Monday, March 28, 2022

The Exumas and Black Point Festivities


We arrived in the Exumas after a glorious sail from Cape Eleuthera to Waderick Wells. Conditions were great with 15-18 on the beam and 2-4 ft swells.  Leaving Davis Harbor on Eleuthera was a little tense as its narrow, and shallow.....and of course we hit it at low tide!  But all was good. 

We spent a couple of nights at Waderick wells - the first night at Emerald Rock and the second in the North Field.  We love Waderick Wells and saw plenty of beautiful vistas and wildlife - with 2 Bull Sharks swimming under the boat all night.  

We love the trek up to BooBoo Hill where we placed the obligatory boat memorabilia

Waderick Wells North Field

BooBoo Hill Boat Memorabilia

We took advantage of a cold front blow to move south and sailed from Waderick to Black Point in 25 kt winds, finding a pretty good spot at Black Point.

SSCA Gathering - Black Point

For several months, I have been promoting an SSCA "Informal Gathering" at Black Point on March 15.  There had been a lot of interest on the SSCA Forum, but who could know how many boats might actually show!  I had also been in contact with Lorraine Rolle of Lorraine's Bakery and Cafe at Black Point.  Lorraine is the SSCA Cruising Station Host for Black Point and the southern Bahamas.  Well!  Lorraine had gone to town and organized a whole host of events!  What a great time was had by all.  I have included some photos below.

Lorraine put on a welcome reception on the 15th with free appetizers; a 4-course semi-formal dinner (we took that to mean shirt with no oil stains!); walk-a-thon; St. Patrick's Day Buffet; and a BBQ on the beach.  Each night there was live entertainment with a DJ, local performers, and a Rake and Scrape Band that she brought in from Nassau (Curbside Rockers).  The band was excellent and very entertaining!  When I get around to making a video of this trip, I will have some footage of their performance.

There was a great turnout from SSCA and many others.  I don't have an accurate headcount of SSCA members, but my guess is that over 20 SSCA boats came through with some staying for all events.  The events were open to everyone.  We asked that SSCA members bring along school supplies if possible to donate to the local school - and many did so!

Lorraine's Cafe

Black Point Anchorage by night

I did a boat count in the anchorage and we consistently had over 60 boats each day of the event, with some turnover each day.

The closing night was once again another great night with live performances from the band, DJ and a well-known Bahamian rapper that the kids all seemed to know!

The kids - locals and cruisers played volleyball on the beach, and there was a tug-of-war contest for cruisers.  Sadly our team SV Tra-Sea was defeated - but is was a lot of fun!

Performance by Rapper

Kids enjoying the water adn music


Tug-of-war winners

Neil thanking Lorraine

Curbside Rockers - Rake and Scrape Band

Based on the success of this years' event, Lorraine plans to make this an annual event.  I hope so - it was so great to see cruisers back in the Bahamas having fun again!  I am pretty sure the event was a success for local businesses - especially Lorraine's Cafe.

Thank you Lorraine!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Spanish Wells and Eleuthera

Spanish Wells

It was time to head to Spanish Wells.  We had a great sail from Little Harbour, Abacos to the anchorage at Royal Island.  

Royal Island is a very protected anchorage from all directions, but there is really nothin to do there.  There is a dock providing access to a private resort, but we did sneak Salty ashore for a short walk.

The following day we made the short hop to Spanish Wells.  Yacht Haven was fully booked as a blow was predicted, but we got lucky and found 2 slips with Johnny Underwood at 50 c /ft. mono and 75c /ft. cat.  Probably the deal of the century in the Bahamas,  He also provided us with a golf cart for a small fee!

We had been having problems with our masthead light and a trip up the mast revealed the problem.
Spanish Wells from the Masthead

Water in the Light

This is the second Weems and Plath light to go bad in less than a year!  I called them and we are getting another replacement shipped - but clearly they have a design issue!

Waiting out the blow, we visited Budda's place - well its a liquor store, with bar added, with food truck added.  Its a pretty cool, must  stop!

Low Tide looking towards Devil's Backbone

After our stay in Spanish Wells we left exiting through Current Cut to North Eleuthera and the Glass Window Bridge.  it was a bumpy ride but well worth it!

We had a very pleasant night at Glass Window, visiting the Bridge and Queens Baths.  Both are certainly well worth the visit with spectacular views and waves crashing in from the Atlantic side.

Queens Baths

Larry at Queens Baths

Salty overlooking Queens Baths

Salty had a blast but wanted to walk the narrow slippery paths - so we watched from a ridge overlooking the Baths.


We continued south down the full length of Eleuthera with overnight stop at Alabaster Bluff and Davis Harbour Marina on the very southern tip.  We attempted Hatchet Bay Harbour, but with large swells and 20kt cross winds, I must admit that I chickened out going through the 70 ft wide channel between rock walls!

We really enjoyed Eleuthera and will be back for a longer visit.   We rented a car to sightsee and collect our daughter Hannah from north Eleuthera airport for a week-long visit.

Alabaster Bluff

Entrance to Davis Harbour Marin

Davis Harbour was another narrow entrance between rock cuts, but not as intimidation as Hatchet Bay.  We had conflicting depth into, but saw nothing less than around 6 ft an hour or so after low tide - so all was good!

On exiting (again,  we were at low tide), we had no problems with our 4.5 ft draft.  Our buddy boat Tra-Sea had a soft touch in the cut at low tide (draft 5'-9"), but all was good!

We had a glorious sail over to the Exumas coming into the Exuma bank at Waderick Wells Cut and spending 2 great nights at the Exumas Land and Sea Park.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Green Turtle, Great Guana, and the Abacos

After visiting Pensacola Cays for a couple of days and letting the winds subside a little, we decided to move on to Green Turtle Cay.  This has to be another of my favorite stope in the Abacos,

 We took a slip at the Green Turtle Club for 2 nights so we could explore a little.  We also had to clarify the situation with our Covid Tests.  Although we arrived on the 18th, rules changes on the 20th requiring a 5-day test.  It was 2-days before that.  We did a self test at 2-days, but apparently it had to by by a Bahamas health department.  So we just went ahead and did a 5-day test in New Plymouth at the clinic.  This seemed to satisfy everyone.

It was sad to see that New Plymouth is still recovering from Dorian, but happy that progress was being made.  So many of the building s and homes that had been there over 100 years were still in dis-repair or gone.

The Bluff House is nearly back up and running.  the beach bar, pictured above and left was open and the beach restored.  The boat docks had been re-built but not yet open.  I think they are waiting on power and water service.

The anchorage/mooring field was quiet with only a few boat in what is typically busy.  Green Turtle Club was quite busy, being one of the few marinas that is up and running.

After a great 2-day stay, we moved on to Great Guana.

Great Guana Cay

We anchored in Fisher's Bay near Delia Cay for the obligatory trip in to Grabbers and Nippers.  Both are up and running.  Our crew enjoyed a few drinks and the spectacular view from Nippers, and a couple of their "special drinks"!

Sunset at Grabbers




Hopetown was our next stop.  The town has made a pretty good recovery after Hurricane Dorian, but there is still work ongoing and obvious signs of recovery.  It isn't what it used to be, but given a couple years with no major hits, I am sure it will be back.

The marina was open and was about the only restaurant fully open,  Others seemed to have limited service.  We stayed a night on a mooring, had lunch at the marina, and wandered through the streets some.  The lighthouse is operational, but still some repairs ongoing.

Tahiti Beach

From Great Guana, we moved a short distance south to Tahiti Beach - a wonderful little beach island that comes and goes with the tide.  We had a fantastic beach day with food and drink from the "Thirsty Cuda" which anchors off the beach.  The drinks were reasonable and the food excellent and great value by Bahamas standards!

Salty had a great beach day and was thoroughly exhausted when we got back to the boat - but what a way to spend the day!

Little Harbor and Pete's Pub

South again and our next stop was Little Harbor and Pete's Pub.  On the way, we spent the night at Linyards key made a stop at Snake Key to make the spectacular dinghy ride up into the mangroves along the creek that runs several miles inland

Pete's Pub is the home of a brass castings foundry and wonderful pub.  It was very quiet as they did not anticipate opening ......but they saw our "crowd" and opened everything up.  We had a great time, great food, spent a little in the gift shop etc.

We also have friends that have a house overlooking the bay and they had (jokingly said) get a photo of your crew drinking a beer on our porch.

Hey - who can resist that!

If we could have found the key, we would probably have drunk Tom Schlinkert's beer too!!

Thank you Tom!
Midnight Sun and TraSea from Chateau Schlinkert

We love Pete's Pub!

The following morning we said farewell to our crew and they headed to Marsh Harbour to fly home.  We set out on a great 55 mile sail south towards Spanish Wells.  We anchored for the night just short of Spanish Wells in the very protected Royal Harbor, and made our plans to sit out a blow in Spanish Well for the next few days.