West End, on to Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort - Grand Bahama
We were too late to clear in on the day of arrival at West End. So it was a nights stay on Dock N4. On arrival we were enthusiastically hailed by a local man in a white T-shirt with something written on it that could have been ‘Old Bahama Bay’ who waved us towards our allocated dock. He took our bow line although with hardly any breeze we could have easily managed the docking ourselves. It was kind of him until he then explained he didn’t work for the marina and asked for a tip for his efforts. Hmm! wonder how many he catches with that trick?
Our closest neighbours were two sportfish centre console boats, used for fast trolling using either big inboard diesels or an array of outboards to get out to the fishing grounds and back often for charter purposes. We’ve seen these things with up to four times 350hp engines hanging on the transom so needless to say these boats are not awfully popular with cruisers. Often the skippers are blasé about the effects their craft have on other vessels as they blast along the ICW whenever there are no restrictions on speed, throwing anything and everything in their wake all over the place. You only have to listen to the protests on the VHF to know there are big powerful powerboats in the near vicinity. Then once in port on go the thousand watt speakers and it’s their music you will hear over your own. We had this problem at West End but the Admiral went outside and ‘fixed it’! The Pendry ladies are not to be messed with.
‘Old Bahama Bay’ marina
Our thoughts of moving on the next day were hampered by a strong northwesterly wind blowing into the entrance of the marina and so it was another day in a place were not that keen on. A walk was in order. The marina is part of the ‘Old Bahama Bay’ resort with apartments, swimming pool etc. all on hand but to us not terribly attractive, so we took off along the road to see what the outside world was like. It was one of those ‘just up to the next corner and we’ll turn round’ sort of walks but we kept going and eventually reached West End Settlement about a mile or so from the marina. It was a rather sad place as the last hurricane and maybe several before had impacted heavily on the infrastructure. Walking through town we passed two sports bars and a gambling joint. We must have missed any shops or not walked far enough perhaps. We met Bruce the local gravedigger who was busy with his pneumatic drill pounding his way down into the sub strata which is mainly limestone and only just below the surface. In such a small community the gravedigger will no doubt know everyone he digs a hole for except here the graves are often above ground in concrete boxes with a concrete lid placed on top.
Looking out over the shallow banks there was the wreckage of a sailing ketch, no doubt another hurricane victim left to founder by its owner. The townspeople of West End will be looking at the stricken wreckage for many years to come as glass fibre has no capability to rot down anytime soon. There are many such sights in the Bahamas and it’s sad that no responsibility is taken by the owner to reclaim or have the wreck somehow dealt with, albeit with difficulty in the shallow water. That said the settlement wasn’t without its casualties from the storm. The whole area was affected by not only the winds but also storm surge meaning a lot of potential damage even if your roof didn’t blow off!
Next day’s forecast was better and we motor-sailed down to Ocean Reef Resort. We will spend the next month or so relaxing and meeting up with quite a few friends and acquaintances from Titusville who now come here each year for the winter months.
Heading to Ocean Reef Yacht Club ,approaching Freeport, a major commercial port in the Bahamas as can be seen from the blue triangular AIS traces on the plotter. Yes parts of it still work!
Ocean Reef lies within a network of man-made canals on the south side of Grand Bahama. ..and the way back out to sea
Our very nice spot in Ocean Reef in front of some of the time share apartments.
Finally a few pics that we took whilst at Vero Beach Florida waiting for weather to cross to the Bahamas....