I woke up this morning – I won’t say exactly when – and noted a distinct chill in the air. And it was coupled with the smell of wood smoke. Those are not exactly the sensations one expects in March in the Bahamas. And, indeed, they were deceptive. The chill was attributable to the passage of a cold front yesterday, which changed a warm and humid day into a crisp one.
A squall passes over Little Harbour, while heavy seas pound the ocean beach outside of the harbor.
And the wood smoke is from a forest fire on Great Abaco Island that’s been burning with varying intensity since at least Sunday, when we arrived in the Abacos.
Smoke from the forest fire hangs over the Bight of Old Robinson.
Nevertheless, we are facing the fact that we are now northbound, making our way back to Florida.
We had spent 4 nights at Cape Eleuthera, fueling up both physically and mentally, while riding out a cold front. We and the couples with whom we’ve become friendly (aboard Silver Maple and Jazzebelle) are making our way home and back to “reality.” But before that, we had a fairly short window to get from Eleuthera to the Abacos as we hop across the sea to ultimately cross back over the Gulf Stream.
For us, it meant a 57 mile passage from Cape Eleuthera to Royal Island. The next day, in a similarly long crossing, we went from Royal Island to Great Abaco. Both legs featured what Rick called some of the best sailing of our journey; but on the second leg, I would have been much happier without 4 foot seas on the beam. Ugh.
Knowing that the next front was coming, we planned to tuck into Little Harbour. But that protected anchorage has a 3.5 foot entrance bar. Since Calypso draws at least 4’11”, we’d have to wait for the tide carry us over, which wouldn’t happen until late Sunday – after dark. So we had to wait and instead, we spent a really rocky night in a bay just north of Little Harbour called Spencer’s Bight. We eased some of our pain somewhat by hanging out with our friends aboard the trawler Moondance, who shared their replenished stock of wine with us.
On Monday morning, at the next high tide, we skedaddled into Little Harbour, snagged a mooring, and tucked in for the duration. This is a spot that is not new to us – indeed, we spent at least one infamous night here several years ago, the details of which are fuzzy. To blame is the well-known Pete’s Pub.
Pete’s Pub is a classic beach bar, with sand floors and lots of flotsam and jetsam adorning the walls and ceilings.
In particular, the deceptively lethal Blaster is responsible for the destruction of inhibitions and brain cells. Suffice it to say that there is a reason that I have a bar alias….
It looks so innocent and fruity and cool….
This time around, we’re much tamer, enjoying Pete’s for the great lunches they serve, as well as the company of the varied visitors it attracts – including today’s lunch visit from Barefoot Man, a Cayman Islands performer who vacations in the Abacos and has written songs about them (including Laying Low in Abaco).
As well, there is plenty to enjoy in Little Harbour aside from Pete’s Pub. Pete himself is a sculptor of some renown who maintains a gallery and foundry here. On Monday night (St. Patrick’s Day), we were invited to a happy hour on the beach – a weekly event hosted by the residents of this area who were kind and friendly enough to include us itinerant sailors. This morning, we were delighted by the antics of the bay’s resident dolphins and turtles.
After today’s lunch, the seas had settled somewhat outside of the harbor, so we took the dinghy out to explore the Bight of Old Robinson. We were, of course, chasing the rumor of sand dollars on the sands at low tide. It took some cruising around, as well as exploring of mangroves, but we finally found some productive flats.
Mangroves and sand flats — a classic Bahamian combination.
We found about 3 dozen sand dollars today, but my favorite one was this itty bitty one, smaller than a U.S. dime.
As well as other finds of interest.
This type of shell is known as a Bleeding Tooth. Quite an image. Kind of makes you want to floss RIGHT NOW.
This little sand crab was not at all intimidated by Rick’s big foot.
At this point, the weather forecast for the last week of March is looking ominous, so we’re still formulating our plans to cross back to Florida. But for now, we’re enjoying the pleasures of the Abacos.