Green Turtle Cay was founded around 1783 by American Loyalists. Some of the first loyalist were actually black—freed slaves that did not want to risk their freedom in the new American experiment. Ironically many slaves and slave owners followed. Initially they all arrived at Harbor Island, Eleuthra, but soon many moved to the uninhabited Abacos—Green Turtle Cay, Man-o-War Cay, and maybe Hope Town. From a boater's point of view it is not hard to see why. These islands all have wonderful natural harbors. Green Turtle Cay has two of these harbors—White Sound to the NW and Black Sound to the SE. The settlement of New Plymouth is adjacent to Black Sound.
White Pepper has been to White Sound in 2008 and written about it in this blog. Nothing has changed except that the mooring balls are much improved. There is still the renown Green Turtle Cay Marina and the Bluff House Marina but little else. The entrance to White Sound is slightly deeper so that is were we went initially and picked up a mooring ball by Donny's Marina. Mr. Donny Sawyer came out and invited us to move over to one of his mooring balls in Black Sound which we did.
Black Sound suffers from a reputation of being too shallow, but White Pepper never sounded less than 7 feet coming in on the top half of the tide. The entrance is well marked and once past that there are no issues.
Heading into Black Sound
Donny's Marina was a treat with good mooring balls, a sturdy pier, garbage bin, showers ($4) and water (.20/gal.). He has excellent internet access. We rode out a heavy easterly blow there for five days. We explored New Plymouth, swam in Gilliam Bay, and went to one of the 5 churches on Sunday.
The settlement of New Plymouth like all of Abaco is quaint, colorful, and well maintained. Most of the houses date to after 1866 when there was a great hurricane, or after 1932 when there was another great hurricane. Some of the grave stones do date back into the 1700's.
Graves old and new on an exquisite evening in New Plymouth
A unique part of the town is the museum and nearby sculpture garden. The museum is set up to reflect how life would have been lived on Green Turtle Cay around 1900. There are many artifacts from other dates as well. It was quite interesting. The sculpture garden is a stunning monument to the Loyalists past and present. Note in the picture me below that one of the young women statues is a black girl.
One interesting fact that White Pepper learned was that many of the Green Turtle Cay islanders reverse immigrated to Key West. One man, Mr. Stephen Curry, became the richest man in Florida in the late 1880's. They were known as Conchy Joe's. Some took their own houses with them piece by piece. There were so many of these Conchy Joe's that Key West eventually became known as the Conch Republic. I wonder if Jimmie Buffet knows about that?