Friday, March 10, 2017

Green Turtle to Marsh Harbour - 2017

--Blogpost written by Bob

A Septuagenarian

Do you believe that I'm now a septuagenarian?  Yes, I'm 70 years old today (March 7).  I had a little happy hour birthday celebration in the evening with some fellow cruisers (all of whom are younger than I am by a few years) AND I took the day off from blogging.

Maggie took this picture of my seventieth birthday celebration at
Pineapples Bar & Grill on Green Turtle Cay.  From left to
right, there's Ken, me, Nancy, Marion, and Jonathan.


Today is Wednesday, March 8.  Based on the current weather forecast (east winds @ 7 mph) it looks like we'll be moving on to Marsh Harbour tomorrow.  The wind has definitely died down a lot and the favorable forecast seems reasonable.  We had a brief rain shower this morning and then it turned into a beautiful sunny day.

I captured this image of two beached fishing boats as we
walked into New Plymouth for lunch.

We stowed the dinghy's outboard motor on the stern mount on s/v Rainy Days and topped off the forward water tank we had been using.


On Thursday, March 9, we left our slip in Black Sound Marina at 7:20 AM, about an hour after high tide--it was a very early start to our day.  By 8:20 AM we were entering the Whale Cay Passage.  Our EXPLORER charts and the EXPLORER-based electronic charts on our chart plotter were excellent.  I had set up waypoints ahead of time to make navigation easier but I really didn't need them because the wind and sea conditions were so benign.

The heavy green line is Whale Cay Passage.  The little yellow areas
with black dots are reefs.  Green Turtle Cay is off the chart
on the upper left and Marsh Harbor is off the chart
on the lower right.  The depths shown
on this chart are in meters.

We could not have picked better conditions to transit Whale Cay
Passage--the wind was light and the ocean was calm.
The above photo is of the northeast end of
Whale Cay from the ocean side.

By about 9:30 AM we passed through Loggerhead Channel inside of Great Guana Cay.  I noticed that the port channel marker (a telephone pole-sized post) at the entrance to Loggerhead Channel was missing.  Inside Great Guana Cay we immediately felt relief from the ocean swells.  Then, Maggie told me that she remembered reading that one of the markers (probably the port marker at the entrance) was recently broken off and submerged just below the water's surface.  I was so glad that I stayed in the middle of the channel!

As we motored from Loggerhead Channel to Marsh Harbour, we couldn't
stop gawking at the beautiful turquoise water in every direction.
The water depth in this area was between 10
and 14 feet at about mid-tide.

Marsh Harbour, located on Great Abaco, is a well protected
anchorage with great holding.  It's no wonder that a
town was established around this natural harbor.

We took this photograph as we entered Marsh Harbour from the Sea
of Abaco.  There were two to three dozen other boats
anchored in the harbor when we arrived.

By 11 AM we dropped anchor in Marsh Harbour.  There were two to three dozen other boats anchored in the harbor (and many more boats in marina's) but there was plenty of room for us.  Maggie snorkeled over the anchor to check the anchor set as part of her first mate duties.  We got the dinghy set up and rode into the Conch Inn's dinghy dock and had an excellent lunch at Curly Tails.  After lunch we walked about a mile to Maxwell's Grocery, bought a small amount of fresh groceries, and took a taxi back to our dinghy.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent reading and relaxing on the boat in the peaceful harbor.  It was sunny and the temperature was in the high 70's.  

This photograph was taken looking at the anchorage area
as the sun was setting behind us.

This was our first sunset in Marsh Harbour.

We will be using Marsh Harbour as our base for the next two months, making excursions to Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay, Great Guana Cay, and Little Harbor during the weeks ahead.  More about Marsh Harbour in our next blogpost...

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