We spent two nights anchored at Crab Cay; the last two nights at anchor. In the other cays we were always docked in a marina. This was for convenience. My son Juan David and his GF joined us at Green Turtle Cay and they were renting rooms, not sleeping in the boat. Below are some impressions about the cays and notes for other cruisers.
Crab Cay: great lobsters. As I had mentioned, were were alone in the anchorage for most of the time. It is a beautiful place and my only regret was not to have anchored closer to the beach. Still, from the boat you could see the white sand and palms at the north-west end of Great Abaco Island, which was protecting us from the east wind; a post card from the Caribbean. We could also see, and hear, the ocean crashing against the reef that lies between Crab Cay and Angel Fish Point.
We landed several times on the beach in Great Abaco to explore. It was shocking to see that plastics and other debris have started to accumulate here and there. We walked around but didn’t swim because the girls were not very comfortable. At the bottom, through the water, we could see accumulations of sand in the shape of pelean volcanos with an orifice on top. They looked suspicious. We removed a couple using the paddles from the dingy to see if we could find the animal that was living there but didn’t find anything.
The first morning we saw a small motor boat with a crew of two going around the anchorage, stopping in one place for a little while then changing position. The two men were getting lobsters. At some point they came close to our boat: “have you had your lobster yet?”, one of them asked. We bought a few that became our dinner that night. Around 20 dollars for five.
Most of the time we were in the boat relaxing or swimming around. While in the boat the girls had a great time playing cards with their grand parents, reading, painting, or watching movies.
Spanish Cay: not very impressed. We motor-sailed there with the wind on the nose and arrived before noon on December 27. The original plan was to anchor but the wind was blowing at 20+ knots and the conditions were not good. We decided to get a slip at Spanish Cay Marina. We were the only sailing boat there as well.
The marina is quite nice. It is surrounded by palm trees, wild orchids, and bougainvillea. The architecture of the various buildings is that of an old Hacienda. From the dock you have the view of the sea of Abaco where the sun sets. There is a shop with a good selection of food and boat supplies. There are three beaches but only one at the north-west of the Island, Bare Foot Beach, is worth your attention; it is one of the most beautiful in the area. Its famous bar, Wrekers, was closed though. We spent the afternoon snorkeling and reading on that beach. Just before sunset we tried having a drink at the Bar in the Marina. Natalia, the girls, and I got there first. The place was empty, not even the barman could be seen. It turns out that the “barman” was also the, not very dynamic, lady working at the shop. When she finally showed up she asked for our orders without much conviction. We decided to go back to the boat and have our cocktails there.
Since living West End 5 days before, Spanish Cay was our first contact with the basic services that you find in land. Thus, we took the opportunity to do laundry and take a hot shower. We left the next day at around noon.
Green Turtle Cay: beautiful beaches remember to reserve a gulf cart. The short passage from Spanish Cay to Turtle Cay was also against 20-25 knots of wind. We were only doing 4 knots most of the time, sometimes less. At some point a gust put Antares on her ear and gave a scare to the crew. The boat righted herself while taking and heaving-to. I released the backed genoa sheet and kept going on the other, starboard, tack. Eventually I rolled the genoa and motor-sailed directly into the wind.
It must have been 4pm when we docked in a slip at the outside of Green Turtle Cay Marina which is loacted at the north-west end of the cay. My son Juan David and GF Sarah were waiting for us. After having registered the boat we went to the bar and spent the rest of the afternoon catching-up. Contrary to Spanish Cay, this marina was very busy. We could not event find a gulf cart; a problem because there is no other way to go to town and we needed to buy groceries. The marina is also not very nice, there is really nothing special about it. It is enclosed, there is little breeze, and one night/morning we had nats! The main attraction is probably the library where Natilia and the girls spent a couple of afternoons reading and escaping the heat.
The next morning after our arrival, Natalia and I were able to rent a gulf cart for a couple of hours. Enough time to go to town and provision. New Plymouth is a cosy little town in the south-west of the cay with very narrow, one way, streets and small victorian houses painted in pastel colors. We found two places to buy food and a cellar to restock on wine and beer. We came back with a gulf-cart crammed with supplies that would last until the end of our cruise. When we arrived to the marina only my parents were at the boat. The girls had left with Juan David and Sarah. Since we still had one hour or so left before returning the gulf cart, the four of us decided to go and explore. We discovered truly spectacular beaches. The ocean was agitated and approached the cay folding itself into waves of blues, greens, whites and black colors. As it retired it left a labyrinth of weeds and Sargasso. The sun was at its climax, undisturbed.
Later that afternoon we all came back to the beach on foot carrying wine, cheese, and fruit. It was a pleasant 20 minutes walk from the marina that we repeated daily. We swam, read, sun bade, and simply relaxed and observed.
The last day of the year came. We all dressed before sunset and started the celebration with cocktails at the boat. From there we headed to the restaurant at the marina where we had a reservation at 8pm. We had debated whether to have dinner at the boat or join the New Years Dinner that the club was offering — a special 5 dishes course. At the end we opted for the latter. We had a good time; we enjoyed the service, the food, and wine but it was below expectations. The daughter of the owner of the resort, who was also the manager, came to introduce herself and extend her good wishes for 2016. Shortly after we came back to the boat to receive the new year with a toast and a glass of champagne. We danced in the cockpit until it was time for my parents and the girls to go to bed. Natalia, Juan David, Sarah and I headed to Plymouth to continue the celebration in a local discotheque overlooking the sea and open to the breeze. It was close to 4am when Natalia and I went to sleep in our V berth.
Treasurey Cay: so, so marina, nice beaches. The plan was to leave at around 9am. With the hangover and the lack of sleep it wasn’t easy but at least my parents, the girls, Natalia and I did it. As agreed, I called Juan David to wake him up but he refused to join us. He told me that they were going to stay one more day and then meet us in Treasury Cay.
I checked one last time the weather to make sure that we would be able to go through the cuts around Wale Cay, into the Atlantic and back. I also tried to call other cruising boats in the area on the VHF but nobody responded. I wouldn’t have made a difference. We had a great passage; perfect visibility, winds from the right direction, and an Atlantic ocean in peace. Juster after noon we were docking at Treasurey Cay Hotel Resort and Marina. We stayed in the boat and rested.
The next day we went for a very long walk around the cay starting on the east side. From time to time we would stop to swim and then continue walking on the beach. We passed in front of a row of beach houses with eclectic designs, some built in stone others in wood, bricks, or blocks. Each had a private beach separated from the others by small breakwaters that we had to escalate. After two and half-hours, all hot and thirsty, we arrived to the beech in front of our marina. Natalia made it first to the restaurant that is located there and was waiting with drinks for all, including a Bloody Mary for my father and I. Juan David and Sarah joined shortly after and we all had lunch while a local band was playing. A volley-ball match followed; 4 against 4, including the girls, one team worse than the other.
That night we had dinner at Juan David’s place, a nice cottage overlooking the sea. He prepared a delicious bolognese sauce that we had with pasta and a couple of bottles of full-body red wine. It was Natalia’s last night and we turned in early. She left the boat before sunrise on January 3rd, probably just in time as the weather was starting to change. Until then we had been lucky — sunny days with a refreshing breeze and no nats (except for that night at Turtle Cay). Now a cold front was coming.
Marsh Harbor. The only window of opportunity to leave Treasurey Cay was January 4th in the morning. So we did. Juan David and Sarah were at the boat with their bags at 8:30am. At 9:00 we were casting-off the lines.
We had an uneventful passage to Marsh Harbor. As soon as we docked in Harbor View Marina the rain started and didn’t stop until we all left. We didn’t do much while in MH. With the weather as it was we couldn’t go to the beach. Instead, we spent most of the time cleaning the boat, stowing gear, and packing. The girls and I left before sunset on January 6. We shared the van to the airpot with a family (parents and 3 young kids) that had also spent the holidays cruising in their boat.
Juan David and Sarah left later that same day, and my parents the next day. Antares is till there waiting for the next leg…