#35 June 2011 The Abacos - Treasure Cay - Green Turtle - Crab Cay - Great Sale - West End. Ft. Pierce - Merritt Island - New Smyrna - Palm Coast, Florida. St. Simons Island, GA

The cruising destinations that we've chosen over the past couple of months could be called "The Lost Bahamas". The Bahamians wouldn't consider them "lost" but for us who live on the other side of the Gulf Stream, the islands we've visited seem 'misplaced' because although we cruisers crave adventure, we also want security.  It seems we aim the pointy part of the boat in the same tried-and-true directions again and again. By visiting the same crowded islands each year, the only "real" Bahamas that we see are merely glimpsed way-y-y-y over there on the horizon while hurrying to another well-populated tourist spot.
Which way...?
With the courage to venture beyond our comfort zone, there are so many treasures in these waters that haven't changed in decades. They are so infrequently visited because of cruisers' uncertainty, lack of confidence in their navigational/piloting skills, fear of doing something different or a multitude of other reasons. So these idyllic jewels with which God has embellished our planet are missed by so many and enjoyed by far too few. These are out-islands with the emphasis being on "out"; treasures bobbing in the sea. There is so much more to the Bahamas than Nassau, Freeport, Lucaya, and Georgetown!!!
A Green Turtle Watering Hole
I was ecstatic at the multitude of color changes in the water.  Sometimes it was as if we were floating in an ink well (if you’re from that era) filled with blue ink and studded with diamonds.  Then it would change to a translucent green---then to clear blue…then colorless crystal clear.  I was more excited at the possibilities that lay before us and that my “dream” was actually coming to pass—than I ever was as a child anticipating Christmas. 

The scenery is breathtakingly majestic and it's easy to understand why the Spanish named it "Bajamar" which means 'low tide' because it's a shallow area that juts out of the ocean. The graduated spectrum of the water's colors are from pale aqua to deeper teal to sapphire blue. 700 islands comprise this archipelago and nearly 2400 cays. About 85% of the population are descendants of West African slaves and the remaining progeny coming from the 1st English settlers by way of Bermuda and Loyalist expatriate Americans.

How's This For Improvisation???
Treasure Cay provided a lovely treat to overlook the emerald green and aquamarine waters that fade into the powdered sand; one of the world's most magnificent beaches.

Our final stop in civilization was Green Turtle, a small island with a population of 450 and filled with an abundant history. It is one of the earliest settlements on Abaco. Pirates used 2 harbors as hide-outs during the 17th and 18th centuries. There's a darling little settlement, New Plymouth, founded in 1784 and deeply rooted in African and Loyalist cultures.

We visited the sculpture garden with bronze busts commemorating the Loyalist settlers. There is also an art gallery and museum tucked in among restaurants and businesses lining the neat streets punctuated with colorful pastel painted buildings.

During the 19th century many large industries were on the island---wrecking, pineapple farms, bootlegging and shark fishing. During this time many residents moved to Key West and in 1977, the 2 became Sister Islands.

As much as we enjoyed these past 2 months in the islands, I've gotta say that terra firma USA looked awfully good to us as we pulled into Ft. Pierce, FL.  Our insurance requires that we be north of Cumberland by 1 July and we made it with a few days to spare.

Ft. Pierce City Marina and Park
Our Ft. Pierce friends, the Woods, were most gracious to us during our stay at their dock and we delighted in the opportunity to visit with them.
We gave this guy wide berth!
We always look forward to visiting with Bobbi in Merritt Island. She's so very accommodating. In New Smyrna, the Jacobs saved our sanity and our hides during a laptop failure by referring us to their independent computer technician (beware of Big Box Stores technical staff!), giving us a car, feeding us, listening to our tales of woe, and providing for us a much needed oasis. Our intended 1 night stay there extended into 5 nights.)  This is a very historic little town and is the oldest continuous settlement in the New World.

How do you know when you have enough power???
The Kipnises always make their dock and resources available to us when we are in Palm Coast. To each of you, thank you exponentially, and we loved spending time with you.

St. Simons Lightkeeper's Dwelling and Lighthouse

We are celebrating Bill's birthday as we conclude the month of June on St. Simons Island, GA.  

We cycled 40 miles throughout the island to visit historic sites.  The Lightkeeper's home, a 2 story Victorian structure, built in 1872, was used as such until 1950. It now serves as the museum.  

The lighthouse,also built in 1872, is 104 feet tall, and houses a spiral staircase of 129 steps leading to spectacular and panoramic vistas of the coast.  This is one of only five lighthouses that still exist in Georgia and it serves as a navigational aid to ships entering St. Simons Sound.  Its beam can be seen 23 miles out to sea.

Not exactly "historic" but from atop the lighthouse we had a great view of Neptune Water Park.

A short bike ride away from the lighthouse is the old Coast Guard station, now a museum showing a "Coastie" learning the ropes and routines of his duty as a Coast Guardsman stationed on St. Simons as he served in the 1940's. 

The ruins of old Frederica reminded us of the grim struggle for empire in the southeast more than 250 years ago.  The ancient rivals,Spain and Great Britain were the main contenders.  We visited the remains of the old village which fell into ruin in mid to late 1700's as well as the old fort.  Excavation continues at the site and during the school year, 4th graders in Glynn County schools, participate in the excavation.

Bill and Laura
St. Simons Island, GA
30 June 2011


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