From Green Turtle Cay, we made the passage through the “Whale,” which requires more than normal weather planning, since you make your way slightly into the the ocean and then around Whale Cay back into the protected waters of the Sea of Abaco. For this passage we encountered some of our biggest swells we have seen thus far…around 8 feet, which was a little uncomfortable. We decided to head to Marsh Harbor and found a really nice and big grocery store, Maxwell’s. Prices are still about double or more the cost in the US but we were able to stock up on some fresh items and meats. From Marsh Harbor we headed to Hopetown on Elbow Cay…this has been our favorite stop so far!
Hopetown was actually founded by a South Carolinian, Wyannie Malone, in the late 1700s and is home to the famous lighthouse that is the only one that is still lit each night by a lighthouse keeper and run on kerosene. We climbed the lighthouse and explored the beautiful town that is lined with flowers and colorful cottages. The ocean is just on the other side of the little strip of land and you can hear the ocean waves crashing at night. We met a couple other cruising families here and enjoyed their company at the pool and visiting their boat for dinner. The local ballet school put on a production of “The Mermaid and the Easter Egg” the night before Easter, so we bought tickets and enjoyed the show. We participated in the Easter Egg hunt the next day in the Cholera Cemetery….a little weird, but it was one of the few open fields and a tradition of the town. The girls found palms fronds that they wanted to make into easter baskets. This really challenged by crafting skills. After a lot of trial and error and hot glue, we had two palm frond easter baskets ready to go for the easter egg hunt. We said goodbye to Hopetown by leaving a Blessing Bracelet behind and moved on to an anchorage on the side of Elbow Cay.
We had new neighbors who had 3 and 5 year old boys and we enjoyed days of playing in the pool and at the beach with them. We explored Tahiti Beach…another beautiful Bahamian beach. It has perfect shallow water for the girls to play in and is protected from the ocean by big rocks. Leslie and I enjoyed searching for seaglass and shells and Avery enjoyed playing in the water with her new friends.
The water was so clear around our boat that I could snorkel and found a beautiful starfish right below the boat. I brought it up for the girls to see and touch. Later in the week, I also found a huge conch. We celebrated Bryan’s birthday with our neighbors on their boat and shared a delicious Key Lime Pie from Vernon’s Grocery accompanied by silly kids dancing and singing Happy Birthday! The time we have spent at this anchorage has been what I dreamed the Bahamas would be like…so relaxing, beautiful, swimming off the boat, and exploring nearby islands.
One part of this lifestyle that I really enjoy is being out of the grasp of consumerism. The girls did not expect an Easter basket filled with candy and toys on Easter morning. They were so content with going to an egg hunt a collecting couple eggs with other kids. Elaborate birthday parties and lots of presents are not expected…homemade cards are more of the norm. When we move back to a “traditional” life, I wonder if we will continue to be able to live this way or if it is even possible….