Monday, July 11, 2022

March 22, 2022 Whale Cut and Elbow Cay, Bahamas

To move further south in the the Sea of Abaco, you have to transit the Whale Cut.  The sea is too shallow, so you have to go outside of Whale Cay on to the Atlantic and back into the Sea of Abaco.  The seas can be rough and hard to navigate through rocks, so you always check the weather or with other boaters before transiting.   It’s not far from Green Turtle Cay, only one island south before the cut.  


the yellow is land, the white is deep water, blue is shallower, the darker the more shallow, the "magenta line" is the recommended path to take.  we followed the blue dots with pins around Whale Cay

We decided to head out and if it looked too rough, we would come back to GTC.  We thought it looked a little rough but doable.  And other boats were heading through.  So we decided to go for it.  It was a “sporty ride” with an average of 22kn ESE wind, and took us an hour and a half to go out and back in to the Sea of Abaco.  

After entering the Sea of Abaco on the south side of the Whale Cut, we saw 2 mega yachts anchored near Baker’s Bay on Great Guana Cay.  There is a high end resort there and many expensive vacation homes, we’ve been told, not visited ourselves.  We googled the boat names for info.  Planet Nine is used as a charter boat, but is owned by Nat Rothschild of the famous Rothschild Swiss banking family.  His net worth is $1 billion.  The boat is for sale for $100 million with annual running costs of $5-10 million.  
Madsummer is also used for charters but is owned by Jeffrey Soffer whose net worth is $2.2 Billion.  His family bought property 17 miles north of Miami and developed the area to become Adventura, with several properties in the area, including the largest shopping mall in Florida.  This boat is worth $250 million with $15-18 million for annual running costs.  The info also said there are 10 cabins for 12 guests and 28 crew (who must have their own cabins).  Unbelievable!

We arrived at Elbow Cay at 2:30.  We anchored outside of Hopetown near the light house.  Good to see it still standing and functioning, though it could use a coat of paint.  We hung out laundry (a little later than we usually do).  Dave refilled our fuel tank and we took the jerry cans into town to “top up”.  There won’t be another place to refuel until after we cross to Eleuthera.  It was about 3:45 when we arrived at the fuel dock, but they had closed at 3:00.  We’ll make another trip tomorrow.
We decided to walk around town and look at the destruction from hurricane Dorian in 2019.  They were hit pretty hard.  Some places looked untouched, some repaired, lots of work being done, and some things were totally gone.  It was strange to look up on the hillside where the large Hopetown lodge used to sit and see blue sky. 

as you walk up the dinghy dock, there are a few buildings missing
the Methodist church was pretty sturdy
the museum and gift shop looked like they had a facelift
this was a cottage family stayed at a few years ago.  Looks like it had a new paint job
we had family stay in this cottage on the Atlantic ocean side.  It hasn't been restored and wonder if it will

this was the beach near the last cottage, pretty exposed on the east side of the island

this park has a library on the left behind the slide. there used to be a tall tree on the right and benches were the Catholic priest from Marsh Harbour would have mass, not sure what they are doing now
The Hopetown Lodge used to sit on top of the hill behind these trees

 We stopped at Captain Jacks, on the water in the bay to have our first Bahamian beers, chicken wings and fries.  Great view of the lighthouse from the east.  

it was interesting to watch them place pilings

Captain Jacks built new restrooms and a liquor store across the sidewalk/road from the restaurant.  The liquor store at the dock was no longer there

We headed back to the boat before sunset and watched the lighting of the light house from the west side in our anchorage.  It is one of the few kerosine fueled light houses still functioning in the world.  It is manually run every night by volunteers.  My niece, Kate Zeller Murphy, told us about an app called Marco Polo.  We made a video of the light house as it was lighting and sent it to her and Memphis, her 6 year old daughter.   

the shoreline as by the entrance to the harbor used to have more trees

there used to be a house on this island as you enter the harbor

interesting to watch the work, especially dipping the metal bucket of the digger into saltwater

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