Laying Low in Abaco

This large sea star was easy to spot in shallow, clear water close to the beach

This large sea star was easy to spot in shallow, clear water close to the beach

The protected Sea of Abaco strives, at times, to compete with the big ocean by churning up waves and choppiness that worsen as you pass close to an ocean cut. We allowed enough time (about a month) to move around in favorable winds and a sea state that suited us. Therefore, strong north winds kept us tucked in on a Pete’s Pub mooring in Little Harbor at the southern end of the Sea of Abaco, and so began an eight-day fun and frolic with new boat friends.

This hermit crab chose a different shell than the usual West Indian Top Shells. He hangs around the pub at night

This hermit crab chose a different shell than the usual West Indian Top Shells. He hangs around the pub at night

Darn good thing we aren’t depending on our fish-catching luck to feed ourselves. The Mahi that liked our hook was a fighter and with rod and reel we might have kept him, but he got off just as Russ was about to pull him up. Fortunately our neighbors on s/v Dolphin Leap scored a big one and when s/v Mardi Gras arrived on Wed we feasted on delicious Mahi and coleslaw prepared by Masha, appetizers a la Mardi Gras with fresh-baked focaccia made famous by Chef Russ.

Tuesday was “anything you wish to do” perfect and the sea glass on Lynyard Cay called out to me. Gotta love Google Earth that showed us a tiny spot where we could land Bunting then walk around at the southern end. At first I wasn’t sure about the terrain but closer inspection revealed it ideal for trapping glass that washed up over the rocks set at just the right angle. Footwear a must; a screwdriver would come in handy for prying pieces firmly wedged and a large bag to hold your treasures. Besides the sea glass I found a perfect Reticulated Cowrie Helmet specimen- very exciting and by far my best shell find ever. (it’s only 3″long)

A rocky, other-world type beach with scattered sand spots is ideal for sea glass

A rocky, other-world type beach with scattered sand spots is ideal for sea glass

A low-tide walk along the rocky side of the mooring field always results in new finds. This time we spotted live West Indian Top snails- you know- before the hermit crabs call them “home”.  Another first and many were quite large; some day the perfect hermit mansion.

Grandpa Top Shell and chitons on the rocks visible at low tide

Grandpa Top Shell and chitons on the rocks visible at low tide

Sat, March 15: we headed north to provision at the excellent Maxwell’s in Marsh Harbor, make water along the way, and backtrack a bit to anchor near Baker’s Rock/Tahiti Beach across from Cracker P’s on Lubbers Quarters. Tonight the three boats would make tracks for Cracker P’s full moon party and beach bonfire; our first ever. Dolphin Leap and Mardi Gras regaled us with their adventures which included (I won’t say who did what) one being towed out of Little Harbor by the other, a handheld VHF taking a swim, handheld rescued but then the rescuer needed rescuing, going aground, repairs to the original problem and well, you get the idea. Despite all that, both boats arrived on time for the party; hearty cruisers are like that.

Keith, Russ, Moi, Linda and Masha -ready for buffet and bonfire at Cracker P's

Keith, Russ, Moi, Linda and Masha -ready for buffet and bonfire at Cracker P’s

Masha snapped a good one of me by the bonfire

Masha snapped a good one of me by the bonfire

Bonfire- what shape do you see?

Bonfire- what shape do you see?

Next stop: the lovely Hope Town harbor where we used our Maine Cat connections to procure a mooring for three nights. The fronts have been steady and every other one is weak; still keeps us happy to be doing that clocking around action on a mooring. Sunday we participated in our first dinghy drift; one of the largest they’ve had. More than 50 dinghies tied up together while 120 happy floaters passed around finger foods to share. The flotilla moved slowly through the mooring field and toward the harbor’s entrance. The ferry snuck by just in time but the three-man crew of a large center console got a big surprise as they rounded the corner- and there we sat, a joyful jelly fish blob waving and cheering.

On Da BeachEarlier that day killing a few birds seemed to be the way to go: lunch, a walk and checking out a new beach bar. We don’t usually eat at the bar but that was the only spot, so we took it. Those who do this know you can meet more people this way, get drinks spilled on you and get to know your bartender better. 🙂 We met Bill and Betsy, a few years our senior, who sadly were enjoying their last day in Hope Town. After lunch we joined them and shared stories. The resort van took us all back into town and we were invited to check out the villa. Of course, we pointed out our floating home along the way. The view from the roof top lounge area couldn’t have been better. We noticed Bill out on the dock when the dinghy drift came by later and we shared a big wave.

Entrance channel into Hope Town Harbor

Entrance channel into Hope Town Harbor

Monday afternoon we rented a golf cart with Masha and Keith of Dolphin Leap to see the mid and southern sights of Elbow Cay/Hope Town that are not within walking distance of town. Beautiful beaches, some with sea glass, great beach bars and colorful villas with creative names and pretty landscaping.

Firefly Resort -our first stop

Firefly Resort -our first stop

Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and fresh lemonade- so summer, so southern!

Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and fresh lemonade- so summer, so southern!

A photo-stop by the beach near The Abaco Inn

A photo-stop by the beach near The Abaco Inn

Tahiti Beach at high tide. I work my way around in search of sea glass; first climbing through a jungle gym in the trees

Tahiti Beach at high tide. I work my way around in search of sea glass; first climbing through a jungle gym in the trees

One evening we gathered aboard Mardi Gras for Barry’s delicious Sangria. So delicious and not sweet at all; just right. No one spilled and that was extra nice.

Moonrise over Harbor's Edge - an easy dinghy row from our mooring

Moonrise over Harbor’s Edge – an easy dinghy row from our mooring

Wed arrived and by the time we got up our friends had departed; headed for Green Turtle and the dreaded Whale Cay passage. Laundry was long overdue for us so we took are of that at Light House Marina. Our destination today: Fisher’s Bay at Great Guana Cay, where we’d call home for a few days and the Barefoot Man concert at Nippers.

The Hope Town Sailing Club sponsors many races throughout the year and today was a point-to-point race. In this photo you can see that no other boat is ahead of us:-)

race float

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2 thoughts on “Laying Low in Abaco

  1. Omg, what fun! Full moon beach bonfire, Dinghy float!!! Love the photos. Were those snails in the tiny beach rock crevices without their shells? Neato

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    • The dinghy float was my favorite activity- almost as good as beachcombing! Imagine 50 different appetizers being passed around- I got several good ideas.
      The things in the rocks are chitons (like Kite), aka “coat-of-mail” shells. They have 8 separate shellplates that overlap and articulate so they can move and curl up if need be. Have never seen any of them move- just well attached to the rocks. On Guana Cay we found one on the beach and I am soaking it to try and remove the smell.

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