Friday, April 21, 2017

Hope Town to Marsh Harbour - 2017

--Blogpost written by Bob

This blogpost covers our trip from Hope Town back to Marsh Harbour on Wednesday, April 19, and our stay in Marsh Harbour until Friday, April 21.


We've really been lazy lately, whether lounging by the pool with a Goombay Smash at Hope Town Harbor Lodge or reading a book in the cockpit of our sailboat.   However, it's time to get moving again.  We're leaving Hope Town today, Wednesday, April 19, to go back to Marsh Harbour (the big city) to restock our pantry and get fresh veggies and meat for our trip to Great Guana Cay.  

A downpour caught us by surprise last night and totally drenched one of our guide books that was laying on the cockpit seat.  We're trying to dry it out in the wind this morning as it is draped over a winch handle on the cabin top.

One of our guide books is drying over a winch handle since it
got wet while on a cockpit seat overnight.  I hope
this drying technique works!

As I sit here waiting for the Cruiser's Net to come alive on channel 68, I am drinking a cup of coffee (Starbucks Decaf VIA that we bought in Charleston).  The cool brisk breeze keeps a couple nearby wind generators humming and the noticeably-reduced fleet of moored boats in the Hope Town harbor is pointing due east as if paying homage to the rising sun.  The Cruiser's Net has several people that take weekly turns hosting the radio discussion from various cruising boats (and homes) on Elbow Cay.  Some of the regular hosts have already left for the season and now we're hearing the second string hosts.  We are able to receive the Cruiser's Net in Marsh Harbour and Man-O-War (and most likely on Great Guana) but not in Little Harbour to the south nor on Green Turtle and northward.  It is a very useful service that we will miss as we explore the northernmost islands of the Bahamas.

Anticipating a late afternoon arrival in Marsh Harbour, we picked up a few grocery items (eggs, a couple of steaks, two oranges, and a block of cheese) in Hope Town prior to leaving.  We also topped off our water tanks.  We left Hope Town at 12:45 PM at the mid (but rising) tide.  The predicted high tide was at 2:55 PM.  We arrived in Marsh Harbour and dropped anchor at approximately 3:45 PM.  We sailed the entire way under jib alone.  We had about 16 knots of wind out of the east. 

This is the type of weather we had this afternoon
and this photograph doesn't do it justice.

This is a view looking east coming into Marsh Harbour.

We just anchored in Marsh Harbour when this photograph was taken.
This image gives you some appreciation for how beautiful it is here.

Rain is predicted for Friday morning, two days from now.  At this point, I'm not sure how that will affect our plans but, as the fair weather sailors we've become, we won't be going anywhere in the rain.

Sunsets are always better in Marsh Harbour!


Even though all the Abacos destinations we have visited have their own unique attractions, it's nice to be back in Marsh Harbour, the commercial center of the Abacos.  It is a reprieve from mooring fees for sure, not that mooring fees are that bad (usually $20 to $25 per night) but they add up.

Our APEX rigid-hull inflatable dinghy and its YAMAHA outboard
engine have performed flawlessly on this trip.  We still
haven't had to add air to the dinghy's inflatable
tubes.  We decided to name her 

"Mondays" since she usually 
follows "Rainy Days."

During our time here in the Bahamas we decided to assign names to some of our faithful sailing equipment.  Our dinghy's name in "Mondays" (if you are old enough to remember the song "Rainy Days and Mondays" by Karen Carpenter you will catch the significance).  We named our autopilot "Abigail" for no other reason than with a name like that she has to be a hard worker (and she is).  Whoops!  We forgot to name the dinghy's outboard engine--any ideas?

When we left Hope Town, we pulled up our boarding ladder for the first time in two weeks--the portion of the stainless steel ladder that was underwater was covered with green slime.  We sprayed the worst of it off with our (salt water) deck wash down hose but it needs further cleaning.  Today, Thursday, April 20, we have to use a stiff brush and spray cleaner to remove the remaining bits of slime.  

Even though, the water in Hope Town's harbor didn't smell bad, we noticed several areas in the shallows where algae grew.  I believe this was due to the ineffective septic systems used by homes on land, the few restaurants that probably emptied their waste into the harbor, and, of course, most of the cruisers flushing their toilets overboard (which is legal here).  Also, the harbor seems to be a relatively stagnant body of water.  Nobody voluntarily  went swimming in the harbor.  Marsh Harbour is quite different in that the harbor is much larger and the entrance allows a lot more exchange of water with the tides.  

The forecast for rain has now changed from Friday to Sunday (80% chance).

On the Cruiser's Net this morning we learned of a planned power outage affecting a big area on land tomorrow between 10 AM and 2 PM.  That's something we don't have in the U.S.!

We went to Maxwell's Supermarket and bought $190 worth of groceries this morning--I'm sure that it would have cost less than half that in the U.S. but we ARE in paradise. 

One of the grocery items we picked up was Kerrygold butter from
Ireland.  We tried it last time we provisioned and we love it.
Here in the Bahamas it was less expensive
than the butter made in the U.S..

The highlight of my day was taking a shower at the Conch Inn with unlimited (high-pressure) hot water!  It cost $5.38 each but the resulting feeling of being clean again was PRICELESS!


Well, the rain forecast for Sunday is now much more certain with 100% probability (thunder showers) and 1" accumulation expected--it will be only the second day since we've been here that it rained all day.  This morning, Friday, April 21, is partially overcast and the wind is comparatively light (maybe 10 knots) out of the southeast.  

Some of the things I've noticed that distinguishes Marsh Harbour from the other places we've visited are (1) the frequent cries of seagulls, (2) car traffic and car horns honking, (3) the somewhat cloudy appearance of the harbor (but still with great color), (4) more restaurants and marinas, (5) bigger grocery stores, (6) no golf carts on the roads, (7) its port for cargo ships, (8) litter along the roads, (9) its single traffic light, (10) more cruising boats in the harbor, and, of course, (11) thousands of more people living on land.

Marsh Harbour is the only place we've noticed some cruisers
standing upright in the dinghy while underway.  I suppose
they do it to avoid wet bottoms (or they just want
to appear like macho cruisers).

A unique characteristic of cruisers in Hope Town was to use a stern anchor when docking their dinghy to make more space for others access to the ladders on the docks--no one does that here in Marsh Harbour--it's mostly floating dinghy docks.

This morning I checked oil in the outboard and re-gapped
the spark plugs, a little maintenance to keep
her running smoothly.  Maintenance
is a little more difficult on a
bobbing dinghy.

This afternoon we took our used engine oil to the local SHELL gas station that it accepts it to recycle.  We've been carrying the oil around for a couple weeks now.  Maggie did a lot of interior boat cleaning while I was doing the outboard maintenance.

This is the view pf Marsh Harbour from our boat--this is 
what we see here everyday.

Maggie decided she could install the new shaft zinc this
afternoon.  I think she really just wanted to swim-
-installing the zinc was her excuse.

The new shaft zinc is now installed!


We'll be staying here in Marsh Harbour through the weekend, with rain coming on Sunday.   By the way, Maggie has her own blog about our adventure--her viewpoint is quite different from mine at times--her blog is at  Stay tuned for more of our craziness...

Thanks for following our blog!

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