Thursday, March 13 to Saturday, March 22, 2014
We have a great crossing back to Cape Eleuthera from Hawksbill Cay in the Exumas and are able to sail pretty much the whole way. Once again, bad weather is moving in so we are looking to get settled in the Cape Eleuthera Marina for a few days. We meet some great people at the marina in Cape Eleuthera when we arrive — Dawson and Julie on Jazzebelle (from Sudbury, ON) and Rick and Eva on Calypso (from Annapolis, MD). All of us are waiting out the weather for four nights, so we meet for happy hour and pot-luck appetizers in the evenings. We even pull out the fold-up bicycles from storage one day and ride to a nearby marine research center, called the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) for a tour. They are doing some really interesting studies of sharks and the invasive Lion Fish species. The facility tries to be green and has a small farm on the property to grow some of their own food. As part of the center there is a school where high school students from the US and Canada come and spend a semester studying the Bahamas and the local marine life. Seems like a great program.
Finally, the weather improves and all three boats, Silver Maple, Calypso and Jazzebelle head out on Saturday. Each have different destinations, but hopefully we will run into them again. Silver Maple’s trip is a short one to Hatchet Bay. And its another great day for sailing. We arrive early at the anchorage, so we take the dingy into town and have a walk-about. It’s a lovely evening and the town is having a festival in the park with live music. We have dinner at a great little place called Twin Brothers.
Early the next morning, we leave for Spanish Wells which is the next stop as we head back north retracing our trip when we came down. Back at the Yacht Haven (bit of a misnomer) in Spanish Wells we are once again waiting out bad weather. Finally, things clear enough on Tuesday afternoon to make the short trip to Royal Island Harbour. From there we will set out on our last ocean passage as we head back north to put the boat into storage.
The passage from Royal Island Harbour to the Abacos is a long one of about 9 hours, so we are up early and on the water before sunrise. The boat, Uncle B (California), who was on the dock with us in Spanish Wells follows us. It seems to be their first trip to the Abacos. The wind is on our nose the whole way so no sailing, and the waves are higher than forecast too. It is fairly rough at times, but no problem for Silver Maple. The crew survives pretty well also. Entering the cut into the Abaco Islands at South Barr is tricky, but Randy handles the waves coming in, no problem.
We settle into the anchorage at Lynyard Cay and relax. It’s very good to be back in the Abacos. The next morning, we travel to our old stomping ground at Hopetown Inn and Marina. So good to be back to civilization and some of the creature comforts we’ve been without while down south — groceries, water, internet, cell coverage, restaurants. Hopetown is the busiest we’ve ever seen it. We think it may be beause its March Break or something. Thankfully we get the last available slip in the marina.
We’ve been hanging out and relaxing since we got here and have already have met some great people here at the marina. In a few days we will head to the Jib Room at Marsh Harbour, and then on to Green Turtle to put the boat away.