Clearing Customs in Green Turtle Cay

After leaving Great Sale Cay, we were on our way to Green Turtle Cay to clear Customs and officially enter the Bahamas. It was another 50+ miles and uneventful again.

There are cute little tugs in the Bahamas, too

There are cute little tugs in the Bahamas, too

Oops, this very large sailboat ran into trouble. Looks like it has been there awhile (this was with a 20x zoom.)

Sad sight – This very large sailboat ran into trouble. Looks like it has been there awhile (photo was taken with a 20x zoom on the camera.)

We arrived at Green Turtle around 2:30 pm and anchored in Black Sound. Quickly gathered all the necessary documents and dinghied into the settlement of New Plymouth. Towns seem to be called “settlements” here in the Bahamas.

There are very few buoys or markers in the Bahamas, and certainly no cans or nuns that we have seen yet. But at Green Turtle they make that extra effort to be sure you know which side of the pole is right!

There are very few buoys or markers in the Bahamas, and certainly no cans or nuns that we have seen as yet. Here at Green Turtle they make that extra effort to be sure you know which side of the pole is right side to be on!

What a nice welcome sign on the dock

What a nice welcome sign on the dock

The Post Office and the Customs Office share this little pink building.

The Post Office and the Customs Office share this little pink building.

The Captain (or "the master" as the paper designates him) is signing documents for clearing customs.

The Captain (or “the master” as the paper designates him) is signing documents for clearing customs.

We are officially and legally in the Bahamas! It was a friendly and easy experience thanks to the lovely official.

We are officially and legally in the Bahamas! It was a friendly and easy experience thanks to the lovely official.

The yellow quarantine flag comes down and the Bahamian courtesy flag is now flying for the education of our stay.

The yellow quarantine flag comes down and the Bahamian courtesy flag is now flying for the remainder of our stay.

We knew that some heavy winds were coming within the next 24 hours and thought that we might just stay at Green Turtle until they passed. However, we talked it over and decided that if we delayed departing for Hopetown, we might be here for more days than we really want. It would be best to make the trip through Whale Cay Channel while the weather is still benign. So, we ate a nice hearty breakfast and lifted the anchor. Within  10 minutes we were aground, even before the channel. Yesterday we had come in at high tide and it was now 1.5 hours before low tide. We backed up and found a place to settle in and wait. No way could we exit the Black Sound channel until after the tide comes in!! Silly us. What were we thinking?? We had 3 hours to wait so we decided to go into New Plymouth again and take a look around.

Let’s take a tour of New Plymouth —

Another Green Turtle Cay welcome. People were truly welcoming and friendly everywhere we went.

Another Green Turtle Cay welcome. People were truly welcoming and friendly everywhere we went. We even saw a little green turtle swimming beneath the surface on our dinghy ride to town.

Green Turtle street signs

New Plymouth street signs

Harbor sight

Homes along the harbor

The Green Turtle Episcopal Church sits right on the harbor

The New Plymouth Episcopal Church sits right on the harbor

A cottage on Black Sound

A cottage on Black Sound

Even the picnic tables are a an extra pretty sight

Even the picnic tables are a an extra pretty sight

This bright pink building had a sign that read "old gaol" - the jail had stairs to nowhere?

This bright pink building had a sign that read “old gaol” – the jail had stairs to nowhere?

The holiday season is upon us, no matter where we may be! I confess I am missing my New England snow for Christmas.

It is a curious sight to see traditional Christmas street decorations in 85 degree weather on an island. New Plymouth decorates for both holidays!

It is a curious sight to see traditional Christmas street decorations in 85 degree weather on an island. New Plymouth decorates for both holidays!

You have to admit this is pretty odd to see at the end of "driveway." Perhaps a homesick New Englander??

You have to admit this is an odd sight to see at the end of  a “driveway” here. Perhaps a homesick New Englander??

The garden courtyard of the island's museum

The garden courtyard of the island’s Albert Lowe Museum

The Memorial Sculpture Garden features bronze busts of important Bahamian historical figures. The centerpiece depicts the arrival of Loyalists from the United States following the Revolutionary War. The Loyalists along with freed slaves from Bermuda, Jamaica, Haiti and Barbados who had fought with the British resettled in the Abacos.

The Memorial Sculpture Garden

The Memorial Sculpture Garden

We decided to take a walk over to Gillam Bay and see the beach.

Looking out Gillam Bay at the beautiful blues. How can blue not be a favorite color?

Looking out Gillam Bay at the beautiful blues. How can blue not be a favorite color?

Looking across Gillam Bay

Looking across Gillam Bay

Al goes wading in the water (it was a very hot day.)

Al goes wading in the water (it was a very hot day.)

Michele wishes she could have gone wading (drat those compression stockings for the lymphedema!)

Michele wishes she could have gone wading (drat those compression stockings for the lymphedema!)

Back to the boat to catch the rising tide out of Black Sound. We will not anchor in here again; next time it will be White Sound! We safely made our way of the channel and headed for Whale Cay Channel.

A deep draft boat (deeper than 3-4 feet) must use Whale Cay Channel to make passage south toward lower islands. Whale Cay Channel is “clearly the most difficult and treacherous part of the Abacos.” Thank you, Mr. Steve Dodge. That quote may be accurate, but also makes one’s stomach queasy before the day’s travels even begin. Taking this channel brings you out on the ocean side of the Abacos, and then you must come back in again in order to avoid the shallow bank off of Treasure Cay. Fortunately, it is all about choosing the right weather, which is why we decided to go on to Hopetown as soon as possible; it could be quite a few days before there is another day like this. We had good winds and reasonable seas. Although healed over, the ride was fine. We used sails and engine so that we could reach Hopetown before dark, which is critical.

Whale Cay in the distance. We are surrounded by del blue water again.

Whale Cay in the distance. We are surrounded by deep blue water again. The photo does no capture the beauty of the colors.

The ocean surf crashes against Whale Cay

The ocean surf crashes against Whale Cay

Wow - look at this splash against another small cay.

Wow – look at this splash against a very small cay.

For the most of the afternoon we were doing 8-8.5 knots thanks to wind and power.

For the most of the afternoon we were doing 8-8.5 knots thanks to wind and power.

By 4:15 pm,  we were approaching Hopetown on Elbow Cay. You have to have faith when you approach this entrance – you head straight to the land and then make a very sharp left turn along the shore. That’s where the deep water is – by “deep” they mean 6-7 feet!!!

A welcome sight - Hopetown Light

A welcome sight – Hopetown Light

Dan and Marcia were waiting for us in the harbor and led us by dinghy to an open mooring. What a great welcome that was for us after 3 long days.  It feels good to be with friends again and to finally stop, rest, and relax for awhile. In three months, we have traveled over 1700 nautical miles, seen many places, and met many wonderful people. We are happy to be in Hopetown, on Elbow Cay, in the Abacos, in the Bahamas! Ahhhh, Paradise.

 

2 thoughts on “Clearing Customs in Green Turtle Cay

  1. Pingback: Don’t Rock the Boat, Baby! | Kindred Spirit

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