MARCH---Georgetown (Great Exuma Island) to the Abacos
Sailing and Fishing:
Did not leave the harbor until the middle of March when we left Georgetown on 3/14 headed to Black Point. DISCOVERY was the fourth of ten boats that left Georgetown at about the same time. The 31st Annual Georgetown Regatta had just ended. This was the first sailing opportunity for boats heading north. It was a great sail for a close reach!! (Note: I am now comfortable sailing a close reach especially if I am at the wheel. It used to be my least favorite point of sail). Initially, the ocean swell was 5-6 feet from the ENE with a 10 second interval passing under the boat's beam. So, every 10 seconds a big wave pushed us slightly over to port. making us roll from side to side. The wind chop was about 4 feet from the NE which the boat cut through with a little rock. It is what sailors call "Rocking and Rolling!!! Winds were fluky.....15 knots gusting to 22 or 23 knots. Changed our sail configuration four times during the 39 nautical mile run. Two fishing lines out---no bites! Reached Dotham Cut about 90 minutes before high tide so we rode the current in with flat water which is a "good thing".
Oh.......just another great sail from Black Point.to Rock Sound (Eleuthera). DISCOVERY was the third boat through Dotham Cut in the morning---this time the cut was rough with wind against current. As DISCOVERY approached the cut, the current was pushing us out at 8 knots with very little help from the engine. However, we soon lost that speed over ground when we started into the chop with the bow dipping into the sea and quickly back up in the short steep waves. My description of the ride--"The speed bumps were steep and packed tightly together. BLUE HEAVEN took some sea water through the dorade vents into the head and lost two pair of Teva sandals when they passed through the cut. ELIORA reported that it was tough going for them and TILT also reported "bow dipping". The wind against current is a "bad thing". Wind just slightly south of east at 18 knots gusting in the lower 20's so it was a fast sail to Eleuthera.....again on a close reach. Encountered a few light showers with a little additional wind as we approached the coast of Eleuthera. Just when it started to rain, something grabbed one of the two fishing lines......zing the reel goes as the fish is running with the line and stole the hook!
A very slow sail from Rock Sound to Palmetto Point. Sailed from anchor on a broad reach for part of the trip and then a close reach before giving up and turning on the engine for the last couple miles. No lines out because sailing in shallow water where about all you catch is barracuda.
Another slow sail from Palmetto Point to Governors Harbor with east wind at 8-10 knots on a close reach. The trip was only 4 nautical miles so it is easy to "ghost along". The following day we motored from Governor's Harbor to Alabaster Bay (6 nautical miles).
A day of beating from Alabaster Bay to Meek's Patch (just south of Spanish Wells). Had 15 knot winds---it was slow going but had time to burn because we wanted to transit Current Cut at 1-2 hours after Nassau's high tide. Sailed real slow but still arrived at the cut one hour after Nassau's high tide which was too early so we had 3-4 knots of current against us as we motored through. Made a note in the chartbook to try at least 2 hours after Nassau the next time we transit the cut.
For the trip to the Abacos, it was a great sail from Meek's Patch just south of Spanish Wells to the Egg Island cut. Then it slowed way, way down as we turned north with the wind was behind us and only 10-14 knots in velocity (forecasted to decrease further in the afternoon). Sailed "wing on wing" until we were about half way to the Little Harbor cut. This is a 53 nautical mile trip---if we would have continued sailing at 4.0 to 5.5 knots (slower as the wind decreased in the afternoon), it would have been almost dark by the time we reached the Little Harbor cut. Had two fishing lines out the entire time without a nibble.
The big event for cruisers in Georgetown is the Regatta which ran from February 28 to March 12. Participated in the Dinghy Parade and Poker Run. We were encouraged to wear costumes to match the theme "PURE GOLD" and decorate the dinghy for the parade......we did neither. For the Poker Run crisscrossed the harbor three times to collect our cards---no good cards were handed to us!! Some cruisers complained to the organizer about these two events. Complaint number one--- the Dinghy Parade was "dangerous" with boats going too fast and too close together plus some woman's short skirt was flapping in the breeze and all she had on underneath was a tiny thong and there with children riding in dinghies behind her. The complaint about the Poker Run was it could have been run without so many crossing of the harbor. Feel badly for the organizers who put so much time and energy into planning and then have to face complaints. Attended three information sessions--Weather, Photography and Cooking. (Carl attended three session---Batteries/Electrical Systems, Weather and Fishing). Played in the Bocce Tournament (only one round and I was out). Played in Ultra Trivial Pursuit with Kris and Craig--finished better than we expected. Watched the sailboat races, the Pet Parade (pets dressed in costumes to fit the theme, owners write a biography that is read while the pet is paraded around to the owner selected music) and the Volleyball Tournaments. Attended the post-race parties, lined up for the free food and drink on Opening Night and attended the Arts and Craft show. Yes, there were lots of events that I did not participate in or attend!!!
Pictures from the Dinghy Parade featuring cruisers with no shortage of imagination.
Below is the Potluck Dessert Party. Cruisers were told to take only three pieces so that everyone could have dessert. As expected, some cruisers ignored the directions filling their plates (some were even stacked several inches high). Top left is the food line. Top right is Carl with Ken and Leigh (ONE EYED PARROTS). After the dessert, the band "TOO DRUNK TO FISH" played. The picture on the bottom left is John on FREEBIRD playing his saw!
A cold front rolled through with lots of rain about 20-30 minutes into the Pet Parade. On the left is Mary Lou (CYGNUS) getting her Yorkies, Jib and Spinnaker, ready to parade around the beach stage. Picture on the right shows the cruisers crowded in Chat n' Chill escaping from the rain. However, when the free drinks were available outside (provided by Indian Town Marina in Florida)--we stood in the rain!!
The Small Boat Race was fun to watch especially the dinghies. One of the boats even "decorated" their dinghy including a figurehead. The oar could only be used as a rudder to steer---no pushing back and forth for propulsion.
The Bocce Tournament is quite competitive. I played in only one round. Must say that I was playing well but lost. The following pictures were taken during the final round. Top left is the winning time discussing placement. Top right and bottom left--the balls were packed so tightly near the pig that a judge was brought in. Bottom right---the judge brought in two more judges to confer off to the side!!
Pictures from the Volleyball Tournament
This year, Info-sessions were added to the schedule. Below are pictures taken at the Fishing and Cooking Info-Session. Top left is Mick (ESCARGOT ....another Michigan cruisers) conducting the fishing session. Top right is the audience--can you find Carl?? Bottom left is Pam (DEJARLO) who is an excellent cook. Pam says everyone can be an excellent cook.....all they need is an excellent recipe. She shared a few of her top recipes.
The next set of pictures are from the Arts and Craft Show. The first three feature the "Clothesline Art". The last three pictures show Dorene (DELICIA) with her sea glass jewelry; Sue's baskets (NICE n EASY) which she plans to feature in a show in Oriental in October and the last picture is Arlene's mermaid rug.
Carl's birthday was on the 11th. Another milestone birthday for the boy--- now qualifies for medicare. Invited to SAVAGE SON (Bob and Bev) for dinner along with Karen and Chris (SYNERGY). Had a blast. Bev made jambalaya for dinner plus a birthday cake with candles for Carl. Played Mexican Dominoes while consuming large quantities of alcohol (except Carl). Did not get back to the boat until 12:30 AM. It was a blast. Celebrated his birthday again Saturday night on TILT along with Leigh and Ken (ONE EYED PARROTS) . I made the birthday cake for this celebration. After dinner we played Sequence.
Not sure this qualifies as an event but weaved my first basket. Also found a neat piece of clay pottery while searching for sea glass at Lynyard Cay.
My first basket on the left and the clay pottery I found at Lynyard Cay.
Did a few things besides "Regatta Stuff" while in Georgetown. Invited Aimee and Nancy (SOUTHERN ESTATE) along with Kris and Craig for dinner and Sequence. The last time the six of us played, the girls lost every game so we were hungry for revenge. Our hunger was not to be satisfied that night. Karen and Chris (SYNERGY) invited us over for dinner for the mahi mahi caught on their way from Long Island to Georgetown. They also invited Luba and Gregg on Rhapsody in Blue who are from Birmingham MI. The usual boat chores---laundry, grocery shopping and picking up jerry cans of diesel or gasoline (although we did not buy as much diesel as in past years because of all the sailing). The last night in Georgetown, attended the "Open Mike Jam Session" at the Sand Bar. The owner of the bar, Alvin, let the cruisers bring appetizers but purchase your drinks from at the bar. Alvin makes "the best Bahamas Mamas". If you'd like to make one here is the general recipe: Tall glass with ice, a splash of fresh lemon juice, equal parts dark rum and coconut rum, add triple sec, kaluhla and a little pineapple juice and enjoy!! Good music at the Open Mike Jam.
Below on the left is Bob and Bev (SAVAGE SON) relaxing on the beach. On the right is Aimee and Nancy when they came over for dinner and a game of Sequence. Aimee brought his can of Whoop Ass which worked its magic that night.
On the left is one of the smallest cruising boats in the harbor. Note it has an outboard engine. The couple on this boat did not have a dinghy--they used their kayaks to get around. It is hard for me to imagine sailing from Florida to the Bahamas in this boat and then living on it for several months. Hey, the Bahamas has a new beer---Strong Back Stout. It is very good.
The Beach Jam on our last night in Georgetown. Can tell by the pictures that it was a little chilly that night. Top right is Andy (SISU) on the sax. He is really good. Don't know the singer in the photo middle right but he was the best singer that night to take the mike.
Stayed two nights in Black Point.---anchoring close to the same spot we dropped the hook in January (it is where we can pick up a wifi signal). Ordered three loaves of bread (two coconut and one raisin cinnamon) from Lorraine's Mom on the VHF radio that we picked up the following morning. Had ELIORA (Chuck and Sandra) and BLUE HEAVEN (Al and Arlene) over for dinner and Sequence. Walked to the blow hole to pick up sea glass in the morning---did not find very many pieces. In the afternoon ,a nice long walk with Karen (SYNERYG) and Barb (KUMBAYA)---thought we were headed to the cut but we were not! Stopped at the beach on the oceanside--Barb said is a good place for sea glass but we did not find any (high tide). Had SAPPHIRE, SYNERGY and FINE LION over for cocktails and appetizers. Had not seen Mike and Kathy (SAPPHIRE) since the first part of January in Lucaya where we met for lunch before they headed to Nassau. (Note: Mike and Kathy are from Michigan---have friends in common and they also store the boat in Deltaville). TILT and ONE EYED PARROTS arrived in Black Point late in the afternoon from Georgetown.
Saw these two kids playing together at Black Point. At first they were playing by the road but then moved their toys down the hill to the beach. I did not have my camera out the night we had dinner or cocktails on DISCOVERY!!! Nuts.
Rock Sound is a fun place to visit for a few days. Walked to the grocery store to "check out prices".....the gold standard is the Exuma Market in Georgetown. Romaine lettuce seemed to be a bargain in Rock Sound just short of $7.00 for a pack of three) while other items cost the same. Walked to the cave with Kris and Craig, Al, Arlene and Sandra . Carl was the first one into the cave ahead of everyone. I was behind him and noticed all the bats flying around over his head. Yuck, bats. Visited this cave last year and did not see one bat. No one, and I mean no one, proceeded into the far portion of the cave where Carl was with the bats. Carl noticed the bats and turned around. He nonchalantly walked back to the group that had turned around to head for the ladder. No bat lovers in this crowd. Second stop---The Rock Sound Water Hole Park. The park is run down with a few rickety picnic tables scattered about and children's play equipment rusted and in disrepair. The Blue Hole looks like a swimming hole but it is not. There is a good article in National Geographic Magazine on Bahama Blue Holes---saw it in a doctor's office last summer. In general, blue holes have a freshwater cap covering heavier saltwater layers. Some of the blue holes are filled with clouds of poisonous hydrogen sulfide that is released by salt-eating microbes while other blue holes contain whirlpools powered by the tides. Don't know if the one in Rock Sound has either of these features. Did see fish and a sea turtle---planted by local fisherman. There is a story of a local who put a shark in the hole and was caught. He went to court and the punishment was to stay at the Blue Hole until the shark was captured and removed! Visited the new laundromat which just opened this year ($3.00 for a washer/$3.00 for the dryer all in a neat and clean area). The last stop was at the new library but it was closed to the public because a computer class was underway. Late in the afternoon we took the dinghy down to Four Points for Happy Hour. Did not make it out to Rose's on the oceanside for lunch or dinner---there is always next year. Last activity in Rock Sound was Happy Hour on ELIORA followed by Catch Phrase along with Al, Arlene, Craig and Kris.
The following pictures were taken at Black Point. Top left is the group on the trail to the cave. Top right is the room without the bats. Second row left is the ladder for entering and exiting the cave. Second row right is Sandra and Arlene at the Blue Hole. Third row left is Carl at the Blue Hole (so relaxed and happy). The next three pictures taken during Happy Hour on ELIORA. Al and Arlene, Kris and Craig and Sandra.
First time we anchored at Palmetto Point which is just east of the Pineapple Cays. Traveling with ELIORA and BLUE HEAVEN. This has been a good year for exploring the western coast of Eleuthera with east component winds and no westerlies. Don't think too many cruisers visit Palmetto Point. In order to get the anchor to dig in, we had to slowly drive up to the shallow sandy area which was about 6 feet at low tide and then drop back into deeper water. First night at anchor, enjoyed a "double treat": 1) A green flash at sunset and 2) A celestial event called a "super perigee moon". What is a perigee moon? When the moon is at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than when it's at the farthest point of its orbit, also known as apogee. Perigee moons are about 14 % bigger and 30 % brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the moon's orbit. This perigee moon was the biggest in 20 years. Tried to take a picture but too much movement on the boat. Next day, walked to the oceanside beach---beautiful. Several homes on the oceanside for rent. Had dinner on BLUE HEAVEN along with Chuck and Sandra which was followed by Mexican Dominoes. The next day--Al, Arlene, Carl and I walked down to the marina to the east of where we were anchored while Chuck and Sandra took their dinghy to explore Ten Bay beach. Noticed more homes for rent. At the marina is a new French restaurant that looked good but quite pricey.
Carl and I standing in front of a "trash tree". Trash washes ashore on oceanside beaches and often used to mark a spot.
Governor's Harbor is a pretty anchorage with poor holding. The bottom is hard, very little sand and lots of debris especially old mooring blocks. Chuck and Sandra dropped their anchor at least 8 times before giving up and moving to Balara Bay just a mile or so away. Al and Arlene found the only spot with enough sand to bury an anchor. We found a thin patch of sand---only the anchor tip dug in a few inches. TILT arrived a couple hours after us (coming from Rock Sound) and found a spot similar to "ours". The good news was the wind was light and forecasted to stay that way. Al, Arlene, Carl and I had lunch at Pammie's which specialized in take out native dishes. There were a few tables inside--had cracked conch and grouper finger with peas and rice! Chuck and Sandra hitchhiked to the oceanside to a more upscale place for lunch .Checked out prices at the grocery store---romaine lettuce little over $8.00 for a pack of three. Visited the library which I think is such a neat building. In past years we used the library's computers to check email but now we pick up their signal at the boat. Met up with Chuck and Sandra later in the afternoon walking around town. Stopped to watch some fisherman selling grouper, hog fish and lobster to a bunch of tourists from Portugal. Sandra surprised the tourists by starting to talk Portuguese to them. (Note: Chuck moved from Portugal to the US when he was 10 years old and Sandra grew up in Portuguese community so she speaks the language too). Chuck and Sandra invited the Portuguese tourists to ELIORA for drinks at sunset. The next morning, Kris, Craig and I walked over to Cupid Cay hoping to find a store that sold the Andros Batik fabric but the shop was no longer open!!!
My favorite Bahamian Library! Top left is the exterior shot. Top right shows a bunch of school kids on a field trip. The librarian was reading to them when I came in and later gave them a project with clay. The book and porject did not seem "age appropriate" but what do I know about these things. Second row left is a picture of DISCOVERY taken from the library's balcony. Second row right is the wood ceiling and the last picture is the staircase.
Next to Alabaster with ELIORA and BLUE HEAVEN (TILT stayed another day at Governor's). Ah yes, Alabaster Bay, another anchorage where the holding is poor. Looked for a sandy spot, thought we found one but the anchor skipped across the hard bottom when we tried to set it. Searched for another sandy spot--this time found enough sand to get the tip of the anchor to dig in. Al, Arlene, Chuck, Sandra, Carl and I took the dinghies over to CocodiMama Resort for drinks. The resort has a nice beach and a lovely restaurant. Had dinner on DISCOVERY followed by games.
Drinks at CocodiMama's. Chuck and Sandra enjoying their rum drinks. Al and Arlene with their drinks and the last picture is a neat light fixture made from three lace parasols.
Left Alabaster at 8 AM for Current Cut which we hoped to reach at slack water or during ebb tide so we would not have to fight the current which can flow 5 knots. BLUE HEAVEN and DISCOVERY arrived at the cut too early---had to motor against 3 to 4 knots of current. ELIORA and TILT (traveled from GOVERNOR's Harbor) arrived later but also too early--they had about 2 knots of current against them. Anchored on the east side of Meek's Patch which is a couple miles south of Spanish Wells. The following day everyone took their dinghies into Spanish Wells. Walked around town checking out shops. Al, Arlene, Craig, Kris, Carl and I had lunch at The Gap. Stopped at the grocery store where a pack of 3 romaine lettuce was $5.50!!!! The following day Al and Arlene caught the fast ferry in Spanish Wells for a trip to Harbor Island. The rest of us did our own thing (Chuck and Sandra took their honda generator to shore to give Freckles a haircut, Carl and I walked the beach while Kris prepared for dinner guests). Kris invited all of us plus Heather and Murray (WINDSWEPT IV) for taco dinner. The guys ate in the cockpit while the girls were below. Too many people to sit around the table.
Walked by a cemetery in Spanish Wells noting all the flowers decorating graves. Thinking it must have been a special occasion to have put so many flowers out.
Oh my, what a name for a boat!
Carl and I were the first people to watch the beach at Meek's Patch. Lots of little hermit crabs taking a walk. Note how their paths cross.
The following day TILT, ELIORA, BLUE HEAVEN and DISCOVERY headed for Lynyard Cay in the Abacos. An easy day to transit the Little Harbor Cut. It was a great "skip" day for the VHF radio. Talked to Keith and Rose (CAMELOT) who were 60 miles away in Great Harbor (Berry Island) and Chris and Karen who were in Staniel Cay. Heard the US Coast Guard in Fort Pierce, Miami and Key West. Interesting how the radio waves traveled so far. Good propagation resulted in way too much chatter on the radio. Went to the oceanside beach early in the morning (low tide) to look for sea glass. Chuck and Sandra found a spot where the sea glass was just rolling in. Picked up lots of pieces. In the afternoon, the group plus Fred and Kathy on SCOTCH MIST and Bob and Mary Lou on CYGNUS took the dinghies over to Little Harbor for lunch at Pete's Pub. Yum, Yum. Fred and Kathy invited Chuck, Sandra, Kris, Craig, Carl and I over for drinks at sunset.
Pictures from Pete's Pub. First the menu. Had the "mango grilled grouper"---outstanding. The hamburgers looked great and according to those who ordered them they were delicious. Photos of everyone around the table!
Motored up to Marsh Harbor stopping at Boat Harbor Marina for diesel ($5.39 per gallon). Found a good spot to anchor in Marsh which was relatively crowded. The following morning did 5 loads of laundry plus a quick stop to the grocery store where romaine was only $5.09 for a three pack. Marsh Harbor's grocery store is really nice--rivals the best Publix Stores in the U.S. As soon as we returned to the boat, headed to Matt Lowe's Cay for protection from the strong southeast winds and to escape the crowded harbor. SCOTCH MIST is anchored here too. A cold front is approaching the Abacos---should pass through at dawn on April 1. Moderately strong winds clocking from the southeast to the west over 24 hours so moved from Matt Lowe's Cay to Sugar Loaf on March 31 to get protection from the west. SCOTCH MIST moved with us. Had them over for pizza and Sequence.
History of Eleuthera:
Eleuthera is almost 100 miles long and barely two miles wide. It's history begins with the Arawaks who came to the island from the Yucatan in Mexico. In the 1400's, the Spaniards (Christopher Columbus) appeared in the area, and basically decimated the Awaraks (either killing or exporting them for slavery). As a result, Eleuthera became desolate, save for small pockets of survivors for the next 200 years.
In the 1650's, William Sayle lead a voyage to Eleuthera. Sayle had been Governor of Bermuda but he wanted to leave Bermuda after he fell into disfavor with the Crown of England. Sayle wanted to leave to pursue freedom deciding to go to the Bahamas---the nearest group of islands to Bermuda. He petitioned Parliament to settle Eleuthera in 1654 (Eleuthra is a variation of the Greek work for freedom). Sayle envisioned Eleuthera as a "utopia". and promised each settler 300 acres of land upon arrival in Eleuthera. Oh boy, the voyage did not end too smoothly. One of the two ships wrecked on the northern part of Eleuthera destroying much of their supplies. Most of the settlers were put ashore at Preacher's Cave, while Sayle returned to Virginia for more provisions. Eleuthera's soil is rocky making it difficult grow anything so the group continued to endure hardship. The settlers constructed wooden houses in Cupid's Cay in Governor's Harbor while Sayle returned to Bermuda,where he eventually regained favor and s renamed Governor of Bermuda.
Soon the English took tighter control of the islands--- especially after the American War of Independence. Some Englishmen in the American colonies called Loyalists, did not want to remain in the United States after the revolution so many of them emigrated with their slaves to the Bahamas causing the white population to double and the black population to triple. The slaves were emancipated by Queen Victoria in 1834. Around this time, "wrecking" or the salvaging of shipwrecked boats became a mainstay of the economy. Various tricks were used to lure the ships to the reefs in the northern part of the island. On a large reef off Spanish Wells, the "Devil's Backbone"', there are many wrecks today attesting to the success of the following ruse: lanterns tied on to donkeys at night were moved to strategic areas to fool the captains into thinking they were lights from the lighthouse causing the ships to go off course onto the rocks. The local population of Spanish Wells and Harbor Island resisted the constructions of lighthouses built around 1845- 1847.
The Loyalists tried to grow cotton and sugar without success. The only slightly successful crop was pineapples. which became quite popular in the beginning of the 19th century. Eleuthera's economy thrived as farmers started to grow and market the pineapple. At one point, 40 schooners were anchored in Governor's Harbor, for export of pineapples. But this prosperity did not last. because the US Government started to subsidize the pineapple industries of Cuba and Hawaii, thus undercutting the Eleutheran crop. The pineapple industry, as well as the economy of Eleuthera, collapsed!
Today, with Eleuthera's pink beaches, deep water, shallow banks, the primary industry is tourism. It is enjoyed by both cruisers and land-lubbers.
History of Abacos
The "Abacos" are a 120 mile long boomerang-shaped group of islands and cays that cover 650 square miles. The Great Abaco and Little Abaco Island serve as a "mainland" with a string of barrier islands separating them from the Atlantic. The body of water between is the turquoise shallow Sea of Abacos.
The first Europeans to explore the Abacos were the Spaniards who called the Abacos "Habacoa". and they were not impressed. The Spaniards generally did not settle in the Abacos but they did use the area to hunt down new Indian slaves so that by 1550 the Indians were victims of genocide. Two hundred years later the British arrived to form a colony. The French attempted to establish a colony, Lucayonique in 1625 without success.
Abaco was well suited for piracy. The small cays offer protected anchorages and good lookouts plus the shallow banks and off-shore barrier reef discouraged anyone wanting to pursue a pirate ship."Vain the Great Pirate" was based in Green Turtle after fleeing Nassau when Woodes Rogers arrived there in 1717 to clean the Bahamas of all pirates. Vain was hunted down by Ben Hornygold but escaped Green Turtle and in fact the Bahamas. While a few other pirates, wreckers and fisherman may have set up residence in the Abacos, there were no permanent settlements until into the 1770's when the American colonies claimed Independence.
About 10-20% of the American colonists did not support independence and remained loyal to King George III. Over 600 "Loyalists" left New York for the Abacos in 1783. These Loyalists founded Carleton, the first Loyalist settlement on Great Abaco near the present-day resort of Treasure Cay. Their vision was that their town would become King Cotton of the Caribbean . In just a few years, their dream came true. The economy boomed and the population grew to more than 2,000. The fields failed within a few years because of pests and soil depletion. Most of the settlers moved away, leaving a population of 400 on the islands by the end of the century—200 white planters and 200 black slaves. (Note: This 50/50 ratio has held steady . Today, the Abacos has five times more white residents per capita than The Islands Of The Bahamas as a whole).
In the 1800s, The Abacos took on an almost New England character as fishing, wooden boat-building and "wrecking"—salvaging damaged ships while they were sinking—became the mainstays of the local economy. It took nearly a century for the boatbuilding industry to strip the island of its hardwoods, and today only two firms carry on the shipbuilding tradition.
Today, the Loyalist heritage remains strong. Many island residents, commonly called Conky Joes, strongly opposed Bahamian Independence even trying to secede from The Bahamas and form their own British colony!! Descendants of the original settlers even went to England to solicit the support of Queen Elizabeth II, but their efforts were rebuffed.
Today, "tourism is King" and the Abacos is part of the Bahamas and celebrate 38 years of Independence in July.
The weather has been fantastic. Had thought there were NO cold fronts that penetrated as far south as Georgetown BUT as I reviewed my weather log found out I thought wrong. A cold front arrived in Georgetown around 4:00 PM shortly after the Pet Parade started and before Opening Night began. There was a lot of rain in the prefrontal boundary.....in fact---1.5 inches which was still falling when the "free drinks" were available. Many of us cruisers huddled under the shelter of Chat n Chill's roof to get out of the rain BUT when the free drinks were available we stood in the rain for free rum punch, beer or soda pop. A second front arrived in Georgetown on 3/11 this time it was a dry front, no strong west component wind just strong north wind after the front passed.
At times during the month it would blow in the lower 20's for 2-3 days out of north then go light and clock. Essentially the South Exumas were protected by a High Pressure Ridge that prevented cold fronts from penetrating down to Georgetown.. The North Bahamas would have cold fronts but they would die/stall by the time they tracked south of Staniel Cay. The temperature stayed in the lower 80's during the days and low 70's at night. Perfect weather.
April 02, 2011