FEBRUARY---Rum Cay to Georgetown in the Great Exuma
Completed the passage from Boqueron, Puerto Rico to the Bahamas on February 1st at 3:30 PM when we dropped the hook at Rum Cay about 55 nautical miles short of our desired destination---Georgetown. Left Boqueron at 5:45 AM on January 29 traveling almost 560 nautical miles non-stop to Rum Cay. Stopped at Rum Cay because we could not make it to Georgetown before dark. As we made our way to Rum Cay, had a large dolphin swimming on DISCOVERY's starboard beam for hours. Celebrated the end of the non-stop passage with mahi mahi steaks (compliments of MISS TIPPY) and were fast asleep before the sunset.
The next morning we left for Georgetown sailing on a broad reach from Rum Cay to the northern tip of Long Island where we altered our course---now on a close reach. Two fishing lines out but did not catch a thing. Dropped the hook around 4:00 PM at Monument Beach where we anchored in the past. Sailed approximately 610 nautical miles in 90 hours! The next morning, took the dinghy into Georgetown to clear Customs & Immigration, stop at the bank for cash and buy some fresh produce.
Stayed in Georgetown for the rest of the month visiting with friends, meeting new cruisers, participating in various activities, sitting out the passage of numerous cold fronts and working on various boat projects.
Carl used the Georgetown Cruisers Net to sell our 15 HP Johnson outboard engine and then ordered a new Yamaha 15 HP which was delivered from Nassau on the fast ferry. The old Johnson was working fine but it was also "well used" not to mention it was very loud so it was time to replace it. Friends, Keith and Rose on CAMELOT, brought two solar panels that Carl had purchased from a firm in Florida--thanks guys. Craig on TILT helped Carl install the panels which are now sucking up rays of sunshine and churning out amps! Our freshwater pump failed---installed the spare. Now everything is working on the boat with one exception. There is a leak in the fresh water system so the pump kicks on every once in awhile--irritating. Trying to trace down the leak!
Below are pictures of "new stuff" for DISCOVERY. First picture is Carl returning with the new outboard. Yes, in a big box. How is this going to work? Picture two--Oh my, new solar panels! Picture three--Yes, that new outboard looks mighty fine on our dinghy!
So what has changed in Georgetown and what is still the same since we were last here? The most noticeable change--fewer cruisers. This year there are approximately 250 boats in the harbor compared to over 500 boats back in 2006. A Kalik beer is $4.00 at St. Francis and Chat-n-Chill. Exuma Market seems to have more fresh produce than in previous years and still provides few RO water for cruisers. Beach Church still doesn't have a minister---volunteers provide the sermon. The signpost is up with a few new destinations. Karen will still cuts hair on the beach. Every afternoon the volleyball courts are full and the tables are occupied by cruisers playing bridge or Mexican Train Dominos. Finally, some old timers have not returned to Georgetown but new ones are taking their place (although I don't think it is a one for one replacement).
The following pictures were taken on Volleyball Beach where most of the action takes place. Picture one is Karen cutting Kris' hair. I was next. Next picture is Carl standing by the signpost. Picture three is of the Beach Church Choir. Pictures 4, 5 and 6 were taken on French Day. Most participants were in costume--I didn't have any French clothing! Picture 4 is my partner Kris tossing a ball. Our opponents are Sandy and Tom (ANANIA). Picture 5 is Sue and Bill (NICE' n' EASY) in costume. Picture 6 is a crab that started walking up the beach up to where we were playing Bocce.
Carl attended a couple seminars---Celestial Navigation, Knots, Topics for HAM Operators, and Wireless Communication for Cruisers. The two of us went to a Southbound Cruisers's Meeting organized by Dennis and Doris on MAGIC to answer questions people had about cruising south of Georgetown---primarily the first 500-600 miles (Georgetown to the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico). We've played "Trivial Pursuit" several times (about 10-4 person teams, each team quickly jotting down the answers to 40 questions on a piece of paper). The top two teams get prizes---we never collected anything other than our drink check! I played Bocce Ball on French Day and in the Pre-Regatta Tournament. Didn't win at Bocce but I did win the door prize--a bottle of wine. Attended Rockin Ron and Kool Karen 's dance of the deck of Chat and Chill. Dan on BORROWED HORSE scheduled two ARG Meetings (Alcohol Research Group) at the Queens Dock--everyone brings their own research materials and an appetizer to share.
The first picture is Kris and Craig (TILT) taking refreshments before Trivial Pursuit began. The second picture was taken on my beach walk--searching for Beach Glass while Carl was studying Celestial Navigation! The last four pictures were taken during the Rockin Ron and Kool Karen dance--the couple with the weird glasses on. Next is Carl and Kris and the last two are Senior Citizens Having Fun!
Oh, it has been a month of cold fronts. Typically in the winter months, Georgetown sees the passage of a cold front every 5-8 days and many of the cold fronts are quite weak by the time they reach Georgetown. Not this year! The second half of February we have had strong a cold front every 2-3 days with 30 knots of wind plus squalls and gusts. It is not just the wind and squalls but the temperature drops too and we don't enjoy the cool weather at all. The weather forecaster we listen to (Chris Parker) says this weather pattern looks like it will be changing. What will be the next pattern? Well, the cold fronts have prevented the east trades from building so Chris says its possible we could have a month of 30 knot easterly wind! Remember the word "possible".
For one of the fronts, TILT and DISCOVERY participated in the Cold Front Shuffle when boats move from the more open achorages to their hidey holes. Our problem is that our draft prevents us from getting into most of the hidey holes but we found a island to protect us from the west wind. The benefit when we moved--- SCARMOUCHE (Lorraine and Bob) saw us move so they joined us. As a result, we met someone new. Lorraine and Bob are good friends with another Saga 43 owner--John and Sandy on MOONSTRUCK who we also know. It is a small world. The two pictures below we taken during Happy Hour before the front arrived.
Usually get together in the evening with other cruisers for Happy Hour or dinner followed by a game (either Sequence, Catch Phrase or Left/Right/Center). Had dinner one night with Ann and Jim Catchick (Grand Rapids, Pentwater and now Vero Beach). Ann and Jim cruised this area years ago ....loved it so they rented a place at Palm Bay.
The first four pictures were taken during a Happy Hour on TILT (Kris and Craig), TWO OF A KIND (Bob and Diane--also from Michigan) and ONE EYE PARROTS (Ken and Leigh). After appetizers we played Catch Phrase. The last two pictures were taken during Kris' birthday lunch with Tom and Sandy(ANANIA) and Doreen and George (DELCIA).
To celebrate the end of the month, Carl purchased lobster which we steamed. What a great dinner. It has been a good month. Yes, it is different to be sitting in one place but there is plenty to do and friends to visit with.
February 28, 2010