After settling down in Hope Town for a few days, we took the boat over to Marsh Harbour to sort out a WiFi plan and to shop at the mega grocery store Maxwells. It is like going into Giant – except for when you go to pay!!!
Marsh Harbour is still unrecognizable. By all accounts it was the worst hit by the hurricane. Walking along the waterfront which used to be full of marinas, restaurants and stores, there is – nothing! It was hard to recognize where we were and even imagine what used to be there. So many buildings reduced to rubble piles, now with weeds growing through it all. I couldn’t even take pictures. We had to take a taxi to the phone place (used to be right on the waterfront) and we asked our driver where we might get a cup of coffee (Garth’s raison d’etre) and possibly a breakfast sandwich. She took us to the only place that served breakfast. We found a bench around the back amongst numerous burnt out generators to sit and eat. But full credit to Miss Love – it was absolutely delicious!!!
Next on the list was to make water. We have a 75 gal tank, which lasts us about 8 days. Yes, we only shower every second day – you got a problem with that?? We bought a Rainman water maker which Garth installed in the front locker. We had avoided testing it until we were in really clean water – now was the time. It worked perfectly, making about 30 gals an hour. We could relax.
For me, there are two things that spell Bahamas – water and clouds. I wish I could put sunglasses onto my camera and capture the incredible water colors which show up so well in polaroid – but I also love the cloud formations. The small ones are puffy and fat with flat bottoms, but then you get the huge towering ones that I remember so well from when we were flying Garth’s plane. Throw in a bit of sunrise or sunset and it is just heavenly.
We took a trip down to Little Harbour to go and see Pete’s Pub where we plan to celebrate New Year. It wasn’t open yet, and we were the only boat in the harbor. But the foundry was open and we were able to walk through. In the 50’s artist Randolph Johnston and his family arrived in the harbor on a sailing boat. They initially lived on the boat and in the caves while they built a home, and eventually the brass foundry which is still operated today by the third generation of the artist family.
Then it was Thanksgiving. Who would have believed that we would have had a full traditional turkey meal here in the Bahamas? Will and Muffin and ourselves were graciously invited by Barry and Marcia Talley, Annapolis friends who have a house down here, and with a little contribution from each we had a FEAST!!! Even Sophie the Dog was included.
Barry and Marcia are making the most of a new waterfront view – you can see the slab left behind where the house in front of them was blown away. They will enjoy it, but are looking forward to their friends being able to rebuild.
Mel and Gary were held up in Stuart FL for a couple of weeks (they were not able to make the zippy exit that we did as they had some appointments set up). When we heard that they were crossing over we decided to go back north and meet up with them and do the slow trip back, stopping at places we missed. First stop was at No Name Cay – one of our favorites where Will and Penny had bonded with the wild pigs last time they were here. Well that’s a thing of the past – the deserted island is no longer deserted with a Big O resort having been built there. There are still pigs, but they are lethargic and we didn’t see any babies. So glad the kids had the experience while it was still real and not commercial. BUT, the restaurant makes excellent conch fritters, so there’s that!
From there to Black Sound in Green Turtle Cay (with our shallow draft, we can finally go there). We went for a long walk around New Plymouth, the main settlement, and although they have made great strides, we were still saddened by the delapidated state of so many of their previously proud buildings. There is no criticism, only heart wrenching sadness for the people. Rebuilding in the islands isn’t easy – a supply ship was in town and this is how everything has to come in. Also a picture of the fuel ship that was delivering to Spanish Cay, our next stop. A strutting rooster and amazing mural brightened our day.
At Spanish Cay we met some lovely people and shared dinner at the restaurant, after a tranquil sunset. The heron was hopeful until almost dark – and a picture of the same rocks in the sunrise the next morning.
We met up with Mel and Gary at Double Breasted Cay the next day. What a breathtaking place!! The tides going in and out exposed and hid white sand banks and the colors of the water were spectacular – even without sunglasses!
But the highlight was that Gary had been diving and caught lobster for dinner! I don’t think a meal has ever tasted as good – they have got the prep down to a T, and Mel even serves melted butter in butter warmers. I will never forget that first bite – heaven! They went again the next day and Garth caught two, which are in the freezer waiting for our children to arrive. Since then, pickings have been slim, so the feast was even more memorable.
Two nights at Double Breasted and then we went to Grand Cay which is very close by. It is a fishing town with no frills but an authentic local feel. Glad we went.
The next morning dawned with not a breath of wind – the sea was like glass. There seemed to be no horizon – we took pictures of Second Sojourn and they took pictures of us. And I took a million pictures of our wake making patterns on the silky water.
Back to Green Turtle Cay and White Sound this time – welcomed by a beautiful rainbow. We rented a golf cart and toured the island – first a drink at the Tranquil Turtle, then a walk on the beautiful long beach at Gillam Bay where we were joined by the friendliest dog who must have lived in a house on the beach – she walked with us for the whole time, but when she saw we were getting ready to leave, trotted home.
We ended up at Pineapples, a beach bar that probably tops our list of all bars in the Bahamas. Their food is simple but outstanding, their drinks affordable (and two for the price of one during happy hour!) and the bartender Yvonne is just the best. On any given day, she will apply her over-the-top makeup to suit the occasion – green, yellow, blue – and at Christmas one eye green and one eye red! She was pretty low-key the day we were there but assured us that her 1” eyelashes were all her own (bought and paid for!)
There is a crystal chandelier hanging from a tree on the beach (!?!) and I tried to get the sunset reflected in the crystals. Not so successful, but it was beautiful. After the hurricane, the opposite shore had apparently burned for more than 6 months. You can see the burnt trees on the horizon and it looked as though the setting sun was the fire again. A great evening and a very cautious golf cart ride home!
On another perfectly calm day six of us set off for Lynyard Cay and the Bight of Old Robertson to explore the mangrove shallows and visit the blue hole. Garth and I stole over to Man O’ War Cay first – he had heard that the coffee shop was open. It is a completely dry island and is where the Albury dinghies are built. Sure enough – his first latte after reaching the Bahamas! The water was calm and crystal clear – starfish from the deck of the boat through about 12’ water, and a turtle sunning along in the shallows.
Lynyard Cay is fantastic – there is a path through to the Atlantic side of the island with all kinds of shell and seaglass treasures to be found. They seem endless. I filled a bag for the kids as shelling is not so good in other places, and seaglass is hardly found. We had sundowners on the beach (chased from the donated picnic table by a very cute but very hungry rat who just wouldn’t give up his quest to share our cheese and crackers!).
Next morning we all met in our dinghies and Dan led us through the mangrove lagoon – lots of turtles and rays, but they were too quick for my camera (that is – me!). We stopped at the beach for a swim and then onto the blue hole. The others snorkeled around it but we were not tempted.
We’re now back in Hope Town – some very windy and rainy weather is forecast. We are so excited to have our children coming to join us after Christmas and for the New Year and to celebrate our big 7-0 birthdays with us down at Pete’s pub. Our grandchildren call Garth “P” – so he posed for a Christmas picture especially for them. An announcement is put out on the Cruiser’s Net in the morning and everyone is invited to go to the beach at 4.00, dressed in red and white, for the annual Hope Town Christmas Card. A drone takes the pic and the cards are sold to raise funds for the Community Center.
So we’ll leave you with the Christmas Card which brings our wishes to everyone for a happy, peaceful and Covid-free Christmas.