February 17-23, 2013
We spent the entire week in the George Town area - a fabulous place!!! On Sunday, a Defence Force boat docked right next to us. They appeared to have a mechanic on the boat, so we assumed they were just in for repairs. Mid afternoon, I saw 3 guys get on the boat in civilian clothes, and 5 minutes later they came back off the boat - in uniform. And they knocked on the side of our boat. Turns out one of them is kind of in training, and is learning boarding procedures. They asked permission to board and run thru their routine. Very nice bunch of guys (thankfully!) - our very first boarding experience ever! No big deal, all routine, and all of our paperwork was in perfect order, so it was all over and done with rather quickly. Later on in the afternoon, Daniel noticed them back on their boat, back in their civilian attire, passing around what looked suspiciously like a joint. After that, their lead guy came back over (still in civies) and Matt made him a monkey's fist and a bracelet (actually, 2 bracelets - one was for his girlfriend). Very friendly guys - had a good time. Later, after some dinner, we all went up to the Yacht Club's deck and played some pool. And Mr. Big Shot from the Defence Force proceeded to whip all our butts on the pool table! Sheesh!
On Monday, we relocated from the Exuma Yacht Club dock to an anchorage across the harbor, directly in front of Volley Ball Beach - definitely a prime spot! Turns out a catamaran had just pulled out this morning - lucky us!! Before leaving the Yacht Club, figured we might as well fuel up and top off our water tanks. Man - diesel, $5.99 per gallon, and water 20 cents a gallon. On top of 3 nights of dockage at 2 bucks a foot - they're killing me!!
This place down here is awesome - a prime spot for cruisers. All the locals here are dedicated to cruisers. And there's always something to do. Each day kind of officially kicks off with the "Cruisers Net" at 8 a.m. over the VHF radio. It's kind of your local news and information briefing each day. Herman, aboard the sailing vessel White Wind, has been the "host" for the past four months. Everybody tunes in, and he starts precisely at 0800 every day. It's very well organized, starting with any emergency communications, then he reads the current weather report/forecast - considering a lot of folks (like us!) don't have internet capability right now, this is really important! This morning's announcements included yesterday's boat count - as of yesterday afternoon, there were 293 boats in the area! After that they go into a local business segment, where local businesses jump in and quickly advertise their business, announce daily specials and menus, and provide contact information. Next up is "Boater's General", where anyone in the cruising community can come on with whatever - stuff like lost and found items, wanted items, items they're looking to get rid of, arranging shared airport taxi transportation, requests for assistance (e.g., outboard motor maintenance, knowledge of electrical systems) etc. Then comes the happenings and events - yoga on the beach Monday thru Saturday, when volley ball games are scheduled, when Beach Church will commence, where to sign up for various things (pet parade on Tuesday, Art on the Beach, Sailing Regatta, a softball tournament between cruisers and locals, even a golf tournament next week). At the end of the English portion of the Net, they open it up to the large community of French speaking cruisers. The whole thing goes on for about 45 minutes each morning, then you can go about your day.
We anchored directly in front of the "Chat-N-Chill", a little bar and restaurant. Had burgers and stuff there a couple of times - not great, but edible! There's also a little conch shack on the beach - $10 will get ya a bowl of delicious conch salad. He pulls the conch right out of the shell and cleans it on the spot, and prepares your salad. Found out later in the week that he'll also sell the conchs for 2 bucks - so we might have to get some for a do-it-yourself salad. . . .
In the water right in front of the Conch Bar, stingrays swim by every day - they're looking for handouts from the scraps of conch. We were able to feed them and pet them - really neat! Sailor tried to introduce himself, but we pulled him out of the water (just in case). There were even little kids swimming in the water with them coming right by. I was standing in the edge of the water shooting a video, and one of them made a beeline for my feet - thankfully he was enticed away by some conch scraps.
One afternoon, there was a shark sighting - approximately a 6 foot shark hanging at the shore. Turns out it was just a nurse shark, and there was no cause for alarm.
There are 2 other beaches nearby - Sand Dollar Beach, which we walked to. And Hamburger Beach, where we went one night to enjoy a cruiser's musical jam session and a bonfire on the beach. We chose to have dinner most nights on the boat rather than incurring the expense of dining out a lot.
About mid week, the bummer hits - Daniel comes down with a nasty cold. And, considering the confines of our living quarters, Matt and I follow suit by the weekend. Yuck! Felt like my head was gonna explode - probably after my nose fell off!!! Thankfully, no apparent signs of any infections or severe symptoms, so we should all repair ourselves without the need to seek out local medical attention.
Oh well, we didn't let it completely stop the world. Daniel and I still managed to get in a snorkeling trip over by Hurricane Hole. There's a deep canyon under the island, with a cave - lots of colorful fish like to hang out here. You can't miss it - it's right under the "No Fishing" sign! But I did have a little freak-out session as a result of snorkeling - my camera stopped working. We're not happy! Got back to the boat and took out the battery and charged it up, but that didn't help. Started opening all the little things on the camera and discovered a couple of drops of water in the PC connection area. It's an underwater camera - that ain't supposed to happen!!! Got it all dried out and let the sun bake it for a while, and it seems to have started working again. Whew!!!
Sailor got a lot of swim time this week - loving every minute of it! And a couple of walks on the beach every day. Yep - sitting in paradise once again!!!
As I previously mentioned, no internet for us over here, so no boat log update 'till I get a connection again. No phone service either - I could probably make a call in an emergency situation, but the per minute billing is really high. So my phone is just sitting on a counter, gathering dust. Won't be back on again 'till we get back to the states.
I can occasionally get to Facebook and our email accounts, but that's only when we get over to town and I bring my IPad with me. I can't do my log updates on the IPad, have to wait 'till I can get internet on the big computer. Oh well - such is life!!
This is so nice down here, we're in no hurry at all to move on. Looks like we just might stay put another week. Sooner or later, we'll have to start planning our adventure back up the Bahamas. Might have to go back to Staniel Cay for a bit - heard from our friends aboard Bucket List that they'll be heading there in a few weeks. Would be really great to meet up with them again! Well, that all for now folks! Stay tuned for future updates whenever I can get them posted!!!!
P.S. We just purchased a couple of tickets to use the internet, though it's very limited. I'm going to try to at least get this posted, but I don't know if I will be able to upload my pictures - we'll see. And I know I won't be able to upload the one video I have of the stingrays, so that will have to wait for better internet. I'll do what I can!!