Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

S/V Goldcrest
David & Lindsay Inwood
Fri 25 Apr 2014 11:00

We left Clarence Town on a rare windless morning with a forecast of light westerly winds (we can’t remember when they weren’t from the east), expecting a day motoring to an anchorage on the northern tip on Long Island.  Within a short time we were in north-westerly winds, i.e. right on the nose, and to add insult to injury, with a 1-2 knot current against us!  After trying to sail for a while we resigned ourselves to a brisk motor to the anchorage, but as we reached the tip of the island the winds and seas piped up (20-25kts with 2m+ waves) making the anchorage untenable.  Our only option was to motor-sail on to the shelter of Georgetown.  We would reach the very shallow and complicated entrance around 6 p.m. with the sun in our eyes (a cardinal sin in these parts), but as we had the track of another deep draft boat to follow, we had to risk it.  We made great time, blasting into the waves and covering the boat with salt, then navigated the entrance easily.  The charts on the chartplotter are pretty useless around here, but with a really good back-up set on the laptop, the forward looking sonar and a track to follow, it was quite safe, although a lot to concentrate on.  Guess we can’t expect every sail around here to be as easy as most of them have been this year.

Georgetown food & drink shacks:

Lindsay relaxing with a beer or two:

Georgetown is in Elizabeth Harbour which is formed by the gap between Great Exuma and a long thin island paralleling it a mile away.  Both being made of low-lying limestone shelves and coral it’s complicated underwater (shallow with zig-zagging deeper bits) but perfectly tranquil and very pretty.  We arrived the day before the local regatta started.  This has been an annual event since the 1950s and is designed to allow the local sailing boats and their crews to hone their skills and keep Bahamian boat building alive.  This is a very popular spot for yachties, many of whom seem to arrive and never leave again.  It does offer most things that you need including supplies, restaurants, beach bars and endless space to anchor, so you can understand why.  On our third full day here we joined in a “dinghy drift” a yachties get-together which was a new one on us.  Everyone takes to their dinghies with drinks and snacks to offer around and then all tie up to each other and drift with the wind until sunset.  It is an opportunity to meet different people in the anchorage and hear their stories although a bit tricky to balance the wine and nibbles bit whilst bobbing about and bumping into your neighbours!

Regatta boats: