Welcome to Georgetown
On Saturday 5th January we sailed into Georgetown. And as we arrived at the anchorage at Hamburger Beach (perhaps a touch ironic given our last post on Hermione Hamhock) the crew of a boat, parked near to where we planned to stop, shouted how much chain they had out (100′). This was useful information. In a perfect anchoring scenario, everyone nearby would have the same amount of anchor chain out so that they don’t clobber each other when the tide changes.
Shortly after we anchored, the family from the boat that shouted over to us came along in their dinghy to say hello and welcome to the community. Georgetown is a floating holiday camp of sailors, mostly from North America, who make this their home for anything from a few weeks to a few months. And as a result, there’s a lot going on. We weren’t aware just how much until we listened to the 0800 radio net, on Channel 72, for the first time when we left a few days later (0800 is usually far too early for the motley crew). There’s Texas Hold ’em competitions; volleyball contests; trivia nights; t-shirt sales and much much more.
Our mission, however, was not to linger but to stock up with provisions, and propane gas, before heading to Cuba. Georgetown is also a great place to restock. Although the supermarket prices are eye-waveringly high, they are not as high as other Bahamian islands we visited on the way down here. The very-well-stocked Exuma Market is within staggering distance of the large dinghy dock at Lake Victoria. So we headed over there on Saturday afternoon and trundled out of the store with a shopping trolley full of food costing less than the two small carrier bags of groceries we bought at Staniel Cay.
I’m not at my best in the morning. So, when I blundered up the companionway steps on Sunday morning to the raised voices of someone swearing to a guy in a dinghy, I was a little confused. I couldn’t understand why that yacht was there. Sure, the tide had changed, so the boats were all facing in a different direction from the evening before, but I was sure he was nowhere near us when we arrived.
Maria, far more aware than me in the morning, said that the potty-mouthed bloke’s boat was already in the anchorage, but much further away. It transpires that he decided to move to a new location in the morning. And the source of his disgruntlement was the skipper of the boat whose family we talked to the day before who told him (and I paraphrase) to bugger off because he was too close to other boats. Quite right too.
This guy had no intention of moving through, not until he came to within burger-passing distance to us and our fellow anchoring companion started to video him for our insurance company. That spurred him into action. Because he was on his own, he called for help on Channel 68 and a gang of keen volunteers helped him to raise his anchor and relocate him – back to where he came from, according to Maria.
With that drama over, we spent the rest of Sunday doing a not-so-exotic oil change and installing an Iridium satellite antenna. The latter involved pulling out all of the stuff we had stuffed in the lockers to route a far-too-thick cable from the back of the boat through to the chart table. It took hours.
Gassy Monday and Lazy Tuesday
On Monday, we landed our dinghy just north of the Palm Beach Resort and walked the short distance up the hill to Sun Oil where they refilled our propane bottle for just $11. After carting the full bottle back to the dinghy, we walked up the road to the NAPA store to buy some oil ready for the next oil change. Then we took our dinghy to Lake Victoria to dispose of our rubbish and get some lunch. And to stock up on more essentials: beer.
After this frenetic level of activity, we decided to take Tuesday off and spent a couple of hours amongst the community at Volleyball Beach, where the rays swim close enough to stroke them. It’s quite an experience. Those creatures are smooth, in more ways than one. Then, we spent the rest of the day in quiet and lazy seclusion – basking on the powder white sands of Hamburger Beach near to Lady Jane.
The weather forecast for light winds on Wednesday proved to be an exaggeration. When we poked our heads outside on Wednesday morning, there was no wind at all. The sea was so flat we could see our anchor all the way from the bow to where the anchor was buried in the sand 30 metres away. But at least there was no headwind to get in the way of progress to our next destination. So at 0700 we raised the anchor on Georgetown and motored to Rum Cay, almost 60 miles east of Georgetown.