[Shane – Below is my May submission for my All At Sea – South Florida monthly article. I love sharing my articles with my readers and would like to know what you think]
I know many cruisers can not get to George Town in the Exumas quick enough, so they can enjoy a summer camp environment with 400 other boats. But there are other places in the Bahamas and a great example is the unbelievably cute settlement of New Plymouth, which sits on the southern end of Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos.
Green Turtle Cay is a three mile long island across the Sea of Abaco from the main land and is part of the northern set of islands. It is probably the first settlement you have reached if you came from Florida across the top of Grand Bahama Island. The island has two great harbors offering all around protection. The northern one is White Sound and the one near the settlement is called Black Sound. There is also Coco Bay and Bluff Cay where you might be the only boat in the anchorage.
When you make it into New Plymouth do not expect to pop in grab a bite and then head out. Not a chance in this village since there is so much to do and the people are so friendly. You could spend a day or two just checking out the historical stuff starting with the Albert Lowe Museum and Captain Roberts Center. As great as the museums were I was even more impressed with the Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden, which is filled with way more brass sculptures than you would expect in an out island. This garden is dedicated to the settlers who chose to remain loyal to the British Crown instead of the newly independent United States. Also of the same era is the Ye Olde Jail ruins complete with a staircase up to where the gallows use to be.
Just as with the historical sites New Plymouth boast several more shops and stores than you expect with Vert’s Model Shoppe being the most unique in my opinion. Let’s not forget the restaurant scene, which boost such great hits as the Bluff House, Green Turtle Club, New Plymouth Inn, Pineapple’s, Plymouth Rock Cafe, Sundowners, and Wrecking Tree. These establishments range from great hole in the walls to rather elegant need reservation places.
Emily’s Blue Bee Bar is the place for a drink because this is where the Goomby Smash was invented and it is still one of the drinks I make for my captain’s drink of the day during charters. Sadly Ms Emily passed away over a decade ago, but she lives on in each drink we toast.
After all that time in town you might be looking for a way to get away from everyone and Green Turtle Cay has you covered there also. The Atlantic (eastern) side is basically a three mile long beach with some good coral reefs just offshore. You could spend the day in some places on the beach and snorkeling the reefs and not see another person.
Once you make it ashore at Green Turtle Cay I am sure you will have as much trouble leaving as I did, but that is not a bad thing….especially if you are waiting to cross Whale Cay Cut to enter the Hub of Abacos, but that is a story for another day.