The anticipation and planning for the Bahamas crossing is behind us, 4 days of wind ahead of us! Along with at least ten other boats, we are sitting tight at West End Grand Bahama Marina.
The West End is just 56 miles from West Palm Beach, and is the north west tip of Grand Bahama Island.
Colleen took time out to sketch and water color in the new journal for our trip:
This marina is in a remote area- there are a few other homes with in sight; but generally no stores or restaurants with in 25 miles. A small town called West End Settlement is a few miles down the road- word is that it was hit hard by hurricane Matthew- it didn’t have much to offer even before the hurricane and now is slowly rebuilding.
Freeport is about 25 miles south of us. Three ways to get there- a city bus is $9 each way ($36 round trip for two people); taxi is $70 on way; rental car $ 80 per day. Two couples were planning to catch the bus at 9am. (it turned out to be a van and was a tight squeeze). Rod and Alison from Sleeping Bear offered to arrange a rental car and asked us to join them. It was delivered by AVIS at 9 am- Rod offered to drive; and took a few minutes to get adjusted to driving on the left side of the road!!
Our only map was a tourist brochure- and it showed one road leading south to Freeport. How hard can that be? Somehow we managed to miss a few turns and ended up taking a scenic route on roads that didn’t make it to the map! Eventually found our destination- the “The Garden of the Groves”- advertised in the brochure as a lush informal tropical garden and pond habitat for birds and wildlife. The landscape on the way to the gardens was far from lush- partially due to the 2016 hurricane- the trees and landscape looked stripped of leaves and generally uninviting. The gardens in contrast were beautiful and tropical – well maintained and included a chapel, a labyrinth, carvings, waterfall and various plants and trees. Sadly my camera card showed ” error, corrupt file after taking photos at the gardens- had to revert back to my iPhone!
After leaving the gardens, we passed the Lucayne water waterway, and planned to stop for lunch. Using the fodder guide of top places to dine; we headed for Cleveland’s beach bar . They have a short but highly recommended menu- try either the snapper, conch salad or fried conch!
Next stop – a few groceries. Prices were not as bad as expected and we stocked up on a few items. Also on our list- look into a local phone and data plan. Dave went to BBT?? And got hooked up with a local sim card that works in our Verizon phone ( the clerk helped to unlock the phone) and for $40 we now have 3 gig of data and a local calling plan for the next 30 days.
Back at the marina the fishing boat had arrived and the highlight is to see the sharks gather as the days catch is being cleaned!
I would not have sat with my feet dangling over the edge!
Not to rub it in for our Minnesota readers; but it has been too windy and cold to swim in the beautiful pool; and the beach side tiki bar has been closed for 3 days due to bad weather. Sad day here in paradise.
The forecast is looking better – by Wednesday we plan to join the mass exodus and head further east towards the Abacos Islands.
. Planning for a couple nights at anchor as we need to cover a little over 100 miles to get to the next marina