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.
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.
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 —
The holiday season is upon us, no matter where we may be! I confess I am missing my New England snow for Christmas.
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.
We decided to take a walk over to Gillam Bay and see the beach.
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.
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!!!
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.