Cindy and I decided when we started cruising that we would make a serious effort to attend church on Sunday wherever we may be when possible. Attending church in Hope Town, meant going to St. James Methodist church, the only church in town. I don’t believe either of us has ever attended a Methodist church service, so it was a fine first experience in a small white Methodist church with yellow windows sitting atop a sand dune looking out over the reef and the Atlantic Ocean. The people were friendly, the worship was led by the Canadian youth director and his wife, and we enjoyed it.
Julie and Tracy have been dying to get in the water since they’ve arrived, so today’s grand excursion was a brief hike across the island from the harbour to the ocean behind the Hope Town Harbour Lodge. There are a number of coral reefs just off the beach for snorkeling. Today’s SW wind made for perfect conditions on the NE side of the Island where we snorkeled. The water right next to the beach was very cloudy. I was initially quite disappointed, but thought I would venture out a little further to see if the water cleared. And, it did clear, allowing us to see the beautiful coral and colorful reef fish in 15-20 feet of water. We had a blast! Afterwards, we relaxed on the beach and tossed a tennis ball around for fun.
Hope Town, and Elbow Cay, is known for it’s bordering reef. I have been told that the reef which runs along the east side of the Abacos is the third largest barrier reef in the world. Hopetown was founded by a South Carolinian loyalist woman, Wyannie Malone, and her three sons in the late 1770s. They survived with shipbuilding, fishing, and shipwreck salvaging. For years, the residents of the island would intentionally mislead ships onto the reefs to reap the rewards of salvaging their treasure. The locals offered fierce opposition to the construction of the famous Hope Town lighthouse which was constructed by the British in the 1860s. It took years to build the lighthouse because of the frequent vandalization of the project.
Cindy read an interesting anecdote regarding the residents and the reefs and St. James Church. The church used to be oriented where the preacher would look out onto the reefs when he preached. One morning he slipped out during closing prayer because he wanted to beat the parishioners out onto the reef to have first dibs on the salvage of ship he saw wrecked during the service. Shortly afterwards, the church was rebuilt in its present orientation where the congregation looks out onto the reefs during the service.
After our time on the beach, we spent the evening relaxing aboard Beatitude. Cindy cooked up some of her delicious spaghetti for supper. We paired the meal with a nice bottle of Sonoma County red zinfandel. We played a few games after dinner, bringing an end to a perfect day in Hope Town, in which we enjoyed temperatures in the upper 70s and bright sunshine for most of the day.