Black Point to Georgetown’s Hamburger Beach , The Bahamas
Friday, February 13, 2004
While the winds wouldn’t be favorable today (actually on the nose at SE 10), we decided to head for Georgetown. In company with Simple Life, we picked up anchor by 6:30 am for out 52 mile trip. The day was sunny and about 80 degrees … not too bad, really, and the batteries got fully charged for the first time in quite a while.
This decent day was marred, slightly, when our autopilot decided to quit. Happily, it happened just two miles from the entrance to the cut into our destination, Elizabeth Harbor. Since we’d be here for a while we had high hopes that we could repair or replace it before we left.
Elizabeth Harbor is the largest harbor in the Exumas. Formed by Great Exuma Island on the southwest and a string of barrier-like islands on the northeast, the largest of which is Stocking Island, it is generally well protected from all but NW and SE breezes. Since the prevailing winds are from the E and NE, most boats anchor off of one of three large beaches on Stocking Island. Running from NW to SE, the beaches are generally referred to as Hamburger (or Monument), Volleyball (and the Holes) and Sand Dollar.
We anchored close to shore at the very north end of Hamburger Beach, near the Peace and Plenty Beach Club dock since our friends aboard White Heron and Liberty were nearby. We had a pleasant evening aboard, calm water and light winds. Sandy prepared another delicious dish, new to us … Thai chicken!
Hamburger Beach, Elizabeth Harbor, Georgetown, the Bahamas
Saturday – Sunday, Feb 14 – 22, 2004
The first morning, Bill dinghied in to the dock at about 6:30 am and walked across Stocking Island to see the sunrise. Returning to the boat, we tuned in to the Georgetown Cruisers Net. The net is run by a “control” person who, from 8:00 until 8:10, solicits the names of boats and businesses who want to make announcements in any of Business, Community, Regatta or Boaters General categories. (The regatta category refers to the Cruisers Regatta, a huge, week-long event that includes social and sporting events to celebrate the season. Cruisers Regattas have been going on for nearly 25 years.) Starting at 8:10, the controller asks a designated person to give the weather report followed by calls to the people who want to make announcements by category. It is a very useful tool to get information out to the hundreds of boats anchored around the area. Typically, the net is completed by about 8:30.
After breakfast we visited White Heron and then went to town, a rough, wet, 1½ mile dinghy ride. The town surrounds a small lake, Lake Victoria, which is entered through a very small cut under a stone bridge. Inside there is a large dinghy dock behind the Exuma Market, the largest grocery store in town. We were impressed with the assortment of goods and fresh fruits and veggies available there; by far the largest selection we’ve seen since Nassau. We had lunch at the Peace and Plenty Hotel. Our return dinghy trip was much drier that the one into town.
That evening we visited Jim & Sheila (Trust Me) and their friends Frank and Elaine (Sea Girt, a Tayana 37).
After an otherwise lazy morning reading, Bill discovered that the engine alternator was not charging the batteries. (We have to run the engine daily to recharge the boats batteries on which we depend to run our lights, radio and refrigeration.) We’d seen signs that there was a problem, with the alternator shutting down periodically but then running, again. After several hours Bill finally discovered a fuse was blown and replaced it. It apparently succumbed to vibration, being mounted on the back of the alternator. The fuse looked fine and had apparently operated intermittently in the early stages of failure, an unusual occurrence.
Sandy spent the afternoon at Volleyball Beach. The beach is so-named because it has several beach volleyball courts. It is the center of much of the organized activities among cruisers. This day was the big Valentine’s Day tournament among pick-up teams representing the various anchorages.
Sandy started the day with yoga on Hamburger beach. Linda (Water Music), the instructor, is great and Sandy says there’s nothing better than exercising with the sound of the ocean, rustling of the palms and the smell of sea water.
Bill had the joy of heading off to town to try to order a replacement motor for the failed Autopilot. It was a bit scary because the unit is long out of production. A phone call would tell the story. Simple enough except that Batelco’s phones weren’t operating correctly and when he finally got the phone to work he got to listen to about 8 dollars worth of “on-hold” music waiting for an Autohelm technician to pick up the call. Fortunately, they had the replacement drive motor and only $40at that! Better yet, White Heron had a son coming for a visit so Bill had the part shipped to Christopher who would carry it here, avoiding shipping and customs hassles.
That afternoon we climbed up the hill above Hamburger Beach to a large monument at the top of a hill. The monument was once illuminated at night as a navigational aid. It was a hot and humid day and we worked up quite a sweat on the short climb. The view of the entire harbor, however, was well worth the climb.
Today was Frank’s (White Heron) birthday and we were invited aboard to help celebrate and share in Franks favorite meal, leg of lamb … delicious!
Sandy was up by 7:30 and off to yoga. Then it was off on the 1½ mile wet dinghy ride to town. You really do have to see the dinghy dock to appreciate it … it looks like the parking lot at Park City at Christmas! It is especially so on days like today when a supply boat has just come in and there are more fresh goodies than usual as well as milk available in the stores.
We made a couple of phone calls and did e-mail. On the trip back to the boat we saw and visited Roger and Elaine (Doc-No-More) who were just then arriving and anchoring near town, fresh in from the Florida Keys. We also detoured to Volleyball Beach and explored “the Holes”, small, protected anchorages at Volleyball Beach. They are named by number. Jack & Edie (Rigadoon) stayed on a mooring in Hole #2 for a couple of years. We visited a few more boats on our protracted trip back to the boat.
Once finally back aboard, we had Jim & Sheila (Trust Me) aboard for drinks & dinner. It was a beautiful evening, dry and a bit cooler than it had been for a few days. We prepared grilled teriyaki chicken, steamed carrots with basil & butter and brown rice. (Liv, what did Sandy do before you introduced her to that?)
Sandy was getting ready for yoga and Bill was planning on going to town to do still more e-mail. But, showers associated with a cold front, forecast to reach us mid-day, were breathing down our necks by 8:30. Instead, we decided to stay put and set up to collect rain water in our water tanks with little success. After the showers came the wind. Although the forecast was for gusts to 30-40 knots we really only saw gusts in the high 20s. Bill, novel in hand and clad in shorts, tee shirt and winter fleece stood anchor watch in the cockpit. Meanwhile, Sandy prepared a delicious breakfast of feta cheese omelets, home fries and bacon. Afterwards she finished a novel, sorted her yarns and patterns for another project and made her own, gluten-free granola.
The wind was still fairly strong today but it was a bit cooler with temperatures in the low 70s. Sandy did her morning yoga, attended a “Women On Board” lunch and went in to play volleyball. Meanwhile, Bill repaired the head with part donated by White Heron. Bill’s getting to love taking apart the head!
That evening we were invited to dinner aboard Trust Me. They served us filet mignon! (Unable to find suitable single steaks, Jim had to purchase a whole tenderloin. Guess Trust Me will be eating high off the hog for a couple of weeks.)
Overcast most of the day, the air was dryer and the day was very comfortable. Sandy accompanied Glenn & Rita (Liberty) for an early walk on the beach and played volleyball in the afternoon. Bill got together with Glenn & Rita in the afternoon to take pictures and use them to make a few custom greeting cards for their grandchildren.
That evening we attended a happy hour party on Hamburger Beach. It was quite a crowd with, perhaps, 80 people in attendance.
Besides the usual routine of Sandy’s yoga and beach volleyball we attended a concert by Eileen Quinn at Volleyball Beach. An accomplished cruiser, herself, Eileen composes and performs songs about the cruising life. The songs are poignant and/or funny and everyone had a great time.
Again, Sandy attended yoga. Then she accompanied Trust Me to beach church at Volleyball Beach. In the afternoon we went snorkeling with Pete and Dianne (Pearl) at the north end of Stocking Island.
The big social event of the evening was a “dinghy drift”. The deal is that everyone loads drinks and snacks in their dinghies, ties all the dinghies together and socialize while the raft of dinghies drifts wherever the wind blows. It was a fun party! Later, we got together on Whistwind for dinner with Pete and Dianne. Menu: lobster and pork chops. Mmmmmmm!