It’s a shorter sail (5+ hours) from Long Island to George Town. George Town is the beginning of the chain of Exuma Islands. This is where Matt wants to wait out the weather front that is coming. It’s been a rough sail so we are glad to get in. The last hour is motoring while Joshua and I stand on the bowsprit watching for the coral heads that could puncture our hull. We anchor at Sand Dollar Beach near our Annapolis friend and the Norwegians (Trond & Karolina). Everyone is tired. We spend the late afternoon hoisting the dinghy down off the boat. After dinner and a bucket bath, we are in bed before 9 pm. We get woken up through the night by strong winds. Matt goes up to watch the anchor because we are expecting the winds to shift (which can pull the anchor loose). There is some excitement as another boat pulls loose and other sailors are loudly blowing theirs horns at it. It drags about 600 feet before the owners realize what is happening. This is the thing about living in a mobile home – it’s mobile. Sometimes you’d just prefer it stay put.
On Saturday morning, we dinghy 20 minutes across the bay to get groceries. This is one of the two major provisioning areas in the entire Bahamas. When I see the selection of provisions I tell Matt I’m ready to go home. We get a few things and take a walk through the small town. Besides the grocery store, the main place is the hardware store which carries some household goods, school supplies, etc. We plan to stay here a few days – both because of the weather and because my basketball-deprived husband is dying to see some NCAA games and hopes the beach bar will have them. We go to church on Sunday but can’t get ice cream because the only place to get it is the grocery store and it’s closed.
“This,” says Matt, “is when I really feel homeless.” The dinghy ride back to the boat is long and, by the time we get there, everyone is absolutely wet-through-to-the skin drenched. I’m laughing on the ride back because it’s just so ridiculous. Someday soon, I think, we’ll just get in a car and have a choice about whether to keep the windows open or closed.
Although we don’t see that much of it because of the weather, Georgetown is like a self-sufficient floating retirement village. There are probably a few hundred boats. Every morning at 8 am, there is a community forum on the VHF radio that has a formal moderator and various topics: new arrivals and departures; help or items needed; community announcements (e.g., volleyball games, yoga, pig roasts); newcomer information. There is even a library open two hours per day and staffed by sailor volunteers who also tutor the local kids in reading. A pump out boat passes through 3 days a week to empty waste tanks and pick up garbage. Some people come down and stay in this one spot for the entire winter. Or maybe forever.
We leave on Monday at 2 pm and stay in Emerald Bay Marina for a night to power up our batteries, shower and do laundry. The next day we get to a tranquil anchorage in Cave Cay. We get one of the best night’s sleep we’ve had in a while. In the afternoon we dinghy over to a cove that has an underwater sculpture by Jason Decaries Taylor, an artist who makes life-size statues from a cement that encourages reef growth. Most of his sculptures are in Grenada but one is in the Bahamas. We take turns jumping out of the dinghy and snorkel over to see it. In the late afternoon, the Norwegians and their friends stop by to
show up their catch – a freshly speared lobster. They hit a few fish but decided it was time to get out of the water when one shark showed up, then another, then another and all three began circling them. Tomorrow, we leave for Staniel Cay where we’ll spend a few days and celebrate Easter.