November 28, 2012: Ahoy from Treasure Cay!
Having got the green light from the weather gods and other cruisers, we weighed anchor at 8:00 am in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay to finally make the passage through Whale Cay. The day was sunny and calm, but we raised the main sail for stability, and left White Sound at high tide. Two weeks of inclement weather had rendered this passage dangerous, creating a bottle-neck at both ends of “The Whale”. So there was a veritable convoy of boats leaving ahead and behind us to make the most of the good weather. Our cruising friends ahead of us on SV Fortnight radioed back to tell us that conditions were benign.
They were right. By the time we passed through the passage we could see waves crashing on Whale Cay but we encountered only a gentle swell – nothing of concern at all. Our friends stopped to do some shelling at Spoil Cay (a small island formed by the deposits from dredging a cruise-ship channel into Marsh Harbour (although they no longer go in there). We turned instead to head into Treasure Cay. It was certainly a very easy and pleasant sail and we marvelled at the fact that the passage had been so nasty for almost 2 weeks – even the supply boat for Green Turtle Club had turned back one day recently – a very rare occurrence.
The water as we entered the channel into Treasure Cay was crystal clear so Steve kept bow watch as I motored in slowly, but we had no issues at mid-tide. By 10:30 am we had dropped anchor in this pretty little resort community. We even saw a turtle off our stern in the bay.
We dropped the dinghy off the davits and lowered the motor to take a trip into shore. We tied up at the marina and walked over to the office to register and get the wi-fi code ($10 for use of all facilities, showers, wi-fi etc.). The resort was very empty as we have found in most places in the Abaco so far – it is still “pre-season”. We walked over to the “Coco Beach Bar” for lunch on the beach and enjoyed their frozen virgin pina coladas – it being a bit early in the day for us to rum it up! We are obviously not yet quite in the right Bahamas-mode.
After lunch we took a walk along the beach, lounged beside the pool for a while, took advantage of hot showers at the resort and then returned to the boat for the evening. Just another day in paradise!
Just to prove that it is not all play and no work, Steve climbed the mast the next day to take the ‘o’ ring off the new wind instrument, and unhook the broken running back stay.
On Tuesday we arranged to meet my work colleague from Franklin Templeton, Patti Albury. I have worked with Patti for several years on various projects that impacted the Bahamas office where she is manages HR and payroll, but I had never met her face to face. It was great to finally meet her and Patti took us on a golf cart tour of Treasure Cay, showing us all the homes and beach resorts, and giving us a lot of great insider info.
We learned for example that locals enjoy wild boar hunting. It all began with the original settlers years ago, who brought some livestock (including pigs of course) over, along with bottles of rum and medicine, seeds and household goods. As is common on these reefy shores, there were shipwrecks in which ever man, woman and pig had to fend for themselves. The pigs that made it safely into shore flourished in the forests, finding a veritable feast of berries, sugarcane, guavas, coconuts and bananas, and making piglets. Unluckily for the pigs, the locals still enjoy venturing our into the wilderness to hunt them.
We also learned that there is a large, mosty illegal, Haitian community in the Abacos. The immigration officials turn a blind eye since the Haitians provide a manual labour pool for jobs that the Bahamians spurn – like gardening, and raking seaweed on the resort beaches – the beach at Treasure Cay was full of rakers cleaning up when we were there the previous day. Since most of the fancy homes we had seen in Treasure Cay were owned by retired residents or expat holiday home owners, Patti explained that the locals and labourers mostly lived in Marsh Harbour – though there is also a community of Haitians just outside Treasure Cay. We wound up at craft shop of local pottery (owned by a woman from Green Turtle Cay) before heading back to the marina.
Back on the boat I made a batch of “painkillers” ( a rum punch with coconut, pineapple and orange juice) and we invited neighbouring cruisers over for bevvies and d’oeuvries. Kate is from Ottawa, and Bill keeps his boat at Hope Town where we will be heading in a week or so, so we look forward to catching up with them again soon.
We were up again at the break of dawn – and it was a spectacular sunrise – to listen to the weather before weighing anchor and leaving Treasure Cay on the morning high tide at 7:30 am.
Day 169: November 26;
Distance travelled on this leg: 20 NM;
Current Position: 26° 40.24 N; 77°16.96 W;
Left White S0und, Green Turtle Cay at 08:00;
Anchored at Treasure Cay, Abaco at 10:50;
Wind light; seas calm, clear and sunny, 30°C.