Wednesday, March 18, 2009
HEADING HOME, THROUGH THE ABACOS
(To enlarge the pictures and read the captions, click anywhere on the picture. Use the back button to return.)
We are so glad we decided to return home by way of the Abacos. We could have come back to Florida the way we came, through Nassau, but chose instead to go farther north before we turned west.
Leaving George Town, we traveled back up through the Exuma Islands then hopped over to Eleuthera, anchored there for the night, then continued north to Little Harbour, at the bottom of the Abacos. We spent a couple of days anchored at Little Harbour, then traveled a half day to Hope Town.
Hope Town has special meaning for us. It was there that we chartered a PDQ 36 catamaran for a few days three years ago, trying to make a final decision on whether to purchase Sunshine, also a PDQ 36.
Hope Town is a charming place and we loved being able to sail our own boat back to that harbor. We looked up Peter Michie, the owner of the boat we chartered, who came along with us on our trip in 2006. Peter, a former RAF pilot, lives in Hope Town with his wife, Trish. They are out of the charter business but are still in the vacation rental business. Delightful people!
After two days in Hope Town, we moved on to Marsh Harbour. It was only a six-mile trip, but that was enough time for the port engine to burst a radiator hose and the mainsail to rip in several places. We limped into Marsh Harbour on one engine and with flapping sails.
Phil replaced the radiator hose and pumped out the bilge full of sea water in short order on the first day. The second day, we dinghyed into town and bought sail repair tape. Our friend, Graham, came over and helped Phil bring down the mainsail and I got out my trusty Sail Rite heavy duty sewing machine. It took all afternoon to repair the rips in the sail. When Phil and Graham reinstalled the sail, it looked like new. I was very proud.
Marsh Harbour is the third largest city in the Bahamas, next to Freeport and Nassau. That means we are in the midst of civilization for the first time in months. We have real grocery stores, liquor stores with a nice wine selection (for her), hardware stores and marine supply stores (for him), and lots of good restaurants.
The first of two cold fronts came through last night and so we will be stuck here for a few days before we can move on. We are not complaining! This is a great place to be stuck!
Yesterday, we did two weeks worth of laundry and resupplied the galley. The grocery prices were still high, but not as high as in the Exumas. We bought fresh milk (as opposed to boxed milk) for the first time since December.
And best of all, the internet connection on the boat is excellent. We are using the computer so much we've had to run the generator for a while each day just to keep up with the power usage.
We'll probably head out next week as the weather calms down, on our way across the northern edge of the Abacos and on to West End, on the west end of Grand Bahama Island. It will take at least three days, with stops each night, to make that trip. From Grand Bahama, it's a one-day trip across the Gulf Stream to West Palm Beach.
We'll check in as we can.