Monday, February 8, 2021

Green Turtle Cay

Yesterday we enjoyed a great sail from Little Sale Cay to Green Turtle Cay, romping along at 7-8 knots on a beam then close reach under reefed main and jib in 15-20 knot winds. The sky was clear, the sea was beautiful shades of blue, aquamarine to royal, the temperature a comfortable cool-warm.

We started of heading east, hugging the north shore of Little Abaco Island and then turned south to run along the east shore of Great Abaco Island. The water never got deeper than 18 feet, even miles offshore. 

The Abacos were decimated by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, regarded as The Bahamas' worst natural disaster. All the trees on the islands still look like they were stripped of leaves and the houses along the shoreline appear uninhabitable. We saw many signs of continued repair and rebuilding going on- dredges, barges hauling material and debris, cranes, heavy equipment on the shore. Now COVID has decimated the islands' tourism-based economy, just as businesses are re-opening from the hurricane. What bad luck.

We turned west to head towards Green Turtle Cay, a small islet about 3 miles east of Great Abaco. We dropped anchor in well-protected White Sound. When I went to record our distance sailed in the log, I was surprised to see that Intermezzo had just then turned over exactly 16,000 nautical miles since leaving San Francisco in October 2015.

We tried to clear Customs, but the agent had already left, so we "snuck" onto shore to enjoy rum punches at the Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina, a very nice boutique-rustic resort with very helpful and friendly staff. Properly refreshed, we took a short walk and discovered a pretty little beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the cay.

Today we tried to find the Customs agent at nearby New Plymouth town, a short dinghy ride from our anchorage. No success, so I called the Green Turtle Club front desk and they told me the agent would arrive there by ferry "shortly". When I asked for a more specific ETA, the receptionist cheerfully told me, "I don't press her for the time when I call." I understood. The receptionist promised she would radio me when she had more information.

We returned to the boat and I set about replacing one of the pumps for the water maker that had stopped working. I had a complete replacement pump air-freighted to me in Lake Worth and figured on just swapping out the bad for the good pump. It wasn't as easy as that, as the old pump head had been modified by the water maker manufacturer to accommodate piping layout. I had to chose between machining the new pump head with a dremel tool or putting the old pump head on the new pump. The latter seemed easier, so I attempted that solution. However, the pump head body was frozen onto the motor shaft and I didn't have the tool required to pull it off. Then I looked at the old and new pump and realized that there was a pressure switch on the pump head. Perhaps that is what had failed. Sure enough, that's what it was. So I ended up just replacing the pressure switch on the old pump. I wish I had checked that before I removed the old pump, though. It would have saved hours of effort.  Oh well.

At 1530, we were informed that the Customs agent would be arriving on the next ferry. We had scooted over to shore earlier in anticipation and met the agent at the dock. We filled out immigration paper work, boat paper work, emailed out health visa and COVID test results (again) and paid our $300 cruising permit fee. All done cheerfully in less than an hour. In four days, we need to get a COVID antibody test to complete our health visa requirements.

Robin and Amy's sailing lessons continue. Yesterday, we covered points of sail and holding a course to the wind. Today, dinghy driving lessons.

Tomorrow I'll finish my pump replacement work and we'll explore the cay and its beaches.

(In case you missed them, here are links to my posts via satellite from our passage from Lake Worth to Little Sale Cay and our brief time there: En Route to Great Sale Cay, Little Sale Cay.)

Intermezzo anchored in the Little Bahama Bank off Little Sale Cay

The weathered and eroded limestone shore of Little Sale Cay

Intermezzo just turned over 16,000 nautical miles since leaving San Francisco

An indignant and combative crab on the beach at Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle Cay shoreline, Atlantic side