Green Turtle Cay offered us exactly what we sought over the holidays. We wanted a small island with the comforts of a marina and to be away from any hustle and bustle of civilization. This is the sort of place where everyone smiles and waves. We never made it into the town of New Plymouth without having a conversation with someone new. Sometimes we chatted to a local. Sometimes it was a fellow cruiser. This has to be the friendliest place we have visited to date.
Our home on this charming island was The Bluff House Resort and Marina where we have stayed for the past month. We enjoyed fine dining and Tranquil Turtles by the swimming pool (more on Tranquil Turtles in a later post). From the Bluff House we needed to use our dinghy to go into New Plymouth. There we can tie it at the public dock and roam the narrow streets. It is much faster and safer to take the dinghy than to drive the 4 miles in a golf cart as the unpaved roads can be bone jarring. The roads near New Plymouth on the southern end of the island are fine but as we got further away from town toward the Bluff House on the northern end they are rough.
Perhaps the best way to describe New Plymouth is the way it was described to us, a small non-touristy Bahamian fishing village. They have just enough there to support the island population of about 450 residents. They have three grocery stores. Don’t get too excited. Each store is about the size of a 7-11 convenience store and each sells unique merchandise. Sid’s Grocery Store quickly became our favorite as we were welcomed with smiles by the sibling owners Martha and Scott. Scott gave us a quick tour and explained what items arrived on what days by freighter boat. He explained the bulk of their goods arrive on Thursdays so, Friday is the best day to shop for items such a bread and fresh fruits and vegetables. Sid’s Grocery Store was established in 1962 by Sid, their father. It moved to its current Parliament Street location in 1965. Parliament Street is the main street in town. Groceries are expensive here. A half gallon of milk is $5, as is a loaf of bread. But considering the journey the merchandise must make, it is not unreasonable. Interestingly, British grocery items in the stores were a lot less than American items. We could purchases a package of ginger snap cookies for about $2 where as the American chocolate chip cookies were $9. Scott explained the duty on American goods is much higher. This dates back to when the Bahamas were a part of the British Empire prior to their independence. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as the monarch.