Holiday Greetings from Georgetown, Exumas! How cool is it to even be able to say that?! I’m sure in years to come we will greatly miss being able to enjoy the warmth and sun in the winter, so for right now we are just going to enjoy it, and wish you all could be here too! (Well, not all of you as I don’t think our boat would fit everybody! J)
We did arrive in the Georgetown area this past Saturday and we have really enjoyed being back here in familiar territory. Unfortunately, as I am writing this on Thursday evening we are expecting really crummy weather the next week or so, so we are hanging on tight. Yesterday (Wednesday) and today were pretty decent weather-wise so we took advantage of it by getting a bunch of stuff done, but tonight the winds are going to start and tomorrow they are projecting 27 – 28 knot winds with gusts into the high 30’s, so it’s going to be a doozy. I’ll tell more about where we are anchored now and how we ended up here in a bit, but suffice it to say that it is interesting in looking for areas around here to be protected from high winds.
In last week’s post we were anchored at Rudder Cay and had a great time snorkeling around “The Musician.” We left Rudder Cay the next morning (Friday) and maneuvered through the most shallow part of our trip and put down our anchor at Children’s Bay Cay. This ended up being one of the most beautiful spots we have anchored at throughout the Bahamas and is definitely on our list to return to again. As we sat on our boat we tried to figure out how to describe the scene before us in words and we came up empty. Hopefully the pictures we took will at least give an idea of the beauty.
The winds were supposed to be turning to the S and then SW the next morning so we left Children’s Cay in the morning as we wanted to take advantage of the wind change to be out on Exuma Sound as we approached Georgetown. With the wind coming from the SW, and us traveling SE, the waves would be broken up by land and would provide a bit less bumpy of a ride, and it worked out great. To get to Georgetown you have to go out on the Exuma Sound on the east side of the islands for the last 24 miles or so which is very unprotected from the typical prevailing east winds. This means you have to time it well with the wind and the waves if you don’t want to get beaten up too bad. With the wind coming from the SW it was great for us and even allowed us to sail for a while as we approached Georgetown. The wind was 12 – 13 knots off our starboard bow and the wave swells were only about 4 – 5 feet so it was quite pleasant out there! We have certainly had it much worse!
After stopping in at Emerald Bay Marina, just 10 miles shy of Georgetown, to get fuel and water we arrived with great flee to anchor just off Chat ‘N Chill beach in Georgetown. After catching our breath and having our celebratory beer it was cool to just look around at being here. When we were here last there were a ton of boats around, but since we’re still a bit early in the season the number of boats here yet is a lot less so far. However, pretty much every day we have been here we have seen more and more boats arriving. Ed and Margie, on their boat Margaret Lee, do a weekly count of the number of boats in the harbor and they shared the next day that the count was already up to 108 boats.
Interestingly, since the Abacos had been so devastated by Hurricane Dorian this past summer there is conjecture that Georgetown is going to be inundated by way more boats this year so we will see if that happens. When we were here last the count of boats in the harbor was in the 200 – 250 range. I suppose more boats can fit in the harbor but it will certainly make the area a lot busier.
So what have we done since arriving? Basically not much! Well, at least for the first couple of days here we just hung low and relaxed with occasional walks ashore and visiting with friends. We did move the boat about a mile north to the Monument Beach area to get more protection from a wind that turned more to the south on Monday. With the upcoming winds now the next couple of days we spent yesterday getting provisions at Georgetown, topping up our water tanks, getting one of our propane tanks filled and stocking up on meat at a nearby (2 mile walk – one way!) butcher store. It was a productive, albeit tiring, day and now we should be set for the next week or so if we don’t get off the boat too much because of the wind.
We had moved the boat a couple of times yesterday in order to get provisions and water and we ended up being able to anchor nearby Chat ‘N Chill beach again last night. However, today just after lunch we went to check how well our anchor was set in anticipation of the high winds coming and it was pretty apparent it was not going to hold well in higher winds. Most of the area around here is all sand, which is usually great holding, but the area we had anchored had a lot of grass so when we let out more chain and backed down on it even more we started dragging. When we set it yesterday and backed down on it the boat was turned completely around and it held well, but with the winds reversing and the boat having turned 180 degrees it was clear it wasn’t good. So instead of having the boat drag in the middle of the night (never, ever fun!) we moved back north to Monument Beach and anchored well in a completely sandy bottom. We put out a bunch more chain than is typical because of the impending winds and we should be fine.
A whole lot of rain is also predicted for the next couple of days and since it seems like it has been ages since we have had rain we are looking forward to it to get the boat washed off. So we just hoisted the dinghy back up on the davits and are settled in for a couple of days of reading and boat projects. Should be fun!
It is less than one week to Christmas and we are trying to cherish this amazing time in such a great climate. We sit in the cockpit of our boat in shorts and t-shirts with our afternoon coffee looking out at incredibly blue waters, sandy beaches, green palm trees, and beautiful islands all while listening to Christmas music! Incredible! You should try it!
P.S. After moving today and doing my normal stats it is interesting to note we are just 3.8 nautical miles short of hitting 8,000 miles on our trip.