Thursday morning we were up early and admired the views from the anchorage – pretty stunning being amongst the mangroves and the shallow sand flats – although we quickly realised that this narrow channel is quite a major route with constant boat movements so we did move around a bit.
With our outboard only capable of going VERY slowly we timed our crossing carefully to get across the channel to Spanish Wells. The waterfront here is taken up by different jetties and docks, ship yards and the large commercial fishing boats….. Lots of boat-related businesses too so we are hopeful of getting dink fixed.
Wandering the waterfront we found an outboard shop and made arrangements for Friday morning. We then saw the ferry coming through into the anchorage and watched all the boats hurry to get out of his way!
The main transport on the island here appears to be golf buggies but we came across a car that looked like something Noddy would drive. And it was driven by a white guy that looked like a Quaker with his hat and beard framing his face – and wondered whether this was a hint of the original Eleutherian settlers.
Wandering around the back streets of Spanish Wells we admired the ancient properties mingling with the newer constructions, the variety of colours and some very manicured gardens…. Quite a prosperous settlement too…. We walked a very long way in the heat of the day and eventually we came across a beautiful pink sand beach on the other side of the island – planning a visit here before we leave for sure. Along the way we also got a nice picture of Morphie all alone out there in the anchorage.
Next job on the list was to book tickets to go to Harbour Island – a ‘must see’ luxury destination with a pink sand beach and up-market yacht club…. We have decided not to take Morphie there as the reef system – named the Devil’s Backbone – requires local knowledge and we would have to engage a pilot to assist us. So we have decided to let the ferry take the strain. We went to the office but were told that the schedule was currently in disarray because one of the ferries has a broken engine – this meant that the maximum (and not guaranteed) time we would have on Harbour Island would be three hours – and we didn’t think the $104 cost of the tickets was worth it. Disappointed but, hey, we know where there is another pink sand beach to visit!
We returned to Morphie for a few hours in the afternoon and just in time because the ferry returned from Harbour Island just after we got back…. And the barge bringing in a car nearly got run over in the channel. That ferry has no room to manoeuvre at all…
We had a few lazy hours on board before returning to the town to visit Buddas for Happy Hour and an early supper – had a nice time and they even gave us a lift on a golf buggy back to the waterfront. We returned to Morphie just in time to see the sun go down….
Friday morning and it was raining – hard – so we waited until there was a break before heading to the outboard repair shop. We were surprised that they were going to lift dink out to take a look and we stood back and watched them work. Quickly the guys identified that the propeller’s spline had sheared and we needed a new one – it was not fixable.
They didn’t have one that would fit so they put it all back together and lowered dink back into the water. For all this time and effort there was no charge – we were very grateful for their help so we gave them a tip instead. At least we know that we are not damaging the engine by continuing to go very slowly without revving – we just need to source a new propeller. Not going to be easy as Tohatsu is not a brand that is seen around this area – although apparently Mercury use the same sizes so that is our best option. Nothing to be found here though… so will have to wait for our next destination.
We headed off to the supermarket and got some provisions and then returned to Morphie – had a quick turnaround – picked up a cooler and went bobbing on that beautiful pink sand beach. Very shallow so this was sitting down bobbing for a change LOL. While at the beach we were buzzed by a lone aviator….
We checked the weather on our return and found that great sailing conditions were to be had the following day so we decided that we would move on and make the most of it, having had a few tough passages in recent weeks. So we planned our route, made some rolls, and had an early night.
Saturday morning we were leaving as the sun came up and we said our farewells to Spanish Wells – we had really enjoyed our time here….
We motored out through the narrow channel and onto the banks before passing between Egg and Little Egg Islands into the deep waters….. And the sailing was fantastic although we could have done with a little bit more wind. There were also some north swells but not too big and reasonably spaced, so didn’t make for an uncomfortable ride. We chatted, we sailed, we tweaked sails, ate our food and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves….
We fished too – and Richard lost another lure to a sea monster…. Will have to buy some more soon! Sadly nothing to replenish our freezer with this time….. Oh yes, we also identified Dumbo the elephant, a duck-billed platypus and a Westie dog begging in the cloud formations…..
We doused our sails and navigated our way through the Little Harbour Cut into the Abacos. Different feel inside these banks – which are actually called The Sea of Abaco – as there is a lot of sea grass so although the water is shallow it doesn’t look quite the same as the azure blue when it is a sandy bottom. We decided to anchor overnight at Lynyard Cay having completed a 63 mile passage – and watched the sunset before having an early night.
Sunday morning and there was no wind at all – so we motored the 20 miles to our next destination Marsh Harbour. It was pretty swelly on the banks in places as we came close to the cuts that lead out to the Atlantic – but pretty uneventful. We really admired some of the little private hideaway beaches tucked in here and there amongst the cays.
We arrived into Marsh Harbour at lunchtime and we took a few hours off having got a good anchor set. We dinked into Marsh Harbour Marina, did the laundry and had a couple of beers in the Jib Room and caught up on the internet before heading across the bay to Snappas for Happy Hour and a late lunch / early dinner whilst enjoying the sights out across the bay.
Later on we moved to a local waterfront bar and had a pontoonie whilst enjoying the sunset. I was strongly encouraged to dance by a group of young ladies who were having a bit of a party so we had another pontoonie before returning to Morphie. What a great day!
Monday morning and we moved into the marina. Got hooked up to power and water and we started to clean the boat. Blaine is doing a delivery from here back to the US next week so we have invited him and his girlfriend to join us for a few days before he heads off….. And Morphie has to look her best for guests you know! Boat cleaned inside and out…..and she came up sparkling. We still need to clean the hull though…..but that will have to wait for another day.
Richard took the propeller off and we headed out in a taxi to the Prop Shop. They couldn’t help – so we went to the Mercury dealer, the Yamaha dealer, the Outboard Shop etc etc etc…… But nobody had anything like it at all – so looks like we are going to have to ship in from the US. On the way back to the marina we took advantage of being in a cab and stopped at the liquor store for more beer supplies….. We even talked to The Moorings who have a base here at the Conch Inn Marina as we know that they use exactly the same engine on their dinghies so they should have spares – and yes, they did have spare propellers, but refused to sell us one as it takes so long to get them. Miserable bunch!
We took the rest of the afternoon off and spent it bobbing in the marina’s small pool – and got chatting to a family from Florida. Downton Abbey is always one of the first questions – followed by the royals…. One of the daughters was tiny and it turns out that we met Tinkerbell. She actually had just graduated with a degree in psychology – working at Disney in Orlando was a way of making some cash while she decided which direction to take her career. So Tinkerbell is not only pretty and dainty but is also smart!
This morning – Tuesday – and we are heading into town for final provisioning but expecting slim pickings as the weekly ship doesn’t arrive until later today. We have now ordered a new propeller to be delivered here and are investigating renting an outboard to tide us over for a week….. Not sure whether that will pan out or not. Blaine and Maria fly in today so looking forward to exploring this area with them for the next five days.
Bye for now