Arrival in Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas.
Georgetown will serve as our base for the next couple of years. We were fortunate enough to secure two moorings one for each of our boats at the St. Francis Hurricane Hole. Which is owned and operated by George and Jillian, a wonderful facility on Stocking Island. They run a restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking Elizabeth Harbour and the mooring fields, where our boats will be moored. They also have a number of cottages available for rental. The property overlooks the harbor and the protected leeward side of the island, as well as the other side often referred to as the ocean side, but really it is Exuma Sound, there are still a few more islands of the Bahamas on this side before you are completely in the open ocean.
We will be staging our exploration of the Bahamas and possibly Cuba from this base. When not on the boat, we feel this is an excellent place to leave her. The folks who operate St. Francis will keep an eye on the boats for us. There is also a large and closely nit cruising community here. We have already made many friends. Black Diamond can only leave in high tide and she is protected from all sides from high winds and waves. It is one of the best place to leave her in the Bahamas incase of a hurricane. We will be visiting Black Diamond multiple times per year and using her as a sort of vacation home on the water. We will be exploring different parts of the Bahamas during hurricane season and if a hurricane is headed this way, we can sail back to the hurricane hole from virtually any place in the Bahamas non-stop within about 24 hours.
From Georgetown, we are within a few days sailing distance to any of the 700 Bahamian islands (600 of which are uninhabited), Cuba and Florida. Flights are easily accessible now from anywhere in the US or Canada at very reasonable rates. It is affordable to just fly down for a long weekend and get away from it all. The provisioning is very good compared to many of the out islands. The cruising & local community in Georgetown always have many activities and events going on almost all year round. There is even a Church on the beach on Sundays.
When we first arrived, we anchored just outside of town, and rode our dinghies in and shared a cab to the airport to clear customs. Many days you can also clear customs right in town.
This was a humorous experience, as all the crew just spent 7 days on the boat in ocean seas. We were experiencing sever land sickness symptoms. We weren’t sick to our stomachs, but we felt the whole earth swaying back and forth. We had trouble standing still. It felt really weird, and we wanted to get back on the boats as soon as possible.
We then took our boats over to Stocking Island, and anchored right in from of Chat ‘n Chill beach bar and restaurant. The most popular meal for our crew seemed to be the conch burgers, there is also a beach side conch salad bar. The local young man who operates this, goes out daily and brings back freshly caught conch and after making you up the best conch salad you will ever have, he feeds the extra little bits the sting rays waiting by. He has managed to train them to be very friendly with the tourists and you can take your turn feeding them yourself. A little game of beach volleyball, cards or dominos with the cruisers is always a good time.
We spent the next few days, just relaxing on the beach, trying out all the local restaurants, including the Peace & Plenty Hotel and Restaurant. They have some affordable rooms there and a pool that can be enjoyed even during dinner.
Sunday night is the best time to go visit the local “Fish Fry Huts” on the beach on the mainland. Local fishermen deliver fresh caught red snapper and grouper daily. Sundays you can dance and sing the night away at Charlie’s Karaoke night.
Before leaving for home, a little bit of boat maintenance, clean up, then we put Black Diamond & Fortune’s Favour onto the moorings for a few weeks, when we’ll be back with our families for Christmas and New Years in the Baha