Great Guana Cay to Treasure Cay

Beatitude moored in Fishers Bay, Great Guana

Beatitude moored in Fishers Bay, Great Guana

On Friday morning, the 23rd of January, we slowly dinghied through the choppy waters of the Sea of Abaco around Delia’s Cay and into Settlement Harbour. We first stopped off at the Orchid Bay Marina for a trash drop-off at $1/bag. Next, we dinghied over to the public dock to explore the town with Julie and Tracy. We shopped at a couple of boutiques. We bought some beverages, although not much. If you are a beer drinker, your habit will be expensive in the Bahamas. Beer on Great Guana costs $77.00/case. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I do like my diet soda. Soda drinkers have it no better in the Bahamas. A six-pack of Diet Coke on Great Guana will set you back ten bucks. Even water is expensive! It, like soda, is about three times more expensive than in the U.S. Most marinas charge between $0.20 and $0.50/gallon for water from the hose to fill your tanks or wash your boat. Fortunately, not every place in the Bahamas is quite as expensive as Great Guana Cay, but it is still expensive compared to prices in the U.S. The good news is, if you are a rum or wine drinker, prices are quite good!

Just stepped off the public dock on Great Guana

Just stepped off the public dock on Great Guana

We wandered around town a little and made our way over to Nipper’s, the beach bar/restaurant perched high on a sand bank overlooking the Atlantic. We first descended the steps down the sand dune onto the beach. The beach is breathtakingly beautiful. Waves were breaking over the rocks along the sea shore. Our feet sank three inches down into the pretty pink sand as we walked up and down the beach. After spending a few minutes on the beach, we walked back up to Nipper’s to enjoy a nice lunch of cracked conch, fries, and “Nippers.”

This cool cemetery is on the walk up to Nippers

This cool cemetery is on the walk up to Nippers

We passed this beautiful creature on the way

We passed this beautiful creature on the way

Approaching Nippers  on the dirt/sand path from the road

Approaching Nippers on the dirt/sand path from the road

The Atlantic Beach

The Atlantic Beach

Julie and Tracy in front of the rocks

Julie and Tracy in front of the rocks

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Look at Julie and Tracy's deep footprints in the light pink sand

Look at Julie and Tracy’s deep footprints in the light pink sand

A view down the beach

A view down the beach

The gift shop at Nippers with its sand floor

The gift shop at Nippers with its sand floor

Rocks on the Beach

Rocks on the Beach

Enjoying a snack and beverages while looking out over the Atlantic from high above the beach

Enjoying a snack and beverages while looking out over the Atlantic from high above the beach

We returned to Beatitude and released the mooring lines around 1:30 in the afternoon to head across the Sea of Abaco to Treasure Cay. It was a gentle hour and a half expedition across turquoise waters terminating at the channel leading into the Treasure Cay Harbour. Julie and Tracy have to return home on Monday. Tomorrow, Saturday, is supposed to have 20-30 knot winds and thunderstorms. In lieu of the above, we decided to go ahead and take a slip in the Marina and relax there for the weekend. We will leave our boat at Treasure Cay Marina for a couple of weeks while we return back to Lakeland for another round of shifts in the emergency department. The harbour is secure and very well protected from all directions.

Beatitude in her slip at Treasure Cay (she sits quite low in the slip at low tide)

Beatitude in her slip at Treasure Cay (she sits quite low in the slip at low tide)

The marina is nice, but the 3 1/2-mile long crescent shaped beach behind the marina is drop-dead gorgeous! After securing Beatitude’s lines and hooking up to shore power. We put on our swimsuits and made a bee-line for the beach. It truly is one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see. The girls walked up and down the beach collecting sand dollars and sea shells while I kicked back in a lounge chair enjoying the pleasing vista.

Cindy and Julie on the Treasure Cay Beach

Cindy and Julie on the Treasure Cay Beach

Treasure Cay Beach: A gorgeous 3.5 mile stretch of sugary white sand

Treasure Cay Beach: A gorgeous 3.5 mile stretch of sugary white sand

My view for the afternoon

My view for the afternoon

Once we were back aboard Beatitude, we had wonderful fish tacos, compliments of the generosity of the shark who left us a half of a wahoo for our own dining enjoyment. The wahoo, fried up with a beer batter crust, made delicious tacos. Homemade guacamole was a great complement to our fish. After a couple of games of Jeopardy and a couple of “pain killers,” we retired for a good night’s rest.

Beer-batter fried Wahoo fish tacos for dinner

Beer-batter fried Wahoo fish tacos for dinner

The sun sets on another great day!

The sun sets on another great day!

A Fishing Expedition

On Thursday, the 22nd, we pulled up anchor around 9 a.m. and headed two miles south on the Sea of Abaco. We passed Little Harbour to starboard, the southernmost port which serves as a jumping off point to cruise to locales in the Bahamas further south, such as Nassau, the Berrys, Eleuthera, and the Exumas. We then exited Little Harbour Cut out into the Atlantic. The plan was to do a little fishing off shore while making our way north again.

Just passed through the Little Harbour Channel out into the Atlantic

Just passed through the Little Harbour Channel out into the Atlantic

We exited the cut at 9:30, entering seas rolling in from the NE at 2-3 feet. Our fishing passage would take us into those seas for the first 2/3 of our trip before turning to the NW after rounding Elbow Cay. We put out our two lines behind the boat and trolled at around 5 knots. We saw no action until noon, just after we had passed Elbow Cay. Then, we were visited by a group of four dolphins (porpoises). It is the first time in our cruising career that we have had dolphins playing in the wake of our bow. (And also, surprisingly, the first dolphins we’ve seen in the Bahamas!) They dashed and darted in all directions beneath the bow as we motored along. This was an experience we’d been looking forward to since moving onto the boat.

Passing Hope Town from the other side (The Atlantic)

Passing Hope Town from the other side (The Atlantic)

Dolphins swimming beneath our bow

Dolphins swimming beneath our bow

Dolphin!

Dolphin!

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Then a few minutes later we noticed our starboard side line was slack. We pulled it in and there was nothing – no leader, no lure – just a cleanly cut line. Something must have taken it all. Then, a few minutes after that – Fish On! Tracy grabbed the rod, I grabbed the net and slowed down the boat, and Cindy and Julie got out the cameras. As Tracy reeled our catch in, she suddenly noticed that there was much less tension on the line. She could still feel the weight of something on the line, but it wasn’t the same. She reeled our catch in the rest of the way, only to find half a fish. We had hooked a nice Wahoo, but a shark had made dinner of the back half of the fish on the way in. I still filleted what was left and got three good size fillets from the remains of the shark feast.

Our 1/2 fish!

Our 1/2 fish!

The Shark left us enough  Wahoo for a meal

The Shark left us enough
Wahoo for a meal

Around 2 p.m., we passed through the North Man-O-War passage and back into the protected waters of the Sea of Abaco. On our way to Great Guana, we passed a megayacht, Eros, anchored on the Sea between Great Guana and Scotland Cay. We returned to Great Guana, this time with Julie and Tracy, and grabbed a mooring ball in Fishers Bay. Last time, we picked up a mooring ball just next door in Settlement Harbour. The scenery is much better in Fishers Bay, but the water is a little rougher as you are more exposed. Upon arrival, I hurriedly took Dalí to town for a few provisions.

Megayacht Eros anchored in the Sea of Abaco

Megayacht Eros anchored in the Sea of Abaco

The beach at Fishers Bay, our anchorage

The beach at Fishers Bay, our anchorage

Sunset over the Sea of Abaco

Sunset over the Sea of Abaco

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In the evening, we dinghied up to the beach in front of Grabber’s and had a wonderful dinner under the stars. The sunset was wonderful leaving a deep reddish glow on the horizon for some time after the sun was gone. Back aboard Beatitude, we played some games while I made a rum cake. We were all pretty well beat from the several hours out on the Atlantic, so we gladly turned in for the night after a piece of cake.

Playing the ring-on-the-hook game

Playing the ring-on-the-hook game

The view from our dining table at Grabbers

The view from our dining table at Grabbers

Corn hole game on the beach

Corn hole game on the beach

Grabbers

Grabbers

Sandy Cay Reef

Beatitude at anchor west of Lynard Cay

Beatitude at anchor west of Lynard Cay

Lynard Cay Sunrise

Lynard Cay Sunrise

Sunrise over Lynard Cay

Sunrise over Lynard Cay

After breakfast this morning, Tracy spotted some conch not far from the boat. So, we decided to go conchin’! We donned our wetsuits and dove in approximately 10 feet of water beneath the boat and brought up several conch. We were so disappointed to find that they had previously been caught and the conch had already been evacuated from their shells. We were looking forward to cracked conch for lunch.

Deceived!  Empty conch shells!

Deceived! Empty conch shells!

Making the best of the situation, we snorkeled between the boat and the beach and were surprised to find several small patches of coral with quite a few fish in the area. Julie and Cindy donned their wetsuits, and we had a little snorkeling party off the back of Beatitude. After a half an hour or so, we reboarded our yacht and prepared for the 1.5 mile dinghy ride to Sandy Cay Reef. The Sea of Abaco water had barely a ripple as we motored northward. We encountered a gentle ocean swell of 2 feet or so as we neared Sandy Cay. We picked out one of the several mooring balls placed for small boats to tie up to while snorkeling the reef. A couple came up later and tied to the same ball although several were available. They said a friend told them the snorkeling from this ball is the best on the reef. Who knew?!

Julie snorkeling off Beatitude between the back of the boat and the shore

Julie snorkeling off Beatitude between the back of the boat and the shore

We all made our entrance into the 20-25′ deep water by the boat and swam the 30 feet or so to the reef. My expectations of this place was high, so it would be difficult for the reef to meet them… but, they were far surpassed. Sandy Cay Reef is, hands-down, the best snorkeling I’ve ever done (And I’ve snorkeled throughout the Caribbean and Hawaii). The reef was amazing with such a variety of coral set ablaze with color. We saw a great diversity of reef fish: Parrotfish in an array of colors, yellow snapper, blue tangs, squirrelfish, angelfish, trumpetfish and barracuda. Tracy and Julie spotted two majestic spotted eagle rays gliding effortlessly through the water. They also saw a nurse shark. Cindy and I saw a Caribbean reef shark. Perhaps the highlights of our encounters was the cutest little hawksbill turtle who was just hanging out among the coral. We stayed for around an hour, although I could’ve stayed much longer, before making the trek back to Beatitude.

A small school of French Grunts

A small school of French Grunts

A Parrotfish swimming by

A Parrotfish swimming by

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Two Bar Jack

Two Bar Jack

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Cindy snorkeling Sandy Cay Reef

Cindy snorkeling Sandy Cay Reef

Trumpetfish

Trumpetfish

Cutest little Hawksbill Turtle

Cutest little Hawksbill Turtle

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Julie and Tracy snorkeling Sandy Cay Reef

Julie and Tracy snorkeling Sandy Cay Reef

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DCIM100GOPRO

A little later in the afternoon we took Dalí over to a secluded beach on Lynard Cay where we hung out in the sun and did a little exploring. There was a neat cave carved into the rocky face of the beach. We found 10-15 sand dollars, as well as numerous other water creatures. A cute little crab played hide and seek with us from within his shell. This day was awesome!

Our own private beach on Lynard Cay

Our own private beach on Lynard Cay

Ladies looking for sand dollars

Ladies looking for sand dollars

A Lynard Cay beach

A Lynard Cay beach

Can you spare a few dollars?

Can you spare a few dollars?

Heart Urchin in a few inches of water

Heart Urchin in a few inches of water

Mr. Crab playing hide and seek

Mr. Crab playing hide and seek

Ladies on the beach

Ladies on the beach

My lounge chair upon which to soak in God's great creation.

My lounge chair upon which to soak in God’s great creation.

Us with our daughter, Julie

Us with our daughter, Julie

Sunset after an eventful day

Sunset after an eventful day