Two days ago we moved from an anchorage in Elizabeth Harbour to a mooring ball in what is called “Hole 2.” There are several other mooring fields, one where boats are stored without people on them and another is nicknamed “The Fruit Bowl” because many of the boats have fruits in their names, like Pineappple House and Cantaloupe. There are a few houseboats here, which obviously don’t make the trip back and forth from the States. Hole 2 is very protected from all directions so even in high winds we barely move. On the day we arrived the wind got close to 30 kts and we didn’t feel it in here, but out in the harbor boats were bouncing around. Below is a photo of Hole 2. A narrow exit to another mooring field and then to the harbor is near where the dinghy is headed. We are located in the center of the back.
Most of the boats moored here are empty right now. Some owners fly down and either haven’t arrived yet or come and go throughout the season. Behind us through the bushes you can see a bit of the water in the large Elizabeth Harbour. We can take our dinghy about 80 yds to a tiny beach in the mooring field where there is a very short path over a small hill to an area called “Honeymoon Beach,” one of many sandy beaches in the harbor. This means when the wind is blowing and the waves are crashing in the harbor, we can still get Sailor ashore easily because the water in here will be calm.
Most cruisers will say that the only mooring balls you can trust in The Exumas are the ones in the Land and Sea Park. However, these are very secure. In fact, about half of the boats in Hole 2 stay here all year, through hurricane season. The monthly cost is $300, the same most mooring fields charge in Florida. Of course for that fee here, we don’t get a nice shower, free wifi, a captain’s lounge with cable TV, and a laundry like we would in the States. However, not having to worry about the weather is worth every penny. A pumpout boat comes through the anchorages and mooring fields three times a week. While everyone in the harbor doesn’t necesarily use it, the boats in Hole 2 do, so the water is clean.
We are just a short dinghy ride from the St. Francis Resort on Stocking Island which has a nice restaurant and bar. Right behind the restaurant is the long sandy beach on the Exuma Sound side of Stocking Island. Below is a screen shot of a Google Map of Elizabeth Harbour with George Town on the west side and Stocking Island on the east side. The Exuma Sound, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean, is on the far east side of the map. The blue dot is where we are moored. I guess in the States we would call Stocking Island a “barrier island” but the other land mass is a much larger island, Great Exuma.
Thursday night we had dinner at the St. Francis with Cathie and Tom (Interlude) who are also moored in Hole 2 and traveled with us from Florida to George Town. All of us are happy to be here and quite honestly taking a deep breath and relaxing. As nice as it was to visit all the places we stopped at before we reached here, we were always one step ahead of the weather, so couldn’t enjoy ourselves as much as we would have liked. In the Spring when we head north, the weather will be more settled and we can enjoy stopping at the small islands along the way. We also plan on heading a bit farther south after we leave George Town, at least to Long Island which is a short day sail away. We plan to stay here through the George Town Regatta at the end of February.
Sailor went to four diferent beaches in the first 48 hours we were here. There are many more to explore and they are usually empty. Cruisers staying in Elizabeth Harbour usually go to Volleyball Beach where the activities, other than volleyball, include dominoes, yoga, beach church, speakers, meeting new and old friends, basket weaving (using palm fronds) and much more. Below is a picture of Sailor on the Exuma Sound beach yesterday. Another dog from the mooring field was there to play with him for awhile, but mostly he ran up and down the deserted beach.
Today we are making our first dinghy trip across the harbor to Georgetown. We’ll pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables at the well stocked Exuma Market. Every time we go to town we take our four 5 gallon water jugs and fill them at the dinghy dock. While here we will give our watermaker a rest and use the free RO (reverse osmosis) water provided by Exuma Market.