Abacos to Georgetown

We left the Little Harbour cut in predawn darkness to hit slack current on our way to Eleuthera. The wind was 15-20 knots just aft of the beam which made for a fun and speedy sail to Eleuthera.

Sunrise Over the Atlantic

We had wanted to stop at “The Current” settlement for a couple of years but the weather hadn’t been right to anchor there until this trip. The Current is a small Bahamian settlement at the end of the road on the west tip of Eleuthera. Most boaters bypass the settlement as they pass through the notorious Current Cut between north and south Eleuthera. Not much to be found in Current other than friendly Bahamians and amazing views. Nothing wrong with that though.

Local Fishing Boats on Their Moorings
The Colors are Amazing
Spotting Turtles

Our visit to Eleuthera marked the start of our windy season in the Bahamas. The first week of wind was just before Christmas and we treated ourselves to a stay at the Cape Eleuthera marina. Even tied up in the marina Noodin bucked and strained at her lines but at least we were able to get off the boat.

You Know it’s WIndy When…..

We did a lot of walking and spent time with some new friends, Nick and Linda, including a very nice dinner aboard Noodin on Christmas Eve. We shared a rental car with them one day to tour some of the Island including Sweetings Pond, home to a large number of seahorses. Unfortunately, it was rainy and the water turbid when we snorkeled looking for the seahorses but Phebe did spot one. We’ll return on a nicer day and try again.

Home of the Seahorses

Christmas Day found us sailing across Exume Sound to Warderick Wells, the headquarters for the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. A more beautiful place is hard to find.

Noodin on her Mooring at Warderick Wells
Warderick Wells Mooring Field
A Nurse Shark at Warderick Wells
Exuma Sound to the right, Great Exuma Bank to the left (from Warderick Wells)

After a great Christmas dinner at Warderick Wells, we’ve been touring the Exumas and enjoying spending time with old and new friends alike. A highlight has been traveling with our friends Joe and Maribeth who have Noodins sistership, La Peregrina. Two prettier sisters would be hard to find.

Noodin and La Peregrina at Anchor off Bitter Guana Cay.

Our Exuma travels have taken us to Shroud Cay, Bitter Guana Cay, Black Point, Little Farmers Cay, Lee Stocking Island, and Barratarre. We find ourselves in Georgetown now where we’ve reprovisioned and are ready to travel again. We travel where the wind allows and Tuesday looks like a good day to go to Cat Island.

Touring the Mangrove Creeks on Shroud Cay by Dinghy
Dinghy Ride Got Us to Within a Short Walk of the Ocean Beach
No Footprints on the Ocean Beach at Shroud Cay
The Welcome Committee At Bitter Guana
The Only Footprints on this Beach Belong to the Iguanas
Pretty View at Bitter Guana
Noodin at Lee Stocking
Combing the Beach at Lee Stocking Looking for Sea Beans
Starfish at Barratarre
This Years Collection of Assorted Sea Beans
Team Noodin at Lee Stocking Island

A Different Visit to the Abacos

Dorian Hovers Over the Abacos

This is a reposting from earlier this season for those that didn’t get notified of the December post.

Phebe and I have spent much of our time aboard Noodin in the Abacos and have gotten to know many of her people and places. We had made the decision to skip the Abacos this season in favor of seeing new places in the Bahamas.

On September 1st, Hurricane Dorian came ashore with winds over 200mph, spawning tornadoes, and in some places bringing a 20′ storm surge. Total destruction in many places. As it got closer to the start of our sailing season we made the decision to take another trip to the Abacos to see if we could help in some small way. Even if we just showed up and supported them with hugs and spending money in their stores would help show that they weren’t forgotten.

We got hooked up with Bill and Loree in Vero Beach who were purchasing supplies and arranging their transport to Green Turtle Cay. We did a little shopping with them and filled the remaining voids aboard Noodin with bottles of propane, oil, WD40, and brooms.

Shopping with Bill and Loree

Our very good friend Dan decided to join us for our Gulf Stream crossing for which we are thankful. It was his first Bahamas visit and for him to choose to make it to the hurricane ravaged Abacos shows a lot about his good character.

Team Noodin

The Gulf Stream crossing was nearly windless and the seas small. Noodin rolled more than normal with the weight she carried but all was good. The bioluminescence that night in the Gulf Stream was incredible. Rivulets of white-blue light streaming from the bow was an amazing sight. Thirty two hours later we were anchored in the Bahamas watching a beautiful sunset.

Sunset from Munjack Cay

We had made arrangements for a mooring ball in Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay where we had stayed last year. We understood that they would have work for us to do as much of the marina had been destroyed. As it turned out they weren’t ready for our help which in the end left us frustrated.

Sailing into Black Sound was a surrealistic experience. Homes were damaged. Homes were destroyed. The shores were littered with boats. Some were sunken and others were way up on land. We took some pictures but in the end it just wasn’t something that I wanted to dwell on so just quit. The worst of the damage couldn’t be shown in pictures because the homes were just gone. Completely gone. It’s amazing that there were no deaths on Green Turtle Cay. The stories were amazing. People huddled in a basement as it filled with water and having to bail out the water to keep from drowning. An elderly person leaving a destroyed home, crawling and clinging to blades of grass to find new shelter. Someone watching the tornadoes take the houses next door and having his son sucked out and away. Crazy, emotional stuff.

This beautiful boat was on the mooring next to us last winter. She and her mooring drug aground during Dorian.

The foreground shows a foundation that use to be a beautiful cottage. 

Many vehicles were destroyed and damaged

Fires burned on Great Abaco filling the air with smoke

Our effort to help out on Green Turtle Cay didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. We weren’t able to get plugged in to the right place to get work to do. We were able to bring supplies, hug people and listen to their stories, and spend money to help them support themselves. We even untangle a crazy mass of Christmas lights and helped set up a Christmas display.

There are many private groups doing great work on Green Turtle Cay and other places in the Abacos. They do everything from cooking meals to building houses and everything in between. They are awesome! The Bahamian government on the other hand is nowhere to be seen. No help whatsoever from the government.

Team Noodin has moved on with sadness for the people of the Abacos who have suffered so much and who will continue to suffer. They are strong, God fearing people and will be ok but it will be a long road. Please pray for them.

Our dinghy landing in Black Sound 

The beaches are still beautiful 

and the water is still wonderful 

Team Noodin Gets Company

After returning from Seattle we had about a week before our son Mat and his girlfriend Christine came to visit. We spent a little time basking in the sun before beginning to make our way to Marsh Harbour where we would pick up the kids. Along the way we discovered that “the head” (aka toilet) was plugged and inoperable. I’ll spare you the gruesome details but we spent a large part of two days tearing things apart and cleaning deposits from the various hoses and fittings. Living the dream…… We got to Marsh a couple of days early to get settled in for some truly nasty weather. Marsh Harbour has great holding so its a popular place to go when the wind pipes up. We had some amazing downpours and winds up to 50 knots but we made it through unscathed.

Chart plotter showing true wind speed of 50 knots. That’s windy!

Wet and windy in Marsh Harbour

We visited a number of different places with Mat and Christine and they got to experience a little of what the cruising life is about. We walked a lot of beaches, watched turtles, sharks, and rays, snorkeled, fished, found and prepared conch, pet the rays, played games, drank rum, watched sunsets and so much more. We even sailed a little bit. A good time was had by all.

The intrepid voyagers at Man ‘O War Cay

Man ‘O War Beach

Mat and Christine at Man ‘O War

Mat and Christine at Man ‘O War

Atlantic Ocean at Man ‘O War

Mat getting checked out on his rental golf cart

Playing corn hole at the Hopetown lighthouse

Mat and his friend Up at the Hopetown lighthouse

Cleaning Conch by the book

Conch burger