2015-08 Farewell Bahamas!

August 15, 2015

 

Half Moon Cay turned out to be a great place to hang out for awhile. The north end of the island is a gold mine of reefs, perfect for snorkeling, spear fishing, and diving. We stayed anchored in West Bay, where cruise ships come several times a week to deposit guests for a day of fun on the white sand beach and inner lagoon. They arrive around 9am and the beach becomes a vibrant place, teeming with guests until late afternoon when they return to their boat and depart for their next destination, leaving our anchorage very peaceful and beautiful. While we are not allowed to go ashore to the cruise company facilities, we can paddle board and swim in the bay, walk on the beach when there is no cruise ship there, and take our tender around to the north side of the island where there are more beautiful beaches, totally deserted!

Some fish check us out on a dive

Some fish check us out on a dive

We enjoyed several wonderful dives and had the best spearfishing we’ve experienced so far in the Bahamas. Spearfishing can only be done with snorkel equipment, not SCUBA gear, so the big decision each day was whether to go diving or spearfishing! There was no bad choice!

Several other boats came and went from the anchorage. We spent a couple fun days with Jerry and Nola from the sailboat Moonsong. They joined us for a couple dinners and some snorkeling. They travel with a Labradoodle who also likes to snorkel – it was great fun snorkeling with a dog! He wears a life vest and has a special ramp so that he can get in and out of their tender – unfortunately the photographer neglected to get a photo of that!

A good day's catch

A good day’s catch

Next, it was time to head back to the Abacos to begin to position for a crossing back to the US. This was a trip of about 120 miles, so we planned a late afternoon departure with an overnight crossing around the east coast of Eleuthera and then in to Marsh Harbour. We spent a couple nights anchored near Marsh Harbour and enjoyed some time ashore, visiting Maxwell’s Supermarket to stock up on fresh produce and enjoying a dinner out at Curly Tails where we had an excellent meal. Our crew intern, Amanda, also had fun meeting some locals and enjoying some Bahamian culture. I also searched for some geocaches in Marsh Harbour, and in the process discovered Abaco Grocery, the Bahamas equivalent of a small Costco – it even had some Costco brand products!

Amanda watches the sunset

Amanda watches the sunset

Our next stop was at the north end of Great Guana Cay, another anchorage with spectacular reefs for diving and snorkeling. There is also a fabulous beach, an easy paddleboard trip from the boat. But this end of Great Guana is part of a private development called Baker’s Bay. It caters to the rich and famous, is not friendly to cruisers, and is also not welcomed by many of the locals for the environmental impact it is feared to be having on the reef system.

After adding some more fish to our freezers, we headed for our next destination, Grand Cay, which would position us for the shortest crossing back to NC. This also turned out to be a great spot, with several other boats in the anchorage, a beautiful beach to explore, and a nice town not too far away. Our tender was up on deck for the passage back to the US, so we explored by kayak. Swimming in the anchorage was deterred by a very large population of jellyfish, but they did not seem prevalent closer to shore. Though we did not do any snorkeling or spearfishing here, others in the anchorage confirmed that it’s a great place for that, so we will add it to our list of stops for next time!

Abaco Grocery in Marsh Harbour - a mini-Costco

Abaco Grocery in Marsh Harbour – a mini-Costco

The weather was looking good for a passage to NC, a trip of about 470 miles with would take 2 ½ days. We departed on Tuesday, August 4 and arrived at Portside Marina in Morehead City on Friday afternoon. We gave the boat a thorough cleaning and have been catching up with a variety of friends. From here, we will head north to the Chesapeake Bay.

Here are a couple new videos:

This one is our guests, Ben and Amparo during their visit in June:

And this one is a video tour of Shear Madness:

 

 

 

  1. #1 by Anonymous on August 18, 2015 - 1:18 pm

    Great pics underwater and of the sunsets. That really was a big barracuda. Your summer was much more restful and much warmer this year.

    Carol

    Like

  2. #2 by Margie Jensen on August 18, 2015 - 1:00 pm

    Hi Cathy: Looks like a glorious place! I wish I could have seen the Labradoodle – what a hoot!

    Like

  3. #3 by acute kidney failure on August 17, 2015 - 8:19 pm

    If there were an alternative, can you nevertheless experience kidney dialysis?

    Like

  4. #4 by Thomas, Lydia W. on August 17, 2015 - 3:15 pm

    Kathy,

    Thanks for the update. Shear Madness is beautiful!! What a life!

    Like

  5. #5 by Bri on August 14, 2015 - 3:57 pm

    Hi Cathy, In September I would like to take Katie Ann scuba diving in a modest resort in the Bahamas. We do not need any fancy amenities, just a really modest motel with hopefully a kitchenette and either dive facilities as part of the motel or a dive place within walking distance, and a dive operation so she can dive a real tropical reef. She got her certification last year, and Mike is concerned (and has convinced me to be concerned) that the West Palm diving is probably too deep and too “big” for her. I’d love to start her off on something shallow and modest, but fun. We don’t have a lot of money for vacations, and we are not picky about accommodations. I’ve been looking on the internet, but it is overwhelming, and I cannot find the kind of place I am looking for. Then I got the bright idea of asking you, since you have been to so many places in the Bahamas. I would guess that you have come across several modest motels with dive operations in the Bahamas. We enjoy your posts and hope all is well. Thanks so much in advance if you can help. Love, Bri Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:44:22 +0000 To: bcianelli@hotmail.com

    Like

  6. #6 by Sally Merten on August 14, 2015 - 3:42 pm

    Kathy,

    Another beautiful trip!!

    Sally

    Like

  7. #7 by Claire Martin on August 14, 2015 - 3:12 pm

    WOW, thank you for inviting us to see the boat inside and out. I really enjoyed the tour!

    Like

  8. #8 by Wendy Tripp on August 14, 2015 - 12:36 pm

    Love getting the updates and Video. Looks like all went well, with lots of fun and beautiful places.

    Thanks for the update!🌺

    Like

  9. #9 by cdmerrick1 on August 14, 2015 - 11:32 am

    Kathy,

    Love your updates! Beautiful reefs. I’m intrigued with the spear fishing.

    We took a weeklong sailing class in the Abacos a few years back and loved it – spent New Year’s Eve on a mooring ball in Hopetown, as I recall. Wonderful food (especially rustic bakeries with fresh bread!)

    We just returned from 4 days in the Spanish Virgins – 2nd sail there and Culebrita is our favorite for snorkeling, hiking, and beauty. We’ve been sailing for just a few years and your experiences inspire us! Sailed to St. Martin and Saba last Spring Break and counting the days until Thanksgiving week when we plan to sail again. We keep our 44’ Fountaine Pujot Helia, Glad In It, in St. Thomas.

    2 of us are diving certified, and our big goal is to sail for months at a time – which we need to figure out with jobs and 2 teenage sons!

    Hope our paths cross on the water sometime.

    Best, Caren

    >

    Like

  10. #10 by Caroleerx@aol.com on August 14, 2015 - 11:26 am

    Thanks for the mahvalous views – I missed my chance in this life! But so nice to see.

    Like

  11. #11 by Bobbie Kilberg on August 14, 2015 - 11:11 am

    A snorkeling Labradoodle and Bradley did not get a photo :)!
    Sent from my Blackberry

    Like

  12. #12 by Tom Hewitt on August 14, 2015 - 10:59 am

    Kathy,

    What about Nipper’s in Great Guana? It is one of my favorite bars. You and Bradley could not have possibly visited Great Guana without a stop at Nipper’s.

    All is well here in Jupiter. When will you be back our way?

    Tom

    PS: I really enjoy your travel reports.

    >

    Like

  13. #13 by jeff marcon on August 14, 2015 - 10:21 am

    Boy I am living so vicariously thru you guys!!! Safe travels and keep up the posts…..

    Like

  14. #14 by Anonymous on August 14, 2015 - 10:20 am

    Boy I am living so vicariously thru you guys!!

    Like

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