May 11, 201308:37 AM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
Hope Town and Pete's Pub
As soon as we left Harbour View Marina, I heard a distress call on VHF 16. A boat was sinking nearby, and there was a request for assistance. Even though the boat sinking was eight miles away, I decided to try to help once I cleared the harbor, but by time I got out to where I could put the boat on plane, there was already help on the scene and all vessels were told to "stand down." The person making the distress call was hard put to describe his location, initially making it hard for anyone to come to his aid. Things to remember.
Our cruise over to Elbow Cay and Hope Town was a short one, only a few miles. Hope Town Harbour is small and mostly mooring balls. We anchored just outside on the harbor entrance, along with four or five other vessels. It was my birthday, and I wanted to spend the day on the hook, especially since we had just spent 10 days at the dock at Harbour View.
We didn't even put the dinghy down. We just sat on the boat and listened to the stereo and occasionally took a dip in the beautiful water. In the photo above, I'm enjoying my favorite beverage, bought in Marsh Harbour for $48 per case. My birthday dinner of bar-be-que'd pork steaks and "summer crabs" didn't turn out like we wanted, but I still got to spend the day doing what I wanted to.
The next morning, we took a cruise with the dinghy into the harbor. The town sits on the east side of the small harbor, and the lighthouse and some resorts are on the west side. We got some fuel in the dinghy and went back to the boat for a few hours.
The street in the picture is typical of all the roads in Hope Town. They barely are the width of a small truck, and some are just for walking. All the homes are painted in bright colors, and most are neat and clean looking. Most of them also seemed to be vacation homes for rent.
Here's another view of Hope Town. We were out to celebrate our anniversary, and we had plans to go casual, picking out a place called Captain Jacks, because they had an outside deck and we took Holly with us, but Holly wasn't allowed even on the deck. Geez, it's not like we were wanting to bring a toddler into the restaurant!
We found another restaurant with an outside deck, and they welcomed Holly, so we sat at the outside bar and had a couple of cold beers and enjoyed the shade at the Harbour View Inn. Catchy name. We perused the menu, thinking we would have some appetizers to start with when the bartender wanted us to "cash out" because she was going home, the shift was changing. I hate it when that happens, so I told her we would be glad to pay our bill as we were just leaving. The menu was a bit pricey, anyway.
Not wanting to ruin our anniversary celebration, we reluctantly took Holly back to the boat, and even more reluctantly we went back to Captain Jacks for dinner. Captain Jacks was having trivia night. As we stepped off the dinghy, they were just asking the first question, so the host asked if we wanted to play, but we declined.
The waitress that waited on us had an attitude like you wouldn't believe, but we attempted to kill her with kindness when all I really wanted to do was just kill her. Her bad attitude was starting to rub off on me, so to be ornery, every time the host would ask a trivia question, I would blurt out the answer, which in every case was the number three. Each time, I was told that if I did it again, we would have to buy the house a round of drinks. I laughed each time, as well as some of the other folks there. Rosie just wanted to melt into the floor.
We met some folks at the table next to ours, and they were very nice. It was a whole family, out celebrating the wedding of their granddaughter. The grandparents had been living in Hope Town for many years. We told them that we'd been married on that date too. Both times.
Things were going well until we got our dinner, or at least until I got mine. I ordered fried chicken. I knew I would only get a breast and a wing, that's how they do it in the Bahamas. You get a quarter chicken, either white or dark meat. When my plate came, the piece of chicken looked like some part of a chicken that I'd never seen before, and I've had lots of fried chicken in my life. I'd have sworn that someone, or something had taken several bites out of the chicken breast before they deep fried it. Apparently, it was payback time for my trivia antics. Rosie got a small taco salad that wound up looking inedible by the time she got around to asking me if I wanted any of it. No thanks.
We went back to the boat still hungry and wound up eating some cheese and crackers. But Holly was very glad to see us, and that made our whole night.
On Friday morning, we pulled up anchor and cruised 14 miles or so south to Lynard Cay, at the southern end of the Sea of Abaco. We dropped the dinghy once we got our hook set and took Holly to one of the very nice beaches on the west side of Lynard Cay. By mid-afternoon we pulled up anchor again and took the boat into Little Harbour, just a little over a mile away. We were going to anchor outside of the harbor, but the wind was picking up and I didn't want to leave the boat at anchor out of our sight while we visited Pete's Pub, the famous beach bar overlooking Little Harbour.
We entered the harbor at near low tide, a risky move, but the lowest our depth gauge read was 4.2 feet going in. The narrow channel is marked, but there is unforgiving rock on the starboard side going in. We slipped in slick as a whistle and grabbed one of the few vacant moorings.
We took the dinghy in to the bar to pay the $20 mooring fee and then we went to explore a little bit. The harbor has a great abundance of sea turtles, the most we have ever seen in one area. They're amazingly quick. We were intent on making up for a less than enjoyable evening the night before, so by late afternoon, it was on to Pete's Pub, which is in the center of the photo above, and just off our bow.
Holly was more than welcome at the outside bar. It was early, so we were able to grab the best seats in the house. I didn't think we'd get along with our bartender because all she did was complain about working double shifts for the last few days and she was by herself. But we won her over eventually, and she gave us tremendous service. We never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a beer, and it was standing room only later on at the bar.
We met lots of other boaters, and Raymond, the bartender from Snappas, came in and actually seemed glad to see us. I even got a knuckle bump from him. We left a RiverBill's sticker on the framework of the bar. Look for it if you ever go there.
It was way past dark when we finally got into the dinghy and back to the boat. I told Rosie to not even let me know how much our bar bill was when we left, but I intended on making up for a less than perfect night on the night before, and we did.
Things were a little fuzzy this morning, but we had a great breakfast in the harbor and then rode a high tide out, back to Lynard Cay for the day, and to spend the night on the hook before heading to Eleuthera on Sunday morning.
We took Holly back to the beach, and boy, did she have a ball! We let her run and play in the water, just like any proud parents would.
A cold front is coming in on Tuesday, and it's going to get very windy throughout southern Florida and the Bahamas, so we want to be in a safe anchorage by then. We plan on being in Spanish Wells by tomorrow afternoon. On Monday, I have to visit the BaTelCo office because I'm can't add minutes to our data plan on the iPad. The BTC home page has no option to use the prepaid cards we bought in Alice Town. We'll get it figured out. Our Bluechart Mobile app doesn't need Internet service to work, but we like to have Internet at the helm when it's available.
I got news today that a guy I started with at the beer factory many years ago died. He didn't get to enjoy any of his hard-earned retirement, having left the job diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about the same time I left. I feel fortunate that I've gotten to live this dream with Rosie for the last year. Every day forward will just be gravy, as I've already gotten more from life than some people have. Like I always say, "I'd rather be lucky than good." And I've been lucky.