Hanging Out at New Plymouth

Our home in Black Sound

We’ve been on a mooring here in Black Sound since we arrived in the Bahamas about 10 days ago. The original plan had been to clear customs here and then move onto Hopetown for Christmas and New Years like we did last year. After a little discussion we opted to stay here on Green Turtle Cay through New Years and try something different. The main settlement (also the only settlement) on Green Turtle is New Plymouth. We’d been here a few times before but never stayed long.

We were greeted by our mooring ball neighbors Joe and Yvonne on Modaki and got the rundown on the upcoming holiday activities. Along with an assortment of potlucks and fundraisers was a unique Christmas caroling opportunity. It’s a tradition here in New Plymouth to carol through the streets every day during the week before Christmas. No one remembers how the tradition started but it’s been going on for many decades. The thing that makes this unique is that the caroling is at 5:00 in the morning with drums. We awoke at 4:00, made our coffee, and jumped in the dinghy to head to town. We met up with the caroling crew and made two laps around town. Everyone was awesome as was their singing. It was great having all the kids along. At the end we were all treated to a breakfast of grits and chunks of bologna cooked in some sort of bologna sauce. Gotta say that was a new one.

The caroling crew

Kids singing at a fundraiser for their school

We’ve had our first experience with international medicine here. I had been having minor pain in my ear for a while and it wasn’t getting better so we went to the clinic here. After just a short wait the nurse practitioner examined my ears and both had an infection in the inner part but the eardrums were fine. We talked about the medicated ear drops that she wanted to prescribe but they weren’t available on the island. She talked about having them brought on the ferry or going on the ferry herself to get them. After some texting on her part, she brought in some drops that she had on hand and gave instructions on how to use them. Total cost for the medication and the visit was $55. Not bad. After we got home we looked a little closer at the medication and it was intended as an antibiotic for use in the eyes. My ears may or may not be getting better but my eyes are just fine.

Waking Up Under the Q Flag

We had waited 10 days for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream and go to the Abacos in the northern Bahamas and today was the day. It’s not a terribly long crossing but what makes it special is the Gulf Stream current. In this area the Gulf Stream is about 30 miles across and flows north at up to 4 knots. Even a moderate north wind (blowing opposite to the current) can create large, steep waves. Fortunately, we didn’t have that. Unfortunately ,we also didn’t have enough wind to sail either so we had to motor across. Without wind in the sails to stabilize the boat, the 4′ to 6′ seas made for quite a rolly crossing. We made it across the Stream and onto the Little Bahama Bank shortly after dark under a half moon and a star lit sky. We picked up plenty of wind but it was from directly behind us. This made it impossible for us to sail in the dark so on we motored. We took 3 hour watches through the night as the off watch person would try to get some sleep below. Phebe had the sunrise watch and enjoyed a beautiful Bahamian sunrise. We had been traveling for 24 hours at this point and had covered 160 nautical miles. 30 miles later we were tied up to a mooring ball in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay. We had gotten in too late to make it in to customs to clear in so we were “forced” to stay aboard under the quarantine flag. The “Q” flag shows that we hadn’t cleared customs and weren’t yet legally in the country. Not a problem. We were just happy to have arrived in the Bahamas and to be tucked away in a very safe harbour after 30 hours and 190nm.

Flying the quarantine flag

Black Sound – Our home for the holidays

The Bahamian Courtesy Flag – We’re legal!