Sunday, May 7, 2017

Georgetown and Great Exuma!

We spent the next six weeks or so cruising around in the Exumas chain of islands.  It is truly a cruising paradise.  We found plenty of ways to have fun in the sun, but it also seemed like we did a lot of hiding from the weather.  After our brief initial stop in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, we worked our way quickly south through the Exuma chain of islands, down to Georgetown in time for the annual Cruisers Regatta.  We spent about three weeks combined in Georgetown and on Great Exuma Island.  There are a lot of services for cruisers there, and we enjoyed taking a bit of a break from moving the boat so much and enjoying the island life here.

We stopped at the main cruisers beach, at the Chat n Chill, one of the nicest beach bars we have found.  Looking over the "where to" sign post, lo and behold what did we see?  That's 947 miles to Chattanooga in good ol' Tennessee Orange!

A view looking back at the Chat n Chill beach.  It shows off a small portion of the anchorage in the distance (Tatiana is in there somewhere, way, way out to the left).  The area full of house boats in the foreground is referred to as the "fruit bowl", where the house boats go by names of Mango, Papaya, Pinapple, etc.

I took in a bit of body surfing, and Kristen captured this shot of me on the best ride of the day!  (Thank you, Frank, for letting me use your gear)

The Cruisers Regatta had a bunch of fun packed into a week of activities.  We ended up participating in six events total, nearly all with our friends Frank and Mary Grace on s/v Let It Be.  Our first event was the Coconut Challenge, and it is likely the most ridiculous fun we have had in a long time.  Who knew that all that time Kristen spends throwing things like coconuts at me over her head would help us win second place?!?!  We also sailed on Let It Be in both of the regatta races.  Mary Grace did a great job on her blog assembling a bunch of pictures from all of their events.  Check them out here.  We had such a fun time with them during the week's activities!

Here is a view of the anchorage, with s/v Let It Be sporting her new flags from the races of that day, along with others in the anchorage flying all their colors.

As you can see, the anchorage here was a bit busy.  They reported over three hundred boats at anchor here for the Regatta week!

We had a few nasty clocking fronts pass through, and we ended up spending quite a lot of time anchored out of the way in "Red Shanks", a place named after the small cays that provide all around protection.  While a bit further from the action, it was far more protected from the nasty weather.  One of my favorite parts of this anchorage is the bridge that you pass under on your way into town.  It was built for a development that, as far as I know, never happened.  It seems that there are so many examples of big plans that never happen here in the Bahamas.  The bridge is very scenic and pleasant, but there is a run down mobile trailer next to it, reminding you that the construction is over, and the development stopped.  It is essentially a bridge to nowhere that hardly anyone every uses or sees.

By comparison, below is the bridge into the town of Georgetown.  Every cruiser who visits here passes under this bridge, and everyone who lives in town uses it.  It is probably seen and used 1000x more than the previous bridge.  Look closely, it appears as just a break in the shoreline. 

Georgetown was full of the colorful buildings you would expect in a place like this.  Here we have a pretty blue church.

Here is the most inviting pink police station I have yet to see.  It seems that most government building in the Bahamas are pink.  Can you imagine government buildings this color in Tennessee?  

We left Georgetown and moved up the coast to Emerald Bay marina for a brief stay (of 10 days!).  Thankfully, they have the cheapest docks we have found anywhere - $0.50/foot!  We met a lot of cruisers here heading both north to the states and south to the islands.  Here we met some new cruising friends, s/v Cetacean.  Ron and Judy also cruise on a Tayana 37, so we had lots to talk about.  We joined them on a road trip down the island, all the way to Little Exuma, where we stopped at the Tropic of Cancer beach.  Our hightlight of the day.  Here is Ron's timer photo of all four of us, thanks Ron!

Because I know you want to see our feet...

Enjoying the beach!

All in all, a fun visit to Georgetown and Exuma Island, but all good fun must come to an end, and it's time to start our trip back to the states and north...summer is coming!