Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Northern Bahamas - Abaco Islands

Leaving Spanish Wells, crossing the 15,000 foot deep Northeast Passage, brought Last Dance to the first stop in the Abacos, Little Harbor.  The only time that sunlight was experienced was at sunset, thus the sunset photo of the harbor beginning the post.  The famous Pete's Pub can be seen in the previous post.  It is a great, laid-back pub with delicious food.  The tuna served at dinner was caught earlier that day.  Protected harbor, good food and drink makes windy weather appear much more pleasing.

Hope Town, on Elbow Cay, is home to the famous, red-striped lighthouse.  Rather than repeat that old landmark, a newly renovated Hope Town Marina is pictured at right.  The open-air bar with an in-pool serving station is a grand place to spend some time with friends.  It is quite a step up from the previous marina.

The woodwork and craftsmanship is alone worth a visit.  An amazing hammered copper art mobile hangs in the tower portion of the building.

While on a mooring at Hope Town Marina, a large waterspout ran along the edge of Elbow Cay.  Some aspects of bad weather can be entertaining, as long as they stay at a distance.

Architecture is one of the interesting aspects of strolls through Hope Town. It remains one of the more appealing of the inhabited islands.

Man-O-War Cay is known for boat building.  The Albury Brothers skiffs are favorites of those fishing Bahamian waters.  The graceful, wooden Abaco sailing skiffs are still being built on Man-O-War.

Another of the famous Man-O-War residents is baker Lola.  She is often along the harbor in her golf cart selling her baked goods, particularly her wonderful coconut bread.  She was not on the wharf, so the crew found her home, which doubles as her bakery.

An added bonus of finding Lola's home was meeting her husband who makes conch fritter dough for sale.  Many a meal was enhanced aboard Last Dance with fresh conch fritters.  French toast made with Lola's coconut bread is amazingly delicious.

Great Guana Cay is famous for the bar/restaurant Nippers, and infamous for the upscale Baker's Bay resort and golf course being built on the west end of the island - one example of the old charm of the Abacos being rapidly changed by big money.  Good anchorages and natural beauty remain as a sunset from the anchorage in Fisher's Bay attests.

New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay has a sculpture garden memorializing the Loyalist who fled the new United States after the Revolution.  Being loyal to England and King George, they settled in the British colony of the Bahamas, among the Abaco Islands.

New Plymouth and Key West are sister cities and their sculpture gardens are related through the artist creating the sculptures.  The Loyalist garden is laid out on a large Union Jack of the British flag.

The names of those honored are familiar since the current residents are all related to the few Loyalists who established their new home in the Bahama Islands.

The populated islands have a government dock where shallow-draft freight ships dock to unload cargo.  Everything on the island arrives on the freighter, from food to golf carts.  On a day when the freighter was not at the dock, Last Dance anchored in the bay.

The main government revenue in the Bahamas is an import tax.  So, the taxman sets up his office at the dock when the freighter lands, keeping track of all items coming off the boat and being loaded.  The Bahamians mostly attend college in the United States, so sports allegiances are familiar.  Our taxman is a Gamecock fan.

The Green Turtle Library, which is a great resource for cruisers, is located in an old house.  The original kitchen has been kept intact, giving a view of life and architecture in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas are colorful.  All of the Government buildings in New Plymouth are painted pink, even the old jail.

Color also abound in the tropical flowers growing throughout the islands.

Manjack Cay is the next major island to the west.  There are only three houses on the island and the largest landowner is most cruiser friendly.  The beach next to his house is open to all to use, along with an assortment of water toys and an in-water tiki hut.

One of the water toys is a gaff-rigged Abaco sailing dinghy.  It provided great fun sailing through the harbor.  Once, boats of this size were used to travel through the island chain.  This red-sailed boat is similar to one described in the historical fiction Wind from the Carolinas, describing the Bahamas at the time of the Loyalist arrival.

Sunset at Manjack