We left Treasure Cay early last Wednesday (Nov 28) , just before high tide. The day was calm but overcast, with wind ripples starting by the time we reached Marsh Harbour by 10:30 am. After a little argument about whether to anchor or dock (for convenience of boat chores), we dropped the hook in the ample harbour, half-way between Snappa’s and the Jibroom. Yes, Steve won the argument and it is just as well! We stayed more days than planned and managed to do our chores anyway. Also, the wind picked up and blew a bunch for the next few days – we were better off on our own anchor which seems to hold in everything. It was much more peaceful pointing into the wind, than riding up and down these fixed docks on the tides with rigging and waves slapping noisily. One of the surprising things to us is that there are no floating docks here in the Bahamas. All the marina’s have fixed docks and pilings to tie onto at the back. It is often really difficult to get on or off the boat at low tide. To add to the argument for anchoring rather than docking, Dave and Diane on Argonaut just found a rat which had been inhabiting their boat for some time….making a nasty mess. They trapped and removed the rat but had a terrible job cleaning up afterwards. It probably came ashore when they were docked at Leeward Yacht Club in White Sound, GTC, but who knows?
So we anchored in Marsh Harbour for a few days. Marsh Harbour is an interesting, one-traffic-light town. It reminded us a bit of places we knew well in the Middle East. It is as if someone put luxury resorts, a shanty town, tropical gardens and desert wasteland in a boggle shaker, gave it all a good toss in a hurricane, and happily made do with the resulting mash-up.
We tried, unsuccessfully at first, to contact a fridge repair service. We eventually contacted two and the first to come was Clement who made it out to the boat on Friday. He tightened some connections and topped up the refrigerant and seemed to have solved the problem but, sad to say, 48 hours later the fridge was playing up again – not getting colder and running continuously, so we had to shut it off yet again. Grrrr… We are moving to Hope Town soon where there is another refrigerator service whom we have contacted. He sounds good so we HOPE that works out and have contacted Seafrost for other suggestions in the meantime. This is our brand new system, installed in Hampton a month ago.
We walked to Maxwells for reprovisioning – this is the biggest and most sophisticated supermarket in the Abacos with US-type variety… disappointingly not US prices. Everything is very expensive but we managed to get what we needed anyway, except for milk, which they had run out of. We later went to Price Right for milk and discovered it was almost half the price than Maxwells. More locals shop there too. We also discovered a small seafood store and picked up some fresh grouper and smoked lobster dip…yum!
Meanwhile we explored more of Marsh Harbour and walked across to Boat Harbour and the Abaco Beach Resort on the other side of the island. We had lunch near the pool and met up with our friends Linda and Vince from Fortnight who stay there for the winter months, along with many other sail and power boats who belong to the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club, which makes its base there. Linda gave us a tour of the great facilities and an overview of their many activities there. They even have a communal vegetable garden looked after by the resident cruisers with soil brought from their respective homes. Most of the club members return for the winter there year after year. I can see why.
While I was shopping at Maxwells, Steve walked all the way to the Boat Yard to get extra zincs for the bottom of the boat. After trying for a couple of days, we reached “Browntip” who is a scuba diver by day, doing boat bottom servicing and cleaning. He came out to the boat and very efficiently removed the old zincs and put on the new ones. By night Browntip is the local DJ, which here does not mean just spinning discs – it is much more participatory! He plays the saw and the maracas and sings. He is a really nice guy and told us stories about being raised in the islands. So that evening after the free rum punch and appetizers at Snappas with other cruising friends, we walked over to the Abaco Beach Resort to watch him – really good fun! Here is a small sample for you (turn up your volume and enjoy):
On Saturday Steve and I took the dink over to the Jibroom dock to see that marina, and went for a walk over the hill and along the beach and rocks in order to go snorkelling on Mermaid Reef. It was still too cold and windy even to take the dinghy around the corner to the small boat moorings near the reef, but we decided to brave it from a nearby beach which we had to ourselves. We thought it belonged to the Jibroom but later found that it was a private beach belonging to a small compound of residences – currently unoccupied. Neither Steve nor I scuba-dive but we love snorkelling and have new face masks. Steve donned his half wet suit and a I braved to cool water in my swimsuit. It was totally worth it – many coloured reef fish started swimming after us and came right up to us. We got cold and so did not go far or for very long but it was wonderful and we really look forward to more snorkelling soon in hopefully slightly warmer seas.
We enjoyed meeting a bunch of other cruisers in Marsh Harbour, and reconnected with Claude and Marie on La Toison D’or (The Golden Fleece) from Oka, Quebec. They are very experienced sailors having cruised these waters for many years, and are heading the same way as we are, so we are happy to hook up with them to travel south to the Exumas.
Enjoying our sundowners in the cockpit one evening I noticed a sailboat that had just run aground across the harbour. Steve went out in the dinghy to see if he could assist and found two young guys who had just made the direct crossing from Beaufort, NC. They had made the easy mistake of following the large channel markers into Marsh Harbour which lead to a commercial dock. Seeing that they were in the wrong section of the harbour they headed straight for the anchored sailboats and ran aground on the shallow bank between. Not much Steve could do to help, but he was able to provide tide information. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do but wait till high tide – after dark – to get off. When we woke up the next morning they were safely anchored behind us and came by in their dinghy to say hi later.
View our photo journal for Marsh Harbour.