A Day on Green Turtle Cay

Our boat is docked in the Bluff House Resort and Marina on White Sound in Green Turtle Cay (pronounced, by the way, “key“). After two days here, I have a few thoughts. First of all, the staff is outstanding. Everyone – from Andrew the dockhand, to Cynthia, the manager, to our waitresses, to the front desk people – are so kind and helpful. I have nothing but positives to say about the people here. We’ve had multiple offers by staff members to transport us in their own personal vehicles (i.e., golf carts), if we needed a ride. We’ve had two meals at the Jolly Roger restaurant, lunch yesterday and dinner today. The food has been fantastic. The private beach associated with the resort is also beautiful and inviting. The wifi, for the most part, has been good with a reasonable signal. We have been kicked off a couple of times, but usually all is needed is to sign back in.

Beatitude from the pool deck

Beatitude from the pool deck

The negatives probably have as much to do with the season, than with the resort, although the facility has recently undergone a change in management and appears to have been poorly managed for some time. I was unaware that this is the slow season here in the Bahamas. Old Bahama Bay, at West End, had very few guests, which was surprising to me. The resort here at Bluff House has no guests at this time, and their are only four sailboats in the marina. I guess that the busy season kicks in the week after Christmas. Many cruisers are not allowed by their insurance company to be as far south as Florida until after December 1, due to Hurricane threats. Things really heat up, I am told, around the first week of January, and then everyone is busy into July. So, the negatives: The pool here has no water in it. It is being serviced and they are waiting on a pump to be brought in from the states. Since it is so slow, this is the time for maintenance and repairs. The beach bar/restaurant wasn’t open. Laundry is outrageously expensive (probably a Bahamian problem and not a Bluff House problem). Overall, however, we are pleased, especially for $499/month!

Christmas tree in the Jolly Roger

Christmas tree in the Jolly Roger

Today, one of the helpful staff members took us over to Green Turtle Club where we rented a Golf Cart for the day. Golf carts are the preferred means of getting around on the island, which is only 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. Green Turtle Cay was founded in the 1700s by New England Settlers, loyalists (those who were loyal to the Crown during the American Revolution) who fled here after the colonies emerged victorious. They were granted land here by King George for their loyalty. Many of the homes in New Plymouth, the main town on the island, have a New England appearance. We took the golf cart into New Plymouth (the main town on the island, parked it and walked around town for a bit.

Marina personnel giving us a ride to pick up our golf cart

Marina personnel giving us a ride to pick up our golf cart

Our ride on the island

Our ride on the island

The main road is dirt from Green Turtle Club to Bluff House, but paved on the rest of the island.

The main road is dirt from Green Turtle Club to Bluff House, but paved on the rest of the island.

Our first stop was the almost 200 year-old Albert Lowe museum. Albert was a well-respected carver of model boats and his son, Alton, is a well-known Bahamian artist. The museum had several works of each man as well as information on the history of the island. The decor was 18th/early 19th century. After leaving the museum, we walked through the entire town (which didn’t take long), stopping at the grocery store for a snack, the local cemetery to satisfy my morbid curiosity, and, of course, at Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar, (on the recommendation of Capt. Roy Rogers), which was started by Miss Emily a year before my birth, 1957 . There we partook of the famous Goombay Smash, a delicious tropical concoction invented in this small little bar in the 1960s. Unfortunately, Miss Emily’s daughter, who now runs the place, would not divulge the recipe.

Entering New Plymouth

Entering New Plymouth

Cindy, upstairs in the bedroom area of the Lowe Museum

Cindy, upstairs in the bedroom area of the Lowe Museum

Some of the work of Alton Lowe. These two ladies were among the first settlers to the Abacos

Some of the work of Alton Lowe. These two ladies were among the first settlers to the Abacos

The work of Albert Lowe, model ship builder

The work of Albert Lowe, model ship builder

This was our guide for the museum taking us to the kitchen, which was a separate structure in the backyard.

This was our guide for the museum taking us to the kitchen, which was a separate structure in the backyard.

The Albert Lowe Museum

The Albert Lowe Museum

More Architecture

More Architecture

New Plymouth Architecture

New Plymouth Architecture

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The freight ship comes in once a week, on Thursdays (the day we were in town).  All supplies for the island arrive on this ship from Nassau.  It's better to shop on Friday than Wednesday.

The freight ship comes in once a week, on Thursdays (the day we were in town). All supplies for the island arrive on this ship from Nassau. It’s better to shop on Friday than Wednesday.

The one Anglican church on Green Turtle Cay

The one Anglican church on Green Turtle Cay

Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar

Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar

Miss Emily's daughter carrying on the Goombay Smash tradition

Miss Emily’s daughter carrying on the Goombay Smash tradition

We added our boat card to the wall (twice, once in the other picture here)

We added our boat card to the wall (twice, once in the other picture here)

A sailor's grave

A sailor’s grave

On the way back to Bluff House, we made several stops along the Atlantic side of the island, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the blue-green waters, soft sandy beaches, and majestic breaking waves. It truly was what one imagines when one thinks of a tropical paradise. After returning to Beatitude, we did a few odds and ends in preparation for our departure back to the U.S. the following day. We had a final delicious Bahamian dinner at the Jolly Roger and retired to the boat.

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Crab Cay to Green Turtle Cay

First a few photos (there are a lot of photos in this post) from our day at Crab Cay that I forgot to put in the last post:

Pizza and Montepulciano

Pizza and Montepulciano

"Mr. Pelican" by Cindy Carey

“Mr. Pelican” by Cindy Carey

For those non-sailors, these networks of lines are called Ladyjacks which keep the mainsail from spilling all over the boat when lowered.  The attachments of the lazyjacks to the stack pack (into which the mainsail stacks when lowered) are rotting from UV exposure.

For those non-sailors, these networks of lines are called Ladyjacks which keep the mainsail from spilling all over the boat when lowered. The attachments of the lazyjacks to the stack pack (into which the mainsail stacks when lowered) are rotting from UV exposure.

A look around the anchorage from halfway up the mast

A look around the anchorage from halfway up the mast

Bella Luna in the Crab Cay anchorage from mid-mast

Bella Luna in the Crab Cay anchorage from mid-mast

Cindy, sporting our bluetooth headphones for communication during anchoring, docking, and mast-climbing.

Cindy, sporting our bluetooth headphones for communication during anchoring, docking, and mast-climbing.

The end of a beautiful day.

The end of a beautiful day.

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Wednesday was the last day of our passage to the Abacos. We raised our anchor and motored out of the Crab Cay anchorage around 7:15 a.m. About 20 minutes later, we rounded Crab Cay and progressed southeastward through the Sea of Abaco along the eastern coast of Great Abaco Island. Waves were about two feet and coming from the direction of our port beam. It was a pleasant three and a half hour passage with mostly sun, with a brief rain shower mixed in.

Scotland, the vessel who pulled into the Crab Cay anchorage last evening, who followed us to Green Turtle Cay

Scotland, the vessel who pulled into the Crab Cay anchorage last evening, who followed us to Green Turtle Cay

A brief shower drove us into the salon where I am navigating on my iPad.

A brief shower drove us into the salon where I am navigating on my iPad.

A beautiful day on the Sea of Abaco

A beautiful day on the Sea of Abaco

The northern end of Green Turtle Cay

The northern end of Green Turtle Cay

Just before 11 a.m., we entered the channel marking the entrance into White Sound on Green Turtle Cay. Upon doing so, we hailed Andrew, the dockhand at Bluff House Marina to apprise him of our arrival. After making our way up the 7′ deep channel, we approached Bluff House Marina on our port side. Andrew was there waving his hands to help us tie up… And, we needed his help. We pulled into one of the “catamaran” slips which are 26′ wide. These slips have pilings off the dock, but no finger piers coming out from the main dock. So, we’d have to exit off either the front or back of the boat. We decided to back in, which was a challenge, given the 20 knot winds and current. However, we made it just fine after some fancy maneuvering, and after a while we were all tied up. It’s not the most ideal of situations since, in order to be close enough to step off our stern, our davits overhang the dock. There are 3-3.5′ tides which means they rise and fall above and below the dock level. Anyway… we ended up pulling forward a little bit and will probably pull forward a little more today. I definitely don’t want the davits to be damaged on the dock.

The channel marking the entrance into White Sound

The channel marking the entrance into White Sound

Destination in view

Destination in view

Andrew, helping with the lines

Andrew, helping with the lines

Beatiude's home for a few weeks: Bluff House Marina

Beatiude’s home for a few weeks: Bluff House Marina

The docking process was a little exhausting, so we walked up to the Jolly Roger restaurant at the marina and had a very good lunch of cracked conch and cole slaw (me), and a grilled chicken sandwich with cole slaw (Cindy). Afterwards, we returned to the boat to tidy up and get some laundry ready to wash. You will probably be seeing a lot of pictures of me washing laundry in a five gallon bucket in the future. The cost of laundry in the Bahamas is outrageous: Five dollars per washer load and five dollars per dryer load! We spent $40.00 doing laundry. Never again! (I know…Never say never.)

The sitting/lounge area for cruisers

The sitting/lounge area for cruisers

Inside the Jolly Roger

Inside the Jolly Roger

The restroom/shower/laundry area

The restroom/shower/laundry area

$40.00 for laundry!!!!

$40.00 for laundry!!!!

We squeezed in a little pleasure between loads of laundry by walking over to the private beach, where we laid in a hammock and watched the sunset. The setting was spectacular and the sunset was beautiful. Tomorrow is our last full day in the Bahamas for a while. We fly back to the states on Friday.

The Beach at Bluff House Resort and Marina

The Beach at Bluff House Resort and Marina

The Beach

The Beach

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I could get used to this!

I could get used to this!

Moon rising through the palms.

Moon rising through the palms.

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The Beach and Beach Bar behind

The Beach and Beach Bar behind

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Crab Cay

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Tuesday, December 2, was a day of rest. The previous two days were spent doing the equivalent of riding a bucking bronco for 8 hours each day. This day, the boat did not move except to swing slightly on its anchor, and we did not leave the boat. We slept in until 8 a.m. We arose at a leisurely pace, ran the generator for a few moments so that we could have hot showers, and had a pleasing breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast. The rest of the morning was spent watching the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.

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We did work a little bit in the early afternoon. Our SSB antenna had come loose from our port shroud, so I needed to go part way up the mast to resecure it. I also needed to repair our lazy jacks, which had remained unrepaired since our gulf stream crossing. While up the mast, I grabbed the portion which had slipped to the upper ring of the lazy jack system. After bringing it down, we reattached the line to the port side of the mainsail stack pack where it had ripped out. With our two repair jobs out of the way, we put on some Christmas music and pulled out the acrylics. Cindy, who has become an excellent artist (I don’t think I’m just biased), finished a work of a beautiful pelican she had begun earlier. I, who am no artist, but like to play with colors on canvas, drew and laid in background color on a seascape.

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For Dinner, we worked together to make a couple of pizzas with pepperoni, onions, and red peppers. Mmmmm! After dinner, we climbed up onto the bimini to watch the last remaining traces of the sunset. The western sky emanated a purplish, red glow until the sun’s residual brightness was diminished. We stood in awe that we were living our dream, a dream held rather tenuously a year ago. Surrounded by nothing but God’s beautiful creation, we felt a strange sense of peace and communion with God. No sounds were present, but the sounds of the wind and the water. No buildings! No automobiles! No civilization of any kind! We were in a picturesque bay with its own palm-lined beach… in the Bahamas! After soaking in God’s goodness and before retiring for the night, we settled in for the second movie of our daily double Christmas feature: Elf! After finishing the movie, I noticed another anchor light in the anchorage. Someone had pulled in after dark. Now there are three boats sharing this large protected harbor with room for many more.

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Tomorrow morning, we will arise, weigh anchor, and head for Green Turtle Cay’s White Sound, where a slip in Bluff House Resort and Marina awaits.

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