Welcomed to Grand Bahama by friends

This week started with Paul and I reattaching my galley sink, which had come loose.  Once this project was completed we moved to Slaughter Harbor (nice weather anchorage only) between Big and Little Stirrup Cays.  The reason we wanted to be here is because Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise ships own these islands to use as a day stop for their passengers.  We spent the first day at Royal Caribbean’s island because it was the better one.  They had nice shops, a food court, beaches, and infrastructure.  But the best part was the great water toys they had including a jungle gym, slides, sea-saw, and climbing ball (see photo).  We used these after everyone left for the day and had a blast.  Norwegian’s island was still under construction so it was not as great, but on the eastern end there is an 1890’s lighthouse worth visiting. Now I am not sure the cruise ships wanted us there so don’t tell anyone I told you we went, ok?

On Wednesday we weighed anchor at 6am and sail to Grand Bahama Island.  The winds were suppose to be around 10 knots behind us so we thought it would take 10-12 hours to get there, but the ended up being closer to 15 and on the beam and we averaged 7.2 knots and got in at 1:30pm.  Once here we entered the Lucayan Waterway (this is a 60 year old waterway where very few house have been built, so you can dock along the wall almost anywhere) and visited an abandoned hotel.  The hotel had been stripped out and was not much more than a concrete shell, but Paul and I had fun exploring it.  At the very top floor I found an owl (see photo) which was the highlight of the day.

One of the reasons I wanted to come to this island was to visit Randy and Paula, the brother and sister I met in Rock Sound two months ago.  Paula even arranged for us to have a free dock at the Sir Charles Hayward Yacht Club (if you need a place I recommend it – they have a clubhouse, pool, super manager, and only charge $1 a foot).  We went out to dinner at the local fish fry and met Paula’s husband Don and youngest daughter Megan.  The next day we walked to the Garden of The Groves, which is a botanical garden started by the founders of Freeport, Mr & Mrs Groves.  It was quite lovely and relaxing and worth the $15 entrance fee.  In the evening we went to Randy’s house for an absolutely fantastic BBQ and met his wife Allison and their two daughters.  On Friday Don took us on a driving tour of Freeport during the day and everyone went out for dinner at the Lucaya Marketplace (this is a great outdoor mall with restaurants, shops, hotels, and a marina all together).  After dinner we walked around and enjoyed the entertainment.  One guy was a limbo dancer and did the limbo under a pole held up by a beer bottle (see photo for this amazing feat).  On Saturday everyone came aboard my boat and joined Paul, Nancy, & I as we traveled to West End (see photo of everyone once we got there), where we are staging to cross back to the USA.  I had a great time with everyone aboard and was sad to see them head home, but we talked about them visiting me in Abacos this fall.