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Friday, April 9, 2010

Bahamas, Sail, The Abacos, 2 to 8 April 2010

2 April had a great fast fine reach the 60 odd miles from Nassau to Sandy Point at the southern entrance to the Bight of Abacos in an ENE 4 Bft. Anchored off the half a mile or so off the beach as the bottom shelves very gradually to the beach.

Dinghied ashore the next day and explored the small somewhat isolated settlement of Sandy Point.

Fishing seems to be the main activity here , in particular Conch fishing . There are many pile of conch shells all with the tell tale slash in them where a knife has been inserted to kill the conch and enable it to be extracted.

Came across a few birds which we had not seen before - a Smooth Billed Ani, we think

and a group of Ruddy Stoneturners.

On 4 April we began our northward traverse of the very shallow Bight of Abacos overnighting at anchor in the shelter of the Joe Dorner Cays (26deg 37.04N 077deg 20.32W) the first night and at Cave Cay (26deg 51.94N 077deg 55.04W) the second night. As suggested in the pilot notes , we saw no other boats the whole trip.

On the way we had some success with trolling first catching a small but aggressive fish which we have problems identifying - and threw back as it was too small to eat.

The next two fish - a Blue Runner (a type of Jack)

and a Cero ( Makerel family ) proved to be very good to eat.

The channel from Spence Rock to Cave Cay was very hairy - we were quite close to high water and we went over patches of just 1.3 meters water depth - we draw 1.2 meters with the board up. Admittedly it was Neaps so at Springs we would have more water, but, as this is the only route out of the Bight to the North, we can see why not many boats venture this way.

6 April we skirted around the banks to the west off West End - the western tip of Little Abaco - and anchored for the night in a very sheltered anchorage between Crab Cay, Little and Great Abaco (26deg 55.05 N 077deg 35.30W).

7 April we motored down to the delightful Manjack Cay and anchored near Rat Cay (26deg 49.22N 077deg 21.97W.

Had a great hike through the wooded trail to Ocean Beach

and had a close encounter with a delightful Flycatcher (which does not quite fit any of the bird plates in our superb Petersen Field Guide)

Then along the radiant white Ocean Beach and round the northern tip of the cay.

Along the beach came across some Wilson's Plovers.

With yet another cold front forecast for Friday 9 April, we decided to up-anchor at 0645 this morning and motor the 5 miles to the hurricane hole of Black Sound on Green Turtle Cay. There we we lucky to be able to take the last mooring from Black Sound Marina for the reasonable price of 10 US dollars/ night. Amazingly we are picking up excellent WiFi signals on the boat so have the additional benefit of internet.

We had a walk through the neat closeby settlement of New Plymouth .

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