Sunday, March 12, 2017

Georgetown: Cruiser's Regatta!

Sunday, February 25
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Well, it's been a long time since I posted anything.  What can I say?  I'm on Island Time! ;)

At any rate, on Sunday morning, when we left the piano and the mermaid, we made our first passage through one of the infamous Exuma Cuts and out into the deep waters of the Exuma Sound.  These cuts can be treacherous if you time them wrong.  They have strong tidal currents, and if you get the wind (which drives the waves) and the current opposed, you get something called a "rage", with steep short waves and choppy confused seas.  I guess we got it right, because we motored through Rudder Cut smooth as can be with no problems.

The trip to Georgetown was an easy motor-sail South East, and seven hours and 35 miles later, we dropped the anchor off of North Monument Beach in Elizabeth harbor, just across the harbor from Georgetown, Great Exuma.
N23 31.788  W075 46.259
This is the furthest South and East our travels will take us.

Another Gorgeous Sunset.  Someone on the radio pointed out that "This does not suck!"
We've spent almost 2 weeks in Georgetown, moving the boat numerous times.  We arrived in time for the last half of the Cruiser's Regatta.  What a blast! Next time, we'll time things so as to get here before the Regatta starts so as to not miss anything!  The Cruiser's Regatta is a lot more than just races. Every day, there were lots of varied activities, including volleyball, bocce ball, dinghy races, water aerobics, "Treasures from the Bilge" flea market, "Paradise in a Coconut" painting class, lectures, a costume party, and a scavenger hunt. A "Cruiser's Net" was held every morning at 8AM on VHF channel 72 to cover the day's activities, weather, boater's general information, help requests, and buy/sell/trade announcements. And if none of that appealed to you, you could just sit on the beach, or enjoy a conchburger and a Kalik (the Bahamian beer) at the Chat 'n' Chill.

Volleyball Beach.  Note that the posts holding up the net are sailboat mast sections!
The Signpost.  Distances to everybody's home ports.
The Chat 'n' Chill Beach Bar
Chillin' on the Beach
You just can't imagine the scope of this event.   There were a LOT of cruising boats present! The final count was 307 boats at anchor!!  The view at night was simply incredible with that many anchor lights looking like a whole galaxy!
Boats and Dinghys Everywhere
A whole Galaxy of Anchor Lights
We expected to be here a week, but ended up staying longer than anticipated because an extended front came through with E winds at 20-30 kts for three days solid!  The first night of the blow, we saw winds up to 35 kts, and we were partially sheltered by Monument Hill! Some boats say they saw as high as 52 kts!!  We had 100' of anchor rode out in 10' of water, and our anchor held solid the whole time, despite a "fire drill" when we thought we had dragged 60 ft, but it turned out to be a GPS hiccup! (resetting the GPS "returned" us to our original position!)
It's Windy Out There!
I'm going to depart from my usual, day-by-day chronology and just hit some of the high points.  Because of the rough conditions, every dinghy ride was a soaking wet experience, and I didn't get a lot of photos because my phone/camera was always sealed up in a waterproof bag!  Joan did much better with her borrowed waterproof camera, and I'll cheat and either crib some of her photos, or point you to her blog postings:
Joan's Georgetown post 1
Joan's Georgetown post 2
Joan's Georgetown post 3

Art Class
"Paradise in a Coconut"

The costume party was a "Castaways" theme, and heavily featured characters from Gilligan's Island, but also included Tom Hanks and Wilson, Captain Jack Sparrow, and others.  The winners (for creativity) were a couple of guys who had nothing for costumes, so fashioned something out of palmetto fronds, rope, and sticks!
Ginger and Transvestite Ginger
Mr. & Mrs. Howell
The Professor and his Coconut Telegraph
Unnamed Castaways
A couple of times, we moved the boat across the harbor right next to Georgetown itself, so we could dinghy in, provision, explore, shop and dine out.

Sculpture at the Two Turtles Bar (there are actually 7 Turtles!)
Exuma Straw Market (the original one burned down)
Peace and Plenty Resort.  Had a great dinner there.
The Music Festival was starting up the day after we left

With the winds finally dying down to sane levels on Wednesday, we waited until Friday to depart in order to give the waves on the Exuma Sound a chance to die down too.

Next, its off North to Lee Stocking Island to see the abandoned research center there.  Shades of Jurassic Park!  We'll be sure to keep a sharp eye out for Velociraptors! ;)

Life is good.

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