(Journaled over a few days at Georgetown)

Our cruise from Long Island to Georgetown was smooth, we were running downwind and the temperatures and humidity were high, so it was a hot ride. The warmest weather we’ve seen this trip. The route to Georgetown is mostly across the bank, so not a lot of depth. We saw average depths of 18 or more feet. The day was a bit overcast, not particularly good for reading the water, but the route is well-marked on the chart so no difficulties there. The Explorer Charts have a well-deserved reputation for being accurate.

Georgetown is a haven for cruisers, many come in the fall and stay until spring, never leaving the harbor. Others use it as a base of operations of sorts, and venture to other locations and return periodically to reprovision. There are more services here than anywhere else in the Exumas: Banking, international airport, well-stocked grocery stores, post office, lots of restaurants and the like, so it’s a natural draw. “Summer camp” of sorts for retired folk, only in the winter. Our arrival is “off season” from what we’re told, since there are up to 350 boats anchored at various places in the harbor during the high season, which officially ends when the cruiser’s regatta takes place at the end of February. That event marks the time many cruisers make their way northward through the Abacos through March and April, heading back up the coast in May. A busy cruisers net dominates VHF 68 which is the unofficial hailing channel for the area. It very much reminds us of Marathon with its cruisers net dominated by the same social crowd, nearly all sailing vessels. In fact, we recognize the boat names here that we encountered in Marathon. For me, it’s a bit too structured, a bit too much nagging about “the rules and guides for happy cruising” in the Georgetown harbor put forth by voices on the radio in the sing-song intonation typical of a third-grade school teacher. Some folks love it: yoga on the beach at 9, volleyball at volleyball beach at 1, art group at 2, and so on. There’s even the “down & up”, “up & up”, or “66 & down”-radio shorthand we’ve heard only around this area that’s just like those very annoying catch phrases used by cliques that dominate high school life. You only know what it means if you’re in the clique. During the busy season, the radio is the social network backbone and is filled with endless chatter to the extent that all the available channels may be busy. So the “& up” shorthand to indicate which direction to go if the chosen channel is busy. Uh, “70 & across?” Aargh… Guess I’m just not a joiner ;-). Unlike Marathon with its solitary beach a 20 minute slow dinghy ride from the harbor, the beaches here are adjacent to the anchorages, and gorgeous; so anchorage is on the eastern shore of the harbor, town to the west, and the beautiful ocean beach a 5 minute walk from where we land the dinghy. The services in town are a 5 minute dinghy ride into Victoria Lake where there is a floating dinghy dock behind the Exuma Market, a well-stocked grocery store. Easy to see the attraction here! We took a short run into town after our arrival Saturday, but will hold off on another visit until the most recent front passes and the winds lay a bit.

Sunday we headed out in the dinghy to check out the area, sans dogs (so we can go fast). Lots to see, the harbor extends some 4 nm, so there are plenty of places to anchor, each with a different flavor. Volleyball Beach for the social crowd, Sand Dollar Beach to the south, Hamburger Beach to the north. We’re anchored off Sand Dollar Beach, a beautiful beach with pinkish-white sand, sloped nicely to make an easy dinghy landing. And we actually did find a sand dollar! There is a path leading from the beach, and a very pleasant short walk up the path among the saw palms leads to the ocean side beach. We followed the path with the dogs in the afternoon, and spent some time on the beach and enjoying the warm surf for a while. Water temps are in the 80F range. Molly joined us in the surf, and seemed to enjoy playing in the waves, even swimming along when we did a bit of body surfing! Water on the harbor side is not as clear, we could not see the anchor with the lookie bucket, but the ocean side is sparkling. It’s wonderful to see the waves coming onto the beach, and being able to see through the waves!

Monday morning dawned to winds still blowing near 20kts, it was actually a pleasant relief from the heat of the past few days as humidity and temperatures climbed as the winds calmed. A few nights sleeping with fans going! On Monday evening we relocated to Gaviota Bay just off Volleyball Beach. There’s internet access available here for $2.25 for 90 minutes or $5.25 for 70MB. Not cheap, but we can connect from the boat. No wet dinghy rides with the computer in the dry bag to catch up on emails and pay bills! So the blog updates will be brought up to date, and photos posted to the gallery. The winds subsided a bit Tuesday afternoon, so we headed into town to drop off the mail venture into town to take care of some errands, check out the town some more, and send some mail out. If the winds are blowing, we can be assured we’ll arrive soaking wet! Wednesday is propane day, so we’ll schlepp the tank into town and wait in line for a fill from the truck. We also received a note from Regina at Reggie’s Express telling us that our prop is at Lauderdale and will come over on Wednesday’s plane. We’ll arrange for a taxi to go to the airport and retrieve it from customs.

We’ll also make a run to the pharmacy or the pet store to stock up on a course of doxycyline antibiotic for each dog. Last summer the Exumas were plagued with a brown tick infestation that decimated the local potcake population, and took numerous cruisers dogs as well. The ticks carry the disease ehrlichia that is lethal to dogs if untreated. The antibiotic is quite effective if it’s administered at the onset of symptoms, so we’ll keep it on hand. Conversations with several cruisers gave us a quick education. We noticed that there were fewer dogs roaming Staniel, evidently the hotspot for the disease. This year has far fewer reported cases, but boaters with dogs are cautioned to be on the alert, avoid grassy areas and causarinas beyond the surf line and keep the antibiotic in stock if traveling more than a few hours from Georgetown where the only vet in the Exumas is located.

Our afternoon walk on the beach led to a chance encounter with Farley, Molly’s playmate we first encountered at Conception Island. They are both submissive personalities, so they get along quite well. No posturing or asserting the alpha behavior, just get down to play. They instantly hit it off at Conception, and they come down the beach at a flat-out run to greet each other. Great fun! They’ve met up on morning outings as well and it’s good exercise for them both, although I would be hard pressed to decide which one takes more beach back with them when they’re done!

Comments are closed.