May 10, 2018

White Sails Man-O War built sailboat

Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building boats for over 100 years, and though they have moved from building wooden boats to fiberglass ones, the process is still worth watching. Our faces in the open window of the shop have become familiar to the fellows who create these masterpieces.





Wooden Boats at Dock boats built by the Alburys

Many of the older wooden boats they created are still in use today, a few of them anchored in the harbour. The biggest one is the schooner William H. Albury, 60' long, built in 1963. It had a long and varied career and eventually ended up in Jamaica, where it was neglected, left to rot in the sun. David Wright, a part-time resident of Man-O-War since he was a child, rescued the boat and spent 26 days bringing it back to the Abacos. He is spending his winters working to restore it.

Wooden Ship Lines





deck of the William H. Albury


There is a constant need for volunteers to help with the endless tasks. Enter Pat. David had no idea what kind of gold mine he tapped into when Pat arrived. He got busy and rebuilt, then painted the whole head area, then started on the decks. His mornings [way too hot to work on deck in the afternoons] were spent prying out rotten wood and fitting in new pieces. Once that was done he fiberglassed the entire deck as well as some of the deck hatches. During a heavy downpour last week, David proclaimed that nothing leaked. Yeah! It was a huge job well done.

While Pat was woodworking, there was a fellow Canadian aboard trying to get the motor running. It was finally decided the motor needed to be hauled out and rebuilt. The new masts, rigging and sails were donated to David by the owners of a schooner that was scrapped in Kingston Ontario. Though all of the gear was free, it cost David $12,000 to get it shipped down to him in the Abacos. When we come back next year, I'm sure Pat will be there to help get the masts installed. David has become a very dear friend and I tried to keep him well fed after their long days at work. He also plays the mandolin and would often entertain us and our friends at happy hour.

Long DocksWhen Pat wasn't working, we spent our time lounging on the boat, walking the island and the beaches, and visiting with people we have met. I am an avid cross stitcher and spent many quiet hours doing what I love to do. Two or three times a week we would spend an hour or so at the coffee shop chatting up fellow cruisers and locals.

No matter where we went on the island, there was someone we knew or someone to meet. Towards the west end of the island, down the most beautiful, flower filled, tree lined road, there is a spot where the island narrows to the width of the road. It's called The Narrows. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean. On the Sea of Abaco side is a white sand beach, a brick barbeque and a big gazebo. It is a super destination for a picnic and a great place to meet other cruisers and locals. One day we invited every boat anchored off the beach for a pot luck early dinner at the gazebo. We were about 30 people and had a grand time. On a Saturday in mid February there was a flea market and fund-raising day for the local school. The settlement was jammed with cruisers and tourists [yes, you can tell the difference!] and everyone got involved with games, the craft tables, the silent auction and the food tent. The local school has only about 35 students from grade 2 to 6. There weren't any little ones this year and from grade 7 up, the children are ferried to Marsh Harbour for school. We sat with the two teachers to eat lunch and got more insight into the running of the island and their education system. Right after lunch, the children came by each person and handed him or her a hand written thank you note for supporting their fundraiser. They were so cute and shy. I had brought over some school supplies from the states and had given the package to the teachers, but next year I will bring more. They really appreciate everything we can give them.

Winding Lanes walking on Man-O-War highway

The highlight of our stay here was the arrival of our daughter Kelly, her husband Rob and our grandsons Carson and Connor. We were so happy to see them. They spent eight days with us and we managed to get them around to most of our favorite spots. We sailed, there was snorkeling on the ocean reef at the end of Man-O-War Cay, they climbed to the top of the lighthouse and we had a picnic at the Narrows. They saw manta rays, nurse sharks, barracudas and big sea turtles. We had a lot of fun with them and were excited to be able to share with them our winter home. It is one thing to explain it, another to see that turquoise water for yourself.

The NarrowsThe Narrows...Atlantic on the right and Sea of Abaco on left

It is now the 20th of April, and time to start west. It has become very hot and the humidity is overpowering. We are finding ourselves staying below where it is cooler with all of the fans going. The heat in the summer must be brutal here. Today we went around The Whale on a flat calm sea and are back at Green Turtle Cay. Time to watch for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream.

Until next time........

Flowery Lanes White Sandy Beaches

 

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