After leaving Treasure Cay, Bahamas, our plan to get back to the U.S. was to sail 50 miles west to Great Sale Cay, rest overnight, and then head north-northwest to Jacksonville, Florida, which is a long 260 miles. Or, in sailboat terms, two overnight passages assuming that we could cover at least 120 miles per day for the three days. If we moved slower than that five knot rate, we would have to add an additional overnight to the passage.
With that plan in mind, we left Treasure Cay, first successfully transiting through Whale Cay Cut, an often dangerous strip of water that leads from the Sea of Abaco to the Atlantic Ocean north of the Bahamas. When ocean swells are hitting Whale Cay Cut from the wrong direction, ten foot or larger breaking waves will make the cut impassable, sometimes for days.
We anchored for the night outside of the harbor at Green Turtle Cay. Since we were in transit, we stayed on the boat, listened to some music coming from a nearby beachside tavern, and sat out watching the stars.
The next day, during hours of grey and nippy drizzle, we raced a French Canadian sailboat west to Fox Town on Little Abaco.They beat us in by a few minutes, but after a day long sail we were okay with that. Both boats anchored in the little Fox Town harbor next to a German boat that was resting before continuing heading north from Cuba.
Fox Town is the last, tiny bit of civilization before a boat heads out into the remote islands west of the Abacos, where Great Sale Cay lays. Fox Town is a little fishing hamlet with an air of poverty and decay. We road the dinghy in to the only open restaurant or bar in Fox Town. It is called the Valley Inn, though there is no valley nearby. We were served by Theresa, a retired American who ran the small operation. She appeared to stay in business by selling a trickle of Kaliks and single cigarettes to the local out-of-season fishermen. Theresa and her husband Neal have their Bahamas retirement home up for sale and are looking forward to moving back to West Palm Beach, Florida when they find a buyer.
We made Great Sale Cay the next day. It is a seven mile long, deserted, scrubby island shaped like a wishbone. Boats traveling between the U.S.A to the Abacos use it as an overnight rest stop or to wait out bad weather before making the big jump. When we arrived there were three other boats and by the end of the night, there were twelve, all waiting to head back to the States. We were greeted by S/V Promises Kept, a kid boat with two teenage girls that we had met months before in Farmers Cay. It is always a nice feeling to come into a harbor and run in to a boat or two that you’ve met before. They were also waiting to make the jump but to Fort Pierce, Florida, which is only 100 miles from Great Sale Cay (and only one overnight).
Since this was April 24th, we celebrated Madeline’s thirteenth birthday and I baked her fudge brownies. The oven tilted and so half of them were crispy, well-done and the other half were gooey, undercooked. Perfect!
Great Sale Cay would be the last Bahamas island we would see on this trip.
Breakfast before leaving Treasure Cay
Our view of Green Turtle Cay
Dinner at Valley Inn in Fox Town
View from The Valley Inn
Theresa and Neal (ready to move back to the U.S.A)
Fox Town may have seen better days
Madeline’s 13th birthday party with fudge brownies
Boats waiting to jump off from Great Sale Cay to the U.S.A.