Treasured Tranquil Turtles

Sand Bank Cays with Treasure Cay in distance

Sand Bank Cays with Treasure Cay in distance

So here we are, having decided to extend our stay into April; wondering which way to turn from Guana Cay. How about we let the wind and weather help with that; gee wouldn’t that be a novel idea? Another front was arriving with the west wind part of it relatively benign; however, the 1, 2, 3, front punch after that was downright troubling. I know that you all know that winter hasn’t received the “time for Spring” memo, and the same goes here in the too close to Florida Abacos.

For now, we’d let the wind fill our sails and set a course for Treasure Cay with its long stretch of gorgeous white sand beach that cozies up to turquoise blue water, or is it azure blue? Doesn’t matter really when it’s that beautiful.

Sunday, our next stop would require a mooring in Hope Town or a dock to sit out the next 3 fronts with that nasty clocking around activity. Hey, how about doing the Whale? Low, SW winds would allow nearly any vessel to get past Whale Cay and with high tide around mid-day we could easily take the “Don’t Rock” passage. This meant we’d be looking for a slip at Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina in Green Turtle Cay’s White Sound; possibly for six nights. Darn. Imagine, a restaurant, beach bar, pool, wi-fi, water, power and all the interesting people you meet at a marina- this wasn’t too hard to take. But first, one needs to contact the marina.

Your experience may be different, but here’s ours: 🙂

  • Hail Bluff House on CH16 before coming past the Whale. Eight miles away. No response. Do that 3 times
  • Call them on the phone: result busy. Try that 5 times
  • Listen to announcement on CH16 that phones are down on Green Turtle. Wi-fi too. Sigh
  • Roll dice. Continue past the Whale via Don’t Rock passage over shifting sand bars that look much more shallow than 6 feet

    The rock in the Don't Rock passage- the shallow draft route inside Whale Cay

    The rock in the Don’t Rock passage- the shallow draft route inside Whale Cay

  • Hail Bluff House on CH16 at six miles. Success! They have space. We’re coming in hot!
  • Continue making water that started at 9am and anchor at Joyless Pt, outside of White Sound- Ok so we’re not coming in tonight
  • Launch dinghy and go in to check out the slip ( I mean we haven’t docked in 5 mos) and reserve it for Monday. This process took Russ 45 mins and the dinghy ride was only 5
  • Talk through docking process twice to be sure we each know our job (me that is). Test headsets-OK
  • Process is we go stern-in to the dock, wedging our 23ft between the two pilings, port and starboard. There’s no side dock, just a ladder on the dock at our stern where we’d climb up. I’d have to get lines on the pilings before we backed all the way in
  • Use bad language when headset dies before we get to the dock. Russ executed a perfect back-in, stopping half-way. I needed six tries to get the line around the piling, but the applause felt good. (does it take six people to watch us dock?) Yes, some helped too.
  • Spend 30 mins attaching and adjusting bow, spring, stern lines so that we could get off the boat and still have it snug enough to stay in place for the eventual 33kts.
  • Get into the marina groove and enjoy! 2-4-1 Tranquil Turtles every day at Happy Hour

    Bird in a web- no flight for this lady

    Bird in a web- no flight for this lady

Many boats bouncing around the Sea of Abaco are charter boats; Moorings, Dream Yacht Charters, Cruise Abaco, to name a few. Once in a while the owner may be enjoying his boat, but generally you will see a bareboat charter or a captained one. Not that cruisers are anywhere near perfect boat handlers, but when you are operating an unfamiliar vessel, trying to squeeze 10 days-worth of fun into 7 or less, you may become the center of attention, especially at the dock.

Someone messed up and the dinghy tumbled

Someone messed up and the dinghy tumbled

This charter power cat, Sea Song stayed a few nights, three spaces (can’t really call them slips) down from us. During the docking process which included more wind than we had, it seemed like the owner and friends were aboard as well as a hired captain.  The dinghy gets hoisted on davits. When departing, the captain gunned it to get past the docks in front of him, the dinghy tumbled into the water, its contents taking the plunge. The onlookers yelled, the crew hustled and the captain left the helm to see for himself. Not sure leaving the helm is a good idea, but this way everyone got into my photo- which- sorry- was taken through the Strataglass panel.

Cruiser runs aground leaving at low tide

Cruiser runs aground leaving at low tide

A few days later this small Grand Banks backs out of his space 30 mins before a low tide which is lower than usual. The tender to yacht Koala was ahead of him and when Loon decided to go around the tender, bam! Aground. Naturally, people were watching because well, you get bored and a boat coming or going is worth watching.  Pulling was futile and around 3:30, after the tide rose enough, Loon floated off and after a test drive for damage, nosed back into her space for one more night.

Monday promises to be a busy day of departures. Many boats are looking to cross to FL or GA asap and while we’ll be going the same way, our plan is to spend 4-5 days exploring a few of the cays that lie northwest of Green Turtle. Described with words that also would describe the Jumentos or Warderick Wells, we are very eager to check them out. And for the weather to settle.

Please share any thoughts or questions.

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