Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) has more than 100,000 acres of beaches, mangroves, reefs, and ocean. It was established in the 1950's to protect the unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems. We spent a couple of nights in the park to enjoy the beauty.

Freedom on a park mooring at Warderick Wells

Lots of beautiful hiking trails.

The trail to the famous Boo Boo Hill takes you across this shallow salt creek.

Boo Boo Hill, the highest point on Warderick Wells. Boaters have been leaving plaques with their boat names for decades.

The view back to the mooring field from Boo Boo Hill

Not far from the hill are blow holes. You can hear them "breathing". On days when the waves on the open ocean are big and the tide is high water will spray from them.

It is an incredible place, one you just need to see for yourself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Endangered Species

We finally left the Eleuthera chain of islands and headed to the Exumas. We have been looking forward to this, lots of uninhabited islands, crystal clear water, white sand beaches and even some endangered species. Yes, our first stop was Allen's Cay. This grouping of cays and rocks is generally reffered to as Allens Cay after its largest island. These islands are uninhabited......by humans but home to the endangered Bahamas iguana.

Signs on the beaches tell the story.

A nice, well protected anchorage.

We got the anchor down and headed to the sandy beach on Leaf Cay.

Look at the welcoming committee

Look at the distinctive tracks they make on the beach.

What a handsome dude!

Wow, they are everywhere.

We even saw a turf war.

This area is a quick day trip from Nassau so ther is a lot of boat traffic. Lots of power boats and their wake. We enjoyed our time here but it is time to move on.

A Port in the Storm

The settlement of Spanish Wells is off the northwest tip of the island of Eleuthera. The settlement is on St Georges Cay and is surrounded by Russell Island and Charles Island. The fishing fleet of Spanish Wells supplies over half the Bahamas crop of lobster. It is a great little town full of friendly people and it is a well protected port in a storm. We have been watching the possible formation of a tropical low/storm. Predictions had the time and place of the low and the accompanying squalls in varying places/time/severity. We found a great group of cruisers and decided to hang out in this protected spot for a while to wait out the weathef.

Spanish Wells

Here is Freedom on her mooring with a group of our friends

A great happy hour at the Shipyard

Wow, what a sunset!

We got a larger group together to take the 2 mile dinghy ride to the Sand Bar on Russell Island, SW of Spanish Wells proper.

Our dinghies on the beach in front of the Sand Bar.

One of the moored boats is a "kid boat". Three of the cutest kids! Well behaved and industrious.

We had a great time. We had two pot lucks including a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Luckily the low formed well northwest of the Bahamas. We got a ton of rain and one day of strong winds but nothing really out of the ordinary. We are glad we made the decision to stay. We made great friends and had a lot of fun. Most of the boats are headed north. We're marching to our own drummer and heading south.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

On to Eleuthera

From Little Harbour to the Eleuthera chain of islands is the Northeast Providence Channel. We headed out early in the morning guessing that we would be motoring or at best motor sailing. It was flat calm with no wind for us as we went out the cut. We knew there were going to be some squalls possible in the area. As we got into the NE Providence Channel the wind picked up and we could track on radar a squall coming up behind us.

Squall approaching

We skirted the squall but took advantage of the accompanying winds and sailed on a broad reach, downwind. We later discussed the day with a couple that left an hour after we did. They got totally drenched in a downpour where we only experienced a few sprinkles. The wind clocked around and we where sailing on a beam reach. As we approached Egg and Royal Islands the wind died again. We anchored in a beautiful, protected harbor at Royal Island.

Royal Island approach

There is a former 1950's estate in ruins on the island. You cannot see much from the water but we landed the dinghy and took stone stairs to explore.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Little Harbour, Abacos

Little Harbour is famous, it is home to Petes Pub and the Johnson gallery. We did a blog post about the gallery and it's history the last time we were here. If you are interested...look back at the archives, winter of 2013. The harbor is very well protected from wind and ocean surge and there are not many well protected anchorages in the area. We must go into the harbor at high tide because the entrance channel is only 4 ' at low tide.

We anchored off Blackpoint Cay the night before to wait for high tide to go into Little Harbour.

Rain squalls stayed north of us while anchored by Blackpoint

We even got a nice rainbow

And another great Bahamas sunset

The famous Petes Pub. It has a roof, no walls, sand floor and is run 100% from solar power. They collect rain water, exclusively. A true beach bar.

Here is Freedom on her mooring. Looking out from Petes.

The posts holding the roof and the sides of the bar are covered in graffiti. We added ours.

Next stop..Eleuthra Island...new grounds for us.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eye Candy

Here's some of the sites of Hopetown.

The Abaco Rage is a popular Bahamian sail craft

Anchored out in the Sea of Abaco after a squall passed us.

And of course...

Another beautiful calm night.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Taking Care of Business

Marsh Harbour is a great place to take care of business. They have all sorts of shops, including Maxwells. It is a very large grocery store that would rival a Publix, Giant or Kroger food store. We picked up some fresh veggies and plantains along with other odds and ends. This is also a great place to get BTC (Betelco) sim cards for our Droid phone. We now have very limited phone and data capabilities. We also found a shop to buy a new battery for Eds hard working phone. When we popped it open to put the sim card in we found it in pretty bad shape.

Here is Freedom, anchored in Marsh Harbour

We had to stop at Maxwells to pick up a few items.

No need to stay in Marsh Harbour long. One night and we headed to a great anchorage near Tahitti Beach. We met up with friends Melissa and Anne on Moondance. We had a great lunch at Cracker P's.

No hurry, Mon. You're in the Bahamas. Cracker P's

We did have to head back to our boats. We had a bit of weather on the horizon.

Now we are in Hopetown. Time to get some laundry done.

The view from the porch outside the laundry room.

Not sure what is next on the agenda. I'm sure we will visit the town of Hopetown. From there? We'll see.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bahamas 2015

We headed to Great Guana Cay from Treasure Cay, home of Nippers. Nippers is a restaurant and bar with spectacular Atlantic Ocean beach views and two swimming pools. Last time we were here for the Barefoot Man concert and the place was packed. This year it was more sedate. We enjoyed a nice lunch and rum drink and took a nice long walk on the beach.

One of the two pools

The ocean view at Nippers

Perfect beach to walk off lunch

We stayed anchored in Fishers Bay off Guana Cay for a few days, including a great rain day. The decks on Freedom have gotten salty from some spirited sailing and the rain was a much needed wash down for us.

Time to move on so we sailed towards Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco. There have been brush fires near Marsh Harbour that we could see and smell. Marsh is THE place for shopping. We'll get our Batelco chip for Eds phone giving us a data card for internet access. We have been able to pick up open wifi hotspots here and there but the card will give us access almost anywhere...at least that is the plan.

Sailing to Marsh Harbour towards the brush fires