We are in Hope Town, Abacos and just can’t seem to get out of here.It’s not that the engine is broken or that the weather is keeping us locked in here. We have simply fallen in love with this town and the island.
But let me take a step back. When we pulled into the harbor a week and a half ago the current was rippin’ and the wind was a blowin’. I started at the helm while Marc was at the bow trying to pick a good mooring ball. Maria was having a temper tantrum which added to the chaos onboard. With Maria’s screaming, the current and the wind, I got all flustered. I don’t think any prophanities slipped from my mouth, but Marc could sense it was time to switch places. So Marc came back and took the helm and I tried to pick up a mooring ball line. Whenever someone new pulls in, the other cruisers love to watch the newbie get the mooring ball. With strong wind and current it is always a sight. We like to call it “Harbor tv”. Since we were the new kids on the block in the harbor, all eyes were on us and my anxiety level skyrocketed. Marc, no surprise was as cool as a cucumber. As I’m leaning over the bow with the boathook, trying to pull the first mooring line aboard, the current was pulling the boat away. Luckily out of nowhere (it was like a mirage), a local man on a small aluminum boat appeared and handed me the mooring line. Turns out it was Truman, who owns the mooring ball. He said “Welcome to Hope Town. Stay on the mooring as long as you want and just drop off the money you owe me on my boat when you head out of town.” The mooring balls are owned by various businesses and individuals and you pay them a small fee to keep your boat there. Truman saved the day, I got the mooring lines attached to our bow cleats and I settled in the cockpit with a big glass of wine. We then ran into Truman again when we went to Catholic mass Sunday at the local playground and Truman was the deacon! He’s a jack of all trades.
The best part of Hope Town has been getting to know the locals and how they have welcomed us like family. It’s also the small town feel here, kind of like my hometown Marietta, Ohio, but on a much smaller scale. Day one in town, Camden and Marc went fishing off a pier in town. When the local school got out, a bunch of boys saw Camden fishing and high tailed it over to the pier to see what was going on. Next thing you know, a group of boys along with their parents are hanging out on the pier all sharing Camden’s fishing pole. The next day our family is walking around town and various boys are coming up to Camden saying, “Hi Cam.”, “Want to play Cam?”, “Hey Cam did you bring your fishing pole?” What?!? How did Camden become a Hope Town celebrity of sorts overnight? It cracked me up.
One of the boys named Frye became buddies with Camden and we kept running into Frye and his parents . Camden ended up spending the night at Frye’s house and had a ball. Marc and I have become good friends with Frye’s parents, Matt & Lindsey, and we will see them again in a few weeks and again next year. The more we got to know Matt & Lindsey, the more we realized we have a lot in common, like the fact that they lived on a sailboat for a year and a half years ago and that Lindsey’s family lives in Ohio. Last night we had dinner at their home and it was so nice to be off the boat and having a land based evening at a friend’s house.We’ve also gotten to know the youth pastors who are here from Canada for a two year stint doing an externship for ministry school. Andrew and Nicole are newly married and full of light. Joellen and Camden attended Friday night youth group with them. We also had them over to the boat for lunch one day to learn more about them. They inspired us and maybe we did the same for them because they told us we gave them to itch to one day buy a sailboat and cruise as a family. Nicole has a beautiful voice and sang “Amazing Grace” to our kids on our boat. We all got goose bumps.Tuesday, Joellen and Camden went to school at the local elementary school. We met the principal of the school at a childrens music concert over the weekend. Lindsey introduced us and we asked if Jo and Cam could come to school one day. He said it was no problem and that cruising kids do this all the time and that the school is used to it. So Tuesday, we dinghyed Joellen and Camden to the local dock and they walked a block to the school.Joellen and Camden had wonderful teachers and loved their day at school.
When we got back to the dinghy, Cam said, “Look, there’s my teacher’s boat.” Camden’s teacher, Miss D drives her boat to work every day from another island. How cool is that!When we got back to the boat, I asked Jo and Cam if they had a good day. They both said. “Oh yes. We loved it. But mom we like your boatschool better.” MELT MY HEART!
We ended our time here with a trip to the top of the Hope Town Lighthouse. It is the only kerosene run lighthouse still in operation in the world. If you go up at sunset, Jeffrey the lighthouse keeper will let you watch him light it. This was a highlight for the kids.
This afternoon we will unhook from the mooring ball, fuel up with diesel and head to Man O War Cay. Hope Town, Abacos, thank you for your hospitality. We will be back.