23 January 2007 | Emerald Bay
We got up early this morning. It was a beautiful dawn with the sun rising over Stocking Island in Technicolor. It was also a sad morning because we knew we would be watching our friends on Eyran sail away to the North for perhaps the last time in a long, long time. I was getting used to watching them leave the anchorage two hours before we could possibly get ready.
By afternoon Hideko and I had the boat ready to go and we hauled anchor and motored north out of the harbor with Hideko on the helm. You have to do a little zig zagging to stay clear of all of the shoal areas in the harbor but I think with our draft you could probably sail just about anywhere you wanted to at high tide. Still we stayed to the marked channel and the waypoints on the Explorer charts.
It took us about an hour of casual motoring in light and variable wind to get to Emerald Bay. The Marina entrance is a little dicey as the waves break on the rocky beach just to the starboard side as you enter the marina. I think they have plans to put in a proper break water, but until then you will have a tough (perhaps dangerous) time coming or going with a strong easterly driving the swell across the entrance. The channel is wide enough but you might want to wait outside if you see a mega yacht transiting.
The Marina is setup to be a very nice place but it is still a work in progress. The dock master's office and the restaurant are in temporary buildings and most of the slips do not yet have power (because the islands power plant can't supply the amount needed). There is also a fair amount of construction going on in the area, both projects in the Marina and Resort Condos going up all around.
All that taken into consideration, the Marina is a very nice place. They have free trash disposal and laundry with new high quality washers and dryers. The captain's lounge has comfortable furniture with satellite TV, lots of charts, cruising guides and magazines as well as a pool table. The restaurant has good food and a nice outdoor bar. The bathing facilities are top notch, with clean showers and restrooms sporting shampoo, conditioner, body wash, sunscreen, hand soap, mouth wash, Q-Tips, cotton balls, etceteras. Wifi is free and available throughout the Marina. They have a shuttle service that will take you to the grocery store or the nearby resort pool. The pool area has a great heated pool, a Jacuzzi, a nice restaurant serving breakfast lunch and dinner, great indoor and out door seating areas, complimentary towels, beach access to Emerald Bay along with Kayaks and other stuff.
The regular rate is $3 a foot for full services. However for the time being you can get a $0.75 per foot rate (40 foot minimum) for slips with no power. Water is metered but if you are a cruising boat set up to be independent of grid power for long periods of time this is a deal and a half.
We came into the E dock and tied up facing North East stern to. I wanted to face North East because this is where you typically get the strongest winds and I wanted to be stern to in order to allow Hideko and Roq to use the boarding ramp while I was away. They let us tie up between two spurs allowing us to avoid deploying fenders. The docks in most of the marina are floating with the posts on the inside of the spurs which is heaven compared to most places in the Bahamas. All of the floating docks have rubber rub rails and solid cleats (no tying up around a post!).
A dock hand was waiting for us when we arrived and they even set a nice Emerald Bay rug out for us. After putting the boat away, Hideko and I enjoyed a nice dinner out to commiserate the departure of our friends on Eyran.