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Dec. 20, 2007 - Jan. 12, 2008

George Town, Exumas

   

After spending our first few days in George Town stuck on the dock at the extremely uncomfortable Exuma Docking Services marina, we are finally anchored in Elizabeth Harbor near Volleyball Beach across from the Chat 'n Chill, a local popular beach bar. The season was still early, so there were less than 100 boats all together in Elizabeth Harbor giving us plenty of room to anchor, but the daily "Camp George Town" activities were in full swing. Besides volleyball, you could play Mexican dominoes, various card games, Bocce ball or do basket weaving. The afternoons are busy with cruisers playing and chatting, but the beach becomes almost deserted by five o'clock as the happy campers flee to their boats for dinner and an early bed.

There are two types of cruisers in George Town. Most of the boats are cruisers who have spent the last several winters in George Town. They sail as quickly as possible from Florida to George Town to meet up with their old friends and they sail back home in the Spring. These are the "Campers", the folks who really enjoyed the summers when they were kids at camp. The other cruisers are those who are planning to go further south to the Caribbean and beyond. We fall into that category, but many others fall back into the Campers category. Despite their best intentions, they never quite get the motivation to pull up the anchor and cross the imaginary line that puts them into a whole new level of competence and risk. Remember, there may be dragons ahead.

The biggest reason that almost 400-500 boats end up here in the middle of the season is because it is comfortable and fun, and we ended up enjoying ourselves. On Christmas eve, we dinghied over to Monument Beach at dark for Christmas carols around the bonfire. Everyone brought a dessert to share and we all enjoyed the festivities. On Christmas Day, we were signed up for Christmas supper on the beach. For $5 per person, a group of cruisers bought and cooked turkeys and hams while everyone else had to bring a side dish. By the time of the RSVP deadline, there were over 130 cruisers signed up for the party and the size of the response strained the available resources (the cruisers bought all the turkeys they could find in George Town). Turkeys and hams were distributed to a dozen boats to be cooked in their ovens while side dishes were overflowing the tables. Everything went very well and the food was excellent. While we looked across the beautiful, blue Bahamian water we enjoyed our delicious Christmas dinner while we dug our feet into the cool sand of the beach.

The next morning, on Boxing Day, we got up at 2 AM to dinghy over to George Town for the annual Junkanoo Parade with our friends Jim and Roxanne on Dawn Dancer. After the parade, we went back to the boat for a nap to wait for our friends John and Nancy who were arriving from Texas that evening for a week on the boat. Around 8pm, I was waiting for Taxi #4 (Junior) to deliver them from the airport to the Exuma Market dinghy dock to ferry them to the boat. It was great to see them! John had brought his guitar, so we were looking forward to a jam session on the beach.

We spent New Year's eve at the St. Francis' bar with many other cruisers. At midnight as the champagnes popped, we looked back to 2007. Twelve months ago, we were desperately trying to sell our house while Kiva was docked in Houston getting ready for cruising. At that time, it seemed impossible that we would be here now toasting to a new year and new adventures!

After sleeping late, we pulled up anchor and made our way to Emerald Bay Marina where we stayed until John and Nancy left to go back to the mainland. The weather was deteriorating as a cold front was expected to arrive overnight. We were concerned we may be stuck on the boat for the next few days or worse, it could have been tough to dinghy our guests back to town. Emerald Bay is a Four Seasons resort, the marina was great and the resort had five different beautiful restaurants. It was a wonderful experience spending the last few days with our friends in this beautiful resort (in addition, the generator water pump died again, so it was nice to plug into the docks electricity while I tried to come up with yet another solution).

On Friday, our friends left for an early flight back to the States and we were ready to make the 8 mile trip back down to the anchorage in George Town. We stayed one extra day waiting for the weather to improve, but were back at Volleyball Beach on Sunday, January 6.

We had had a great time in George Town, but it was time to go. Our next destination was Providenciales (known as Provo) in the Turks and Caicos, about 250 nautical miles almost straight into the wind. All we had to do was wait for the weather. On Thursday, we had a wonderful dinner with our friends on Dog's Life (Zack, Ann and Boca, the dog) with Hot Latte Tudes (Graham and Pam). Each couple brought a side dish and Zack grilled a delicious fresh fish that Pam had caught. We met both couples at Warderick Wells at the end of November and kept bumping into them on our way to George Town. Dog's Life was going to spend some more time in George Town before turning back to the US to go back to work and Graham and Pam were going on in our direction later in the month. Although sad that we will miss Zack and Ann, we're sure we'll see them somewhere down the line.

Finally, the weather looked good for Saturday, January 12 and we left early in the morning with two other boats: Sea Otter with Paul and Mary from Houston, TX and Snark with Dan and Kimber from Key Largo, FL. We were finally able to escape George Town!


Christmas Day dinner at Volleyball Beach


Dinghies parked on the beach for Christmas dinner.


The women are heading off for the supermarket while the men try to fix the generator.


Terri and John are enjoying a cool one (yes, the water is cool as well).


John jam's on the beach.

 

 


From the middle clockwise: Pam and Graham on Hot Latte Tudes; Zach, Boca and Ann on Dog's Life and Jan and Terri on Volleyball Beach

 


New Year's party at St. Francis, George Town
 
 


Hang on to your hair! We felt lucky to be at the dock during this windy Norther.


Terri's Mahi-Mahi on the way back from Emerald Bay.

 
 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2008 Jan Buskop