Happy New Year! It is incredible to think it is 2020 already, isn’t it?! We had an incredible 2019 and we hope yours was great too. Exactly one year ago today we made our first crossing from Miami to Bimini. Since then we have done so much and gone so far. We crossed over back from the Bahamas to Florida this past April and went all the way up the east coast of the US to Bar Harbor, Maine, before returning to the Bahamas again this past November. Lots of miles, and lots of amazing sights and experiences along the way.
We rang in the New Year in a festive way – I think we were both in bed already by 10:00 pm! It gets dark so early that it’s hard to stay up until midnight, even on New Year’s Eve. But we did enjoy a scrumptious New Year’s Eve meal of steak on the grill, potatoes and plantains.
Thankfully the winds have settled down in the past couple of days. Now it’s almost strange to sit in the cockpit in the evening and not be overwhelmed by the noise of the wind rushing past. It started to die down over the past weekend and has been only in the 8 – 13 knot range this week so has been wonderful. We have even been able to make it across Elizabeth Harbor a couple of times to Georgetown without getting soaked in the dinghy. Yay!
We have pretty much stayed put anchored off south Monument Beach. It is a great location for winds coming from the north to the south east. The winds are predicted to swing around to the SW this coming Saturday but not with huge intensity so we think we will just stay put here. Sunday will give us brisk winds from the NE in the 26 knot range so we should be OK where we are now. In talking with neighboring boats they all are going to stay where they are too, so that’s somewhat affirming for us.
Even though we haven’t moved far in the past week with the big boat we have kept busy. Sharon attends Water Aerobics exercise class on Tues, Thurs and Saturday mornings. She also gets out on her paddleboard frequently now that the winds have died down. I have gone to a couple of seminars on the beach of Chat ‘N Chill put on by other boaters. It’s always interesting to hear what other boaters are doing and experiencing. One of the presentations this past Monday was a talk by Sheryl and Paul Shard of Distant Shores. They were pretty much the first ones to start videoing and publishing sailing adventures back in the mid-90’s and have traveled over 100,000 miles on the water. It was really pretty cool that they were here and were willing to share some of their stories.
Every morning at 8:00 am we tune to VHF Channel 72 for the Georgetown Cruiser’s Net. This is a great source of information of community events being held, things happening in Georgetown, weather info as well as hearing about any new boats arriving or departing. In addition, if you are looking for help with a boat issue or need help with anything there is a time for that. There is usually someone who can help out in some way. It is also interesting that most boats leave their VHF on Channel 68 throughout the day as a way to communicate with each other. It’s also encouraging as you know there is always someone available in case there is an emergency or something.
Through the Cruiser’s Net we heard trail maps of Stocking Island were available at the tourist office. Stocking Island (not to be confused with Lee Stocking Island, which is north) is the island where Monument Beach, Chat ‘N Chill, Volleyball Beach and pretty much where we spend the vast majority of our time – it is the east side of Elizabeth Harbor whereas the town of Georgetown is on the west side of the harbor. We got a map of the island last year from friends but couldn’t find it again, so were glad to get another one. We then went for a wonderful walk on two separate trails and were once again blown away at the beauty of the island. These two trails, the Tiki Trail and Marie’s Trail, were very narrow but took us through amazing landscapes full of geckos running all over and beautiful foliage and plants. Marie’s Trail ended up at the Exuma Sound side of the island and since the winds were down it was beautiful to walk along the beach without having our glasses fill with sand. Sharon wore her suit and took a swim in the ocean in memory of her Mom who loved to swim.
This afternoon we got together with our friends, the Courcy’s, and I attempted water skiing on their surfboard. Of course I didn’t do very well as I’m not a good skier even with skis but it was a hoot to be pulled around on the surfboard all around the harbor. Our dinghy motor is a bit bigger than the Courcy’s so we used our dinghy to pull us around. Joe is a whiz at it and was able to get up on his feet and zoom all over behind the dinghy. His two boys, Tristan and Nathan, also got out on the board and did great! Tristan, who I think is about 10 years old, even got up on his feet on the board for the first time ever. Way to go, Tristan! While we were zooming around the harbor Sharon, Leila and Megan watched us from their paddle boards. Max spent his afternoon on the front of Sharon’s paddleboard keeping an ever-intent eye on me wherever I went. Too much fun! We then went back to Joe and Leila’s boat for a tour of their boat and Happy Hour. Thanks, Courcy’s, for a wonderful afternoon out on the water!
We plan on staying where we are probably until the first part of next week to wait for the tougher winds this weekend to settle down. We hope we will be able to travel south a little ways as we hear there are incredible places to snorkel and would like to check them out.