Back to Great Exuma, then a month on our own.
Monday March 27th through Sunday April 2nd
Hubert and Carolyn were on a flight out on the Friday, so we left Hawksbill Cay on Monday and headed further south, planning on getting to Elizabeth Harbour on Wednesday in plenty of time to see what was happening there before they needed to hop on a plane to the US.
Reading the Exuma Guide, we thought that Black Point Settlement would be an interesting place to visit and perhaps have a meal ashore. So we followed the waypoints south and took the channel into Black Point. Black Point in the second largest populated town in the Exumas after Georgetown. Based on the guide it had three or four restaurants serving “authentic Bahaman food”, plus a good anchorage and a couple of nice beaches.
Unfortunately the guide was again WAY off the mark. First the beaches were either protected by a good layer of rocks or, as was the case with the largest beach, a sand flat which meant you had to anchor your dinghy about 200 yards from shore and wade. Not ideal with a dog. We ended up taking her to the very small rocky beach by the government dock and walking her up the street.
After dealing with Grace we all went for a stroll through the town, the idea was to have a look at the menus in the “restaurants” and pick one to eat in that night. Suffice to say we ate on board that night. We found the settlement downright grubby, and that is a kindness.
The next day we took the cut right there by Black Point and headed south towards Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbour.
As we were headed through the deep Exuma Sound at a nice trolling speed of around nine knots, Hubert and Paul decided to put out a line and see if we could grab some fresh fish for dinner. Before we left the US we bought a couple of Penn rods and reels, one with 30# mono and the other with 50# mono. We put out a red and white lure on the 30# line and after about 30 minutes had a strike. It turned out to be a barracuda, which we sent back in. It was quiet for an hour and then we hit again. This time we had a nice size bull dolphin fish on the hook.
It took a while to reel the fish to the boat, Paul on the rod and Hubert by the cockpit gate with the gloves on ready to haul it onto the deck. We got it safely to the gate – and then it threw the hook as we went to pull in in. We do not want to have a gaff* on board as we are not “serious” fishermen and a gaff injury out here would be a real issue. We do have a net and both Hubert and Paul cannot answer why they did not use it! We are sure there will be other opportunities later.
Red Sian’s take on the whole episode in her blog entry here:
We entered Elizabeth Harbour early Wednesday afternoon and paid meticulous attention to navigating the entrance due to the reefs at the mouth and the sandbars across the northern entry point. We anchored right across from the Monument on Stocking Island. After tidying Sonas up we decided to go have dinner at Chat n’ Chill to see what all the fuss was about the place. We had grilled ribs and rotisserie chicken. While the food was excellent, the abundance of big flies made the eating very tedious.
On Thursday, after the obligatory swim around the boat and walk on the beach, we called Elvis’s Water Taxi and paid our $15 per head for the round trip over to Georgetown for a look around. We looked over the straw market, had lunch at Blu, at the Exuma Yacht Club, bought some groceries at the market and headed back to the boat.
On Friday we took Sonas over to the Exuma Yacht Club dock to take on some diesel, gas (for the dinghy) and water. And to drop Hubert and Carolyn off to get their taxi to the airport. I asked them if their fuel dock was free as they had a big boat stuck there the day before due to having lines around her propellers. He told me everything was clear and to come on in. Approaching the fuel dock we saw that there were boats either side of it. There was about 50 foot of clearance, a challenge since we are a 53 foot boat! Paul had to get the boat parallel to the dock and then walk her sideways into the dock, with our bow overhanging the boat in front of us by a few feet, with a good size audience looking on as well! Sian had been limiting Paul to one cookie a day but announced that after that bit of boat handling he could have two next time!
The docks at Exuma Yacht Club are a one man show – and that includes the street gas station they have as well. He said that he had someone managing the street but that she had gone “walkabout.” With getting me the diesel hose, then the gas hose (to fill the tanks for the dinghy) and then the water hose to fill our water tank, as well as docking other boats and fueling boats and cars, it took a couple of hours before we were ready to leave. The epitome of “Island Time, Mon!” But we were cool with that and chilled out while everything as happening.
We even watched a small black tip shark tool around the docks as we were waiting.
We pulled away from the EYC and anchored just off the dock as we were going to go into Georgetown again the next day to re-provision. Especially on the booze stocks!
The next morning, we took the dinghy under the little arch bridge and into Victoria Lake in Georgetown where we able to tie up at the floating dock right behind the market. We walked to the hardware store – aptly named Top II Bottom, and bought a new tow rope for the dinghy, some paint brushes and boat cleaner. Chatting with the lady working there we learned that she orders everything from the US, and only places and received three orders a year. Now THAT takes some inventory management!
We then hit the grocery store for some fresh fruit and vegetables, then the liquor store for Kalik, a case of wine and a liter of Captain Morgan rum! We were ready for the off again!
We would now be on our own for a month with no timetable. We wanted to visit smaller, less popular spots for some solitude. Looking at the charts we saw that Lee Stocking/Williams Cay seemed a strong possibility. We retraced our path through the Elizabeth Harbour northern entrance and headed for Adderly Cut. While Sian was on the helm, Paul trolled a lure for a couple of hours with no luck.
After entering Adderly Cut we navigated the skinny* waters around to the north end of Williams where we anchored well away from the one other boat there. It was a very still day and Paul took advantage of the light winds to take some drone footage of Sonas at anchor off the beautiful cays.
The next day, Sunday, we caught up on some of the boat chores. We got busy washing and cleaning inside and out, caught up on some laundry, and touched up on the bright work* with some dabs of varnish.
After the chores were complete we went ashore and climbed up Williams Cay and watched the swell crashing in from the Exuma Sound side. Getting back to the boat we got our daily exercise in by swimming around the boat and generally had a wonderful quiet day on board.
*Gaff: a long pole with the sharp hook on the end, for grabbing fish to haul them on board. Extremely sharp tool, which some fishermen do not like to use as it can mess up the fish,or someone’s leg!
*Brightwork: The brightly varnished woodwork. Sonas has wood rails all around her deck. This need to be kept up or the wind and salt will get at the wood.