On Friday, January 31st, I arrived back in Georgetown with my brother, Chris
and sister-in-law, Kathy. After trying to track down a spare part during a
layover in Miami, we were pleasantly surprised when Brad picked us up at the
dinghy dock in a fully functioning dinghy! We spent the evening catching up
on the boat while enjoying the music of the rake n’ scrape band that drifted
through the harbor on the unusually calm evening.
The next morning was full of errands on shore – laundry, grocery, and water
runs, but that afternoon we headed out Conch Cut for a little fishing
expedition. We were excited when we hooked up with a large mahi-mahi almost
immediately outside the cut. He ran toward the boat and we lost him, but it
wasn’t long before we hooked up with another. Chris reeled him and he and
Brad had him on the boat in no time. Fresh fish for dinner! A great start to
the week. We returned to harbor and anchored near Monument beach that
evening to enjoy our fish dinner.
A cold front was bringing in strong winds that wouldn’t allow us to
comfortably leave the harbor until Wednesday. So the following day, we took
a scenic hike up to the monument and around the salt flats. At the end of
the trail, we made a mad-dash back to the boat just in time to watch a
squall blow through that afternoon. The weather was much cooler following
the squall, and we all enjoyed the warmth of a bonfire on the beach at Big
D’s that evening. We mingled with other cruisers and Brad introduced us to
the new friends he’d made in my absence.
For a change of scenery, we moved over to Sand Dollar beach on Monday
morning. We did some snorkeling on a reef not too far from the boat and saw
some pretty coral and a large lobster (protected by a national park so no
dinner) and enjoyed the bustle of the Volleyball Beach. Chris and Kathy
tried a fresh conch salad from the Conch Shack, prepared while they watched.
We played a few games of volleyball and enjoyed watching the stingrays swim
around the shallow waters at the beach.
Tuesday morning, we moved back over to town. Since I’ve been gone, Brad has
been playing softball, so he and Chris decided to join the game Tuesday
morning. Kathy and I cheered (okay, fine, we laughed) from the sidelines
while we tried to figure out who was on what team and why the catcher and
pitcher seemed to be batting for the opposing team. (I guess they were
missing a few players). After the game, we had to complete some more
errands to ready for departure the following morning. We filled diesel, gas
and water, and made another quick trip to the market.
Late that afternoon, we decided to venture down to the “Fish Fry.” The Fish
Fry is sort of like a Bahamian food court. There are about 20 little
buildings packed together on a beach a little more than a mile outside of
town, offering food and drinks. Brad had visited with his friend Stretch and
enjoyed some delicious conch fritters at Hallie’s, so we decided to go back.
The food did not disappoint, and we enjoyed conch fritters, conch burgers
and hamburgers in a gazebo outside with a great view of Elizabeth Harbor.
It wasn’t a great sailing week – there seemed to be either way too much or
way too little wind, but the forecast was calling for what would be a fairly
good downwind run up to Staniel Cay. (It wasn’t.) But we enjoyed the
beautiful day as we motor-sailed and trolled (with no luck) about 10 hours
up to Staniel Cay. We had a fish on, but the crimp pulled before we got him
to the boat. We dropped the hook just before sunset, and Chris and Kathy ran
the dinghy to the beach to see if the swimming pigs were out. Apparently
they were already tucked in for the night, so we decided to try again in the
On Valentine’s morning the pigs came out for a swim and Chris and Kathy were
able to get some pictures. At slack tide, we moved Joint Venture over closer
to Thunderball Grotto to do some snorkeling. (You may remember that Brad and
I visited there last May). We all enjoyed some really nice snorkeling around
the outside of the grotto, but since it was high tide, entering was a little
trickier than we had hoped it would be. Chris got inside briefly to take a
look around, but as the current started to pick up, our visit was cut short.
Brad and I moved Joint Venture out of the anchorage and away from the
increasing current while Chris and Kathy took the dinghy to explore the
Staniel Cay Yacht Club and their resident nurse sharks.
That afternoon, we started to move back south and anchored near White Point.
Chris and Brad took off for a spearfishing expedition, while Kathy and I
enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the boat. The boys saw a bunch of lobsters
too small to shoot, and cleaned many lionfish off the rocks. They returned
with one lobster that was big enough to keep and we enjoyed a lobster
appetizer with our Valentine’s Day dinner. The larger lionfish went into a
delicious salad for the next day.
We had hoped to slowly move back down toward Georgetown, see a few more
places, and arrive back on Saturday evening in time for Chris and Kathy’s
Sunday afternoon flight. However, Chris Parker’s 6:30am weather broadcast on
Friday changed our plans. The front moving in Saturday night was going to be
stronger than expected, and was going to bring strong winds from the West.
Georgetown has few options for a protected anchorage from the west, so we
knew finding a place to ride out the winds would be a challenge. We decided
we had better head all the way back the Georgetown that day.
Although the forecast had called for light and variable winds, under 10
knots, we had about 20 knots of wind directly against us for the first
several hours of the trip and it was slow going. Once we made the turn to
head out the cut into the ocean side, though, we were able to sail. It was
beautiful, and with the south wind, the water was surprisingly calmer on the
ocean side than the bank side. We had a nice sail for most of the rest of
the day, but we were really pushing it to get through the cut before dark.
We managed to pull into the anchorage just after sunset, with a just enough
light left to see.
After discussing about 27 different options, we all decided Chris and
Kathy’s best chance for a relaxing last night in Georgetown and a dry
arrival to the airport on Sunday would be from shore. Sorry that we had to
cut our time together a little short, but thankful for a wonderful week, we
said our goodbyes on Saturday. We dropped them off in town, and Brad and I
departed to try to find a place to hide from the wind. Chris and Kathy were
able to get a nice room at the Peace n’ Plenty hotel in downtown and attend
the weekly Rake n’ Scrape party and barbeque on Saturday night. They rented
a car on Sunday to explore some more of the island and to get to the
All in all, it was a fantastic week. Like they say – “It’s Better in the
Bahamas” – especially when you can share it with the people you love.