After a peaceful night’s sleep we woke to the warmth of the sun that we had been missing and craving so much lately and headed the few miles to check in at New Plymouth, on Green Turtle Cay. Unfortunately we needed $300 in cash which we didn’t quite have! Another yachtsman that we had never met before offered to lend us some cash (that’s the type of camaraderie you get with sailors) but in the end the local grocery store gave us cash back when we did some shopping. The island bank closed permanently in June apparently!
New Plymouth is a picturesque Caribbean village with everything you need at hand, except a bank! Several grocery stores, a hardware store, phone shop, liquor stores, restaurants, bars, a school and marinas.
We enjoyed wandering around, stocking up with fresh produce and bought some clear sealant to fix the leaking sink (again!).
Lady Rebel arrived and joined us having traveled a slightly different route to us on the way from America. We spent the next few days exploring the local sights together whilst waiting for our other friends to join us and to celebrate their safe crossing from the USA.
We went for walks to explore Green Turtle Cay and found a bar for sundowners, beaches where you can feed the turtles and (small) nurse sharks.
We took the dinghy into the mangroves and deserted bays to find more rays and turtles and we fed the swimming pigs on No Name Cay.
Apart from the masses of ‘no see ems’ bites that we got when ashore on what looked like an idyllic beach for a sundowner, Green Turtle Cay was Lesley’s favourite place in the Abacos. A useful local website for information is https://littlehousebytheferry.com/2017/08/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-swimming-pigs-of-abaco/
We also managed to meet up with long term cruisers and Lesley’s ex work colleague on their catamaran Juffa which was very exciting after such a long time!
Unfortunately we had a problem with our water maker. The vane pump that pumps the sea water went bang. Everyone was very helpful and was happy to supply us with water when we needed it but we try to be self sufficient. We have not filled our water tanks from a land source for over 5 years and didn’t really want to start buying or borrowing water now. Also it is unlikely that we would find a marina with a service dock that had a deep enough berth for Ocean Blue. Luckily we keep our tanks pretty full so time was on our side to get it fixed.
Green Turtle Cay also has good free WiFi so we were able to research and purchase the required repair kit and get it sent to the next Island we were sailing to. This meant a faster sail through the southern Abacos to get to Governor Harbour in Eleuthera. The passes out through the reefs can be treacherous and our boat is too deep to take the inner route to the South Abacos, but luckily the wind died a bit so we were able to make the trip through Whale passage and after a night catching up with friends we said our farewells and sailed into the South Abaco area. We had planned to visit Marsh Harbour but in the end spent one night in Crossing Bay before sailing on to put ourselves in the best spot for leaving the next morning.
A quick conversation with friends had suggested a difference between the different electronic charts that we have been using and the preferred ones for the area. Comparing the two, whilst the suggested routes were the same in most places, the depths varied by as much as a metre, which when the depth is often only 2-3 metres is huge. Needless to say we now have both charts!
We did stop for lunch off Dickies Cay, just outside Man-O-War Cay and went ashore to explore the area that had a strong boat building tradition. We saw a huge spotted eagle ray from the dinghy.
We planned and timed our passage between the winding, shallow Pepper Cay and Witch Point for as close to high tide as we could manage with enough light before the setting sun to see the shallows! Success and confidence in our new charts got us to Tiloo Pond anchorage for the night. We set the alarm for a 05:30 wake up for the next days sail to Eleuthera.