Friday, April 19, 2019

Love the Southern Bahamas!

Matthew Town

After leaving the DR with a bad taste, we sailed across to Great Inagua, Bahamas.  What a contrast!  Although the marina is very basic (no power or water on the dock), dockmaster George and ll of the officials were so friendly and welcoming.  We were welcomed to the marina and the Bahamas.

Haitian Sailboats
We only spend a night in Great Inagua (Matthew Town), as there was not a lot to do or see.  However, we saw the spectacular sight of some traditional Haitian sailboats coming into port.

According to George, the sailors come from an island just off Haiti to trade and to deliver passengers to Inagua.  We saw them unloading Bananas and other produce - all by hand.  These boats have no machinery or engines.  If you look closely, you will see that the masts are actually palm tree trunks.

They also deliver passengers traveling overseas via air.  Apparently, people chose to come through Inagua rather than the airport in Haiti because of the violence and turmoil in their country - at least that is what George told us.  If that truly is the case, what a awful state Haiti must be in.  It sounds almost as bad as traveling through Atlanta or Miami airport! :)

Haitian Traders

Anyway, what a pleasant stay we had albeit short.  And talk about "rags to riches" - this was our dock neighbor - 160 ft sailing yacht Alejandra, apparently owned by a Greek millionaire, and the former boat of the King of Spain.
SV Alejandra

Hogsty Reef

Our next overnight stop was another spectacular one.  We made the 40 or so mile sail from Matthew Town to Hogsty Reef - a natural atol in the middle of the Atlantic, measuring about 3 miles long by 1.5 miles across - here's a screenshot of the chart to hopefully clarify what it looks like:

We anchored right behind Northwest cay - it is a small sand island , maybe 3-4 acres in size.  It was just amazing to be anchored in 12 ft of water in the mid Atlantic.

What an amazing place this is  - I wish we could have stayed longer and explored the underwater treasures here - apparently it is spectacular.  So we will have to return!

Acklins Island and Crooked Island

Moving right along - our next stop was an overnight anchorage off Acklins Island.  I must admit, I was already really loving the remoteness of the southern Bahamas - even more than the Exumas.  We dinghied ashore and did a little beachcoming before dark  This was just an overnight stop.  We then sailed on to Crooked Island.  We had been in touch with our good friend Nandra who has a house on Crooked Island near Pitts Town Point. 

Unfortunately, Nandra was not here - but true Nandra style, she set up dinner reservations for is at "Willlie's", also known as Gibson's No. 2.  OMG, what a delight!  Nothing fancy, but homestyle cooking at a family table with some other visitors and fishermen.  The food was exceptional.  We all agreed this was the best conch and grouper we had ever had.  So five stars for Wille!  and a big thank you to Nandra for setting this up

It was a long dinghy ride to get to Willies and the boat was anchored on a lee shore - never the best of things, but the weather was very settled and the overnight forecast for 4-6 kts.  So I felt comfortable with our spot under these conditions.  However - you can't rely on forecasts 100% - as we learned.  In the middle of the night,  a rain storm came through bringing 20 kt winds and some big waves/swells.  We were all awake and it seemed like we had moved some on the anchor.  We elected to pull up anchor and motor on through the storm across to Long Island.

This turned into all night and the next day....but we made it safely to Emerald Bay Marina near Georgetown, Great Exuma.  A familiar spot to us and nice marina.

We were ready for a couple nights of R&R!

Marina at Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay

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