Thursday, February 2, 2012

Georgetown

We arrived in Georgetown on January 25th after a good 2 days of sailing from Water Cay through Hog Cay Cut and then into Elizabeth Harbor.  Our engine has been giving us trouble (i.e. leaking diesel), so we’ve been without an engine for a couple of days before arriving into Georgetown.  This is bad for many reasons, as you can imagine: waste, air quality in the cabin down-below, bad smelling bilge, and, of course, the reason it is leaking, a stripped bolt in the fuel line.  We’re waiting on a part delivery from Mike’s dad, Daubie, which is on February 15th, but in the mean time, we have still been traveling by wind, sailing. 

Ordering some food and drinks in Georgetown
Mike doing laundry in Georgetown
You may think, well, they have a sailboat, isn’t that what they’ve been doing the whole time?  And yes, that is true, we have been sailing, but it’s a lot different when you don’t have an engine to rely on as a back up.  You have to take the wind direction into account, it makes it more difficult to get through cuts and tight anchorages, it generally requires more planning, and it definitely becomes an issue if you drag anchor or your anchor doesn’t set the first time you drop it. 
Just past Hog Cay cut
We’ve been setting anchor and leaving the anchorage under sail and we’ve even sailed through Hog Cay cut, which was not an easy feat.  To get through the cut, you have to time the tides because at low tide there is only 1.0 meter of water, the tidal range is 1.0 meter (3 feet) and our boat draws 1.4 meters.  So, we had to plan accordingly.

Hans paddle boarding
Hanging out on the spacious Twilight
That being said, looking for a little adrenaline rush, we arrived at mid-tide on January 24th around 6pm and tried crossing the cut, only to find depths of 4.8 feet, which was a little to shallow for us to continue on, especially at dusk.  So we retreated back to a safe 6-foot depth and anchored outside the cut for the night, until high tide the next morning, 9-10am.  

Aboard Twilight - Laura, Hans, Mike, Sara (left to right)
We set sail with the wind blowing out of the east and started our way through the zig-zag course.  As we tacked our way through, we had to take another short tack mid-way through the cut itself to avoid the nose of the reef and lay the mark.  Not much room!  About 150 yards from land, Sara at the helm, Mike on the sheets, Hans on the i-pad navigating.  The sheet caught in the kayak on our second tack and Mike had to run on the deck to untangle before we drifted into Devil’s Rock.  We steered our course and made it out!  We arrived in Georgetown around 1pm that afternoon.

Max, our friend on a 40-ft. troller - Twilight
Georgetown is not at all what I had expected it to be.  First, it’s the largest town in the Exumas and the cruisers “hub”.  There’s typically over a couple hundred boats anchored around Elizabeth Harbor, the harbor where Georgetown is located.  Well, we arrived, set anchor and took the dingy into town.  Both Hans and Mike had been telling me of how many people go into Georgetown and how crowded the dinghy dock gets. 

Catch of the day on Twilight - East side of Stocking Island
Let’s just say, the dingy dock is only 100 feet long, with maybe 20 dinghies and not the “type” of crowded that I was imagining!  We walk through town in less than 10 minutes, checking out the grocery store (which does not always have fresh produce, it depends when the mail boat has arrived to deliver food), the few restaurants and the market.  It’s a very cute town, but not the bustling cruisers hub that I had been imagining this whole time.  Mostly, it’s the amount of other cruisers that make’s Georgetown seem crowded (if crowded is even the right terminology to use) and the anchorages are much busier than the rest of the Exumas!  I guess when you are use to being one out of three other boats in an anchorage then Georgetown is like a metropolis!  But we are having a great time hanging out here with our new friends off Twilight, who we met in the Jumentos.  Max and Laura are traveling on a 40-foot troller and have been a lot of fun to hang out with.  It's rare to meet other cruisers your age in the Bahamas.

2 comments:

  1. What a great post! That's how we did her in the old days, sailing without an engine. Takes a lot longer when you have watch out for every bump in the road and plan for every contingency. Every shore becomes a potential lee shore.

    Really good pictures too. Great to see all those smiles. See you in a few days. I've got the engine parts and the smaller of the big sockets and a long extension for it....and the Asio, still looking for a deep 1 1/2".

    Love, Dad

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  2. Hey hey! Looks like you two are having a great time. Every once and a while I'll check out your blog catch the pictures, although it only makes it tougher to keep working on my school work up here in rainy cold Seattle. The picture above with the bluish-green water is amazing!
    Hopefully ya'll are doing well. Mike, I'll be looking forward to hearing some good stories when you get back.
    Adios,
    -Nathaniel

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