Cruising Abacos, Bahamas
Moment’s first debut to foreign waters under our watch finally happened. On May 2nd, we completed a fast overnight passage across the Gulf Stream to West End, Bahamas.
The day prior, we raced furiously to prepare for our departure that had to be by 8pm to make the 8:15 Las Olas bridge in order to make the Fort Lauderdale Marina Fuel dock before closing time. Though out of breath, we did a fantastic job making the Las Olas bridge and fuel dock in time. Unfortunately upon arriving, they said they had shut the pumps off and do so every day at 8:30 despite an earlier confirmation call. We made the decision to sail on without the extra (less expensive US fuel) onboard.
At least with the push to get out, we were able to hit a weather-window with all sailing, make great time close-hauled, often seeing 9kts on our way to West End. We managed to arrive as they opened, clear in, have a nice meal and then sail on to the beautiful turquoise waters North of Grand Bahama.
Our first real stop was Conchshell Cay on May 3rd. We arrived in the evening and then were the only ones at its beautiful beach the next day. We enjoyed it greatly despite the overcast weather during the morning and then pulled anchor for the Double Breasted Cays.
After running aground then backing off during the very tight passage in, we were able to set two “Bahamian moore” style anchors in one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Abacos. After experiencing an afternoon of paradise, our night became quite sleepless as a storm with 40-50 knot winds blew through pushing us hard aground and heeling over until we were able to spin the boat as the tide rose.
Once the storm cleared, and the sun and tide went out, we realized just how beautiful this place is. We found a sand dollars, swam, snorkeled, met other cruising sailors, and explored. One night we had snacks and drinks on the beach and watched the sun set over Moment. While we met one couple that had been living in that anchorage for 7 weeks, we decided that it was time to explore more after three nights.
Next stop: Moraine Cay. With little wind, we motored to this beautiful destination where we snorkeled and enjoyed another beach sunset despite shark warnings! In route to here and the next day to Allan’s Cay, we experienced an overheating engine. Fortunately we were able to trouble shoot that sea weed was clogging our intake and strainer before getting to the engine. A swim in the crystal clear waters to remove the sea grass and cleaning out the strainer got us up and running again.
We had been dreaming of a beach campfire at one of the remote Abacos cays and Allans Cay became the spot for a “Waxing Moon Beach Campfire Party.” To further help the look, we were able to find conch shells to shape in a half circle around our fire and place votive candles inside them to make our celebratory fire special.
The next day, we stopped in Cooperstown for provisions and water, despite it’s minimal provisions. We then went directly across to Powell Cay, which was a great spot for swimming, kneeboarding, and our second beach bonfire.
We then moved on to Green Turtle Cay, where we would stay two nights to fully explore New Plymouth and the beach bars that populate the island. We met some local island women having “Lady’s night” and sat next to them for some very fried food that seemed to be very prevalent in these islands.
After Green Turtle, we needed a turn around day to drop off Chef Kostas, pick up a new guest in Marsh Harbor and do much needed cleaning and re-provisioning.
With the new guest aboard we sailed off to the famous Guana Cay, anchored and trudged over to the even more famous “Nipper’s” for an evening of seafood, drinks, and dancing with the other vacationers on the island.
An 8AM wake-up after a night out had us underway with light winds on our way to Little Harbor. Here we discovered Pete’s, a beach bar where you can tie the dinghy up to the picnic table, while you let your feet dangle in the water. On our approach and for the day later, we saw a large volume of smoke coming from the mainland. There was apparently a small fire that had gotten out of hand. It got so big that it created a smoke cloud that was blocking the sun and leaving ash in the harbor.
On our full day, we went to Hopetown with a snorkel stop in Tilloo Cut and lunch at Cracker Ps along the way. Our extra large inflatable swan came out of the bag in Tillo Cut and then became a massive hit with the local kids at Cracker Ps. After anchoring outside Hopetown, we went up its red and white lighthouse–one of the few in the Abacos to look at the quaint harbor below. With a walk through town, a turn around at the boat, we ended the evening at Firefly, the resort owned by the makers of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.
The following day we returned our guest to Marsh Harbor, re-provisioned and are now sailing off to Newport, RI.
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