We ended up staying two nights on a mooring ball in Settlement Harbour. The morning after the first night, I decided to go diving with Dive Guana. We took about a 20 minute boat ride on the ocean side of the islands, but within the reef which runs parallel to them. We went to a place called Grouper Alley which has several grouper which have been tamed by the dive companies. They come right up to you and let you pet them, expecting to be fed. The highlight of this dive was an encounter with a Caribbean Reef Shark during our dive. The second dive was at a place called the Pillars. There were several swim throughs with the reef at this sight. Video will be forthcoming… but it takes a lot of work, and more importantly, good wifi (which we haven’t had the last few days).
As soon as I had arrived back at the boat, our good friends Gord and Debbie from Bella Luna (along with Gord’s brother) pulled into the anchorage next to ours at Fisher’s Bay. They stopped by Beatitude for a brief chat and a time for catching up. A little later we went for a walk around Settlement Harbour, meeting and greeting the locals. We met a gentleman who owns a home and a couple of rental properties here on Great Guana Cay. He was very nice and offered to let us use one of his golf carts to see the island. How nice! (A golf cart rental is usually about $50/day.) We met him that evening at “Grabbers,” a restaurant on Fisher’s Bay, just a short walk from our dinghy dock, where he gave us the keys to the golf cart. The atmosphere at Grabbers was wonderful. There was a nice beach in front of the restaurant. We were able to watch the sunset from our table. It was the quintessential picture of a tropical paradise.
The next day, Thursday, we arose early and drove the golf cart up and down the 7 1/2 mile long island, enjoying the pastel colored homes and quiet roads. We took a brief excursion down a finger road to the Atlantic side of the island which led to a quite remote location where there was no sandy beach, just hard rock with the waves beating against it spraying us from 30 yards away. After stopping by the small grocery store, we parked the cart on the street by our dock and left the keys in the cart. Our friend said he’ll come by and pick it up later. Once again, so nice!
Around 10:30, we released the mooring ball and made the 1 1/2 hour journey southwestward to Man-o-War Cay. It was a pleasant ride. My fishing line was out for the trip, but no luck was had today. When entering the cut for Man-o-War, there are two options: One can bear right into the east harbour where there are several moorings, or one can bear left into the west harbour where there are also moorings and most of the other stores and attractions on the island. Unfortunately, we initially went into the east harbour and successfully picked up several balls, all of which were either reserved or broken. After 15-20 frustrating minutes, we gave up and headed to the west harbour. I radioed ahead to Man-o-War marina and asked about one of their balls. They let me know what their’s looked like and soon we were secured to the mooring in front of the marina. The balls are very tightly spaced (as they were in Settlement Harbour) and makes me worried that when we swing we may not have the space needed. Hopefully, my worries will be unjustified. It was around 12:30 when we were finally secure.
Man-o-War is unique among the Abaco Islands. The resident’s have a strong spiritual commitment and virtually everyone attends one of the three churches on Sunday morning. There is a total ban on the sale of alcohol, although they allow visitors to bring their own alcohol on the island. There is also a long ancestral heritage. Seventy percent of the residents can trace their heritage back to the first Albury settler. Shortly after securing Beatitude to her mooring, we dinghied to the dinghy dock at the marina and had lunch at “Dock and Dine,” a little waterfront dining establishment at which, it turns out, Kenny Chesney did an impromptu concert a few years ago. We then walked around the little town on Man-o-War, visiting several shops, enjoying the simple, yet beautiful homes, and gazing on the brilliant flowers along the roads. We walked over to the Atlantic side past the town cemetery to the inviting white sandy beach.
On Friday, we will leave Man-o-War in the morning and make our way across the Sea of Abaco to Marsh Harbour where we have a slip reserved at the Conch Inn Resort and Marina. Julie and Tracy arrive from the States in the afternoon to spend 10 days with us. We’re excited!