To The Bahamas, Part 13: Green Turtle Cay

2012-04-16; 22:00 — Green Turtle Cay, White Sound, Green Turtle Club Marina slip #14

We’d kind of planned to stay here only one night. We’re beginning to feel the pressure of time as the days drift past and the date of Frank’s flight back north (and that of my flight to Phoenix) race toward us. It’s obvious that our 2-night stay at Great Sale Cay and our decision to spend a night at Crab Cay after the night at Hawksbill Cays are going to make it difficult for us to stop at many more places. I’d already decided that we would have a chance to stay only at a couple more places, such as Marsh Harbour and Hope Town, but today’s events will cause even that limited itinerary to be revisited.

By the time Barbara and I managed to get out of bed this morning, Frank was already gone. He left us a note saying that he’d hired a bicycle and was off to do some sightseeing, including a trip into New Plymouth, the only “town” on this very small Cay. By the time we discovered the note, it was almost 10:00, and checkout at this marina was 11:00. Unless Frank showed up almost immediately, we’d have to pay for another night whether or not we stayed overnight.

Oh, well, we’re on island time and cruising isn’t about schedules or calendars, it’s about relaxing and enjoying ones self. So, instead of getting upset at Frank’s absence or being grumpy about the unintended change of plans, we just went with the flow. We hired a couple of bikes ourselves (from Brendal’s Dive Center…which was immediately adjacent to the marina buildings) and rode off towards New Plymouth with hopes to find Frank. The ride was a bit hilly (whomever said that the Bahamas were a bunch of flat, featureless islands clearly hasn’t biked on most of them) and we were using muscles we haven’t used in a while. But it was only around 3½ miles and we made fairly quick work of the first three. And there’s where we found Frank, heading back towards the marina.

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 106 -Entering New Plymouth April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 110 -A street corner in New Plymouth

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 113 -A view of New Plymouth, Bahahmas taken from the beach

Frank turned back to go with us and we rode back into town and through the whole village (hamlet might even be more appropriate). It was definitely an attractive little place with a number of interesting buildings. The Bahamas seem to have the same philosophy about house colors that we’ve previously noticed in the U.S. Virgin Islands — they’re almost all painted in some lovely pastel color with no two of them painted exactly the same color. It’s really very pretty. The exceptions were mostly abandoned buildings, of which there were more than we’d expected. It would seem that the Bahamas are going through tough economic times just like the rest of the western world.

On our way back out of town, we stopped at a little restaurant for a bite of lunch. We wanted (a)to eat at a “local” place (not where only tourists ate) and (b)to sample some local food.

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 130 -The Wrecking Tree Restaurant and Bar in New Plymouth where we ate lunch

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 132 -A little girl that Barbara befriended at luch

Well, the Wrecking Tree Restaurant certainly filled the bill! There were some other tourists there, but most of the clientele and all of the workers were locals. Some tables had families, while others had three or four men apparently on lunch break from whatever jobs they have. It was a lot of fun to sit and listen to them talking — not that we were eavesdropping, but just listening to local people talk about what goes on in their communities. Barbara made friends with a little girl whose grandfather brought her to the restaurant to say “Hi” to her mother (his daughter), who seems to own the place.

When lunch came, it was extremely good, too. As you might not be able to tell, Frank (and Barbara) had breaded and fried conch (pronounced “konk”) with fries and cole slaw. I, being not much of a seafood eater, had chicken fingers instead of the conch.

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 131 -Conch, chips, cole slaw, and guiness lunch

Trust me, the chicken that contributed its fingers to my meal was breathing, clucking, and running around earlier that same day! (So, why did the chicken cross the road? Apparently, because she had the hots for the rooster!)

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 102 -Really free range rooster and hen crossing road on Green Turtle Cay

I’ve never had fresher chicken, and I’ve certainly never had breaded and fried chicken fingers that actually tasted that much like actual chicken. During the meal, I sampled some of Barbara’s conch and found that I really liked it and wished I’d ordered that instead. Mmmmmm….good. And the fries were done absolutely perfectly like I like them — thin and very crisp.

We struck up a conversation with a local gentleman sitting alone at the table next to ours at the restaurant, asking him a question about a sign that we saw hanging from virtually every telephone pole in New Plymouth (and elsewhere on the Cay as well). Turns out that there’s an election coming up really soon and the signs are election posters for the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party). That’s our kind of political party and we’d have been delighted to support the candidate if we had voting rights in the Bahamas! The man was wearing a tee shirt with the logo of what turned out to be another political party, which he explained was “like your Republican party in the States, nothing but a bunch of crooks trying to guarantee that only their rich friends get any benefit out of society”. We asked him why he was wearing their advertisement if he felt that way about him. A typical islander, he shrugged and said “Hey, a free tee shirt is a free tee shirt.”

After lunch, we headed back to the marina. Along the way, we stopped at a beach (“Atlantic Beach”) and then at a sort of overlook where we could see Whale Passage just north of Whale Cay, through which we’ll have to pass in order to go any further south…to Marsh Harbour, for example.

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 133 -Jim and Barbara on a Green Turtle Cay beach

Eventually, we made it back to the marina, where we reveled in our tired legs (well, Frank didn’t have tired legs, ’cause he actually bicycles in his real life, while Barbara and I don’t manage it except on rare occasions) and our accomplishments.

April 2012 Dream SeQueL Trip 137 -Frank being silly on the dock with his rental bike

In short, our day here on Green Turtle Cay was simply amazing. Frank said that it’s definitely the highlight of the trip for him, and I can’t really disagree with that conclusion. The people are unfailingly friendly. The scenery is usually gorgeous. The food’s great. And they have decent beer here. What more could one ask?

Oh, before I close this post, I wanted to mention that the (very large) power boat across the dock from us has a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy (about 8 months old) on board. What a cutie!

<<All photographs Copyright © Frank Pellow, 2012. Used with permission.>>

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