We woke up early in Settlement Harbor to a light rain. We used the morning shower to help clean the decks which had become pretty gross from our treks ashore. The weather sequestered us to the boat for a bit, encouraging us to enjoy a relaxing breakfast, followed by another round of Chicken and Ribs, the favored card game of the week. When the rain let up, we dingied to shore to check out the island’s amenities by daylight.
We decided to head over to Orchid Bay Marina first. The grounds were well-manicured, yet vacant, except for the resident chickens and cats. They have nice docks with 32 slips in 9′ of water. Shore power, ice, water, fuel, laundry facilities, golf cart rentals, and really nice showers are available for a slip fee of $2.25 a foot.
After we explored the marina, we stopped at Guana Harbour Grocery to pick up a few fresh veggies.
Our next goal was to see what Nipper’s looked like during the day. Since we were run off the night before by the mosquitos, we were eager to give the world-famous bar another chance. Along the way we made our requisite cemetery stop to pay respects to the former island habitants.
Back aboard Spontaneity, we had a chart meeting and discussed where we would like to sail that day, and ultimately anchor for the night. Despite the morning wanderings around the island, the place was rather sleepy and the weather was drab, making crew morale low. We were all eager to pick up the hook and get moving to a better location for the evening firework display. The only problem was the weather. We had heard on the Cruiser’s Net that we might be in for a stiff breeze on the bay that afternoon, and we were rightfully concerned about our ability to sail the catamaran in a brisk breeze.
Jeff went up top to check out the reefing system on the main in case we needed to shorten sail while underway. After returning to the salon and vacillating for a while about what other anchorages would offer the best protection, Jeff hailed Mark on the VHF to get some advice. As we suspected, the winds were gusting up to 30 and forecasted to get stronger over the course of the afternoon. So, despite our cabin fever, we decided that the most prudent choice was to stay put.
In order to cheer up the crew Sasha made a delicious skillet nacho dish!
Trapped in this small pocket of paradise, we decided that we would head back ashore and splurge on more pasta, a couple of good cheeses, and treat ourselves to homemade mac and cheese for dinner. We also got ice cream to make Bailey’s milkshakes!!!
Our plan for the next day was to head to Elbow Cay to check out Hope Town, where British Loyalists settled in 1785, after the American Revolution. The settlement is littered with historic homes, beautiful landscaping, shops, bars, and resturants. Across the bay is the famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse, the last manual lighthouse in the world. Knowing we wanted to get a very early start so that we could have a full day to explore, we decided to head ashore for a third time to try to pay for our mooring. Usually, Dive Guana, the owners of the mooring field, would knock on hulls around 8 am to collect their fee, but since tonight was December 31, and everyone on the island would be hung over in the morning, we knew that no one would be around to collect our fee before we wanted to take off.
On the long walk to the dive shop we saw many ferrel cats. As a cat person, I can honestly say that these were some of the scariest kitties I have ever seen. Not an ounce of lap cat in any of these pussies. Check out the images below of the house with the guard cats. Seriously. Click on these images to see the dozens of “watchcats”.
On the way back to the boat we made a detour through Grabbers. We ended up hanging out for a few hours, playing a couple games of bags and a little bit of hook and downing a few more of their signature cocktails. A bit tipsy, we were ripe for some singing and dancing to our new favorite tune Don’t Touch It (If You Can’t Handle It). Trust me, it’s catchy. Check it out here if you dare.
Despite a rocky start, the day ended up being really fun. Back on the boat we made a yummy dinner, created new rum concoctions, and danced to our new favorite island jam. As it was New Years Eve, we celebrated with a bottle of champagne, on boat time, meaning we were sound asleep before the stroke of midnight. Luckily we were startled awake by the boom of Nippers firework display and managed to drag our tired selves on deck to catch the last few minutes of the festivities.