Previous Port: Long Island to Cat Island
February 11-14, 2006
Anchorage: N24010.179 W075030.222
Cat island is one of the Out Islands in the Bahamas. It is described by some as “the undiscovered jewel of the islands”. We weren't able verify this our first three nights/2 days because they were spent bouncing and rocking in the anchorage. Our effort to avoid yet another winter front didn't turn out as planned. The seas were too rough to venture ashore so we spent the time trying to entertain ourselves in the cockpit. On day three the wind and seas calmed and we took the opportunity to spend time ashore.
The Hermitage, a monastery built by missionary Farther Jerome Hawkes, was the highlight of our day. The stone building sets atop 206-foot Mount Alvernia, the highest point in the Bahamas. The rock-strewn climb was not too difficult, considering some we've taken, and the view at the top was well worth every step.
Along the path there are 14 stations of the Cross depicting various parts of the Crucifixion. As you near the summit, narrow steps are carved into the solid rock. The stone building at the top includes a kitchen, a study, sleeping quarters, a chapel, bell tower, plus two other rooms that we couldn't say for sure. Each of these rooms are very small - just big enough for one man, but each has a spectacular view and great ventilation.
We enjoyed what we experienced the one day on Cat Island but felt the stirring to move on. Bob kept coming up with reasons we should go back to Georgetown so we went.
George Town, Exuma
February 15-18, 2006
Anchorage: N23030.671 W075045.563
What else can be new in George Town? Bull_ _ _ _, perhaps? There is a Cruiser's Net every morning on the VHF. Cruisers share information, get help with problems and learn about the town and the country. It is a very well organized Net and is managed by the cruisers themselves. Local businesses have an opportunity to advertise each morning for free. It was on the Net that an announcement was made one morning that the locals felt the cruisers were "cheating" them by using the free, unsecured school system link under the tree for internet access. DUH! Why not secure the site then? Probably for the same reason that someone is not making a mint by providing secured access in the anchorage.
Other than under the tree, the only place to connect using your laptop was Bal Sound. Until that announcement, most cruisers connected to the internet under the tree. Others, like us, mostly went to Bal Sound and paid the reasonable fee of $3.00. The problem there was that there were only 2 places to sit. That meant finding an empty space on one of the merchandise shelves and standing or sitting in the floor. It wasn't ideal or even good but it was ok up to that point.
We had not heard the announcement and weren't prepared for the mass of folks we encountered on our visit to Bal Sound our first morning back in George Town. People were sitting on the floor, sitting outside, sitting at the store next door. Internet access that had previously been somewhat slow was now painful and almost unusable with so many users on the same server.
The "cheating of locals" announcement had such an impact that a few days later there was an announcement that the locals felt it was "cheating" for cruisers to share taxis. "Each cruiser should be able to pay for their own taxi without having to share the cost". What they didn't mention in their "cheating" spiel was that each taxi sets it's own fee. We've heard of some folks paying $30.00 for a trip to the airport while others have been charged as much as $56.00.
Once again, I was more than happy to leave George Town but also happy that I'd bought a fishing yo-yo there. Underway we caught an 8-pound Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) and a 7-pound Wahoo. Our freezer has really filled up with fresh fish. I still can't eat them the day I see them die but it's easier if I take them out of the freezer to cook.
February 19-20, 2006
Anchorage: N24002.082 W076022.260
This was just to be another stop on our way to Miami. The beach was just too tempting though so we stayed a day to explore. This is definitely our very favorite of all the Bahamian beaches we've seen. Not only did it have the typical white sand but there were rock formations and unusual growth - very interesting. It was great walking and exploring.
February 21-22, 2006
Anchorage: N24011.152 W076027.703
Staniel Cay is another favorite cruiser's stop. It seems to be almost mandatory. It is home of a hollowed-out island called Thunderball Grotto. James Bond movies "Never Say Never Again" and "Thunderball" were both filmed there as well as the movie "Splash".
The island is less than a mile square and we were able to see as much as we wanted during our walking tour. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club before heading back to the boat.
February 23, 2006
Anchorage: N24042.899 W076049.760
This was just a stop for the night after a terribly hot 920 day.
February 24-27, 2006
Anchorage: N25004.792 W077019.957
Once again, it took several attempts in several spots to set the anchor in Nassau. Luckily it was not so crowded as when we were here in January. There had been a few days of really high winds so we waited for the seas to calm for our crossing. What better to do while waiting than to go ashore and feel like tourists again. I don't think I've ever seen so many tourist at one time. There were as many as six cruise ships in port at a time. Even with the anchoring problems and the hoards of tourists, we still like Nassau.
Next Update: Crossing the Gulf Stream