After a few days exploring Manjack, we returned to Green Turtle Cay, anchoring this time in Black Sound. We had to wait till high tide to enter as the channel into Black Sound is shallow and rocky; luckily we never saw less than 7’ 5” depth on our approach mid-afternoon, about an hour before high tide.  The wind picked up during the course of the day but we still managed a swim off the side of the boat while we were in Manjack waiting to leave.

It was good to be back in Green Turtle Cay and we feel as though we are getting to know our way around this little island. We fetched block ice from the boatyard, and dinghied into the public dock to walk to town to fetch a few groceries, and to go for a walk and swim at Gilliam’s Beach on the ocean side of the island.

We celebrated American Thanksgiving with friends here. Leeward Yacht Club in Black Sound is crawling with Canadians!

Thanksgiving dinner with friends at Green Turtle Club

We hooked up with a couple of the Canadian boats there, plus our friends from Ancaster, Linda and Vince on Fortnight, as well as Pamela, Ron and Bill on Legacy who were over in White Sound. All 13 of us went out to dinner together at the Green Turtle Club.  We dinghied into the Leeward Yacht Club and hitched a ride on one of the golf carts that the three boats there had arranged. The Green Turtle Club put on a festive affair with a great special Thanksgiving menu, although Steve was the only one at our table to have traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie for dessert. I had a delicious spicy local lobster tail instead. They served us all a green salad to start, with mandarin oranges and toasted slivered almonds. We are indeed thankful for times like this – new friends, new places, new experiences.

Steve swimming – check out the colour of the water!

Yesterday we packed a picnic again and took a long hike along the beach at Gilliam’s Bay.  We had miles of pristine beach to ourselves for most of the day, seeing only one or two other people out walking during the course of the day. We explored the ocean side, with breakers rolling in over the reefs, and continued to beachcomb on the much calmer channel side, where we decided to make camp for an hour or two to swim and enjoy our picnic. The water was spectacular – beautiful colours, clear and refreshing.

Breakers on the reef beach

Later that afternoon we walked into town from the public dock, to do some more exploring in the town of New Plymouth, before going to the local watering-hole, Sundowners to…yes, you got it….watch the sun set while enjoying the local ‘Sundowner’ rum cocktail (and a local Kalik beer for Steve).

Shirley feeding the cats

While in town we met Shirley, a fascinating woman who owned a local gift shop. I’d be generous if I said she was 4’ 10”, but personality-wise she was a giant. Surprisingly, she was a retired airplane pilot and for years had flown charters all over the islands and the southern US.  We met her dawdling along the main street on her way back from work, enjoying a Haagendaaz ice-cream bar, which she talked us into buying at the local store – surprisingly it did not cost much more than we would pay at home. On our way to Sundowners, we met her again, feeding dozens of mostly feral cats from her front porch – they were emerging from under nearby houses and cracks in fences and eyed us warily. We chatted for quite a while and heard all about her flying escapades and the local character who used to look after the cats until he died.

Liz at Sundowners

After dark we walked back through New Plymouth to take in their Christmas light display –the grand “Festival of Lights” opening took place on Thanksgiving Day, and was followed by a turkey/ham dinner on the basketball court. We admired the tinselly street decorations, coloured arches at the entrance to town, and several homes all lit up. Everyone here is very friendly – people always say hi when they pass you, and we were offered a ride by a woman with a young daughter on a golf cart. They seem to genuinely welcome visitors and are happy to chat and share information on local events.  In fact they all seem happy too – I suspect it has as much to do with the slower and simpler pace of life as it has to do with warm weather and beautiful surrounds. Then again maybe it is the cheap rum!

Christmas lights in New Plymouth

Yes, at the end of the day we are truly thankful that our travels have taken us this far….that we are able to stop and smell the hydrangea (and other tropical flowers), swim in the sea, meet new people, experience local culture, food and drink. Lucky us. We are also thankful too for all our friends and family, and wish we could spirit them all here to join us instantly.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

View our photo journal for Thanksgiving and our return trip to Green Turtle Cay.