Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | May 1, 2011

Black Point to George Town, Bahamas

We spent one night at anchor at Black Point, a small Bahamian settlement not far from Staniel Cay. We walked around the town, and learned a little from the locals. Many commute to work (via boat shuttle) on Staniel Cay, which has a larger tourist base. There are a couple of restaurants here, a small hotel, a government office and clinic, several schools and churches and tiny markets. As we were leaving the dock, a local policeman asked for a lift to the mooring to his police boat. At times when there is no one to give him a lift he has to wade back and forth to his boat.

Small boat mooring field at Black Point, Bob in dinghy assisting the local law enforcment officer to shore

We left Black Point at 7 am on Friday for the 9 hour trip to George Town. The weather was forecast to improve with lighter winds, and Bob predicted calmer seas as the day progressed. We exited to the Exuma Sound through Dotham Cut, a narrow natural channel between the islands. We were prepared for some rough water and rollers as we went through this channel, however, the waves seemed bigger than we had expected. I held onto the pups who were unsettled by the violent motion and the coffee mug that had sailed by and crashed to the floor. After we got through the worst part, we went below and set up camp at the lower helm, leaving the coffee mess above. Fortunately Bob’s prediction of calmer seas as the day progressed held true. Which was good, because the morning’s seas seemed greater than I could tolerate for more than a short time. I was starting to reevaluate how much I really wanted to complete our journey. Staying in the Exumas was starting to look pretty good.

We had a safe passage into Elizabeth Harbor in George Town. According to the guidebooks it can be tricky, and they have pilots to help newcomers navigate the channel, which unlike those at home, has few marks. We made it in without a problem with our electronic charts, which in these waters seem to be pretty accurate. Anchored off of Stocking Island, across the harbor from the main settlement.

George Town, like Marathon, has a large and friendly cruising community, morning radio net with weather and helpful information, and organized social activities. The town itself was a little more quaint than we had envisioned with its reputation as the cruising capital of the Bahamas. Local businesses catered to cruisers, and the biggest local market offered free RO water (reverse osmosis) to those who wished to fill their jugs, and free wifi if you wished to bring your computer and sit on the curb. There are challenges getting a constant supply of certain items, for example, this week there seems to be a shortage of propane. Provisions here were expensive compared to home, and with much less variety available. Some fresh items such as onions and plantains could be purchased from street vendors.

The annual Family Island Regatta is wrapping up this week, and consists of daily sailboat races and street festivals. The sailboats are all hand made and less than 26 feet in length, and represent the different communities in the Bahamas. They bring the sailboats in via barges which is not a bad idea. I wouldn’t have minded putting our boat on a barge for that last passage. They had local food, beverages, bounce houses for the kids, marching bands, and cultural competitions such as conch cracking and coconut peeling. We were there for the onion dicing contest, which was hard to see with the crowds. The winning contestant was pretty quick, taking about 15 seconds to get the job done. We saw just a few cruisers at the festival which we found surprising.  

One of the races during the Family Islands Regatta

Street festival during Regatta week in George Town

We are staying here for at least a few days to enjoy George Town and wait for a good weather window to continue south.

– Elaine

 

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Responses

  1. Just took a few minutes to read through your travel journal to date. What a wonderful trip & adventure as your website depicts.

    I was able to relate (marginally) as Jesse & I took a week long sailing course through Outward Bound in 2009, and the writings related to pulling everything out of storage bins only to find the sought after item was not there was very familiar.

    So glad you are able to log your accounts as regularly as you do. I’ve tried to do that on trips before as there are so many details of the day that are of interest, but fade if not captured in a timely manner.

    As you said, its a lot of work to meet the daily essentials, but that certainly puts things into the proper perspective!

    Best wishes to you both as your journey continues. I’ll be keen to check in on you & read more as you go.


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