Sunday, March 16, 2014

Green Turtle Cay

Ten years ago, on our first rental sailboat in the Bahamas, Green Turtle Cay was a desirable yet elusive destination. Everyone talked about it. It seemed like the ultimate tropical island vacation spot--why, even the name evoked romantic images: clear blue water, colorful coral reefs ripe for snorkeling, sea turtles nesting on the beach, pastel homes and porches bursting with fuschia and purple bougainvillea.

However, we had chartered the boat in Hopetown on Eagle Cay, in the Abaco islands. To reach Green Turtle, farther north in the Abacos, required going "around" the Whale (see previous blog post). We didn't have a long enough stretch of good weather to get around the Whale to Green Turtle and back before the end of our rental.

The Whale, upper right; mainland of Great Abaco, lower left; dark blue, shallow sandbar stretches between them.

This year, after leaving the Exuma islands, we decided to go home through the Abacos and try again.

Not only did we get around the Whale to Green Turtle; we have been here more than a week, tied up to a mooring ball (a float attached securely to the sea bottom), and looks like a second week here is on its way. As always, we are waiting for a weather window to move on--across the Little Bahamas Bank to the western Bahamas (a 2- to 3-day trip, depending on how ambitious you are) then across the Gulf Stream to Florida (another long, full day or night and day). The wind has raged for days; tomorrow, we are expecting 35-mph gusts.

I set about to find all the fun activities and gorgeous scenery that Green Turtle has to offer. I swam in Gillam Bay, a cove protected from ocean swells. Biked to the ocean beach. Ate at Two Shorty's, a carry-out. Scoured the town of New Plymouth for eggplant (no dice), fresh milk (occasionally), and cheap groceries (ha ha, everything costs more here than in the Exumas, even though it is less remote!). Visited the tiny local library and cleaned it out of detective novels to read while we're here.

Did three jigsaw puzzles. Read several books. Watched a live webcast of a lesson from my spiritual teacher (guru) who is currently visiting my yoga center in Alexandria, Virginia.

We have gotten to know other cruisers at mooring balls and docks here, many of whom are also waiting to cross the Bank and the Gulf Strean to Florida. The daily discussions of weather are endless!
Steve (left) is the only other cruiser here with a sailboat as small (and slow) as ours! He is also waiting for weather to cross the Gulf Sstream.

We rented a golf cart and tooled over to the northern end of the island to fill our fuel cans and, one evening, danced to live Bahamian music at Pineapples, an outdoor tiki bar.

Hitched a ride in another sailboat to Manjack Cay, a couple of islands to the north, for mangoves, beaches, and stimulating discussion with residents.

Hmm.  We seem to be exhausting the possibilities of Green Turtle! Time to turn our attention to fixing the dinghy oarlock, sewing up the ripped dodger (awning over the companionway--entrance to lower cabin), cleaning the stinky bilge (phew!), and otherwise preparing to leave again. We are homesick and wishing we could get back home; Pope to spring planting in the garden and me to yoga, Toastmasters, French language lessons, windows with mosquito screens (though it's no-see-ums that plague us here, not mosquitos), and--best of all--a soft, dry bed.

Meanwhile, we are content to enjoy 70-degree-warm breezes while friends and neighbors in Washington, DC, are shoveling and thawing. We are all experiencing the same weird extremes of weather. We have internet, so send us your tales of joy and woe to keep us company and keep us in touch with folks back home!


  1. Snow tomorrow in DC. Count your blessings.

  2. Manjack is still one of our favorite anchorages. We hope you got a chance to snorkel the wrecks or explore the mangroves