Marsh Harbour, Abacos, Bahamas
Posted by Bill
We have enjoyed our stay here and really like Mangoes Marina. We seemed to have this mentality about Marsh Harbour that relegates it to a short stop, only to provision, and then move on. I am not sure why, but we have misjudged the place. There are some good places to eat and a great snorkeling spot (Mermaid Reef) in addition to the excellent provisioning options. Since we have been to all of the surrounding cays before, we chose to wait here for a calm crossing around the Whale (Whale Cay). To travel from the southern part of the Sea of Abaco, to the northern Abacos, you need to go out in to the Atlantic Ocean, around Whale Cay, and back in through Whale Cay Cut. It is only about a 45 minute trip around the Whale, and the cuts are wide and deep, but Whale Cay Cut faces the dominate swell direction of the Atlantic. In addition, the ocean depth goes from thousands of feet to under 20 feet in a short distance. Add the effects of wind and tide, and the Whale can be one of the nastiest cuts in the Bahamas. With the last front that came through, the Atlantic swell has been up for a week, and given the fact that we have had quite enough ass kickin’s this year, we are waiting for a nice quiet passage around the Whale. We were going to leave today, which was borderline Whale conditions, but we need some tide to get into our destination at Green Turtle Cay, and we had a really tight schedule…not a good thing in the cruising life, so we opted to stay one more day. Starting tomorrow, we have an 8-10 day window of excellent weather and seas, at least according to the forecast….FINALLY!!!!!
While we have been here, we have done our provisioning. The main grocery store, Maxwells, is just like a large supermarket in the States, and one of the few in the Bahamas. They have good produce every day, a great selection of meats, and even carry some Kirkland (Costco brand) products. The prices are higher than the US, but the selection is comparable. They also have several well stocked liquor stores, a large hardware store, a marine store and a couple of banks. Besides liquor, produce and perishables, we didn’t need that much. Tricia did a great job of provisioning before we left the US, she really figured it out this year. That plus having our Engle freezer has kept us in good shape. Our marina has a mandatory $5/day charge for water, so I washed the boat the other day. It really needed it…caked in salt. Like an idiot, I left the portal (window) above the stove open, thinking it wouldn’t be affected by the area I was working on, and soaked a good portion of the galley (kitchen), which generated a cleanup project. I felt bad! In our usual routine, we have checked out the different happy hours and continued our study of the many Rum Punch recipes throughout the Bahamas. Had a really good one last night at Rum Runners, made with Bacardi 151 and Peach Schnapps…only $5 during happy hour! We have also really enjoyed having Kurt and Sharon with us again. Most nights we end up hanging out by the pool at the marina and shootin’ the shit. The other night, Kurt and Sharon thawed a large chunk of wahoo that they got in the Berry Islands, we thawed some tuna, every one made some sides, and Mark cooked up the fish. We had a great cookout up by the pool. On Wednesday we went to the barbecue and limbo night at the Jib Room restaurant. It wasn’t very crowded this time which made it even better. I still can’t believe how Desmond does the limbo as low as he goes. His final round under the limbo stick is done with the stick on fire, and he lights a cigarette as he goes under:
Tomorrow we will begin our trek back to the US, working our way through the northern Abacos over the next week. If the forecast is accurate, we could be back in the US by next weekend. The current plan is to work our way over to Great Sail Cay and do an overnight crossing to the Fort Pierce inlet, making landfall in either Fort Pierce FL or Vero Beach.