The Green Galley – Foraging

 

 

  • Identify all the possible the farmers’ markets along your route – and their schedules. A visit to one or two will net an enjoyable morning replenishing the galley stores with locally-grown and often organic produce (plus cheese, meat and fish) while affording a look into the local community.
  • Look, particularly, for local farmers’ markets that have expanded to include arts and crafts, entertainment and prepared food stands or trucks featuring local specialties – perfect for a quick lunch or a “to go” meal back on the boat.
  • Search out local farm stands that tend to be  open all week – Google “Farm Stands” or look at the ACC Marina Reports for the area that include Produce Markets as well as Farmers’ Markets.
  • Google “Food Trucks” in the harbor you are headed to – most of them have websites.  Sometimes they are a source of  very high-end food at quick and easy prices.  Local chefs often use Food Trucks to try out culinary concepts or test out new offerings planned for their brick & mortar eateries. Other Food Trucks are first steps for new businesses that tend toward authentic and ethnic. They are all, invariably, interesting and relatively inexpensive.
  • Ask about local fishermen who sell off the boat (ACC often includes this info in Marina Reports) or local fishmongers who buy right off the boat

 

The Green Galley – Helpful Provisioning Practices

Choosing what and how we eat affects both our environment and our personal health. Here are a few thoughts that will make it easier to live more healthfully on the boat while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Pack a few string bags for short provisioning trips and some larger re-usables for bigger shops.  Stops at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, CostCo and/or Sam’s Club  makes provisioning easier.

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  • Eat locally and seasonally – with lots of fruits and veggies. Purchase produce in varying stages of ripeness. Put the unripe produce in nets hung from the handholds and check it daily, moving the ripened fruits and veggies to the refrigerator to hold them at that stage. Clean each item as needed with a home-made or commercial veggie wash and a stiff nylon brush. (i.e. water with grapefruit seed extract or apple cider vinegar and salt). And keep an eye out for local farmers’ markets.
  • Chill down the refrigerator with a block of ice to help the always challenged on-board cooling system. If the fridge is a top-open variety, then fill it with large, lidded plastic containers to hold all the food – this will keep the contents from getting waterlogged and allow you to add ice on top. And, to make the cooks job a little easier, try to load food in reverse order of potential use.
  • If your boat is local, then freeze everything freezable before leaving home in “direct to the oven” containers. It’ll keep much longer as it slowly defrosts and may actually assist the boat’s cooling system.
  • Stock the pantry with quick cooking whole grains (bulgar, whole wheat couscous, quinoa, par-boiled, seasoned rice, farro, barley), whole wheat pastas, legumes like red, green and brown lentils, and canned beans (garbanzo, black, red kidney). If you are cruising for a while, put bay leaves in all of the grains to thwart pantry flies.
  •  Think about multi-purpose foods that can also be used as home remedies and cleaning supplies. Ginger and umeboshi plums for seasickness, vanilla for deodorizing, oatmeal for “cream” soups and compresses, Worcestershire sauce (to clean brass) and cream of tarter (for aluminum).
  • Consider embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet  – during your entire cruise,  or for just half or a third of the days, or just when you are eating onboard.  Whatever you choose, the impact on both the planet and your body will be meaningful.
  • Be flexible. Move meals around to accommodate weather, time, crew needs and the fatigue level of the cook. Be open to what’s available locally – you never know when fresh fish will appear on the deck or a local fisherman will happen by with too large a catch. Or an upland tour will wind past a bakery when the whole grain baguettes are just coming out of the oven.

Abacos – Man-O-War to Marsh Harbour – And Other Options

There are other choices for the last night of the cruise instead of Man-O-War – and we have tried most of them:

Matt Lowe’s Cay – If an early morning schedules dictates being really close to Conch Inn Marina. Matt Lowe’s Cay is a snug anchorage an hour from the base. And a good place to settle in for a banquet of “what’s left in the fridge”. Once an uninhabited island, it is now home to a new very high-end development; a canal system has been dredged to provide access to the 17 home sites. Still, for the time being, it’s a pretty spot just a short sail to Marsh Harbour.

Or Back to Cracker P’s – especially if it just happens to be a Full Moon. They have an infamous Full Moon Party

Or head to the base – The last option, of course, is just to head back to Conch Inn Marina and spend the last night dockside – where there’s a bathhouse, pool, restaurant, Wi-Fi and, even, a conch salad stand.

Whatever your choice, it’s 1-2 hour easy sail back to the base on Tuesday morning.

Abaco Day 10 – Fowl Cay Reef to Man-O-War

Capital of the 200-year-old Bahamas’ boat-building industry, this is certainly one of the most culturally interesting stops on the cruise.

Rent a golf cart. Shop. Eat. Hit the beach – the same magnificent one that edges all the other cays. Visit a well-known local boat builder. Or just walk. Man-O-War is an endlessly fascinating place to stroll – lovely villas, modest cottages, “doorbells” that are real bells, surprising landscapes, churches, hard-working boatwrights, long-term cruisers cleaning a table-full of conch (with licenses we assume), the island graveyard……

There really isn’t room to anchor in either the North or South Channels, so call Man-O-War Marina (242/365-6008) to ask if anything is available – dock or mooring. It is not possible to reserve in advance here. The North Channel is nearest the village and ferry landing. If you are not successful in securing moorage, then a good alternative, in settled weather, is the anchorage just outside the north end of the harbor – near Old Scopley’s Rock. It’s an easy dinghy ride between Dickie’s Cay and Man-O-War Cay to the public dock in the settlement.

Man-O-War Marina offers slips with power, cable and telephone, moorings, fuel, a pool, dive and gift shops, recycling bins, heads, showers and laundry. And, by May 208, the Dock ‘n’ Dine eatery overlooking the harbor.

Most of the families of Man-O-War trace their history back to the late 1700s when their Loyalist ancestors fled the States in protest during the Revolution. They became boat builders and shipwrights, and today Albury Brothers’ center-cockpit, 23 foot deep-V boats (some of which are now built in Florida) have a passionate following that extends far beyond the Bahamas. Edwin’s Boat Yard also has two full-service facilities with an extensive marine parts inventory.

Both Albury’s Harbour Grocery and recently expanded Man-O-War Grocery (the “Upper” store) deliver to the docks and are well-supplied – with every-thing but alcohol since Man-O-War is a “dry” island. Island Treats Take-Away, at the edge of the marina property, serves up conch fritters, cracked conch and everything else conch – plus all kinds of ice cream concotions. Adjacent are a bunch of picnic tables. But we decided the cockpit was the most attractive dining spot in the harbor, so we hauled our bags full of conch back to the boat for a lazy evening.

Hibiscus Café, the only other place to eat on Man-O-War, offers both lunch and dinner – lots of seafood in coffee shop/cafe atmosphere right next to Joe’s Studio. However, when it opens, the marina’s Dock ‘n Dine eatery will expand the options immeasurably If you want bread or cinnamon buns, Lola’s Bakery is a good bet and she delivers everywhere on the island – including the docks.

The village has two “roads” that parallel the harbor so it’s easy to make a long loop and see everything in an hour or two – including The Sail Shop’s hand-made duffels, bags, hats and jackets (no more sails) run by Caroline Albury and her daughters, Man-O-War Hardware, a gold mine for boaters, (Willard) Albury Bros Boat Building, Edwin (Albury)’s Boat Yard, Andy Albury’s boat model and furniture shop, and Joe’s Studio featuring housewares, serving pieces and tropical attire (but they wouldn’t let us take pictures so we can’t show you!).

Abaco Day 10 – Lunch Hook – Treasure Cay to Fowl Cay Preserve

After our short stop at Treasure Cay, we headed south toward Fowl Cay Preserve for an afternoon of snorkeling.

Scotland Cay

But first we realized that we’d hit low tide at just right for a change – and dropped an anchored off Scotland Cay. A huge sand bar is exposed a low tide so we dinghied in and made camp for the morning. Then we headed over to Fowl Cay Reef.

Fowl Cay Reef and Preserve

Just south of Scotland Cay, this is reportedly one of the best snorkeling spots in Abaco. We dropped an anchor on the east side of the Cay and dinghied to one of the designated moorings near the Reef. It gave us a chance to test our new underwater digital while the brightly colored, friendly fish produced a few qualms about yesterday’s dinner.

Abaco Day 9 – Green Turtle to Treasure Cay

Ready for an easy sail, we headed back through Whale Cay Passage south to Treasure Cay. One of the few big yacht options in Abaco, the 150-slip Treasure Cay Marina and Hotel complex had just opened when we made our very first cruise up Abaco Sound (25 years ago) – it was, for its time, dazzling. Today it is a modest vacation development with a pool, 18-hole golf course, 100-room hotel, rental villas and condos, and tennis courts – that, on the approach, is showing its age.

But its spectacular three-mile arc of powder-sand beach is still dazzling and well worth a visit. Tipsy Seagull Bar is dockside and the low-key, upscale Spinnaker Restaurant, where we dined that night, overlooks the pool and harbor. Nearby is the studio for Abaco Ceramics which is featured in shops all over the Bahamas. There are also direct flights from Treasure Cay to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

Abaco Day 8 – Great Guana to Green Turtle Cay

Ready for a long, leisurely sail up Abaco Sound, we headed for our northernmost destination on this trip. Green Turtle Cay requires a short outside passage around Whale Cay. When the ocean is “raging,” this passage is not recommended so we listened in on Patti and Bob Toler’s Cruiser’s Net (Channel 68, at 08:15) for up-to-date weather reports. We learned lots of other interesting tidbits as well and – voyeurs all – we listened every morning just for fun.

The weather was kind and we cruised Green Turtle’s northern White Sound and southern Black Sound trying to decide where to stay. We chose Black Sound for its proximity to the historic village of New Plymouth on Settlement Harbour (which is just too tight and shallow for boats over 15 feet or so) and picked up a rental mooring from the Other Shore Club with a view of the travelift bay at AbacoYacht Services on the far shore. We headed over to New Plymouth and stumbled on a home-based golf cart rental agency. It was time for some land fun, and the four of us climbed aboard for an island tour.

New Plymouth’s narrow cement roads are all one-way because they’re too tight for two golf carts to pass each other. The history of the settlement is chronicled in the Albert Lowe Museum. Across the roadway, the Memorial Sculpture Garden features a monument that commemorates the arrival of the Loyalists; it’s surrounded by dozens of bronze busts of key players in Bahamian history, many of whom are still living. We stopped at all three groceries – Lowe’s, Curry’s and Sid’s – mostly to sample the home-made ice cream – and passed by two hardware stores, three churches, several eateries, the harborfront and the Roland Roberts House Environmental Center.

Next we headed to White Sound – this time by road – to explore the quietly elegant Green Turtle Club and Marina. The 40-slip marina manages vessels to 120 feet with up to 100 amp service, cable, and Wi-Fi. Ashore, the Club features a pool high above the harbor, cottage accommodations and an old Bahamian-style fine-dining restaurant that serves three meals a day – all painted a soft yellow. A sport fish boat was just pulling in as we were contemplating what we would do for dinner, and we were lucky enough to garner a couple of beautiful Yellowtails carefully filleted by the captain himself. We stopped at Bluff House Yacht Club and Hotel to admire their gorgeous Ipe docks – filled with big sport fish boats – and their two pools, two restaurants and first class amenities – then hurried south to Black Sound to get our fresh-off-the-hook fish ready for the grill.

Abaco Day 7 – Great Guana Cay – Nippers

Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill is probably the most famous place in all of Abaco. From the Orchid Bay Marina, walk along the curve of the bay, then turn right at the Nippers sign. Nippers is directly across the island from the docks. If you aren’t up for a walk, call Nippers to arrange for a pick-up.

Often called a Spring Break Party for Adults, Nipper’s amazing location, rainbow-colored multi-tiered playhouse and carnival atmosphere coupled with the strongest rum punches on the planet – try their version of a tropical smoothie – makes it an Abacos “must.”

Right on the ocean dunes, forty feet above the ocean, it’s fronted by one of the best stretches of the Great Abaco Barrier Reef. Bring your snorkel gear if you are arriving early. Walk down the steps, across the sand and swim fifty feet out. There’s Elkhorn, brain and star coral.

Picnic tables, chairs, and deck railings are painted every color in the crayon box. A shallow two-level pool is designed mostly for pool bar access. And a fifty-five foot high covered viewing platform – with more then a dozen picnic-style tables – provides a panoramic view of the harbor.

Nippers serves lunch and dinner every day ($9-18) – but on Sunday, Nippers throws a Pig Roast ($20). Required Nipper Juice (regular and frozen) is is deliciously lethal and its impact become more obvious as the day wears on. The whole harbor turns out for this ccasionally R rated event. Eat, swim/ snorkel off Nipper’s Beach, relax at the pool bar, dance, have fun…

WILD BOAR PIG ROAST

All You Can Eat Buffet

Wild Boar
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Peas & Rice
Cajun Coleslaw
Potato Salad
Corn Custard
Bread pudding & Gravy

Kids’ Menu available

Abaco Day 7 – Hope Town to Great Guana Cay

One of the best things about laid-back Great Guana is that it’s a large island with virtually no “must sees” or “must dos.” Barely 150 people permanently inhabit this cay. Yet, six miles of spectacular, wide, untouched beach fringed with palm trees sports a reef just 50 feet offshore. There’s good swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Plus a few eateries, some provisioning options, and infamous Nippers Beach Bar.

Great Guana has two side-by-side harbors – Fisher’s Bay and Settlement Harbour. Fisher’s Bay has moorings maintained by Dive Guana. Just inside Settlement Harbour – on the south side protected by a breakwater – is spiffy Orchid Bay Marina www.orchidbay.net ($2.25/foot – cash or credit card)

Orchid Bay Marina is an upscale complex of four buildings, topped by pyramid-shaped roofs, edged with verandas populated with Adirondack-style rockers and picnic tables. 32 slips it in nine feet of water, with 50 and 30 amp power, ice, laundry and showers, a pool, a small clothing shop in the office plus weather service, Wi-Fi, Fax, FedEx and UPS & recycling bins! They also have the best heads in the Abacos each with three private showers with dressing rooms.

The marina can also arrange scuba trips. and rent golf carts ($25 for three hours). The mostly windows Orchid Bay Restaurant & Bar (Tues-Sun 11am-9pm) serves lunch and dinner.

The Great Guana Cay settlement is tiny but the surrounding island has met some developers who just couldn’t resist that beach – and the local residents, not too happy about the incursion and the resulting tourist boom, have been hanging their objections on the potentially negative environmental impact of the development. The biggest issue is over the former cruise ship landing that is now being developed as the Baker’s Bay Club. This has been pretty much resolved, but protest signs still abound and the local committee is now talking to the Bahamian Court of Appeals. In the meantime, Bakers Bay promises six miles of waterfront, an 18-hole golf course and 300 houses – take a drive around to understand the objection.

Guana Harbour Grocery (8am-5:30pm) is good for topping off the larder (especially on “freight days” – Thursdays & Fridays) as is Fig Tree Wines. A favorite, the Arts Café & Bakery is now closed (and for sale for $1.6 million!). A small stand on the main “street” sells fresh produce and hand-made jewelry.

Word has it that the very best conch salad in all of Abaco can be found at a home-based little stand in front of Miss Luv’s Kitchen “Bess on the Island” – which also serves three meals a day “all tings Bahamian.” Alas, it been closed each time we’ve visited, so we are unable to confirm its highly favorable press. And this last time (early Spring ’08), it was closed again – word is that it may re-open summer ’08.

Other food possibilities include Orchid Bay at the marina, Docksiders Grill, formerly called Blue Water Grill (242/365-5137) on Fishers’ Bay serves dinner only (entrees $26-44) and also has a dinghy dock. Grabbers at Sunset Beach near the ferry dock (entrees Lunch $8-16, Dinner $22-38) is a popular, casual spot (242/365-5133)

Dive Guana (242/365-5178) is a full service dive shop, and also organizes snorkel trips and rents bikes, kayaks and paddle boats. Golf carts might be rentable from Donna Sands at Guana Cay Rentals (242/365-5195) on the north side of the village or from Orchid Bay. Virtually everyone responds to a hail on Channel 16.

But the world-famous attraction on Great Guana Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill…..

Abaco Day 6 – Hope Town Lay Day – Things To Do

Hope Town offers a plethora of things to do in gracious, pretty surroundings: Go deep sea fishing or flats fishing. Sign up for a dive or snorkel boat trip. Camp for the day on the talcum-powder beach. Swim in one of the pools. Snorkel the Hope Town reef right from the beach. Surf in White Sound (3 miles south, the Atlantic offers 6 of the best breaks in the Bahamas). Shop – start at Iggy Biggy our favorite. Wander. Relax. Read .…

Snorkel & Dive Shops:

Froggies Out Island Adventures, Hope Town 242-366-0431

Dive Abaco Marsh Harbour 242-367-2787

Abaco Dive Adventures Marsh Harbour 242-367-2963

Fishing
Sport fish offshore for marlin, sailfish, dolphin (also known as mahi-mahi) Wahoo, tuna and more. Reef and bottom fish for grouper, snapper, and yellow tail. Or test your patience with bone fishing on the flats. See the fishing regs at the end of this guide. The Bahamas takes its protection and conservation laws very seriously – and ignorance is no excuse.

Fishing Guides:

Maitland Lowe “Bonefish Dundee” Bone Fishing/Reef Fishing/Bottom Fishing 242-366-0033, 366-0234

Robert Lowe “Seagull” Deep-Sea Fishing 242-366-0266

Ira Key “A Salt Weapon” Deep-Sea Fishing 242-366-0245 www.asaltweaponcharters.com

Truman Major “Lucky Strike” Deep-Sea Fishing/Reef Fishing 242-366-0101

Will Key “Day’s Catch” Reef Fishing/Snorkeling/Sightseeing 242-366-0059

Michael Schreiner “Down Deep” Deep-Sea Fishing 242-366-3143

Jay Sawyer “The Marls of Abaco Inn” Deep-Sea Fishing/Bone Fishing 242-367-3941 flyfishabaco@coralwave.com

Golf Cart & Bike Rentals :

Hope Town Cart Rentals 242-366-0064

Island Cart Rentals 242-366-0448

T&N Cart Rentals 242-366-0069

JR Cart Rentals 242-242-366-0361

The Bike Shop 242-366-0292

Sundried T’s 242-366-0616 (bikes and surf board rentals)