Our memories of a brief stop at Man o’ War Cay five years ago are a bit fuzzy, but I know that the settlement is more vibrant and lively than we recall. Even Guana Cay seemed busier than before. All good news; cruisers, vacationers and locals all benefit from prosperity.
The trouble with Man o’ War is the mooring fields, the balls are not well marked as to ownership and many are very close together. Great way to meet someone when your stern is two feet away from their bow. The wind beat the forecast by 5 kts so we enjoyed a 2 hour brisk sail but had to tack to do it. No Antsy Lori on this trip as we were moving right along close hauled at 6kts.
The marina directed us to a mooring in front of another boat and we immediately became the “show”. Or usual mooring attachment set up was going to leave our stern hitting the mono behind us. He wasn’t overly concerned and said getting the pennant up on deck would keep us away. Was a fun maneuver with the strong wind while the poor soul at the helm tried to keep from hitting the other boat until the lines could be rigged right and at the same time moving the boat forward toward the mooring ball. We got it done and headed in so we could do what we came for- see the museum which would close in an hour. After all that messing about it better be open.
It was and a lovely museum to boot. Man o’ War was settled by Loyalists who remain conservative, keeping the island “dry.” We wonder if that tradition has any bearing on Man o’ War’s long history of productivity, most notably as renowned boat builders and sail makers.
One of the displays showed an open ledger book from the hardware store of items that Langosta purchased in 1951. I thought that was a very clever tie-in to local history. You may recall that Langosta was the vessel Randolph Johnston acquired a few months after arriving in Man o’ War with his family. They later made their home in Little Harbor.
Several 45s are displayed over a door frame with a sign suggesting you take them down to show your kids; who if under a certain age, may never have seen one, let alone heard of them! Was it really 40 years ago I received a surprise gift on the family phonograph; the Archies, “Sugar, Sugar.”
Man o’ War is several miles long and not very wide, so a walk across to the Atlantic Ocean side takes 10 mins. Land for a cemetery was set aside many years ago, only problem is that it is a stone’s throw from the beach. Storms have flooded the graves which are in process of being re-built in concrete to protect the contents.
The few gift shops are excellent shopping and here’s how it went down: (sung to the Barefoot Man’s Nippers song)
When you get cut off in Abaco, man you’ve spent too much
When the Captain tears you from the shops while you yell and cuss
You get run over by a golf cart while your packages you clutch
When you get cut off in Abaco, man you’ve spent too much!
The sail shop no longer produces sails, instead they make totes and bags of ALL shapes and sizes. I bought a large bag to hold my loot- which did include groceries. No, just joking about the bag. Gleaned ideas for one we want to make. Island Treats sells Edy’s ice cream; the temptation was too much- we caved but only bought kiddie size. My mouth cried out in wonder “ice cream!!! Thought you’d never get around to that again!!” Russ just ate his.