Submitted by Gerry Clare
In May eight sail boats headed south from Amelia Island and Jacksonville to cross the Gulf Stream for a rendezvous’ in the Abaco Islands.This trip had long been planned by many and the time was right.
Seven of the boats left together from West Palm to make the 120 mile trip and anchored off Great Sail Cay. The second night out they anchored off Crab Cay. Unfortunately, winds up to 50 miles an hour caused some problems that night, but after that experience the trip became everything the sailors had expected. After checking in at customs on Green Turtle Cay, several of the boats traveled together to Great Guana Cay, Man –O-War Cay, Elbow Cay and finally Marsh Harbour-Great Abaco Island. There were beautiful blue waters, great sunrises and sunset happy hours, either at anchor or in marinas, and wonderful swimming.
The Abaco Islands haven’t changed much since my last visit with club members in the late 1990’s. But this time we flew with several other couples to rendezvous’ at Marsh Harbour. We landlubbers stayed at the Lofty Fig, a neat little six cottage resort with swimming pool across from Mangos Marina. The residents are laid back and gracious, the food is wonderful, especially seafood, conch everything and sweet Bahamian bread. There are still beautiful beaches, most notably Treasure Cay. The ferry system runs from Marsh Harbour to Hopetown (Elbow Cay)with the most beautiful lighthouse ever and picturesque village you can tour on a golf cart. Other hotspots were the famous Nippers bar and Pete’s Pub where you can drink, feast on a whole pig, and swim. In fact at Pete’s Pub, you can even check out an art gallery with local artisans work.
While we were there, crew for the various sailboats flew in and out and after several wonderful dinners together and happy hours, the boats split up and followed their own schedules to other islands and eventually back to Amelia Island. Island time and weather are important in an adventure like this, and many times skippers had to adjust schedules. In fact, some boats left early in May while others ventured across later in May, the last boat returning to Amelia Island, late in June.
I think all would agree this was a wonderful adventure and off the beaten path for our usual weekend trips to Jekyll Island, St.Simon’s Island, and St. Augustine. Of course, the club’s race schedule is still very active and the monthly meetings at Kraft Ten Acres always interesting.
In fact, lately the history of our club came up when Joanna Kennard spoke at one of our meetings about her and her husband’s early membership. Started in 1976 according to club records and unofficial club historian, Joe Blanchard, the club has approximately 45 members and is always open to visitors or new members. (You do not have to have a sailboat, as there are opportunities to crew or use your motorboat as well.) There were only four or five boats participating in the beginning, but the emphasis on sailing was just the beginning. For more information, see www.ameliaislandsailing.org.
Editor’s Note: Gerry began free lance writing for fun and is the author of a published book (available on Amazon and at Books Plus) about funny real estate experiences. Gerry is a longtime member of our local American Business Women’s Chapter, a volunteer cancer driver and church deacon who loves to read, travel and meet interesting people.
July 24, 2013 11:37 a.m.