May 9th to May 12th

May 9th We all went for a walk on the beach after breakfast. There was quite a surge and it was not easy getting out of the duck. We anchored it out a bit and waded in. We had a nice walk up the beach for a while and back again so we could go and check out.(customs and immigration)

We had already organised it with Turtle Cove Marina for customs and immigration to meet us there at 1pm. We waited for about 15 minutes and the customs guy turned up, that only took about 5 minutes and then we waited for 45 minutes for the immigration guy. When we finally turned up all he did was take the stubs from the immigration entry card out of our passports. He said the other guy could have done that. Great too late now.

Back to the boat, where Robbie showed Brad and Kristie how to put the duck up.

We had an early dinner and decided to watch Avatar as Kristie had never seen it. Not sure exactly when, but we all ended up falling asleep before 8pm.

May 10th We departed at 7.15am headed for Mayaguana, the closest of the Bahamas Islands. It’s a 60+ mile run and we need to get there in daylight to navigate through the reef entrance and dodge the odd bombie or coral head in the bay.






It was not a pleasant voyage, it was rough and windy. Brad hooked a small Barracuda very early on and we hoped that was a good sign of better things to come!

The rods went off later in the morning and Robbie ran for them and saw a good size Marlin jump off the lure, what a shame.


The rods went off again and this time Brad landed a yellow fin Tuna, which we didn’t keep.

We entered the entrance to Abrahams Bay just before 5pm, the light was still good and Robbie drove from the fly bridge with Kristie reading the depth sounder, and Brad and I stood watch on the bow looking for coral heads or bombies. The depths were only 2.3m up to 3m so we had to pay attention.

All was good and we dropped the anchor around 5.40pm. It’s a very long bay with reef fringing for a few miles, there’s nice beaches, and the water is extremely clear and differs between aqua blue and a deeper blue with the odd dark spots of weed or rock. There are two concrete tower structures on the Northern side which used to be part of a missile tracking complex for the US Air Force.

We had a quick swim and Brad and Robbie had a snorkel finding lovely starfish which we took a photo and then quickly put back.

 

May 11th We had a good night’s sleep and woke around 8am. We got sorted and left Brad and Kristie on Southern Star while we went to check in. Thanks to Mark and Jennifer on Starlet we knew we had to have $300 in cash to check in.



It is an extremely shallow entrance to the dock, we could see where numerous propellers have dredged their way in the sand past the two metal sticks marking the narrow entrance.

As we tied up the dinghy a local sitting in the shade introduced himself, Scully. He was very friendly and helpful and showed us where we could put our rubbish. It was a half a mile walk into town (notice I am already falling into the American miles instead of kilometres!) and there we found a few small buildings. The first lot was a small compound with 3 or 4 buildings including the immigration and the BTC phone company. Robbie headed for BTC while I completed the check in. I had already downloaded, printed and completed the check in forms, about 5 pages, but there were many more! However, the lady who served us was not only very beautiful but she was also extremely friendly, efficient and helpful. The nicest check in we have completed anywhere in the world. Not the most expensive at $300 – Australia still takes that record at $618!

Robbie came back armed with a new sim and a smile. He had also met some yachties in there and invited them over to Southern Star for a sundowner around 5pm. Chris, Sarah and Kelsea.

Our immigration beauty showed us where the store was, it’s a very small brown timber hut about 200 yards from the immigration building. There we met Audrey and we had a look around but it was mainly tinned and dried food, but we did buy one of the two loaves of bread from the fridge and a cold drink.

We began the walk back along the dusty road and half way back met another 4 very friendly yachties. Sean, Natasha, Rhonda and Steve and their boat is called Turning Point. We had a nice chat and invited them over at 5pm also.

We got back to the boat and Brad had a big surprise for us. He had caught/found 5 beautiful Conch! There was much excitement!











 Robbie and Brad set about harvesting them which was easier said than done. You have to make a hole in one end of the shell and cut the muscle to get them out. What comes out does NOT look edible! But once they did their thing, they ended up with a nice amount of white flesh that looks just like Calamari. The shells are absolutely beautiful with a bright pink glossy, shiny ceramic lip on them.

We decided to leave them soaking in salt water to tenderise them and have them tomorrow.

Robbie and I tried to set up the sim card in the router and we could not get it to work. So then we tried the sim card in the phone and still no luck. So we grudgingly set out to go back. The guy in the BTC shop was so friendly and helpful and came out and sat with us while we set up the router and inserted the card. He was very quick to notice that the APN address we had entered had a + instead of t. Robbie referred him back to the piece of paper that he had written the APN address on, and he very apologetically agreed that it was a + and not a t! Once we changed that we had great service so we headed back to the boat.

I cleaned the inside of the boat while Kristie prepared Pizzas and garlic bread for our dinner. We have learnt now that a couple sundowners can run late and it’s much better to have our dinner prepared early!

 Everyone arrived at 5pm, and after we gave them the tour of Southern Star and had a couple of drinks and nibbles and lots of chat, Chris who has lived in the Bahamas since 1977 gave us some anchorage tips and local information which we were very grateful for. His boat is called Hogfish and he makes a living collecting flotsam and Jetsam and making art and selling it.

We farewelled our visitors and had dinner. We sat up on the fly bridge and enjoyed the stars, finally working out which was the Southern Cross.

May 12th slept in until 9am had breakfast and went in the duck to explore the island. In particular the two concrete towers that were missile tracking devices for the USA some years ago.

We walked one way down the beach trying to find a path or track to the towers but all we found was lots and lots of plastic. So sad! C’mon whoever is dumping this – those oil containers, deodorant bottles, drink bottles and numerous other plastic rubbish didn’t jump into the water on their own. It is absolutely pitiful and the amount of fishing gear, large nets, plastic buoys and fishing crates is horrendous. We walked back the other way and finally figured out there is no path only swamps. The missile towers were certainly strategically placed and well protected.

Robbie decided we would walk to what looked like the headland and we could see some white structures that looked quite substantial but when we finally reached it, they were only white PVC poles stood up to make some sort of shade area. By this time we were all tired, a bit sunburnt and very eager to get back to the duck. Kristie led the retreat and she power walked all the way back. I kept up for a while but lagged behind eventually.

We were all very glad to see the duck and get back to the boat for a rest.

Brad cooked the Conch and Kristie made a salad. Wow the Conch was SO good! He made one batch with New Orleans Fish rub and one batch of Salt and Pepper. It was superb!

We decided to move and anchor closer up to the entrance so as to make an easier exit early in the morning and save a bit of time. We towed the duck (we decided we need to name it and so far we have only come up with Baby Star) and the Kayak. As we neared our anchoring spot Robbie noticed the Kayak was no longer attached and we could just see a pink dot in the distance. Brad and Kristie jumped in the duck and went on the retrieval mission, successfully! Not human error, the straps on the Kayak had broken.

We had a very quiet afternoon and even had a Nana nap.

Robbie is cooking a Tika Masala chicken curry as I write. We watched the movie “Unbroken” a true story and very good. Highly recommend it to watch. The funny thing was that when we went outside after the movie there were two sharks sitting on the bottom in the underwater lights, just off the boat! They were only smallish bottom dwellers though, not as big as in the movie.

 

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