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May 26th, 2014:

Back to Fowl Cay and then on to Grabbers

Picture taken at Man-O-War Cay for friends, Susan and George, where they wanted to renew their wedding vows for their 10th anniversary. Unfortunately, they were unable to make the trip. Here's to many more happy anniversaries, Susan and George

Picture taken at Man-O-War Cay for friends, Susan and George, where they wanted to renew their wedding vows for their 10th anniversary. Unfortunately, they were unable to make the trip. Here’s to many more happy anniversaries, Susan and George.

May 25, 2014

It was to have been another miserably hot day. We discussed two options: 1. Go to Marsh Harbour and suffer through a walk to the grocery store, or 2. Go to Fowl Cay Preserve and spend the hottest part of the day snorkeling. No contest!

Gary also wanted to take advantage of the almost windless day, making the ocean as flat as pancake, to troll for fish on the ocean side of Man-O-War Cay. We slowly motored (like we could go fast motoring a sailboat), the length and back of Man-O-War Cay. He REALLY wanted to catch a good sized fish. Unfortunately, he never had to yell, “Fish on!” and I don’t know which of us was more disappointed. I wanted him to catch one because I knew he would have been SO excited.

With no fish willing to be our dinner, Gary reeled in his fishing line and we motored into the Fowl Cay Preserve. ( I bet you thought I wouldn’t get back in the water again after seeing the bull shark yesterday. My love of seeing God’s amazing world under the sea far outweighs my fear of sharks.)

We found an awesome reef with a lot of live coral and numerous fishes. We did not visit this reef the other two times we were at Fowl Cay as Fowl Cay Preserve has a lot of territory to explore. We were thrilled to get to see another nice-sized leopard ray and also a turtle. No shark sightings today. I know they were out there, but as long as I didn’t see them I could deal with my anxiety. Taking underwater pictures of the beautiful things we see helps keep my mind from being overcome with the worst that could happen.

Angel Fish at Fowl Cay reef

Angel Fish at Fowl Cay reef


Rainbow Parrot Fish smiling for his picture

Rainbow Parrot Fish
smiling for his picture

Top of the reef at High Tide, at Low Tide the reef is right at the surface of the water.

Top of the reef at High Tide, at Low Tide the reef is right at the surface of the water.


A big beautiful Purple Fan hanging on the ledge of the reef

A big beautiful Purple Fan hanging on the ledge of the reef


This was Gary's favorite reef with a ledge around it falling into water 20-30 feet deep.

This was Gary’s favorite reef with a ledge around it falling into water 20-30 feet deep.


This guy loved smiling for his picture also.

This guy loved smiling for his picture also.

Beautiful Blue Tang

We spent approximately four hours on the reefs, taking a short break to eat lunch, and then we immediately got right back in the water. (Remember when our mothers told us we had to wait at least a half hour after we ate, to swim, or we’d get cramps? Not true. But if you have Acid Reflux, you might end up feeding the fishes.)

What a great time we had. And the day wasn’t over…

After leaving the coral and fish preserve, we motored up to Fishers Bay on Great Guana Cay. One of the restaurants, Nippers, on G.G.C., has a huge hog roast every Sunday. We’d been to Nippers twice, so we were not interested in going again this year. Instead, we wanted to go to Grabbers, which is a restaurant right at the shore in Fishers Bay. The anchorage was packed with boats, we assumed from the Nippers crowd. However, the hog roast would have been over by the time we got to Fishers Bay. We anchored White Swan in the shallow water, nearer to shore than the other boats, and when we saw Grabbers we decided everyone who had previously gone to Nippers had to have ended up at Grabbers. To say the place was packed would be an understatement. A party was goin’ on! And we joined them.

Click on link to see video: trim.BDCCA126-4739-4E21-9428-A0379696A155


Grabbers in Fishers Bay on Great Guana Cay

Grabbers in Fishers Bay on
Great Guana Cay


In spite of the chaos, we were able to secure a table, and a waiter. We ordered a Hawaiian pizza, a lobster crostini, and two diet cokes. There was a live band, a crowd of young people gyrating to the beat of the Bahamian music, a swimming pool of on-lookers, as well as diners (like us and other old people), young people playing various games at the beach, a conch salad booth/bar, the busy Grabbers house bar, and a few servers doing what they could to take care of the food orders. Everyone seemed to be in party mode and “people watching” was good entertainment. Interestingly, Gary and I both observed the demographics were young adults and old adults, no middle-agers. Our guess was, the old adults were mostly the cruisers from the sailboats in the harbor. We had seen a few power boats filled with young adults go by us when we were coming into the anchorage, so we figured a lot of the younger generation at Grabbers would be occupying the majority of the power boats dotting the anchorage after they left the island party, but maybe not. It would have been better for all concerned if the partied out young adults had been staying somewhere on the island within walking distance.

Swimming pool, dining, games, and entertainment at Grabbers

Swimming pool, dining, games, and entertainment at Grabbers

Entertainers at Grabbers

Entertainers at Grabbers

We had a good time at Grabbers. It would not be our kind of place to visit every night of the week, but for a change, it was good. Leaving the party behind, we old folks relished going back to the solitude of our White Swan. With the fan on in our master berth, we heard nothing from the shore, and we had a restful night after experiencing an awesome day.

Sunset at Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay

Sunset at Fishers Bay,
Great Guana Cay




May 24, 2014

God knew I had been working on my fear of sharks this trip. I had pushed myself to do things in the water that I’d never done before, like free-diving (sharks are attracted to the sound of thrashing water, and boy do I thrash when I try to free-dive), and letting Gary tow me from the dinghy like a big lure on his fishing rod (the larger the lure, the larger the fish). I’d silently told myself, “If I do see a shark, I’ll just calmly swim the other way. He’s not interested in us. He is just curious and will go away.”, trying to emulate a self-fulfilled prophecy.

Today, was the BIG day for my prophecy to come to fruition. We had motored up to the north end of Man-O-War and anchored in a designated anchorage. The day was miserably hot and a lot of people were enjoying swimming and playing in the sandy bottomed water near the beach.

Gary and I wanted to cool off in the water as well, but first we took the dinghy into the small village to go to the sailmaker’s store, Albury’s Sail Shop. We both needed new shower bags for our toiletries and we purchased nice ones from the local ladies that make all kinds of bags right in the sailmaker’s shop. Next we went to the freshly stocked grocery store (Saturday is the best day to shop at this store because their supplies come in on Thursday and Friday), and were please to find fresh fruits, vegetables, locally caught grouper and mahi mahi, and small cans of pigeon peas (just the right size for two people). Still curious about this non-U.S. commodity, Gary asked the storekeeper where pigeon peas were grown. She said they were grown on New Providence Island and canned in Nassau.

Albury's Sail Shop, Waterfront

Albury’s Sail Shop,

Albury's Sail Shop, Street entrance

Albury’s Sail Shop,
Street entrance

Grocery store at Man-O-War Cay

Grocery store at
Man-O-War Cay

After our marvelous groceries (such a luxury to have purchased nice fresh fruits) were put away, we snorkeled in the anchorage. We didn’t particularly want to go to the swimming area at the beach because there was still a crowd there. So we snorkeled the grassy area around and near our boat. I tried to free-dive down to take pictures of starfish, and to pick up sea biscuits, but I didn’t have the weight belt on so all I accomplished was a lot of thrashing, and amusement for Gary.

Gary free-diving for sea biscuits

Gary free-diving for sea biscuits

Got it!

Got it!

Gary easily dove to the bottom to do what I couldn’t. After a while I wasn’t content watching him have all the fun of free-diving, so I swam back to the boat and put on the weight belt. I swam to where Gary was and right as I got to him I saw IT! Gary was looking down at the bottom and didn’t realize there was a shark, bigger than he, a short distance past him. I didn’t want to panic everyone in the area, by yelling, “Shark!”. It obviously had already swum right by both of us and was headed out of the anchorage. So…I yelled out, “Gary!” When he looked up and saw me, I waved toward the boat, turned and flipped my big long legs as fast as they would go, back to the boat. Gary had no idea what was going on but he was smart enough to follow me. When we were both safely back near White Swan, and I had looked all around us through my snorkel mask to make sure we had not been followed, I told Gary what I saw. Of course, I could not honestly say how big the shark was, but I know it was bigger than Gary because they were close enough to each other that I could easily see the difference of size between the two. I was so thankful the shark, obviously, was not interested in us. Had he been, we would have been no match for the big guy. Later, Gary made the comment, “You didn’t have to swim that fast. You just had to swim faster than me.”

So…did I panic or remain calm as I had practiced in my mind, anticipating such an encounter? I would report the latter. However, Gary said my fins thrashing in the water as I hurriedly swam back to the boat, indicated an altogether different answer.

Pirates too!?!?

Pirates too!?!?

Gary’s recollection of the shark encounter:

Gary dove down to get a close-up photo of this starfish.

Gary dove down to get a close-up photo of this starfish.

“After returning to White Swan we both got in the water to snorkel. We saw starfish and lots of sea-biscuits. Then Jean pointed to the boat and just took off. I figured she saw something really cool and was chasing it, but I couldn’t figure out why she was going so fast. I looked for something ahead of us but didn’t see anything. It never occurred to me she could have been trying to get away from something. When we reached the swim ladder Jean said, ‘Did you see the big shark? He was large! Bigger than you are.’ We both stayed near the boat and looked all around but no shark sighting. Jean said it looked exactly like the bull shark in our fish guide, and I missed it!!!”

After fighting off pirates and sharks all day, we went into Man-O-War to the  Dock and Dine Restaurant for a relaxing dinner.

After fighting off pirates and sharks all day,
we went into
Man-O-War to the
Dock and Dine Restaurant
for a relaxing dinner.


From Gary’s captain’s log:
As we motored north, we spotted another Gemini catamaran with a storm tri-sail, also headed north. Jean maneuvered White Swan near the other Gemini so I could talk to the two sailors. The captain was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. His boat was a 2009 Gemini, and they came down mostly offshore and partially on the ICW. They planned to sail back via Bermuda. That’s quite a trip. After a brief visit with the two men, we continued on to North Man-O-War Cay, arriving at 2:15 PM. It’s hot, and Jean goes down to her birthday suit.

Two sailors from Nova Scotia,aboard 2009 Gemini

Two sailors from Nova Scotia,aboard 2009 Gemini

Best Day Yet!

May 23, 2014

Awakening to a mill pond calm anchorage at Lynyard Cay, we drank our lattes during our devotional time, and headed straight to Sandy Cay to snorkel. It was the day we’d been waiting for and we wanted to spend as much time at the reef as we could physically endure.

We arrived at the anchorage on the back side of Sandy Cay around 9:00 AM and we wasted no time taking a dinghy ride around the island to the reef. There were 3 red mooring balls for small boats/dinghies to tie up to, and three white moorings for the dive boats. We were the first ones to arrive, so we had our pick. We chose the first mooring because we could see by the way the mooring ball line was lying in the water which way the current was running, and we like to snorkel against the current when we first get in, making for an easy swim going with the current to get back to our dinghy. It’s easier to swim against the current when you are not exhausted. We’ve had to do that before and it is not fun. Lesson learned.

We had an easy time snorkeling that morning, as the swells from the ocean were minimal, the wind was light, and we didn’t have to fight a strong current. Perfect snorkeling conditions, other than the water was more silty than preferred. Regardless, we throughly enjoyed our time on the reef. The reef had a plethora of living hard and soft corals, beautiful purple fans, and numerous fishes. We saw a large leopard ray, which made Gary’s day. He said it swam right underneath him. By the time Gary got my attention, it had gone past me into the deeper silty water but I managed to get a picture of it, though poor in quality. What fun, fun, fun. If you could imagine swimming in a huge salt water aquarium, that was what our experience felt like.

Fire Coral, Don't stings you!

Fire Coral,
Don’t touch…it stings you!

Elk horn corals were amazing

Elk horn corals were amazing

After snorkeling for an hour, we went back to White Swan and had brunch. We waited an hour for our food to digest before we ventured back to the reef. We decided to go to the other end of the reef to explore there. Unlike our earlier time that day on the reef, the second time we had to share a mooring ball with another boat. Everybody, it seemed, was taking advantage of the calm weather by snorkeling or scuba diving Sandy Cay. No worries, it’s a large enough reef that no one gets in anyone else’s way.

Gorgonians, Soft Corals

Soft Corals

A healthy reef in the foreground, with a dead reef that looks like rock,in the background

A healthy reef in the foreground,
with a dead reef that looks like rock,in the background

We explored the southern tip of the reef and then decided to go to the other end, because the southern tip is not as healthy as the northern end. We got back in the dinghy and motored to the first mooring ball again, tying up with another boat. When we got back in the water, we tried to swim against the current like we usually do, but by that time we were just too tired, and the current was taking us the opposite direction from where we intended to go. We swam together and made it back to our dinghy, counting the day of snorkeling as the best day yet.

Scuba diver at Sandy Cay,  beneath us

Scuba diver at Sandy Cay,
beneath us

School of Blue Tang

School of Blue Tang

Brain coral, Hard and soft corals

Brain coral,
Hard and soft corals

From Sandy Cay, we motored north to the southern tip of Tilloo Cay, on a mission to look for more sea biscuits. After anchoring White Swan in the shallow water, we got in the dinghy and checked out the sandbar. Finding no sea biscuits there, we went to the beach to look for athem. Gary walked the beach and I snorkeled the shallow water near the beach, neither of us finding what we were looking for. I snorkeled as Gary towed me with the dinghy on the way back to the boat, so I could look for the elusive sea biscuits. Eureka! I started finding them in the turtle grass. I dove down and picked up the ones I wanted until the water got too deep for me to make it down. Gary laughed and took pictures of my floundering attempts to get my buoyant bottom down. He finally jumped in the water and dove for them himself, while I pulled the dinghy along with us. What fun. Two old kids at play.

Gary towing me behind the dinghy...shark bait!

Gary towing me behind the dinghy…shark bait!

Gary took this picture of me flipping water in the air but not going down...

Gary took this picture of me flipping water in the air but not going down…

When we got back to the boat, Gary decided to help me with my free-diving technique. LOL!
First, he suggested I take off my wetsuit because wetsuits make you more buoyant. I tried that, and much to my angst and his amusement, I still couldn’t get down the eight feet of water to the bottom. Then he put a three pound weight in his dive belt and I put it on. Still no luck. He added another three pound weight in the dive belt. With that amount of weight, I easily dove down and came up with a hand full of sand to prove to him I made it to the bottom. I practiced free-diving until I was too tired to do it anymore. Who knew this grandma still isn’t too old to learn new tricks!

Sea Cucumber, it looks like a big yucky slug.

Sea Cucumber, it looks like a big yucky slug.

Showers felt wonderful after a full day of play in the sea water. A tall glass of iced tea refreshed us as we motored further north to the anchorage at Tahiti Beach. Having had no lunch, we looked forward to having dinner at Cracker P’s or Lubbers Landing on Lubbers Quarter Cay, which was across a narrow section of the Sea of Abaco from where we anchored for the night. As soon as White Swan was anchored, we took off in the dinghy to explore dinner options.

Much to our dismay, Cracker P’s only served dinner twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays. (We should have paid closer attention to their broadcast on the morning Cruisers Net, or we could have called them on the VHF radio… That would have been too easy.)


Beach at Cracker P's

Beach at Cracker P’s

We walked next door to Lubbers Landing, only to find out they were having the opening night for their new outdoor pizza oven and no reservations were left. However, we found the owner of the restaurant, Austin, to be delightfully enthusiastic as he presented his new grouper shaped pizza oven to us. He generously told us all about it, and his excitement was evident as he made pizza dough rounds as he talked.

Owner of Lubbers Landing, Austin, and his new pizza oven

Owner of Lubbers Landing,
Austin, and his new pizza oven

Austin had suggested we try the new restaurant, Firefly, which was back across the Sea of Abaco and north of where we had anchored. We knew the location of the Firefly restaurant, getting there by land, as we had gone to it when we rented the golf cart to explore Elbow Cay. However, approaching anything by land looks totally different than approaching the same “anything” by water. So, we hugged the shoreline in the dinghy, until we happened upon it, 1.30 nautical miles north of Tahiti Beach. That wouldn’t seem very far to a non-boater, but in a small dinghy with a six horsepower, four stroke, outboard motor, that’s not a short jaunt. We would not have even done it, if the water had not been dead calm.

There remained two hours of daylight when we first left White Swan to look for a place to have dinner. By the time we found Firefly, we had an hour of daylight left. Our delicious and so-o welcomed meals arrived in front of very hungry tummies right as the sun was setting, which meant a dinghy ride back to our night’s anchorage in the dark. No problem, mon. We had taken stern and bow lights for the dinghy and it was not a pitch black night, thus our return ride was quite nice.


Firefly Restaurant at Firefly Resort on Green Turtle Cay

Firefly Restaurant
at Firefly Resort
on Green Turtle Cay


We first heard of the new Firefly Resort on Elbow Cay from our new friend, Viani. We checked it out via the golf cart. We had noticed the resort’s restaurant was down by the water but we had no need, at that time, to inquire about it. We assumed it was for the patrons of the lovely resort. Viani had told us a brief history of the place. The owner has a vodka distillery in South Carolina. Upon listening to Viani, we realized we had been to that very distillery when we went down the ICW for the first time in 2009, when we had to be towed in to Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina (20 miles south of Charleston) for engine repair. What a small world. In fact, we have a bottle of Firefly Lemonade Vodka at home. Interestingly, the outdoor bar at Firefly, where we sat for dinner because no tables were available, had mason jars lined up on the bar of various flavors of Firefly “moonshine”. We remembered tasting some of the different flavored vodkas when we visited the distillery in South Carolina. None of it compared to the real moonshine of the Appalachians in Kentucky, that my cousin coaxed us into trying one time. The phrase “Yee Haw” had to have been coined after such an experience.

We enjoyed the ambience, as well as the food, of the packed Firefly Restaurant. Tubular copper lights, with the design of a firefly nail-punched into them, decorated the outdoor bar. imagePalm trees, with white lights wrapping the trunks, added to the appeal of the outdoor dining area. Gary and I shared our meals of Fish Piccata and Veggie Stack. Both entrees were amazingly scrumptious to us, famished patrons that we were. We viewed the restaurant to be an American gourmet restaurant with a Bahamian twist, 5 stars in our opinion. I wonder if the owner will ever establish another one in Charleston.


FYI: Mooring White Swan 101

Mooring White Swan 101

White Swan on mooring ball in Little Harbour

White Swan on mooring ball in
Little Harbour

Headsets on, Gary at the bow, Jean at the helm. (Headsets are considered a necessity on White Swan – NO YELLING! We use hand signals occasionally, just to practice them in case we have to use them in an emergency. But, our preference is to use the headsets. Costing only $60, they are a marriage saver…priceless.)

Gary attaches two lines, one on each side of the bow, to cleats. From the cleat he puts each line under the bowsprit at the front of each hull and brings them up onto the deck, laying them within easy reach on which ever side we plan on approaching the mooring ball.

After he has his lines ready, with boat hook extended and in hand, he gives Jean verbal directions to motor White Swan into position for him to pick up the line that is attached to the mooring ball. Sometimes there is a float on the mooring line, which makes the job easier, but sometimes the mooring line is just laying in the water. In the clear waters of the Bahamas, it can easily be seen. In murky water, if the mooring line doesn’t have a float, it is more challenging to find it.

Approaching the mooring ball, going directly into the wind, when White Swan is close enough for Gary to reach the mooring line with the boat hook, he picks up the line with the boat hook, grabs the mooring line with one hand, lays the boat hook down on the deck with the other hand, and proceeds to put the lines he previously readied, one at a time, through the large grommet at the end of the mooring line, cleating each line off on their respective side of the boat, thus making a bridle (the lines make a V) attached to the mooring line.

The construction of a mooring: On the bottom is a huge square of cement. (I’ve no idea how many pounds/tons one might weigh…a lot!) Attached to the cement is a line that is attached to a mooring ball. Attached to the mooring ball is the aforementioned mooring line. Mooring fields are commonly found in harbors. (However, there is no mooring field for cruisers to use in Marsh Harbor, one of the most visited harbors in the Abacos.


Cement block on bottom anchors mooring ball

Cement block on bottom anchors mooring ball

When moorings are properly maintained, they are as safe to use, if not safer, as an anchor. The main advantage of moorings is more boats can safely be moored in a harbor because boaters don’t have to be concerned with the rode/scope rule ( generally 5 – 7 feet of rode, i.e., the line or chain attached to an anchor, times the depth of the water plus height of the boat from where the anchor deploys). Example: White Swan is being anchored in 8 feet of water at low tide. At high tide the water level will rise 3 more feet, for a total of 11 feet. Where the anchor deploys, the height from the water line to the deck is 3 feet, plus 11 feet of water equals 14 feet. 14 X 5 = 70 feet of rode, minimum. When we attach to a mooring ball, we are using approximately 10 feet of rode. One can easily see from this example how more boats can moor in a harbor that has a mooring field versus the amount of boats that could anchor in the same harbor.

There are varied guidelines for anchoring, depending on the circumstances. Mooring White Swan 201 is N/A. Questions? Google it. JG out.

Gary Wrote Two Blogs

May 21, 2014

We had our usual coffee and devotions in the cockpit. The Cruiser’s Net gave wind speed at 10 – 20 Northeast that day, 5 – 10 East the next day, so we planned on going to Sandy Cay the next day.

Pete's Pub, managed by his son and daughter-in-law

Pete’s Pub,
managed by his son
and daughter-in-law

After walking the beach at Little Harbour at low tide, we decided to stay until lunch because Jean wanted conch fritters. “The best in the Abacos.”

Bench at the beach at Little Harbour

Bench at the beach
at Little Harbour

Pete’s Pub didn’t have conch fritters but they did have coconut cracked conch with walnut pineapple slaw plus rice and corn. All were delicious, and we saved the homemade bread for a sandwich. After lunch, where Jean gets Pete’s permission to post his picture, we exited Little Harbour and anchored in the lee of Lynyard Cay.

We could see the spray and hear the Atlantic hitting the other side of the island. We relaxed and then went to shore to go beach-combing. We also walked across the dune and saw the swells of the Atlantic crash against the dead coral shore.

Beautiful ocean, jagged, sharp limestone shore

Beautiful ocean,
jagged, sharp limestone shore

Urchin, before it dies and becomes the beautiful white "sea biscuit" shell. We wish it life, but it will probably be part of next year's collection...bittersweet.

Urchin, before it dies and becomes the beautiful white “sea biscuit” shell. We wish it life, but it will probably be part of next year’s collection…bittersweet.

Small starfish on beach...Gary picked it up and placed it back in the water.

Small starfish on beach…Gary picked it up and placed it back in the water.









We had a light dinner of a bacon, turkey, club sandwich made on our homemade bread left from lunch. The sun set at 7:50, over a Sunsail Cat next to us at anchor.



May 22, 2014

Winds were light that morning as predicted. We enjoyed coffee and got ready to sail for Sandy Cay. We arrived there about 10:15. The holding ground behind Sandy Cay is poor, and we felt the anchor skip along the bottom. It finally held. We sat for fifteen minutes to make sure the anchor would hold. It did hold, so we got in the dinghy and motored around to one of the mooring balls.

Large school of Blue Tang

Large school of
Blue Tang

Parrot Fish feeding on the  Elkhorn Coral

Parrot Fish
feeding on the
Elkhorn Coral


The reef was beautiful, with an amazing amount of elk horn coral, lots of juvenile fish and plenty of parrot fish. Jean nudged me to look at a small two foot leopard ray as it swam by us. We also saw a small turtle. After a 40 minute snorkel we went back to White Swan and ate lunch, after which we returned to the mooring buoys for a second snorkel. The tide was coming in and there was a good current coming over the reef, which caused us to swim into it while returning to the dinghy. This was another fine snorkel and we were both worn out from the swim.

Lots of juvenile fishes

Lots of juvenile fishes

Then we motored back to the northern anchorage at Lynyard Cay. I promptly fell asleep for a one hour nap. I could get used to this schedule!

Pete’s Little Harbour

Little Harbour, Great Abaco Island
May 20, 2014

When we awakened to a lesser amount of wind in our anchorage at Lynyard Cay, we decided to motor back to Sandy Cay to check the snorkeling opportunity there. Though the wind was less, the swells coming in from the ocean were larger than the previous day, making an undesirable water surface conducive to snorkeling.

Deciding to turn back south and motor to Little Harbour, at the lower end of Great Abaco Island, gave us the opportunity to revisit the small community. We had first visited Little Harbour with Ed and Cheryl in 2011.

Speaking of Ed and Cheryl, Gary and I had just reminisced that very morning about how we could not have had better mentors and guides as what they were during our first, introductory, trip to the Abaco Islands. Our second time going to the Abacos was in 2013 with the flotilla group of Gemini’s led by Jim and Deb. That was an awesome experience as well. We had the opportunity to go to a few different places than where we went in 2011, broadening our knowledge of the Abaco Islands. It seemed only fitting that Gary and I were meant to have the experience of touring the beloved islands this time on our own, being ever thankful to all who taught us about being successful navigators of the many cays of the Abacos.

Little Harbour was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Johnston, originally from New England. Their humble beginning at the harbor, included living in one of the limestone caves while they built their home.


Literature indicates Mr. Johnston built (my hunch is Mrs. J. didn’t just sit idly by and watch) a beachside home and studio where he produced “lost wax castings” in bronze. From the foundry they built in the 1950’s, their son Pete* (whom we met) still makes bronze castings today in the same manner. Though taught by his father, Pete reported he taught his father (good humor).

Pete, hard at work in the foundry, working on a fish sculpture

Pete, hard at work in the foundry, working on a fish sculpture

Out of three sons, Pete is the only one who remained in Little Harbour to carry on the family legacy of creating magnificent sculptures.imageimageimage

Inside Pete's Gallery

Inside Pete’s Gallery

Pete also has a pub/restaurant in Little Harbour, managed by his son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Heather, and their adorable son, Fletcher, who is 18 months old and runs the place. Of all the restaurants in the Abacos, this one has the best island ambience, with sand for floors, a ceiling of teeshirts hanging from the rafters, makeshift benches instead of bars tools, picnic tables instead of linen tablecloths and napkins, and an eclectic mix of stuff for decorations. We loved it! It reminded us of restaurants we frequented when we chartered sailboats in the British Virgil Islands. The food was good at Pete’s Pub too. We not only ate dinner there, we went back the next day for lunch and dined on coconut cracked conch for the first time. DELICIOUS!


Use a rake instead of a broom on these floors

Use a rake instead of a broom on these floors


Hallway to the restroom - love it!

Hallway to the restroom – love it!

Doors to the kitchen with fish shaped hinges and porthole windows

Doors to the kitchen with fish shaped hinges and porthole windows


*After reading my script to him, Pete Johnston edited it and gave his verbal permission to post his picture and this blog. 5-21-14 JG

Outer Islands

May 18, 2014
Tilloo Cay

We motored south from Hope Town, Elbow Cay to Tilloo Cay, anchoring in a cove just southeast of Tavern Cay. The anchorage protected us from the 15 – 20 knot northeast winds. Our goal was to get close to the coral gardens at Sandy Cay, so we could snorkel the area before starting our trek back North. Sandy Cay reef in Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park is a national park. According to our notes written on our chart, dated 5-15-11, it offered the best snorkeling in the Abacos. We thought it would be worth a few days of waiting for the wind to calm down to get the opportunity to snorkel there again.

Tilloo Cay National Park is a protected area for tropical birds. In our anchorage at Tilloo Cay that evening, we heard what sounded like a poorwill, though we think they are not indigenous to the Bahamas. Maybe this bird did not get the memo.


May 19, 2014
Lynyard Cay

Home on Lynyard Cay, looks like a postcard

Home on Lynyard Cay,
looks like a postcard

Even though the wind had not diminished from the previous day, we moved further south toward Sandy Cay. A downwind sail was delightful the first half of the trip. The second half required motoring with 3 – 6 foot swells on our bow ( front of the boat) and beam (side), until we got to the lee of Lynyard Cay (i.e.,the island blocked the wind).

As we turned toward our destination, we went directly into the wind enabling Captain Gary to easily take the mainsail down as we motored into the calm anchorage of Lynyard Cay. On our way to our protected anchorage of Lynyard Cay, we passed our snorkel destination of Sandy Cay. The holding ground had been reported to be poor at Sandy Cay, and it was recommended to be used only as a day anchorage. Therefore, we will backtrack, which will take a half hour of motoring, when we get the calm winds needed to return to Sandy Cay to enjoy snorkeling.

We noticed, by viewing the beach at Lynyard Cay with our binoculars, someone had made a signing tree. So when we went ashore the first time, we took our indelible marker to leave our signatures. This time we chose a white conch shell on which we wrote our names, boat name, and date. It reminds us of back-in-the-day when we would have written, “Gary and Jean were here.”

A selfie at the signing tree We left our names on a conch shell

A selfie at the signing tree
We left our names on a conch shell

For dinner, I made a Bahamian recipe of Peas and Rice. ( The recipe was posted on a display at the Island Roots Heritage Festival and I had taken a picture of it for future reference. ) The recipe called for Pigeon Peas. Knowing I wanted to make this recipe at some time, we had purchased canned pigeon peas when we were in Hope Town. I had no idea what pigeon peas were when we bought them, no idea how or where they were grown, what they looked like, what they tasted like, I’d never heard of them before; and since we didn’t have internet service at the remote island, I couldn’t find out all the answers to my questions. What I do know is we enjoyed the meal. We may stock up on pigeon peas before we leave the Bahamas.

Recipe for Peas ‘n Rice:
1/4 cup bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 10 ounce can pigeon peas
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon until crisp. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and cook until mixture is pulpy. Add tomato paste and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the drained pigeon peas, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the rice and add water to cover. Cover the pot and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. Serves 4

After dinner, we took a dinghy ride to another little beach that appeared after low tide. As we were getting out of the dinghy, I found a sea biscuit in the shallow water at the shore line. Gary and I continued to walk in the water to look for more sea biscuits, finding only a few more.

The sun started to set so we stood on the beach and watched it descend. As the bright fuchsia globe dipped behind an island, we admired the beauty of what we were seeing, standing on the little beach until the last dot of the brilliant color faded, leaving behind a pastel blend of pink and blue along the horizon.