Emerald Bay Marina

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 21 Jan 2017 00:00
Emerald Bay Marina Nr George Town 23:37.74N, 075:54.75W
Instead of sailing (motoring more like) all the way back to George Town for the next cold front we decided to splash some cash and sit it out in Emerald Bay Marina which is part of the Sandals resort close-by. If you can live without electricity and water on the dockside and don’t mind a two day walk with Sherpas and camels to get to the office and shower block then J dock is offered at 50 cents per foot. This is based on a minimum of forty foot length with a minimum stay of three days. So our four day stay cost just $80 and we were going to be as snug as a bug in a rug if the cold front was as strong as predicted. It wasn’t but we enjoyed the stay, managed to wash a ton of dirty laundry despite the two working washers and driers being in continual use virtually around the clock. But they were free to use!
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Entering Emerald Bay Marina (That’s not us though) through the reefs                                       On J Dock (That is us  - last in the line)
Nearing the entrance to Emerald Bay the wreck of a yacht could be clearly seen on the beach with people working on the site. The boat, believe it to be a Feeling 48 with a crew of two had been approaching Emerald Bay from further north at night. They had not moved offshore to the Waypoint indicated on the charts for the final approach. The sea around the entrance is dotted with reefs and awash rocks. The boat hit one of the reefs ripping a hole in the hull and apparently ripping the keel clean off. Needless to say it turned turtle and went down almost immediately. The French couple onboard had to swim for their lives in the dark with only the clothes they had on. Everything else was left onboard.
It’s a testimony to the endeavours of people in the area, and in particular the cruisers, that almost immediately the news broke at daylight some volunteers from George Town motored ten miles in small inflatable dinghies through reef-strewn waters to help rescue equipment and personal possessions floating around the wreck site. Donations were made from those with anything to spare to help with a change of clothes and shoes for the unfortunate couple.  By the time we emerged from the marina four days later there was no trace of the yacht to be seen. It had been cut up and transported away from the beach by a local salvage company. Were the occupants of the yacht, who had to swim for their lives, inexperienced one might ask? Well the owner skipper had reputedly sailed the Atlantic seventeen times over the years, but as we found on our own ocean adventures there are no reefs or rocks in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean but an awful lot to possibly cause misery and destruction on either side! It’s a sobering thought as already as of the end of January two other yachts we know of have already destroyed their rudders on reefs entering George Town’s Elizabeth Harbour. Still, much better there than somewhere in the outer islands where there is little expertise or the facilities to rebuild such broken equipment essential to the boat’s operation. But then best not at all if you can help it.
Back to happier events. We had a very good few days alongside the long floating J dock. We were the last boat to bag a space there before the bad weather arrived, otherwise the price would have been double for the other slips in the marina. The only annoyance was the burglar alarm on one of the resort buildings that went off on two consecutive nights at extremely unsociable hours. It was a treat to be able to get off the boat and stretch the legs instead of bouncing up and down on the hook.
On Monday evenings the marina has a happy hour function in the office building which is all beautifully furnished to yacht club standard. All staying in the marina are invited for food and drink. We’re sure that on a normal Monday with the usual amount of residents and berth holders it’s a more graceful affair. Cram 150 cruisers sheltering from a cold front into the same space all fighting for their share of rum punches, conch fritters, chicken wings and dainty ham sandwiches and it takes on the mantel of survival of the fittest. The noise was horrendous with everyone having to shout to be heard as rum punches in paper cups were handed back from the front of the queue to those less fortunate to be towards the back of the line. But that was all they received as the food was finite in quantity and nobody was passing that to anybody else!
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The resort boasts a fantastic golf course looking towards the Sandals Resort in the distance    and Grand Isle Resort close-by with its well tended gardens and rather expensive properties (with faulty burglar alarms!)
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Grand Isle Resort allow Emerald Bayers to use their pool and restaurant if staying at the Marina. The burgers were mountainous.
Such occasions are ideal for making new acquaintances as we indeed did which makes the visit more rewarding. But after four days of lollygagging, with the weather now settled it was time to escape Emerald Bay and head somewhere else.  The only downside to the location is the lack of any grocery store within walking or cycling distance. Oh no! that means another visit to George Town !!............