Georgetown is the southern most harbor in the Exumas and is a mecca of cruisers during the peak season. Many boaters winter in the Bahamas and they seem to love and congregate in Georgetown. But it is also fondly referred to as 'Chicken Harbor'. The nickname comes from the fact that many cruisers plan to continue on to the Caribbean, but end up turning around each year. Why, you ask? I am no expert but I think they are intimidated by the vast blue ocean and the long passage that is necessary to get south. Or perhaps they like the creature comforts of the Bahamas. Who can blame them? Having been in the Bahamas for a short time, we can already see why people spend months, even years cruising here! Sailing to the next closest island in the Caribbean is hundreds of miles away. Who would want to do that, when you can have all this!? HA, we scoff at the name chicken harbor and smile proudly deep inside. For this is a strange phenomenon to us because we approached the Bahamas from the south and have many, many miles under our belts. It's all relative right?
I had heard and read so many stories, good and bad, about Georgetown. All the organized activities, tons of boats, tons of kid boats, a very active cruisers net, party, party, party. Some cruisers love it, thrive on it, make it their full time job even. Some cruisers hate it and complain about it. I couldn't hate it or love it without experiencing it for myself. We pulled in on Friday, May 3rd, after most cruising boats had either continued south or turned around and gone home. So we missed the peak season and all it's over scheduled glory. The Georgetown we met was quiet, friendly and quaint.
We had a relatively long day sail from Conception Island to Georgetown. We often trade kids with Patronus when we are doing a short, daytime island hop. On this particular day, we traded Kate for Bryson. It's always fun to mix it up a little. Bryson, especially, is great to have on board as he is an eager helper. At one point during the trip, Craig and Bryson were talking fishing stuff and Maggie turned to me and whispered "dad needs a son!" It's not that the girls aren't interested. They like the thrill of the catch, but when Craig talks about the nitty gritty of fishing, their eyes sometimes glaze over.
We hooked another HUGE fish, probably a Mahi. Craig fought it for nearly 30 minutes. It took the line on the reel out 750 feet!! I all but had to bring the boat to a complete stop, which is hard to do under sail without going backwards. He fought and fought and fought. Even Bryson offered to take a turn. In the end when the fish was about 100 feet from the boat, it got away. Craig did his infamous head turn and sighed followed by some mild profanity. It was a blessing in disguise because if we had continued the fight, we wouldn't have made it to Georgetown before dark!!
Kate and Reese spend the day reading on Patronus
Walking the streets of Georgetown
The local school was having a carnival fundraiser in the park
Kate and Jessica, the artist whose pottery was being sold at one of the gift shops. Jessica was in the shop showing a friend her work and I mentioned that Kate noticed a video playing in the store with scenes of her studio. We asked if she would give us a tour of her studio and she happily obliged.
The studio was small but neatly organized. These are items awaiting paint and glaze which are arriving by boat from the states. Nothing she uses is available in the Bahamas!
Jessica was a an artist as well as a surfer. She was quiet and friendly at the same time outgoing in a reserved sort of way. She was a joy to talk to and we learned that she was 5th generation Bahamian. She was inspired to pursue an art degree and bopped around the globe following the waves.
Strolling along Sand Dollar Beach
The kids found many sand dollars
Finding entertainment in washed up trash on the beach
Look at me, hear me roar
As we were exploring sand dollar beach, Bryson pointed out a crab in the water. It was not a crab we were familiar with. It looked more like a rock than a crab. We wanted to take a closer look, so we found an old flip flop on the beach and pushed it to the waters edge. We were surprised to learn that it was a momma holding a baby! Awe, how cute. We watched in amazement as she clutched her baby and went back underwater.
Had a taste (thanks Brittany) of my first Goombay Smash (adult fruity beverage) and conch burger.
Which way? There was a sign for Fort Worth & Houston, TX. San Francisco, CA. Muskegon, MI.
Listening to a Bahamian history talk (one of the organized cruiser activities).
A little beach volleyball anyone?
Maggie and Isla
This is an awesome story. When I first started researching the cruising life, I stumbled upon a blog written by a young couple embarking on their own adventure. They were from Chicago and making their way to the Caribbean on their small sailboat. I soon became a 'fan' of Scott and Brittany from Windtraveler and even e-mailed Brittany with cruising questions. When I learned they were in Georgetown, I knew I wanted to meet them! It just so happened that Craig and I were walking through town and a guy stopped to ask us if we knew where to dispose of used oil. I knew I recognized him and blurted out "are you Scott from Windtraveler?" He had that look as if he was trying to figure out who we were, so I did some fast explaining. I told him I felt like I had been stalking them and it felt weird that I knew more about him than I should and he knew nothing of me! Weird. Although Scott assured us he was used to it and it didn't feel weird to him anymore. On the way back to the dinghy we met up with Scott, Brittany and their adorable daughter, Isla eating lunch. We chatted for a while, got acquainted and made plans to see them at the Chat n' Chill beach. To make a long story short, we did meet them on the beach, had a wonderful time, and our girls loved meeting Isla!
The church on the hill