Wednesday, March 9, 2011

George Town - Part 2

Emerald Bay Marina, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
23 37.78 N 075 55.1 W
(double-click on photos to enlarge)

Santana's Beachside Grille
We joined up with Mark's sister Joan and brother-in-law Evan again on Friday 2/18 for a car tour of Great Exuma Island. We traveled north to Barraterre and then back south along Great Exuma Island across a narrow bridge onto Little Exuma Island to Williamstown. There, we stopped for lunch at an ocean-side shack called Santana's bar & grill. We all had the fresh Grouper that was excellent. 
Tropic of Cancer Beach
 Evan needed his daily dose of the ocean so we went in search of the Tropic of Cancer Beach which lays on the Tropic of Cancer – hence the name. In spite of the blustery winds and waves Evan took a dip in the aquamarine water while the rest of us did some shelling and exploring along the shoreline. Joan and Evan took a water taxi back across the harbor and met up with us at Chat & Chill for one final day in paradise on Saturday. After a final Kalik Gold and Goombay Smash just before sunset we bid them farewell and safe travels back to the cold  Northeast.
The "Crew" from Dream Catcher,
Carina & Blues Braker.
Monday night we took in some local music and dancing to a "Rake & Scrape" Bahamian band at Eddie’s Edgewater Grille in Georgetown with our friends from Dreamcatcher and Blues Braker. Much to Kathy’s surprise Mark danced the night away with hardly a break. A fun time was had by all although we both had very sore feet for several days afterward.

Anchored just off Sand Dollar
Beach with small coral reef astern
 On Wednesday, 2/23 we weighed anchor and relocated to the remote Red Shanks anchorage for 5 days. After more than 2 weeks in the company of 300+ boats in Elizabeth Harbor we needed a break in the action and some solitude. Red Shanks provided us with just what we needed to recharge our batteries. We enjoyed the days reading, swimming and kayaking and there were only a handful of other boats in the anchorage.
Dave from Sequence blowing
 the sunset Conch shell
 We went back over to Elizabeth Harbor on Tuesday, 3/1 to take in a weather seminar given by Chris Parker, the guru of Bahamian weather. We anchored off Sand Dollar Beach this time. The beach here is beautiful with soft powdery white sand and a small but interesting coral reef for snorkeling right off the back of the boat. We met new friends here and became reacquainted with Tony and Dave from Sequence that we first met along the ICW in North Carolina. It seems like everyone ends up in Georgetown. 

2 dozen dinghies participated
in the Coconut Harvest
Monday, 2/28 was the start of the 2 week cruiser’s regatta complete with every kind of activity to keep the multitudes busy. Kayak & small dinghy sailing, volleyball tournaments and pet and dinghy parades. The culminating events are the big boat racing -both in the harbor race followed by the around the island race. 

A wet and wild race to get as
many coconuts as possible
One of the funnier and more entertaining events is the coconut harvest. In this event approximately 500 coconuts are dumped into Gaviota Bay (behind Chat & Chill). Then about 2 dozen dinghies, minus their engines, are propelled by 4 cruisers with one flipper per person with the goal of getting as many coconuts into their respective dinghies as possible.  

Sunset view looking out over the
anchorage along Stocking Island
from atop Monument Hill
 After a month in Elizabeth Harbor and the Georgetown area we feel it’s time to move on. Carina is tugging on her anchor line wanting to feel the seas below her keels once again. But first we wanted to share a glimpse of what daily life in Georgetown is like for us cruisers.

Exuma Market dinghy dock within
Lake Victoria with the bridge opening
back out into harbor (background)
 The Exuma market dingy dock is the “supermarket parking lot”. There are often 50+ dinghies tied up to take on free water and/or take care of shopping and errands in town. The dinhgy dock is accessed under a one way bridge from the harbor into Lake Victoria. Wednesday is propane day where cruisers take the dinghy across Lake Victoria to the landing near Eddie’s Edgewater restaurant. 
Propane refill day
The propane truck pulls up and fills the tanks while we wait. For the best coconut tarts we go to the old black car parked across from the bank. This is where Don from Don’s Bakery sells homemade baked goods right out of the back of his car. If we don’t have any luck fishing (which we usually don’t) we head over to Trini’s Beauty Salon. Yes, that’s right – a beauty salon. Trini has a cooler filled with fresh and frozen locally caught fresh fish, lobster and conch. Sunday mornings at 9:30am is Beach Church. This is a non-denominational service with music, prayers and an inspirational message provided by cruisers for cruisers. The service is held on Volleyball beach under the casuarinas trees – shoes are optional.

 We decided to make our way out of Elizabeth harbor bound for Emerald Bay marina on Sunday, 3/6. We have heard that Georgetown lets you in but has a hard time letting go. We found this to be true on Sunday as the sea swells were making the cut out of the harbor too rough for our liking. So down went the anchor off Hamburger Beach for one last night in Georgetown. 
Carina docked at the Marina
at Emerald Bay
 Monday morning was a better day with less breaking seas in the cut. The swells were still about 6’ but spaced far enough apart to be comfortable. With light winds to stern we motored the 10 miles north to Emerald Bay Marina where we planned to spend a night or two after taking on fuel. The 6’ northeasterly swells became breaking waves at the marina entrance making for a rather white knuckle approach (at least for “the Admiral”). Of course the captain handled the boat expertly and timed the waves to get us safely through the pass. We fueled up and proceeded to our $1.00 foot non-service dock.

Lunch at Pallapas overlooking
Emerald Bay
 Non service means no electricity but you get all the amenities of this luxury marina – free laundry & wi-fi, great showers with unlimited hot water and a spectacular club house where marina guests can meet for happy hour. The  marina is associated with the adjacent Sandals Resort.  Kathy got a well deserved night off from the galley for dinner at a pool side restaurant called Palappas (as well as lunch today !). We walked the entire crescent beach of Emerald Bay yesterday afternoon. Today we decided to stay a 3rd day here as the seas and winds will be better for us tommorow for our intended destination. Our only plan is to travel slowly back up the Exuma chain as there are so many beautiful cays we by-passed on our way south.

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