Storm over the Abacos

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 19 Feb 2010 22:49
Apparently it's rare for storm systems to pass right over the Abacos in winter - we generally just get swiped by the trailing cold fronts from the storms further north which causes a increase in wind strength from the North quadrant before things settle down again. Last night 40+knot winds hit from the southwest before clocking round to the northwest so once again we were riding the long fetch entering Marsh Harbour throughout the night. But tomorrow is forecast to be lighter and brighter for a few days before the next front arrives Tues/Weds.
With family guests Ray & Chris onboard we hired a car and headed south down to Sandy Point where the fresh lobster was recommended in Nancy's Bar by a fellow cruiser. A good place to have lunch perhaps, but not until we had visited Cherokee Settlement with its record breaking 700+ foot long wooden dock that stretches out into Cherokee Sound. This has been in continual use since 1942 and has been rebuilt repeatedly after various hurricanes have passed over from time to time. It's a tranquil place, the colours were beautiful and we were the only visitors around to enjoy the walk along the dock and pickup conch shells on the beach.
It was then off to Sandy point along miles of dead-straight road that stretched as far as the eye could see. Every now and then a sign post stating "dangerous curve" would loom up and require an extra half turn of the Buick's steering wheel before yet another long straight line of tarmac opened up ahead. In fact if you were ever in trouble flying a light aircraft in these parts then there is absolutely no danger of not having somewhere to land in an emergency. Just use the road!
Sandy Point has it's own airstrip and a regular service operates to Marsh Harbour for those that can't face the miles of empty straight road. The settlement is a step back in time with children playing barefoot in their gardens, some derelict house and of course a church for ever denomination. But Nancy's Bar was a revelation in itself, looking very closed up (or should that be 'closed down') as we piled out of the car and headed for the door. But like so many bars and restaurants out here electric lighting is not over-used and with the small windows barely any light escapes to the outside. Needless to say we were the only people there for lunch and to pass the time whilst waiting we played a quick game of darts whilst Phil was entertained by one of the local taxi drivers sitting watching television who had also stood for local government in recent times. The meal was great - we all gave the whole fried snappers a miss, preferring to not be picking through bones in the poor lighting. So it was Grouper and Lobster from the choice of three available dishes with great chips (fries for any USA friends reading this) on the side.
On the way back to Marsh we sidetracked into a couple of other settlements and one in particular had us bouncing along unmade tracks with large potholes being chased by equally large potcakes (the popular Abaco mutt). Abandoned houses, vehicle wrecks and old boats were prevalent and we had the feeling that not many visitors made it into these areas, so we found our way out by the quickest possible means and headed back to Marsh ahead of the approaching storm.
Hopefully the weather will improve to head out to the Cays in the coming week!
Ray & Phil on the 'phone' to Mum back home                                                                   Day out in the car - first stop Cherokee Settlement & the longest dock in the Abacos
The beautiful setting of Cherokee Creek                                                                            Chris takes a break on the dock                                                                      
Phil 'on the dock'                                                                                                            Nikki strikes a pose
Rules about taking Conch                                                                                                These must have had 'Mick Jagger lips'!
The long straight roads in south Abaco                                                                            The beach outside Nancy's Bar
Nancy's seaside Inn at Sandy Point                                                                                 We made use of the dartboard whilst waiting for the meal