On January 3, 2019, we motorsailed south from Blackpoint for 2 1/2 hours to Cave Cay and anchored near a cut to the Exuma Sound. At 0715 the next morning we weighed anchor and exited the shallow Bank to the deep water Sound through Cave Cay Cut. Sometimes we take the nearby wide Galliot Cut to Exuma Sound, but on this day the conditions at the narrower Cave Cay Cut were calm so we used it. At 0726 we were outside the cut and turned south to head to Georgetown. By noon we were anchored at Monument Beach across Elizabeth Harbour from Georgetown. We had reserved a mooring ball in Hole 2, but were unable to reach Wendle, the owner, by phone so we stayed the night anchored and went into Hole 2 at high tide the next day.
We have two favorite destinations in the Bahamas, Georgetown and Spanish Wells. This is our seventh cruise to the Bahamas and we make a number of stops on our way to these two towns, but we don’t spend as much time exploring the other areas anymore. There are people who spend all of their time in Georgetown, mostly in the winter and spring, and don’t like the bother of waiting for weather to leave from Florida, then crossing the ocean to the Bahamas, all the while spending time and money working their way to Georgetown. Some people leave their boats on a mooring ball in one of the hurricane holes in Georgetown year round and fly back and forth from their home, usually in the US or Canada. There are also people who own houseboats and keep them on mooring balls in Hole 1 or Hole 2. Hole 3 is only for boat storage and you can’t live there on your boat. Friends John and Christina have a houseboat in Hole 2 named Oasis. They fly from their homes in Canada and North Carolina several times a year, including visits in the summer, and stay on their houseboat. There are quite a few other people who do the same. Below is a photo of Hole 2 in Georgetown. Some of the boats in Hole 1 and Hole 2 are empty for most of the year with owners flying in to stay on their boat in the mooring field or traveling to other destinations, returning to the mooring field when they are ready to fly home. When we were there this year, sometimes about half the boats were empty.
This is a drone view of Honeymoon Beach in Elizabeth Harbour when there was a big party with lots of people and dinghies. Above it in the picture is Hole 2. We are on the catamaran in the middle with the blue sunshades. At the top of the photo is the Exuma Sound, deep ocean water with a miles long sugary sand beach. On the far right side of the photo is Hole 1, next to Chat N Chill and Volleyball Beach. On the left, just beyond the photo is Hole 3, where boats are stored with no liveaboards.
This is our friends’ houseboat Oasis in Hole 2. There are four houseboats in Hole 2 and more in the Fruit Bowl, part of Hole 1. It’s called The Fruit Bowl because many of the houseboats located there have fruit names such as Mango, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, and Tangelo. Some of the houseboats have working motors and at times they leave the mooring field and anchor out in the harbor.
This is our seventh visit to Georgetown. In 2009/2010 we anchored in the harbor. We came with two other boats and didn’t meet many other people that year. The next two winter seasons we stayed in Florida while we worked on having our propulsion system switched from an electric hybrid to twin diesels. During the 2012/2013 season, we crossed from Miami to Bimini and then spent 17 days in January waiting for good weather to continue on to other islands. We met cruisers on about a dozen boats waiting with us at Bimini Sands and we particularly enjoyed being with Cathie and Tom on their sailboat Interlude. When they left, we boat buddied with them to Georgetown. When we got to Georgetown they went in Hole 2 and we anchored in the harbor, but the next year we joined them in Hole 2 and have been there every year we have gone to the Bahamas since. That year I had both knees replaced a few months before we left for the Bahamas and going on a mooring ball seemed very inviting where the water is always calm and it would be easy to get in and out of the dinghy. At least that was a good excuse. We got spoiled with not ever having to think about the wind direction or speed since Hole 2 is very protected on all sides. We also started playing Texas Hold’em at the St. Francis Resort every Tuesday and Thursday. We had a group of friends on boats in Hole 2 who also played poker so we had “Saturday Night Poker on Seas the Day.” That year the same group of six couples came to our boat every Saturday for three months. Each couple brought homemade snacks to eat during the break, which were always excellent. It became more of a social get-together where we also played cards. The buy-in is always $5 and we have three winners with third usually getting $5, second getting $10 or more, and the winner getting the most, depending of course on the number of players. Since that year, we have continued to have poker on Saturday nights on our boat and we always have had a fun group, sometimes up to 18 people. It’s one of the highlights of our time in Georgetown.
This is a picture of our first Saturday Night Poker group back in 2013. Besides being a great group, we were amazed that every one of us was smiling and looking at the camera in this picture. Mark and I and Christina and John (back row, middle) are the only couples left of this group still going to Georgetown. We miss the other good friends and I know they miss Georgetown and cruising. Almost always several of us were at the final table at the St. Francis game and the rest of us sometimes stood nearby chanting “Hole 2, Hole 2” when one of “us” won.
Here are several pictures from this year. We start with the men at the cockpit table and the women inside at the salon table, then we combine at the salon table when there are about eight people left for the final table. We break halfway through to enjoy our drinks and snacks. We usually don’t wear our Hole 2 t-shirts when we play but one night a few of us decided to wear them. In these pictures, the “final table” is playing and the “losers” are watching.
Even Sailor is part of the group. As the people arrive at our boat in their dinghies, Sailor greets each person with a different toy. Some people always get the same toy.
On the Hole 2 beach, we sometimes have get-togethers with food and a bonfire. This year we had a few but I forgot to take pictures so here are a some from another year.
The first thing we do after picking up our mooring ball is to take the dinghy to the nearby dinghy beach next to Hole 1 where there is a path to the unbelievably beautiful beach on the Exuma Sound. It is almost always empty or no more than a few other people are walking on the beach since most cruisers spend their time on Volleyball Beach where all the activities are held every afternoon, or the many beaches on the harbor side of Elizabeth Island where the water is shallow and better for swimming. We don’t go to the big beach every day, but we do go to other beaches in the harbor twice a day with Sailor.
A few years ago there were two certified water aerobics teachers in Georgetown who were there on their boats. Then they left. I am not a certified water aerobics teacher but I do go to classes almost every day at LA Fitness in Stuart during the summer and fall. When the teachers left, I volunteered to lead the class. This year when I arrived in Georgetown, the teachers had not come and a few cruisers who had been there since December were leading the class. I was talked into doing it again, which I gladly did with two friends, Robin from Endangered Species and Sandy from Ananya . The classes were a lot of fun and we always had a good size group, sometimes as many as 40. Mark and Sailor came in the dinghy with me to our class and while I exercised, Sailor and Mark took a walk and played on the beach with a ball.
I love to use our kayak and standup paddleboard in the calm water of Hole 2 and Hole 3.
As many of you reading this know, Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the fall of 2017 so we didn’t come to the Bahamas for the 2017/2018 cruising season. He is still undergoing treatment but we were determined to come to the Bahamas this year. He had to fly back twice for an injection he gets every three months and he also had to get pills he takes daily shipped to wherever we were each month. That is not easy to do in the Bahamas. (For other prescriptions we can get a six month supply before we leave Florida but this cancer drug is very expensive and can only be prescribed monthly.) In February we were in Georgetown when Mark had to fly back to Florida for five days. Sailor was not happy to see him go and he sat on the forward deck waiting for Mark to return for days, even in the rain. One day I had to go into town with friends and Sailor was going to stay on the boat with a friend from the boat next to us who offered to dog sit. I left thinking Nancy was on her way, but we got our wires crossed and she didn’t come. While in town I got a text from Tangie, another friend in Hole 2, with a picture of Sailor. He had jumped into our dinghy and was howling. I’ve never heard Sailor howl, so he must have been very upset. A friend who saw it happening called to another cruiser in Hole 2 who was coming past our boat in his dinghy. He got Sailor back on our boat, Nancy heard the commotion and came over so all was well. When I got back I said, “It takes a village.”
A few days later when Mark arrived back to our boat in a water taxi, Sailor was very relieved and happy that he was back.
I always do a lot of baking while we are in the Bahamas. Several years ago I got a recipe for “No Knead Bread” from Pam, a cruiser friend. It makes two very delicious loaves of bread. After our coconut bread from Blackpoint was eaten, I started thinking about how I could make something similar. The unique thing about that bread is it has a swirl running through it. The swirl tastes like a mixture of coconut, brown sugar and butter. I made the mixture, rolled out the dough and spread the mixture on it, then rolled it up and baked it. It turned out great. Click here for the recipe. http://svseastheday.com/no-knead-french-bread-with-coconut-filling.
After another wonderful Georgetown visit lasting three months, we dropped the mooring ball on April 2 and started north towards Spanish Wells. Sadly, each year more and more of our cruising friends who spend the winters in Georgetown are selling their boats and becoming CLODs (cruisers living on dirt). We miss them, but each year we meet new friends in Georgetown. Because there are so many cruisers who spend extended time there, the area has a feeling of “community.” Cruisers help each other when needed and there are multiple opportunities to socialize. During regatta week, there are usually up to 300 boats in the harbor and at other times there are usually around 200. It’s a very large harbor with a lot of places to anchor as well as the mooring fields, so it never feels crowded. We have no idea how many more years we will be able to sail the boat to the Bahamas, but will never regret the decision to buy a boat in 2008 and live on it for the last eleven years. Our experiences have been life changing, but probably the best part of this has been the people we have met. Georgetown is the place where most of that happens.