Sunday, March 23, 2008

What to do in Georgetown

What is there to do in Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas while waiting for your honey? Well, not much.

Most of the local cruisers while away the afternoon on Volley Ball Beach. They play pick up games of volley ball, play bridge, mind the kids swinging endlessly in tire swings, drink beer, and watch CNN at the Chat N' Chill bar. I quickly got tired of that esp. since Kalik beer is $4. and tastes awful. The yacht club set heads for the St. Francis hotel restaurant for club sandwiches for lunch and Trivial Pursuit at 5:30 pm. Some yachts spend endless hours chit chatting on the VHF. It's disgraceful.

Trips across the road stead to Georgetown are just for chores--gas, diesel, hardware, groceries, laundry, e-mail etc. There is no meaningful nightlife or fancy restaurants except the Four Seasons 16 miles north.

The beaches are wonderful. There is a narrow beach on the western side of Stocking Island, the protected side. That is where the dogs are walked, where newcomers jog, and where the evening get-togethers are held. There are very shallow parts where kids can play in waist deep water and adults can bathe. On the eastern or ocean side there is a long magnificent beach with steep sandy coves and rocky outcroppings. There are sandy cliffs that provide vistas. Last week there was a hugh swell from some storm far away in the Atlantic. Watching the waves roll in and break was mesmerizing. A hike of about one mile south through the jungle brings you to a blow hole that jets the breaking wave hundreds of feet into the air.

At low tide several small reefs are easily accessible by dingy. I found a small "pot hole" of near perfect coral teaming with fish all in 6 feet of crystal clear water. I have not been back since the swell has temporarily stirred up the water so much it has been opaque for a week.

There is fishing, but this is best done at the cuts. The nearest one is 3 miles away. I am going to save up for that one. Jan and I will have to take an extra gas can and a picnic lunch.

Swimming is not recommended what with 300+ boats NOT using the holding tanks. You can watch the wildlife. I see about one turtle per day. A juvenile dolphin spent all of one afternoon swimming about the boat listening to Classic Vinyl on the Sirius radio. There are very few birds here and not too many fish.

I finished every chore I could think of by the end of the first week. Without a convenient ship chandlers there is not much to do except routine maintenance.

I did go to beach church twice. Today was sunrise Easter service on the beach which was inspirational. Everyone is very friendly, but this is a couples driven society. There are a number of bachelors because so many of the women (and a few men) return to civilization. But we keep to ourselves in the manner of old timers everywhere.

I have learned that I never want to single hand sail. In fact, I now wonder why anybody does it at all! There are very few singlehanders in Georgetown. Or more likely they move on.

I am looking forward to Jan's return to the White Pepper on April 1, 2008. One fun thing that we will stay for is the Out Island Regatta (or Family Regatta as it is known locally). This is one of the biggest events in all of the Bahamas and should be very exciting. It will be at the end of April.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Back in Georgetown

I arrived back in Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas late Thursday night with friends John Files and Mindy. The White Pepper was in excellent shape. Many friends had kept an eye on her throughout the month. Esp. thanks to John on Hanco. We had drinks with John late Thursday and are again grateful for his hospitality. On board as well was the redoubtable Chris Parker. Chris is a young man who build a formidable reputation as a weather forecaster and actually supports himself selling weather forecasts over the internet and on single side band radio. The forecasts are quite accurate.

Friday was cold and blustery--remarkable even by the harsh standards of this winter. We spent the day provisioning. Today is nicer but windy. We will leave the dock to anchor across the harbor in the lee of Stocking Island. There does not appear to be any relief from the wind until next Wed. Then I might try for Long Island.

Jan could not accompany me. The nurse at Dr. Swann's office was very emphatic about the need to rest, recover, and avoid any accidents. With luck and Dr. Swann's blessing she will rejoin me in early April.

Driving in from the airport I was struck with an intense bittersweet feeling. On one hand I was missing Jan terribly. However, I was glad to be back. I was struck at how much I felt at home--more so than even Corpus Christi. That could not be possible since I have only lived here 3 days. It must be that s/v White Pepper is my home address now.