After being treated to a boat wash courtesy of Mother Nature, we left Blackpoint Tuesday afternoon and motorsailed to Cave Cay. We anchored near Cave Cay Cut, which was where we were leaving the shallow waters of the Banks to go out on the deep Exuma Sound on Wednesday. We always try to take Sailor for a beach run when we arrive at a new island, but Cave Cay didn’t look too promising. The shores near us did not have any beach, just rocky cliffs. Still, Mark took off in search of a sandy beach and found a great one. Posted signs said “private” but all Bahamian beaches are public up to the high tide line, and Sailor always stays on the edge of the water or in it. Cave Cay is a privately owned island with a marina and a resort.
At 0750 today we left the anchorage, motored the short distance to the cut and headed south on the Exuma Sound with less than 5 kts of wind out of the NE. Needless to say, we did not bother to try to sail. There were quite a few boats out on the Sound ahead of us and a storm brewing behind us, so we went a little faster than our normal cruising speed. We counted 18 boats as we passed them and more came out of the cuts behind us. It’s not that we are that much faster than the boats we passed. We just chose to use more fuel in order to reach George Town before the storm clouds. The photo below shows some of the boats following us into Elizabeth Harbor.
By 1350 we were dropping our anchor in the Monument anchorage. Tomorrow we will pick up a mooring ball in Hole 2, a very protected hurricane hole in Stocking Island. Our friends Cathie and Tom (Interlude) always stay there and we know that we won’t have to be concerned about the weather.
There are many anchorages in Elizabeth Harbour and when a storm or heavy wind is predicted, boats move to different anchorages for protection. The harbor sometimes gets very choppy and the current is strong. There have been times when we couldn’t get into the dinghy. We decided that due to the fact that I am not fully recovered from my knee surgery, it would be best to be in a situation where I am not constantly trying to stay balanced. I discovered since we left Stuart on December 19 that on days when the boat was rocking a lot, my knees became sore.
Sailor has become more comfortable on the boat as the days have passed and when it isn’t rough, he likes to stay at the helm. However, on the days when the boat bounces around in the waves, he wants to be inside, usually in a bed with me next to him. Today was a good day.
Of course, as soon as he saw and smelled land in Elizabeth Harbour, he was ready to come to the foredeck to check it out. We undo his tether when we approach land.
He knows that soon after we stop, Mark drops the dinghy and they are off to play on a new beach. Once we are in Hole 2, we will be a very short calm dinghy ride to shore where we can go over a hill and be on a long sandy Exuma Sound beach. Today, Sailor enjoyed another new beach on the harbor side of Stocking Island. The monument in the background is how this anchorage got its name.
This is the earliest we have arrived in George Town, mainly due to getting good weather windows along the way. Except for Sunset Lake in Florida and Warderick Wells where we waited for weather to pass, we never stayed more than a night at any stop. People either love or hate Georgetown. Yes, there are a lot of boats here, but if you don’t want to anchor amongst them, there are plenty of anchorages where no one goes. On one side of the harbor is the city of Georgetown. Of course, this is where you go to shop. The Exuma Market has built a large dinghy dock and provides free water to cruisers who line up at a hose to fill their jugs. The market is the best since Nassua, large and well stocked. There are at least seven roomy anchorages on the George Town side. On the Stocking Island side, where we are, there are also many anchorages, but these are the populated and crowded ones since they are the most protected from the prevailing winds.
Lots of activities here to join or ignore. Someone just came on the VHF radio announcing a meeting of the ARG (Alcohol Research Group) this afternoon. All interested parties are to gather their research materials and meet in the harbor in their dinghies to raft together and drift. Mark chose to do his own research with a rum punch in the cockpit after returning from Sailor’s beach run. As I said, some people love it here and some avoid George Town like the plague, but the good news is there are a variety of things to do, everything you need is available in town, the phone and Internet signals are strong, the scenery and water are beautiful and that makes for many choices.