March 2018 - Bahamas

1 March 2019   Rat Cay to Georgetown, Exumas
We pulled up our anchor at about 09:00 and having no wind, we motored to Black Cay to have a look at a possible anchorage.  Unfortunately, with our draft, we’d have to anchor about 600m away from the shore of the island and it’s exposed to swell from anywhere.  We ran away.

On the way to Georgetown, a catamaran who was motoring parallel to us, suddenly veered 90 degrees and headed out to sea.  I then spotted a lot of splashing in the water about ¼ mile away, so I headed for the chaos.  It looked like a shoal of bonito having a feeding frenzy, but despite making four passes through and alongside the splashing, we didn’t catch anything.  There was a large basking shark cruising around, which was interesting.

Stocking Island, Georgetown

We arrived at Georgetown just after lunch and motored along the recommended route through the rather shallow waters – it gets down to 2.3 metres over one patch, but fortunately for my nerves, we had 0.7 metres extra depth because of the rising tide.  There are over 200 boats in the Georgetown bay, which is more than we’ve seen for months.  We anchored off Stocking Island at 23°30.89N 075°45.37W in 6 metres depth on good holding white sand.

The beer situation was dire – down to two bottles, so we launched the dinghy and zipped the 0.8 miles to Georgetown.  The place hasn’t changed much in the past seven years. There’s a huge dinghy dock in the lagoon, which brings you to the dusty high street right next to the supermarket and the Bank.  

We had a stroll around to find the laundry and scope out the liquor stores.  It turned out that the cheapest place to buy beer was at the liquor store by the petrol station, but that was still $44US for a case.  Everything is expensive in the Bahamas – a loaf of brown sliced bread cost us $6.50US, but if you need it, you gotta buy it.  We bought a case of beer and a few provisions and retired back to the boat.

2 March 2019   Georgetown, Exumas
There’s not much opportunity to do any more scuba dives from here to the Chesapeake, so I’ve decided to sell our dive compressor and maybe our dive gear.  We listened to the morning cruiser’s net and advertised that we had a compressor for sale.  I’ve been a bit worried that I’d have a problem selling it because it has a 230V 50Hz electric motor and the Americans use 110V 60Hz, which means that they would have to buy a new electric motor.

I was rather pleased to hear a British voice calling us to ask about the compressor.  It turns out that Nick from “Opus” wants a dive compressor and he has a 230V generator, so we’re a perfect match.  We called into see him for a chat and Nick will come out to have a look tomorrow.

Lugging Laundry in Georgetown

We carried on into town, dropped off two large bags of laundry and did a Big Shop.  Craig and Kristen arrive on the 8th March, so we restocked our larder and bought lots of beer and soft drinks.  We transported our booty back to the boat, had lunch and then went back into town to pick up the laundry, which was all done within three hours – great service, but it set us back $40US.

We collapsed for the rest of the afternoon.

3 March 2019   Georgetown, Exumas
The wind picked up overnight and by morning we had 15-20 south-east winds.  It’s not a huge amount of wind, but the whole bay is exposed to wind from that direction and we had 2 foot wind waves all day, making us bounce around. 

Our drinks fridge has been gurgling, so I checked the pressure and sure enough it was a bit low.  I was a little concerned that there was air and/or moisture in the system, so I re-pressurised it and carefully heated the dryer with a heat gun to drive out any moisture.  I then let out all of the refrigerant and re-pressurised the system.  It would be better to evacuate the system, but not having a vacuum pump, this process should have removed any air and moisture.

Nick from “Opus” came to look at the dive compressor and, hopefully, he will buy it and most of our other diving gear.  With our chores finished, we went for a look around the three lagoons on Stocking Island to refresh our memories and then walked across to the windward beach, which is stunning and amazingly deserted.  We had a look at the “Chat and Chill” beach bar and ended up in the restaurant at the St Francis Resort, where we had a great burger and a couple of beers.

After our boozy Sunday Lunch, we had a lazy afternoon and evening.

4 March 2019   Georgetown to Elizabeth Island, Exumas
After breakfast, we nipped into town to buy a few more provisions and top up our SIM card.  Back on the boat, we pulled up the anchor and motored down to Elizabeth Island, where we anchored at 23°30.29N 075°43.75W in 7 metres on good holding sand and weed.  We went snorkelling on a reef just outside the anchorage, picking up one of the four yellow moorings.  The snorkelling was pretty, but a little too shallow for us.

We headed to the south end of Elizabeth Island where we found another couple of moorings in the channel north of Guana Cay.  The tide was approaching low water and the snorkelling was good, but I would imagine that the tide rips through the channel at mid-tide.

Glassy Calm in Elizabeth Island

We had a quiet afternoon.  This is a lovely, quiet anchorage, with only three boats at anchor.  It’s only about a mile away from the crowded anchorages off Stocking Island, there’s good protection from the north-west through to east, so I don’t know why there’s nobody here.  

5 March 2019   Elizabeth Island, Exumas
There’s a front due to pass over us tomorrow, but today was nice and calm with a 5-10 knots south wind.  We waited until mid-morning to get better light and then motored a few miles south to Fowl Cay, where we anchored at 23°29.57N 075°42.41W in 3 metres on good holding sand and weed.  

We hopped in the dinghy and picked up one of the many snorkelling moorings.  It was nice snorkelling in depths from 1 to 4 metres with some nice soft corals.  It’s a very popular place to go snorkelling, so there weren’t that many fish.

After lunch, we motored back to Elizabeth Island and picked a nice sandy patch to drop our anchor ready to wait out the forecast strong winds tomorrow.

6 March 2019   Elizabeth Island, Exumas
The sea was glassy calm this morning, but the wind gradually picked up during the day as the front swept over us.  By mid-afternoon, we had 20 knot winds from the north occasionally gusting higher.  Despite the strong winds, there was very little rain and it turned out to be a nice sunny day.

Front Berth ready for Guests

I took advantage of the light winds in the morning to clean the hull.  We’ve picked up a lot of small barnacles somewhere along the way, so I spent an hour snorkelling down to scrape the little buggers off.  Craig and Kristen arrive on the 8th, so Glenys spent most of the day tidying up and clearing a couple of lockers for them to use in the front cabin.

Glenys advertised a few things on the morning cruiser’s net and by lunch time had sold her ukulele and 6 metres of Sunbrella.  In the evening, Ross from “Kohina” came over for a beer or two.

7 March 2019   Elizabeth Island, Exumas
We had a nice peaceful night – it’s a great anchorage in these strong north east winds.  Nick from “Opus” came over after lunch and bought our dive compressor, but had changed his mind about buying the rest of our dive gear.  We had a quiet day pottering about tidying up ready for our son’s arrival tomorrow.