Bahamas - Green Turtle Cay and Boat Yard Fun
This week Paul and I enter our second week of working in the boat yard at Abaco Yacht Services at Green Turtle Cay in the Abaco island group of the Bahamas. We had a couple of days delay with heavy rain and thunderstorms last week and now we're waiting for a part to come in by courier, a part we need to install before launching, and so it goes.
But delays are common when doing annual maintenance or boat repairs especially in off-the-beaten-path places like Green Turtle Cay where communications and shipping can be more time-consuming in some situations.
Related: Paul's Tech Blog “Problems in Paradise”.
But despite this, we like working and cruising in quiet charming places like Green Turtle Cay because life is good and the people friendly. When you are in beautiful and supportive environments the occasional things that go wrong just seem easier to handle.
Although Paul and I enjoy doing our own work on the boat, boat yard work can be messy and in hot climates can be exhausting, so finding a nice location like Green Turtle Cay and setting things up to be fun helps to keep your enthusiasm up.
One of the major things we've done to make this year's round of boat maintenance more pleasant is to rent the cottage next to the boat yard office. We normally stay on board when working in the yard since it's convenient and saves money, but soaring temperatures in the boat yard in September in the Bahamas makes onboard living onshore pretty uncomfortable and with the mosquitos and no-see-ums that come out at night we decided to treat ourselves. (At anchor away from shore there is always a breeze and mosquitos are rarely a problem. It's just because the boat is ashore.)
The Twin Gables Cottage is as convenient as living on board in the yard and it's nice to have a relaxing air conditioned place to retreat to for a shower and a rest when we need a break from boat work. The cottage has a huge kitchen and we're having fun cooking and baking things we wouldn't on the boat in the heat of the boat yard.
There's lots of space so we've even had friends over for a meal and drinks. It is adding a sense of having a vacation to our yard work, part of our “keep it fun” philosophy. If you can work such a thing into your budget ($125 per day with discounts for a week or more) and the yard you're working in offers this opportunity we would highly recommend it.
Related: For photos of the cottage interior see “Back to the Boat in the Bahamas”
Many of our cruising friends in the Mediterranean do this each winter. They find a nice apartment or house to rent close to the boat yard and move off the boat for a couple of months while doing work and new projects on their boat. It offers a change of scene and an opportunity to become a part of the community in the foreign country that you're visiting.
Another thing we recommend doing to keep things fun during annual maintenance is to get out of the boat yard at least once a day. We can walk to the beach from the boat yard at Abaco Yacht Services which gets the blood flowing and a swim helps ease and stretch out those aching muscles. This too adds to the sense of having a vacation and gets our mind off bottom paint.
We also made sure we had transportation so we could easily run for supplies (there is no public transportation) but also to go to the little settlement of New Providence for a drink and the occasional meal out.
These gas powered golf carts are the main mode of transportation on Green Turtle Cay and can handle the potholes in the roads on the island. Driving them is fun!
Yesterday the community held a fundraising dinner in town to raise money to buy new Christmas lights so they could expand their annual Festival of Lights in December. A heaping meal of fried chicken, macaroni casserole and coleslaw was just $10 plus we met a lot of friendly folks from town. We returned to bottom painting with renewed enthusiasm today.
Doing little things to add a sense of fun and “holiday” can make all the difference when you’re dealing with difficult tasks while cruising. It’s easy to get focused in on boat jobs and forget that the reason you’re “out there” is to travel, explore, make new friends and enjoy new experiences.