29 Great Guana Cay to Green Turtle Cay


Great Guana Cay runs in a north-south direction for 5 miles. It averages about a quarter mile wide. Three exposed bays along the west side offer some protection as long as the wind is from the east. Near the north end of the island is Bakers Bay. It’s in front of a part of the island known as Treasure Island. A cruise ship company gave the north end the name after developing it as an island destination for their ships. It was in business for a few years and then closed in 1993 because the cruise ships couldn’t get through the Whale Cay reef when the wind was from the north.

For us, the abandoned complex made for an interesting destination. Looks like a ghost town in the making. Abandoned open-air restaurants, markets, bars, stables and living structures for the staff are rapidly deteriorating. What is surprising to see is how fast nature reclaims areas cleared for paths and gardens. What had been paths for a nature walk were almost impassable with all the new growth. In another year or two, they will have disappeared. Even the cement walks are disappearing under a thick covering of pine needles and palm tree debris.

We set out along the shore to walk around to the far side of the island and then cut back cross-country. The walk in the sand was fun. As we got to the end of the island, the shore became rocky. Passage was possible because it was low tide and we could walk in the water to get around some of the steeper rocks. The walk down the Atlantic side was spectacular. The unbelievably bright turquoise blue water had accents of white as waves broke over the reef. The sand near the shore was firm so walking was easy.

We walked until we found the abandoned ocean side bar overlooking a nice portion of the reef. From there we figured it was just a short walk back to the other side. Finding the trail wasn’t easy. On the ocean side the bar was in partial ruin. Storms had washed out part of the foundation. Trees, bushes and plants had already masked the path to the bar. We poked around in the undergrowth for awhile and found what looked like it had been a road and started out. After a half-mile (we carry a pedometer) we started to worry. The island is only a quarter mile wide and we were concerned we were headed down the center of the island. Just as we were about to turn back and retrace what was now the 3 miles we had walked, we saw the outline of one of the buildings. From there it was easy to find the beach and dink.

Moving down to the south bay, we anchored off the Settlement, where most of the 95 full time residents live. Deciding we needed exercise started to walk the two miles to one of the resorts. The day was hot, and we forgot to bring water. We were feeling a little dehydrated so when we heard a vehicle coming up from behind, we flagged it down to ask the distance. At one time, it had been a pickup. Now it was a wreck. No windows and what little was left of the body was rusted. In the back was a large refrigerator box. Peeking out from behind, and working hard to keep the refrigerator upright on the extremely bumpy lane was Dudley. . He said he’d take us as far as his house, which he went on to explain, was on sea-to-sea property. He owns land completely across the island except for the road right-of-way. Ended up helping Dudley wrestle the old refrigerator out and the new one into the kitchen. Wasn’t an easy process. The refrigerators had to be lifted over the kitchen island counter and then carried down and up about 20 steps. The house was beautiful, it has one large room with a kitchen on one side and bedrooms on the other. The room has views in both directions. To the east is the Atlantic, to the west is the Sea of Abaco. Nice place, glad we went for a walk. We went on out to the resort, had a drink, and enjoyed our walk back.

Winds shifted to the southeast and started to build. It made Guana uncomfortable. We moved back to Man-O-War and it’s protected harbor and picked up a mooring to wait lower winds. As we started to go for a walk, a lady in a golf cart pulled up and stopped. “Like to buy some bread? I’ve got good cinnamon rolls too,” she said. Sure enough the dash of the cart had fresh loves of bread and great looking cinnamon rolls. We got our loaf of bread and four rolls. Headed back and left them in the dink while we continued on for our walk. When we finally got back to the boat we had cinnamon rolls and fresh bread for lunch. We suddenly found that the golf cart lady had become an addiction. Had to track her down every other day to get a fresh loaf of bread. She was late one day and we started for her house. Found her in route and got our bread. Then Lola offered us a ride back down to the grocery store, our next destination. Her husband was driving, as we piled on the back seat, we noticed he drove in his bare feet.

The golf cart lady does have competition. A second lady bakes and sells her bread from her living room. Not much of a sign, but the front door is always open and the bread sits on a table near the door. Other than the bread on the table, it’s just an ordinary livening room. You walk in, make you selection and pay the lady as you leave. We enjoyed her bread, but like the golf cart lady’s bread better.

Queens Highway on Man-O-warOf all the Cays in the Abacos, we like Man-O-War best. It has a quiet charm and beauty that appeals to us. The walk out the lane to the north of the island is charming. The lane is called the Queens Highway. It’s one golf cart wide and mostly sand. Palm trees and sea grape vines provide shade and character. It’s a delight to walk, and we do so often.

Rain began to accompany the wind. We got 2.3 inches in less than 24 hours. A number of leaks showed up around the port seals that I thought I’d fixed when I installed new seals. All of the leaks were on the ports over our berth, so we slept with containers hanging over our heads and feet to catch the drips.

The thunderstorm rolled in at 4AM. It was a beauty. Heavy wind, sheets of rain and lots of lightning. We felt like we were at the end of a whip being cracked as Tranquility was jerked from side to side in the violent wind. As we reached the extreme limit of the swing, we had a 10-degree angle of heel due to the wind. We were up immediately and dressed so we’d be ready if anything happened. You always fear you’ll break free or drag, or it will happen to another boat and they’ll come down on you. Even with the enclosure up, we couldn’t go into the cockpit without getting wet. The rain was blowing right through the fabric and zippers. There was a loud bang and a jerk. I guessed that the mooring line had been pulled out of the bow roller, but that we were still secure with the mooring line still on the deck cleat. Since we were holding position, we continued to watch from below until the storm passed. Checking the bow, I found I was right. The mooring line had popped off the bow roller due to the side strain caused by the swings. Not only that, but the bow roller had been bent slightly. Not enough to make it unusable, but enough so that I’ll figure out a way to get it bent back.

The bent roller is yet another lesson learned the hard way. Experimented and found that I could eliminate some of the side strain on the anchor or mooring line by using a second line hold the line straight back from the roller. Eliminates half the side strain. If I’d only figured that out before the storm, I wouldn’t have had a bent roller. The good news however, was that my work to eliminate the ports leaks now appears to be successful. However, we’ll need another day with 2-3 inches of rain to know for sure.

One last new experience tempted us to stay a little longer. The Hope Town Harbour Lodge has eggs benedict with lobster on Sunday mornings. It sounded like a good excuse to continue to enjoy the Abacos, so we stayed for a few more days. Moved over to Hope Town and discovered that the rain had turned on spring. Flowers everywhere had burst open giving splashed of blues, reds and yellows to the bushes and trees. It was tempting to use that as an excuse to stay longer. However, we realize that we can follow the explosion of color north as we follow spring up the ICW. We had our Sunday breakfast, which was excellent. John and Barb from Eriskay joined us for breakfast. They’ve decided to leave when we do and cross the Gulf with us. From the sounds of people saying good by on the Cruisers Net we’ll be traveling with many other boats.

We started saying our good bye’s to people we’d met Got our waypoints entered into the GPS and double-checked. Monday the winds were light, and we moved up to Green Turtle Cay, the first port we’d made back in January when we first came to the Abacos in the Bahamas. Judging from the weather forecast, we’ll be here a few days. More 25-30 mph north winds forecasted. Once they begin to clock to the east, we’ll head west to Grand Cay and then do an overnight crossing of the Gulf and enter at Fort Pierce.


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