South to Georgetown
On February 6th in the wee morning hours we left Blackpoint to head to Georgetown, Exuma our next stop in the Bahamas. For me, it was with a heavy heart as we had been on the island long enough to get to know several people and for them to know us by name as well. We spent an unexpected 2 weeks there waiting on things to be shipped to us and in the meantime we spent a lot of time with the locals. Blackpoint settlement is large enough to have some local stores, a laundry, and a school. As I talked about in my last post Jaxson went to school there for a week and that catapulted us into almost locals. Everyone knew Jaxson and us as Jaxson’s Mommy and Daddy. The Saturday before we left Jaxson was invited to a birthday party. The party was supposed to start at noon and was to be held at the school, Shawn and I showed up at noon and promptly found out it was island time noon. While we waited for the party to start, more and more children started showing up at the pavilion across from the school. Sharon, the birthday boy’s grandmother wanted to make sure all the decorations were done before the kids came in to see them. Shawn and I had our hands full in the pavilion with about 15 excited party goers until Sharon finally came out at 1 and declared it party time. I am not sure who was more excited that is was party time, the kids or Shawn and I.
That evening there was a cruisers planned event at Regatta Point. Just for a little clarification, all of us living on boats and sailing around from destination to destination are called cruisers. On our boats we have VHF radios, this is how we receive information and communicate. Most of the time our radio is tuned to the emergency/hailing channel 16, but in high cruiser areas there is usually a channel designated for local boater traffic information and the like. This is how the event at Regatta Point was announced. All were welcome to Sundowners, a cruisers meet and greet. We were asked to bring our own drinks and a snack to share. This was the largest gathering we had been to so far. Most of the anchorages we have been to have only had a dozen or so boats and when we went for sundowners there were only about 12 to 14 people. On Regatta Point I think everyone in Blackpoint Harbor showed up. We met dozens of people and sample some super yummy snacks. This is one of my favorite things about the cruising life, meeting so many different people from all over and everyone has a different story.
When we finally arrived in Georgetown it was just in time to provision for our trip further south. We were out of beer, our freezer was empty and we were almost out of liquor. A mutiny was eminent! Georgetown is the first stop after leaving Ft. Lauderdale that you can stock up on food and liquor at a decent price. It’s the first stop that has stores with carts to shop with. You may not be able to fit the carts down the aisles or through the checkout lanes but they do have carts. We bought supplies at the stores within walking and dinghying distance and made our plans to visit the others. The local meat market in Georgetown is a fair distance from where we can dock with our dinghy so they announce on the radio a time and place they will pick you up and take you to the market. On Monday morning Natasha and I were escorted by the owners’ sons the 4 miles from our dinghy to the market in the back of a pick up truck with about 12 other cruisers also wanting to stock up on meat. Once you get to the market its somewhat of a mad house for about the 30 minutes it takes them to wait on everyone who showed up at the same time wanting meat, salads, or sandwiches.
After mornings and afternoons spent shopping to replenish our stores we head over to one of the many beaches near us for some fun and relaxation. Since so many people anchor here (last count was 245 boats) all of the beaches have been named so when there’s an activity planned, you know on which beach to go. The most popular beach is Volleyball Beach, so named for the volleyball games played there every day beginning at 2pm. There is also a small bar and grill located on this beach, The Chat and Chill. There is always cold beer, hot grill food and lots of people hanging out. It’s truly the place to be. Along with the grill menu they sell conch salad by the beach. After you place your order the conch is literally taken out of the ocean, cleaned, and made into a fresh delicious salad while you watch. After the conch is cleaned the left over pieces are placed in a pile for stingray food. Kids and adults alike can take a piece to the edge of the water and wait patiently for a stingray to flow over your hands and vacuum up a snack.
On Valentines Day another boater organized a kids party on Hamburger Beach. Jaxson got a chance to hang out with lots of kids of all ages. They all loaded up on sweets, played relays, three-legged races, ran obstacle courses and swam. It was a great way to expend some energy and for the Moms and Dads to meet and chat.
In a harbor as busy as this one there is always something to do or see. We have had time to shop and refuel and meet lots more cruisers. However, the down side is you don’t get the isolated all to yourself beaches and calm serenity of the uninhibited islands. Today we are headed out to one last beach party for a Sunday pig roast. We will say our goodbyes to some we have met that go no further then Georgetown and get ourselves ready for our next sail south to quieter anchorages, less people, and hopefully more fish and lobster.
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