Saturday, April 10, 2010

Exuma Sound!

The winds kicked up a bit last night, gusting 20 kts from the south, and I fretted some in the wee hours that we wouldn’t have a good weather window after all for our passage  south on the Exuma Sound en route to George Town. From Cave Cay, it’s about 31 miles to Conch Cay Cut, the entrance into Elizabeth Harbour, and from Cave Cay south, our only straightforward route with deep-water. The water on the bank side to the west gets rather thin in the southern Exumas, so getting to George Town requires us to run down the Sound. 
Thankfully, the morning brought much lighter winds than the previous night. We were up early, and out of the Cave Cay Cut by 8:00 am. We were delighted with the calmer conditions; although we know Equinox can handle rougher seas, while we’re towing Tingum, we like to have the better conditions. And, the passage was just as we hoped: uneventful! 

View from the pilot house heading south on Exuma Sound

After a 4-hour cruise, we were close to arriving at George Town via Conch Cay Cut. It gets a bit dicey there, as boats must thread their way through isolated coral heads, shallow reefs, and sand banks to enter Elizabeth Sound. Charts are extremely helpful here, but it is still necessary to keep an eye on the color of the water to avoid the hazards. As we entered, we had fairly good light (despite the darn clouds that chose to congregate above us at our very arrival at the cut!) and Ron piloted us through without any issues. We even had a small eagle ray sail by us as we entered the harbor, which was a good sign in our book!
George Town is the “mecca” for sailors in the Bahamas, where for the past forty years or more, cruisers have come to spend time here. Some boats are en route to places farther south in the Caribbean, but most just stay the winter months. George Town is located at approximately 23 degrees 31’ N latitude and 075 degrees 47’ west longitude, just above the tropic of cancer. It’s about 350 miles from Miami, Florida, to give everyone some perspective.

Walking the beach on the south side of Galliot Bay

We had the anchor down near Gaviota Bay by 1:00, and went out in the tender to check out the lie of the land. We landed on “Volleyball Beach” and went up to the Chat ‘n’ Chill for a late lunch. It was exactly what was needed after a good morning’s cruise! We ended up talking with some local guys next to us at the C ‘n’ C, and before the day was out, Ron was aboard their boat, doing a bit of fishing! Ron totally enjoyed it and I relaxed a bit aboard.  
Great food, total island ambiance!  

No burgees, just t-shirts! The rafters are filled at the C 'n' C!

After Ron returned in the early evening, we went over to the Peace and  Plenty with Karuna and Greg for dinner and music. We took Eclipse, as the run across the harbor is a good mile of choppy water. We had a great dinner, taking part in the local benefit barbeque (proceeds to go towards the All-Island Family Regatta) and enjoying the ambience and reveling in the friendliness of the P and P. Great place!! 

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