The Adventures of CS33 Borean
2003 - 2004

Instalment 9 - February 20th, 2004
Marsh Harbour, The Bahamas

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(Occationally, editorial comments from Don of S/V Destiny Calls, host of this web site and southern waters frequenter, will appear in green italic)

Eigthth Installment
Crew visits
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Time to write once more, we are sure you are wondering what has happened since we left Grand Cay. Once again we had to wait out weather. The evening before we left , the wind was so strong that we dragged anchor. Luckily it grabbed and held as we were less than fifty feet from shore when we woke up…a reminder to always turn on the anchor alarm on the GPS unit.

We made our way towards Marsh Harbour as our daughter Tamara was coming for a week visit. Our first stop was Spanish Cay , where we tied up to the dock, with only one other boat in the marina. It seems that there are fewer boats coming to the Bahamas. What with the increase in cruising fees and the very steep prices in the bars and restaurants,,let alone the prices in the grocery stores.

Many marinas here are offering a program where whatever you spend at the gift shop, restaurant, bar, or gas dock is applied towards your dockage fee. If I were to fill up my fuel tank I would not have to pay for dockage. There was letter sent to the editor of the Herald Tribune (Bahamas national edition newspaper) that criticized the cost of living here. I am sure that there are a lot of people that feel the same way. We do not go out for drinks or dinner as often as we had in the past. The price of a Kalik (local beer) now sells for$ 5.00, a rum drink sells for 6.00$, a hamburger sells for between 9.00$ and 13.00$ and that is in US funds . The food in grocery stores,except for staples such as milk ,eggs, butter, and flour are subject to an import duty. A package of cookies is a whooping 5.35$

Now back to the cruise…. From Spanish Cay we headed to Green Turtle Cay, arguably the prettiest settlement that we have come across in all the Bahamas. As with most of the northern Bahamas , Green Turtle was settled by United Empire Loyalist coming from the Carolinas and Florida in the late 1700’s. For this reason the majority of the population here is Caucasian. The main town on Green Turtle is New Plymouth. It is a tightly packed community of homes built of cement, the layout is very similar to communities on the south shore of Ile D’Orleans, just east of Quebec City, or many towns in the Maritimes.

All the homes have tidy gardens that show colourful flowers, many different Hibiscus plants, oleander, roses, and almost every house has an orange tree. The few streets are no more than lanes, with most of them being one way as the golf carts that roam here would have a difficult time maneuvering if they came head on. The early settlers tried their hand at commerce and farming.

Farming was difficult and many people left for other parts. The areas heyday came during the “Wrecking” period. There were many salvers that would go off to the reefs to unload the cargo and any goods off ships that ended up on the many reefs that surround the western coasts. In New Plymouth there is a tree that sits next to a restaurant called the Wrecking Tree. The story goes that everything taken from the ships was brought to this tree where it was sorted and cataloged before being forwarded to Nassau for auction. A percentage of the sales went to the government, with the remainder being split between the auctioneers and the salvers. In NewPlymouth there were 17 licensed wreckers.

While Tamara was here the weather did not cooperate as much as we would have liked .It was very windy and coming from the northwest and north, which made Whale Cay Channel impassable. So we just hung around, Tamara did a little snorkeling, and we rented a golf cart one day to visit the island and its very beautiful beaches. One in particular was Gillam Bay. This very long crescent shaped and shallow beach was a highlight, where Tamara picked many shells to bring back home.

Green Turtle is also home to Negley Flinn, if you remember she is the boater we did a radio relay for back in January. We visited Negley at her home on the beach, and Tamara once more went out shelling., Much to her surprise and anguish, a shell she picked up was home to a hermit crab. The crab took offense to being disturbed and immediately clamped its claw onto the palm of her hand. Crab 1 Tamara 0

With Tamara’s departure approaching and her not having visited any other areas in the Bahamas, it was decided that we would ignore the weatherman and head for Marsh Harbour. The wind was in a direction that made sailing impossible so we motored the 20 miles. Now if you have never navigated through a cut here it can be quite an experience. Tamara wanted to see some big waves….well she got them, I personally could have done without them. As we neared the cut, with the wind blowing from one direction and the sea moving from another direction made the trip like riding a bucking horse in a rodeo. Every time we hit a seven or eight footer, the boat would stop as it climbed over the crest, and we would slide into the next wave, causing water to spray all over the deck, eliciting cries and whoops from our dear daughter, as she relished from being tossed about.

This all went on with me clamped with both hands on the wheel. As luck would have it the engaging clutch on the auto pilot broke a mile or so before entering the passage. The way the waves were behaving it took all my concentration and effort to keep the boat on course. Nearing the cut both Tamara and Janette acted as lookouts for the reefs on either side.

From the helm I could see the telltale breaking waves over the reefs, and they were much closer than I would have liked. Crossing was slow due to the strong head current through this narrow passage, but we made it safely and changed course towards Marsh Harbour. Since we were dropping Tamara off and picking up another guest the next day, it was decided to go into a marina. We also wanted to wash the boat down to get rid of the salt accumulation. With water at .30 cents a gallon we soaped only the cockpit and foredeck, with the rest of the boat only getting a rinsing.

We also wanted to have a decent shower too. Once in Marsh I started to make arrangements to have some new parts sent to me from Florida,while Tamara and Janette went shopping….they hit every store that was open, and I think Tamara bought something in each one. She was born to shop!!!! The next day brought our crew exchange with Tamara leaving and Marbeth Caron arriving. ( Jim )

Marbeth arrived in the rain. As soon as she arrived it started to pour. And this liquid sunshine continued for two hours. On this note, the winter is suppose to be the dry season here. But we have had more rain than ever. One day on Monday February the 2nd, it rained 3-4 inches in this area. The rain is very welcomed by the residents because it fills the water cisterns. We stayed the next day at the Port of Call Marina. This was previously known as the Triple J. Now it has been sold and new owners are expected soon. This small marina has a fuel dock, a new building with 2 washers and 2 dryers (new) and 4 complete bathrooms with shower stalls. It has 21 slips for boats. The asking sale price $1.5 million US dollars. What a cost!

Marbeth was very tired so we went out for an early dinner and let her go to bed at 8:30 p.m. She slept around the clock. We left the next day and sailed to Bakers bay at the northern tip of Guana Cay. After one day we sailed to Treasure Cay. There we anchored out and visited the town. We could not find it because it was under our nose. So we walked for 1-2 hours admiring the new retirement construction homes. There at we found the library at the community centre. And it had internet access for $3 for 15 minutes. There Jim read his Aol messages. I looked around.

It was the best one so far.

It had A/C and lots of room, even chairs. This library is really for the residents of this community. The volunteers are very proud of their facilities! We went to the grocery store and to the bar. There again it cost $5 per beer and no happy hour rates! We left this cay for Guana Cay in search of the famous Nipper’s.

Nippers is a well advertised restaurant and bar with access to the beach. This was the night before Valentine’s day and they were celebrating. So we went in for a drink to see what was what. We toured the small settlement in 15 minutes or less. We decided to have dinner on the boat and go back for the evening, One had to wear something red. And we all did. Most people wore red clothing that night. There was a Dj and a few games for prizes. Marbeth met a person who introduced to a few locals residents. She learned a lot about Nippers and the establishment. It really is a great place. Tamara would have enjoyed it a lot. Dancing et al.

On a personal note, Jim and I met on Valentine’s day in 1974. We met 30 years ago. This night we celebrated by dancing. It was a lovely evening. I had a few Nippers Specials- a rum drink… a secret drink recipe.
So long till next time

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of S/V Borean