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Monday, April 4, 2016

Lubbers' Quarters, Abacos

Alongside the Tilloo Cut

It just keeps getting better and better!  After two days anchored offshore Elbow Cay, an island that is not only beautiful but offers fairly good protection from all but N/NE winds, I have identified a competitor for the title of “a favorite place” to hang out in the Bahamas. 
A narrow street in Hope Town

It is a charming and historic place— characteristics that remain intact, perhaps owing to the shallowness of the harbor.  Cruise ships are too big and too deep to get into the settlement of Hope Town and so the tourism is a little less bombastic than I imagine it may be in some places. 
Homeowners atop the island of Elbow Cay

Oh, there is definitely evidence of wealthy tourists visiting Hope Town and Elbow Cay—no doubt about that.  But the island does not smack of feeling contrived or exaggerated merely for the sake of tourism. I don’t sense that pulse beating beneath the surface that calls out, “Come in here; Spend your money here; Party here.  Let us entertain you!”  Sitting in our cockpit in the dark, I hear no loud music from shore.  Rather, I hear faint voices and laughter from other anchored boats some distance away, the sound of the Atlantic surf on the other side of the island and the slapping of the water against the dinghy.  Idyllic is the word that comes to mind.
The tide is beginning to recede, revealing the long spit of beach.

We anchored off Tahiti Beach which is the southernmost end of Elbow Cay.  It is a narrow long spit of a beach.  Behind it lies Tilloo Cut—one of the inlets to the Atlantic.   At high tide, Tahiti Beach disappears completely beneath the water.  As the tide recedes the ridge back of the spit of Tahiti Beach rises from the Sea of Abaco and it is stunningly beautiful!  From the widening sandy ridge, the water extends out over a shallow “plate” that rings the spit such that one can walk hundreds of yards out into the water.  A near-sighted observer might say that there appear to be people out there walking on the water.  
At very low tide, Tahiti Beach extends hundreds of yards.

A walk out to Tilloo Cut is interesting.  We found thousands upon thousands (I’m guessing here) of tiny little shelled critters that cling to the jagged reef which makes up the island.  We found other interesting little critters as well, which my biologist husband is often able to identify for me.  Old, no longer habitable conch shells are spread all along the Cut.  

Across the Sea of Abaco from Elbow Cay is the misshapen kidney bean shaped island of Lubbers’ Quarters.  People do live on the island here and there, but the thing that the island is well known for are the two restaurants on the beach, side by side toward the south end—Cracker P’s and Lubbers Landing.  
Enjoying company of friends, two and four legged.

The two cruising couples that we have been enjoying some time with (Jax has been introducing their little potcake puppy to the world of dogdom) made plans to dinghy across the Sea of Abaco to Cracker P’s.  As it happened, the day coincided with Easter Sunday.  It was a good long dinghy hop of approximately two miles.  Had we known that dogs were quite welcome, we could have brought Jax with us.  He would have relished the opportunity to herd some smaller dogs.
Jax likes the potcake puppy, Abaco.

I have come to the conclusion that almost every good place to eat in the Bahamas has some rather nefarious history that ought to be known.  Cracker P’s did not disappoint.  As the story goes (written on the backside of the menu) the gentleman who became known by that name was on the run from the States.  He inadvertently shot the Sheriff of his town and then fled to the islands.  I don’t remember what his original American name was, but after spending a little time in the Bahamas, he adopted the name of a gentleman by the last name of Pinder—a common name in the Bahamas.  
A delicious meal at Cracker P's, high above the beach.  All the windows are propped wide open.

This outlaw, Pinder was quite a character.  When he fled the U.S. in ~1870 it was without the benefit of advance planning, or much in the way of clothing it seems.  The menu says that he retains the notoriety of being the first person that many islanders had ever seen who went around in the nude.  (Who were all the other nude people that showed up?  The menu doesn’t say.)  Apparently, modesty was of no concern to him and whether that put a damper on any courtship endeavors is a mystery that I pondered briefly.  At any rate, the menu says he remained single.  He lived on the island of Lubbers’ Quarters where he is remembered for planting soparilla trees around the island.  
Cracker P's in the background.

The baseball sized fruit of the soparilla tree is in fact the basis for Cracker P’s hot sauce, which we enjoyed with our pulled pork.  Hot, smokey and delicious.   Accompanying this was a side of peas and rice, a traditional Bahamian dish that is on every menu, along with macaroni and cheese.  Macaroni and cheese is listed with the vegetable sides in the Bahamas.  Actually the macaroni and cheese is quite good; it’s loaded with cheese and then baked.  More like a dense cheesy lasagna than any mac’n cheese I’ve ever seen. 
Beach in front of Cracker P's

Side options also include french fries, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw, the usual extent of vegetables available at eating establishments in the Abacos.  And of course, we had to try one of the Cracker P’s house rum drinks.  Mine was called “Olde Mutton.”  Suffice it to say, there were no sheep harmed in the making of the drink, but rather it used pineapple juice and rums.  Quite tasty.
Getting the dinghy to go to our boat at anchor off Tahiti Beach.

From Cracker P’s, a dinghy ride back to our boat off of Tahiti Beach was the only precursor to a wonderfully long afternoon nap, which is a rarity for me.  One should probably not indulge in “Olde Mutton” at noon, if intending to stay awake through the afternoon.  

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