MARCH 12, 2015 EMERALD BAY, GREAT EXUMA ISLAND
POSITION: 23 38.29N 75 54.75W
On March 4th it was finally time to head south for our second try. Two days earlier we had left Pirate Beach and when rounding Harvey Cay we ran head long into four foot seas and moderate winds from the south. Enough of this crap so we just turned around and went back to Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Since it was Joan’s birthday anyway, this was a good chance for us all to give her a little party and some relaxation (what… more?) around the pool for a couple days.
FINALLY, the winds turned to the south east on the 6th so it was time to go. It was only a short seventeen miles to our first anchorage at Musha Cay where we were still sheltered on the west side of the banks. Besides, by the time we arrived passing Cave Cay Cut in early afternoon, the rage was in full swing with a minimum 7-8 foot seas in the Cut so we just kept on going past.
Musha Cay is a private island owned by David Copperfield. His large house is well hidden on the hilltop among a lot of palm trees and other growth. The beach that we anchored off was beautiful, lush and provided a very tropical setting as you can see.
On Saturday morning March the 7th the weather outside was a lot calmer so we got up early and departed the protection of the Bahamas Bank and out into Exuma Sound where we were open to the Atlantic Ocean. Cave Cay Cut was calm as the tide was now slack.
We now had a twenty five mile run down to Emerald Bay.
Once out on the sound it was pretty good. However, for the first two hours were pretty bumpy but after that the seas calmed down to about two and a half feet so it was pretty comfortable.
Time to put out the fishing rods!! We got a pretty good strike and the line ran off the reel at lightning speed, but by the time Ron could get to the rod to set the hook the fish had spit it out. Oh well, we saved the fishery once again.
You see all kinds of odd things when you cruise. Here we passed what looked like a nice power boat but it had a mast and boom on each end. They were actually flying a small spinnaker...
Take a look at this one. There’s still hope for the power boaters out there.
Over the past few years we’ve avoided the Marina at Emerald Bay because we were told that it was a very tight entrance and it was rolly at the docks. Well, were we in for a surprise. The entrance was a little tight… for a 200 foot mega yacht, but once inside we were directed to the west channel to tie along the wall on the floating docks. PERFECT! What a well protected place this is.
The floating cement docks were easy to tie to and were high enough that it made boarding very easy. We call this the Canadian Dock because all the sailboats along here are Canadian.
Now for the best part….. The docks along the wall are the 50 cent docks. That’s fifty cents per foot per night or for us a mere $22.50 per night. They have no water or electricity but we can live with that. If you wanted all that then you could tie up at the $2.75 per foot docks.
Along with a dock you got FREE WiFi, FREE laundry, FREE showers, FREE crew lounge and FREE transportation to the nearest liquor store. What else could you ask for? There was a three night minimum stay.
On the way up to the office we passed by these beauties.
The crew lounge was beautifully fitted out. 50 inch TV, Air conditioned, Library, Pool table room, bar and dining room. This place really is top notch.
LOOK AT THIS STUFF!! ALL FREE TO BOOT!! About 70 folks arrived.
Remember, we only paid fifty cents a foot. Thank you so much Emerald Bay Marina.
After two days of “boat maintenance” it was time to rent a car and do some exploring. We also needed groceries as Ron’s sister and brother-in-law are arriving next week. Our first day took us to George Town for a whirlwind tour (because we would be coming back the next day) and Jon needed to get his propane tank filled. After a brief two times around the town we headed south to Williams Town where we would be south of the “Tropic of Cancer” and to celebrate with a great lobster lunch and a cold beer at Santana’s Bar & Grill.
Just look at the colour of the water …. mmmmmmm!
Next store was Mom’s Bakery where we loaded up on fresh breads and desserts. I think we bought one of everything.
On the way back north to George Town we passed the Salt Marker which looked like a pillar from the Parthenon in Greece. It was constructed in the late 18th century by a John Darrell, a Loyalist who spotted the salt marshes while on a whaling trip.
There is an old, rusty original cannon mounted beside the marker to alert salt ships when they were nearby.
Just north of Williams Town on the Kings Highway we came across this very narrow one way bridge. In the middle of it was a huge single gear that is accompanied by a long wooden handle. This is used to raise the single section like a bascule bridge in order to allow a boat to pass under the bridge. I guess the captain has to swim ashore to open turn the manual gear.
For those of you who think that this is a lush furtile land, may I show you the hardship they endure trying to grow their crops on solid coral with a slight bit of soil covering it…. With little or no water, the corn in this field won’t yield much but it’s enough to survive.
The original plantation owners attempted to grow cotton as an industry but the soil conditions did not make for any growing conditions. Occasionally you see the odd cotton plant alongside the road.
A lot of boats are still in George Town because the wind hasn’t dropped below 25-35 knots in over three weeks to provide a suitable window to head further south to the Caribbean Islands.
Here you can see the mail boat making its way down to Georgetown against the high seas.
I have no idea why this is loading sideways.... but the water is still beautiful.
After a couple beers, hot sun, and beside tranquil waters, some people will do just about anything. We just couldn’t find a minister to renew our vows. At least we dressed alike.
So it was back to the metropolis of Georgetown then on to Emerald Bay we go to finish our day.
Friday March 13th, 2015 Still at Emerald BayThis is day 6 at the Marina at Emerald Bay. The wind blew last night from 30-40 knots and didn’t let up for a minute. When I looked outside this morning the seas were rolling past the entrance like Hawaiian surfing waves. Guess we’ll be staying here for a few days yet.
March 12th, 2015 George Town – Stocking IslandSince Jon & Joan had never been out to volleyball beach on the other side of George Town Harbour, on day two of our car rental we decided to take a day off (again) and drive down to George Town where we would take the water taxi across to Chat’n Chill beach…… where you “chat for free but pay to chill” as the sign says. This is the most popular beach in the Bahamas for cruisers and every year in February the harbour sees in influx of some 400 plus boats for the annual George Town Cruisers Regatta. The harbour was full again this year.
Times are always good at the Chat 'n Chill beach bar on Elizabeth Island off George Town.
The ferry took us around to the back of Volleyball beach in the tranquil waters and pure white sand found here.
Jan & Joan were the first two ashore.
The daily volleyball games were being played by the cruisers.
The usual distance to home signs are found on the pole.
As well as souvenirs placed on the wall of the Chat ‘n Chill bar.
This one is for Trish, our friend from the other side of the pond. Well enough of this. It’s time to get back to Emerald Bay and start preparing the boat to head north to Little Farmers Cay.