Friday, March 28, 2008

Familiar Waters

March 15-22, Marsh Harbour
We’re back in the familiar waters of the Sea of Abaco. In addition to our previous trip on Pelican when we spent three months in Abaco in 2004, we vacationed here in 1992, 2000, and 2005. By land or by sea, we enjoy it enough to keep coming back.

Not only are the waters familiar…so are the high winds! March is the windiest month of the year, and successive weather fronts clock the wind direction from south to west to north. Weather systems in the Abacos, not to mention tide charts, are more limiting than we wish they were. With each approaching front, boats hurry to one of the five harbors in the area with all-around protection looking for a first-come, first-served mooring or good holding.

Northerly winds were on the way, and Saturday we pulled into Marsh Harbour, one of those protected anchorages. It’s the second-largest city in the Bahamas and the hub of the southern Abacos. Here you can jump on one of Albury’s ferries destined for Great Guana Cay, Elbow Cay, or Man-o-War Cay, each with its own personality and array of shops, restaurants, beaches, and activities. Or you can rent a car and drive to either end of the “mainland” of Great Abaco.

Our anchor held fast in Marsh Harbour for a week as two fronts blew through. But we took advantage of our location at the center of the hub and made side trips along several spokes: Great Guana Cay for Nipper’s Pig Roast under coloful umbrellas; Hope Town, where we spent our first family vacation in The Bahamas at Abaco Inn; Cherokee, a clean, quaint, always freshly painted town boasting the longest dock in The Bahamas stretching into a shallow sound that almost dries at low tide; and Little Harbour for fabulous fresh fish and the best coleslaw around at Pete’s Pub.

During the week we reconnected with Claus and Rachael after almost a month apart and enjoyed spending time with their visiting friends: first Fred, Heidi, Hilary and Molly Street, and later Paul Danelski…all great people and now our friends, too!

For me, the highlight of the week was the outdoor Easter service for cruisers at the water’s edge in Marsh Harbour. Pastor Silbert Mills presented a moving and inspiring sermon that infused Bahamian flavor, expressions, and passion into the eternal message that Christ the Lord is risen indeed!

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