually (totally?) all white and mostly members of the Albury family for many generations. Every morning about 4 boatloads of black workers come across from Marsh Harbour at around 7:00 AM and leave by nightfall. Some of them are highly skilled boat builders and workers.
The Cay is served by two small grocery stores. The one by the harbor is owned by, of course, an Albury.
Transportation is by gasoline golf carts, some of which are available for rental by the tourists. Yes, as a former British colony, they drive on the left.
"Location. Location. Location." Most of the houses are very well kept and very simple with no decoration. (This isn't one of them.) It is a very religious community with a number of churches. BYOB! No liquor is sold on the cay or served at the two restaurants.
The cay is supplied by an almost daily freight boat and large loads are brought in by barge. This barge was delivering loads of sand and some heavy equipment.
A little Bahama dinghy sailed through towing a modern fiberglass outboard. Malolo, a beautiful traditional motor-sailor, was built in MOW in the 50s and was found by her present owners in Maine and restored by them in Nova Scotia. They returned to MOW for the first time two years ago with great fanfare when we were here and came back this year after more restoration.
Kaye and TJ invited the poor starving bachelor skipper aboard their lovely Alberg 37, Shearwater anchored in the south harbor, for a delicious pork chop dinner. Sesame brought some fresh-baked brownies.
On the way to the beach at the narrows north of the harbor in the dinghy, I passed through many rays flying around in the beautifully clear water.
I walked across the narrow isthmus to the ocean side. At low tide, there is a nice beach on the sound side and I found a few nice shells including a couple of sand dollars.
The coral along the beach had some interesting shapes encased in it. I am not sure what they are or were, but I'm imagining prehistoric trilobytes or something like that?
During a passage of one of the frequent weather fronts that come through during the winter, one brave soul went out the passage.
Sesame sat happily in Man-O-War for a few days, figuring that every night at anchor saved enough money to buy a rum drink or two ashore. But then the Captain remembered that he was anchored off a dry town and decided it was time to head out to Hopetown with all the money he had saved. Stay tuned!
The information in this column does not change. New entries will appear to the left.
We started this blog in August 2006 when we were getting ready for our first winter heading south in our new powerboat, named "Sesame". The newest entries are first and the oldest are last. General information is in this column.
Most of the photographs are high definition. You can click on any one of them to see the photograph full size. If you want to steal one, click on it. When you get the full-size one, right click and "Save as" whatever you want. I would only ask that you give proper credit if you use them for anything other that your personal delight and delectation.
The Admiral and the Captain
Enjoying a Meal Ashore in Abaco
Powerboating on the East Coast
We are Judy and Allen Ames from Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Our boats have all been called "Sesame" (Ameses spelled inside out?). The dinghy, of course, is named "Open".
After 60+ years of sailing, the last 25 aboard a Nonsuch 26 and a Nonsuch 30, we went to the "dark side" and bought a slightly used 28 foot trawler, called variously, a Camano Troll, a Camano 28, or a Camano 31 (see below). This blog starts with our first motor boat trip down the East Coast from Connecticut to Key West and back during the winter of 2006-2007. (We had done a similar trip on our Nonsuch 30 a couple of years before. That trip is pretty well documented in our WebShots albums -- http://community.webshots.com/user/allen_ames) It then picks up with our third trip which took us across the Gulf Stream to Abaco on New Year's Eve 2007.
Like most blogs, the most recent entry is on top and you have to scroll down to get previous entries. You can also click on a specific date at the bottom of this column.
We welcome comments or questions. Just hit the word "Comments" at the end of any entry or email us at: Sesame130@comcast.net. You can send the blog to anyone else by clicking on the envelope with an arrow at the end of each entry.
Sesame, Camano Troll #130
Doing 13 knots
The Camano Troll is a "semi-displacement" trawler, 28 feet long on deck and 31 feet overall if you measure the swim platform and anchor roller. She has a 200 horse Volvo turbo-diesel which can push her up to about 13 knots when we're in a hurry and don't care that we're getting less than a mile per gallon. Normally, we cruise at 7-8 knots which is far more relaxing and gets us close to four nautical miles per gallon. We love the 360-degree view from the main cabin and inside steering station and it's even nicer on the flybridge in good weather.
We have most of the amenities: Hot and cold running water, refrigeration and freezer, 3 burner propane stove with oven, shower and enclosed head, and plenty of room for two people. We have replaced the large dining table (which made it possible to convert the dinette into a double bunk) with a smaller one, but have a 5' x 7' pop-up tent and blow-up queen size mattress that fits perfectly on the flybridge for occasional guests (our penthouse!). The bridge also has plenty of room for a couple of lounge chairs.
We have three AGM batteries on the "house" side of our 12-volt system. To keep the small chest freezer, refrigerator, and various toys going, we usually run the engine for a couple of hours a day when we are at anchor or moored in order to keep the batteries charged We also have a 110 volt belt-driven generator which runs off the main engine to power the microwave, airconditioner (and reverse-cycle heater), etc. Smaller 110 appliances, a TV, computers, and rechargers run off a small inverter. A 7.5 amp solar panel helps keep the house batteries up in sunny weather giving a little more TV and freezer time before we have to start up the engine. Of course, all of the 110 system works when the boat is plugged into dock power too.
We communicate by Verizon cell phone and get our internet through a Verizon air card or WiFi wherever and whenever service is available. (Verizon is not our favorite vendor, but it has the best coverage all the way down the East Coast.) We have external marine antennas for both the air card and WiFi. Where we don't have cell service (Bahamas, some of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Maine) but can get WiFi, we use Skype.
The boat was built in British Columbia but the factory has recently been sold and they say they will begin building in Washington state. See the links below for more pictures and specs of the boat.
Our title is a leftover from an old English teacher's fondness for alliteration rather than a true description of the contents. Actually, we plan very carefully to avoid having it become a saga, or even an adventure! We refuse to have a real schedule or dated itinerary for fear that we would be tempted to venture out in poor conditions. If we want to meet someone along the way, we give them the choice of when or where, not both. The only exceptions are when we are relatively certain that we can reach a destination easily and safely at least a week before a specific date. Even then, we make it clear that all "plans" are subject to change or cancellation.
Traditionally, there are two kinds of cruisers: those who are happy in slower boats (sailboats and slow trawlers) focus on the voyage, while those with fast boats are all about the destination. We definitely belong to the former group.
Our goal is to do virtually nothing, and do it well!
Or, to invoke the greatest all-time boating cliche, as Kenneth Graham's Rat says in The Wind in the Willows: Believe me, . . . . there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing . . . . about in boats -- or with boats. . . . . In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.