April 19th – 20th
Hooray! Today is the day Peter and Paula arrive! At last cleaning can stop and with some decent weather we can start having fun! Paul is making steady improvement, by no means back to full strength but in the land of the living.
The flight from Atlanta was on time with the taxi ride delivering them to Conch House Hotel and Marina where they got their first look at the beautiful clear Bahamian water and Paul’s new beard. Paula declared “he looks like Santa Claus.”
Now comes the hard part. Adam, their son, was flying in from Toronto where he is living, as a surprise for his Mum. He was due to arrive the next day so somehow we had to keep Paula in place but without arousing suspicion. So we told her that we needed some supermarket supplies in the morning so would have to stay at anchor in Marsh Harbour, and that we would go back ashore for lunch before we left. We had arranged with Adam to walk into the Conch House bar while we were having lunch.
Under cloudy skies we tackled the grocery shopping and considered ourselves fortunate we made it back to the boat before the heavens opened. It rained and rained and then rained some more! We were was beginning to wonder how we could insist we needed to go ashore for lunch when we would all have been drowned rats just getting there.
Fortune smiled, the skies cleared and in we went. Right on cue Adam bounded up the stairs hugged his Mum tight and there were tears all round. Most of them, we must admit, from Sian! What a lovely surprise! Mission accomplished we headed back to the boat, upped anchor heading over to Fisher Bay for a swim before cocktails ashore at Grabbers, a walk on the beach, a Spaghetti Bolognese dinner on board and card games before bed.
April 21st to April 25rd
The forecast called for scattered thunderstorms and wind for the next four days, but with plenty of sunshine. Plus we wanted to go to the Pig Roast at Nipper’s on the Sunday. So we booked into Orchid Bay Marina in Settlement Harbour, Great Guyana Cay for two days.
After docking and preparing the boat we walked over to town, bought some snorkel mask spray at Dive Guyana then walked to Grabbers to see if we could get the Manchester United FA Cup semi-final football match on TV – but no go.
A couple of sports fishermen from the Panhandle and Alabama came in, on their way to a tournament out of Boat Harbour and tied up next to us. After dinner we spent a couple of hours chatting with them. We also watched the 140 foot Palmer Johnson Lady J come in and tie up, struggling a bit with the wind.
On Sunday we went over to Nipper’s and walked the beautiful Atlantic beach, then going up to a very busy Nipper’s for lunch, some beers chased down by a couple of Nippers cocktails! We staggered back to Sonas for a nap and a light dinner, followed by more socializing on the dock.
Mid-morning Monday, still expecting another two days of wind, we untied and headed across the Sea of Abaco towards Treasure Cay. We tied up early afternoon and headed off to walk the beach, then lay by the swimming pool with a cocktail Later Lady J appeared again and tied up on the T-Dock next to us.
It was more of the same relaxation on Tuesday, beach, pool, drinks, and quick runs to the grocery and wine store for replenishment of the provisions! Lady J left and was soon replaced by Far Niente, a 130 foot Westport. Paul got to chat to one of the crew as he waited on the dock to tie her up and discovered he was from Durban but had lived in Belfast for a couple of years. He later joined us for a beer before dinner and we had a good chat about how he got into that business and what it would take if Adam wanted to do the same. The captain also stopped by for a chat – he was originally from Grimsby in England.
It was quite interesting watching the comings and goings of the crews and guests of these big yachts. In both cases we found that owners were on board rather than charter guests. Far Nuente was on its way to Nassau, where they were hosting a bachelor party for their son.
On Wednesday the 25th we untied and headed east towards Hope Town. We had called the three businesses who owned mooring buoys in the harbour but either they were not available or were not suitable for Sonas. So we anchored outside the harbour right under the famous candy stripped Elbow Reef Lighthouse. We took the dinghy into the harbour and tied up at the lighthouse dock.
Everyone went up the lighthouse while Paul chose to visit the gift store manned by lighthouse volunteers rather than risk his leg climbing the 101 steps to the top. We then crossed the harbour to the public dock and walked through the quaint town. We ended up at Harbour’s Edge restaurant and bar for snacks and drinks. Peter went and fetched the dinghy from the public dock and brought it to the restaurant so that we wouldn’t have to walk back through town. While we were there we watched a Kady Krogen 48 (overall length the same as Sonas at 53 feet) come in and pick up a mooring ball that we were told was not suitable for us. As we were leaving we spoke to them and they told us that they were always able to pick one up – go figure.
We went back to Sonas where Sian had a lamb roast in the slow cooker for a delicious dinner, followed by everyone sitting on the bow trying to identify the stars and constellations.
The weather had set into a pattern, thunderstorms and rain overnight, but plenty of sun during the day with absolutely stunning sunsets nearly every evening.