Friday, December 18, 2009

Great Guana Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

Monday, December 14 - Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today is a fantastic day. Wanna know why? Because we FINALLY have internet access! It isn't incredibly fast and it logs us off intermittently (God help us when we try to Skype), but it's the first time we've had internet access (excluding the hour at the Caldwell Banker property management office-slash-cyber cafe) in nearly two weeks! We've been going positively batty, thinking we must have bad internet karma. It turns out something is jinxed in Green Turtle Cay. We'd been working with a local guy to get access there, but even he couldn't get access through his own service. We could get CNN, weather, etc., but it would crash anytime we tried to access a site with a login/password. Hmmm...what might you need that for? E-mail? Facebook? Skype? Investment/bank accounts? The blog??? Nah, nothing important there. After we spent an hour on Saturday with the internet guy, even he recommended that we consider going with the competition. Very sad... :-) Anyway, we've signed up with Out Island Internet for the next 3 months, so hopefully we'll be able to keep in touch better than we've been doing so far.

Other than that, our last day in Green Turtle was pretty quiet. Saturday night the winds blew like crazy, so we decided against going out in the dinghy. Good thing, too...after dark, it started to rain and the wind howled through the rigging. We had 20+ knot winds that kept the boat rocking all night. Those would NOT have been fun conditions in a 10' inflatable boat! Sunday afternoon, Brendal stopped by and invited us to join him for a sundowner at Pineapple's. Since we planned on leaving the following morning, a goodbye drink with Brendal seemed like a good idea. Enter the "Pineapple's Smash", their take on the Goombay Smash. Pineapple juice, a few secret ingredients, and lotsa rum. Here's where Rene plays guest blogger, since he remembers a lot more than I (Stacy) do!

Ahhhhhhhhhh ..... Happy Hour with Brendal. Remind me (Rene) what I remember of the last time we went drinking with Brendal? Correct, not too much. Today turned out to be no exception. What started as a relaxed bar adventure with a modest amount of rum punch drinks and discussions with Brendal quickly changed when the next couple of guests turned out to be Dutch sisters and of course we had a lot to catch up on. Let's just say that we had a great time but that we stayed for 1 rum drink too many. We did make it back to the boat okay but Stacy quickly faded out while Rene thought the night was young, the skies were clear and the meteorite shower needed some kind of an audience. While Stacy slept off Happy Hour, I opened a bottle of red wine and laid down on the foredeck to watch Mother Nature at her best. It was an amazing spectacle. And then somehow Stacy managed to get up, cook dinner and watch a little of it as well. Quite the trooper she is! All-in-all we had a blast but were not exactly looking forward to getting up early the next day.

Amazingly enough, we woke up Monday morning feeling much better than we deserved to. The alarm went off at 7am so we could get out of Green Turtle with enough water (high tide was at 6am). Thank goodness Rene's cell phone still has a working alarm function. Granted, that's about the only thing it's used for these days, and that doesn't happen often! We'd initially planned to make the "crossing" (all 15 miles of it) from Green Turtle to Guana Cay on Sunday, but the weather forecast did a one-eighty on us. The original Sunday forecast of "light and variable winds under 10 knots" somehow changed to "15-20 knots through the afternoon". Now 15-20kt winds aren't a big thing if you're in a protected area, but this trip required us to cross "THE WHALE". Whale Passage is probably 4-6 miles long in its entirety (I think the outside section is only 2 miles, with a maybe 4 mile long channel leading up to it), but it's a bear in anything but calm, non-northerly winds. The Whale involves a lapse in the long reef that typically provides a natural jetty for the Abacos. For those few miles, you're dealing with waves straight out of the Atlantic. Today we finally got our "light and variable" south-easterly winds, and the Whale still managed to hit us with 2-4' rollers (i.e. rolling waves spaced far apart). The furry duo (Tux & Tawny) were sick almost immediately upon entering the Whale, and conditions didn't improve until we reached the channel off Guana Cay nearly two hours later. Poor kitties...poor pukey, poopy kitties - and their parents who had to clean up the mess!

We got into Fisher's Bay in Great Guana Cay close to 11am today, and decided to go for the lazy man's anchoring: Dive Guana's mooring balls for $15/night. It means we don't have to worry about whether our anchor will have any problems holding here, plus it's a slightly shorter dinghy ride to the beach. If we stay for a second night, we'll probably go back to real anchoring to save the $15 (that's a cheeseburger in the Bahamas!). For now, it's kind of nice not to have to check our surroundings in the middle of the night to make sure we aren't dragging anchor into another boat. After a failed attempt at a nap, followed by lunch and a shower, we dinghy over to the public dock at Grabber's Bar & Grill. Grabber's is on the northern side of our anchorage and is supposed to be a fun spot. We stop in to see if they serve dinner, and learn that their kitchen is only open for dinner Thursday through Sunday. They have a potluck dinner on Wednesday that's supposed to be popular with cruisers, but we plan to be in Marsh Harbor by then ahead of the next cold front. So much for Grabbers...maybe next time. On the plus side, Grabbers is on the peninsula between our anchorage and Guana Cay's main drag. It makes for an easy walk from the dinghy dock into town, and we enjoy a leisurely stroll around the main harbor. That takes all of 15 minutes (we're talking about a tiny island with a population of 450), so on the way back we decide to take a right turn at "the crossroads" to climb the hill to Nipper's. Nipper's is by far the most famous place in Guana Cay. It opened in 1996 and immediately attracted people from all over with its multi-tiered bar, pool, fresh seafood, and frozen "Nipper". Apparently a Nipper has orange and pineapple juices mixed with 4 types of rum, but they won't tell you which rums or how much of each. (After our last couple of experiences with rum punches, we're avoiding the frozen Nippers for now!) The place has incredibly gorgeous views of the wide, golden-sand beach below the bluff, as well as the turquoise water of the Atlantic beyond. We have a good chat with the bartender and decide to go back for lunch the following day. We also find out that they have FREE calls to the U.S., which seems to be the case at a couple of bars on Guana Cay. Now if only we could remember peoples' phone numbers...

This is a short trip to Guana Cay since there's a front coming through on Thursday that's supposed to bring gale-force (31-40mph?) winds. We really don't want to be out and about at that point, so we're leaving for the protection of Marsh Harbor on Wednesday morning. Hopefully the front will blow through and bring some calmer weather by early next week. We still want to make it back to Green Turtle in time for Brendal's Christmas potluck!

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