First week in Georgetown area
21 November 2016 | Sand Dollar Beach. Elizabeth Harbour
Nov 13, Sunday: Left slip at 0900 and motored out the entrance easily against 15 kts of ENE winds allaying our concerns about navigating the entrance in those conditions. Then had a nice sail down the coast with 2 reef main and solent in the 20+ kts apparent wind to arrive off Conch Cay Cut later in the AM. Motored our way through the reefs into Elizabeth Harbour, poked into Gavota Bay on Stocking Is for a look by the "Chat & Chill" then continued on to a spot off "Sand Dollar Beach" where we anchored by 1215. Only one other boat here, "Elza" whos's crew we met later. Launched the dinghy and had a swim. Sunny with a pleasant 15 kt breeze and temperature around 80. Just about perfect!
Nov 14, Monday: Sunny and warm! The crew spent the morning cleaning up the boat for arrival of Donna by air. Up anchor around noon and motored over to near Georgetown. All aboard for dinghy trip to town. Walked around investigating stores, found a bite to eat at the "Town Café" a truly local spot where we had a nice fried fish lunch. Chilled aboard in the PM then back to the restaurant/bar "Blu" above the Georgetown Yacht Club for a light meal & drinks. The Yacht club seems to have been extensively damaged by hurricane Matthew, with most of its docks broken up. I learned later that the gas dock was still intact and available for refueling. Donna arrived by taxi to be dropped at the Exuma Market near the dinghy dock at 1900. All back aboard for a champagne toast on our safe arrival here in the Bahamas (courtesy of Bart & Bev, Pleasure's Mine for their bon voyage gift!).
Nov 15, Tuesday: Sunny, light air AM. Donna & I went ashore for a few provisions then picked up and motored down the harbor to a spot in the lee of Elizabeth Is by 10:40. Good snorkeling spot on coral heads towards shore from our position. Many reef fish, mostly juvenile versions of all the familiars and good small samples of soft & hard corals, sponges. Later in the afternoon picked up and moved to anchor off of the Chat & Chill. John & I toured the beach and lagoon behind by dinghy. Later we all went ashore at 1730 for drinks and dinner at Chat & Chill--we were the only ones there! By the time we left at 1830 in the dark, the place was just about closing down! A calm nice evening.
Nov 16, Wednesday: Moved back to spot off Sand Dollar Beach. Four of us went ashore for a hike across Stocking Island. Randy stayed aboard. Nice trail to opposite side with land crabs stirring in the underbrush on the way. Trail came to a bluff with ocean beach below. We walked along the bluff to the SE then back inland and across again to a low lying spot on the western shore. There we found ruins of what must have been an extensive beach bar set up with palopa's and decks, now all destroyed from either recent or previous hurricanes. Not much beach to walk on at high tide but plenty of beautiful sand at low. Back to boat to arrange for airport transport tomorrow & print boarding passes, etc. Chilled out for last day for crew here in the islands. Christiaan and Elise of ELZA stopped by and invited us to dinner Friday.
Nov 17, Thursday: Crew packed up and readied for water taxi ride to town. Went off without incident and sad to see our intrepid crew depart after 12 days aboard Mystic Star. It seemed pretty empty aboard with our friends now off to home. Many thanks to our friends John, Randy and Richard for helping us get Mystic Star here to her winter destination so efficiently! We counted nine boats here at Sand Dollar beach as more arrivals from the north came to anchor. We worked aboard to change from offshore readiness to coastal cruising mode, then went for a walk on the beautiful beach with dinner aboard after sunset.
Nov 18, Friday: Stayed put at anchor. Very breezy today with winds 15-20 kts. Dingied the 1.4 nm to town for errands. We went to the Batelco offices to obtain a SIM card for the phone and a data plan for internet access. Found a nice lunch at the Driftwood Café, then on to the main market for provisions. The market was well stocked from deliveries the previous day, so there were no shortages of any needed items. The trip back upwind to the boat was a wet ride. We were ready for it but would probably do it differently next time! In the late afternoon we dinghied over to ELZA for a fine dining experience created by Elise and chef Christiaan. It was quite the fine three course meal served elegantly in the cockpit, tablecloth & all! We learned much in speaking with them. They have been live-aboard cruisers in their "Elza" for the last 28 years, visiting many corners of the North Atlantic and are originally from the Netherlands.
Nov 19, Saturday: We decided to explore the northern half of Stocking Is so picked up anchor and moved the 1.6 nm to a beach off of the "Monument" on a 100 ft hill. Went ashore at a spot by ruins of a dock that served a beach bar in days gone by. Found the remnants of a nature trail to the ocean side and on up to a hill just north of Monument hill. Wandered around the trails in the heavy underbrush until making our way back to the harbor side beaches. There we found a strange large structure that seemed to be a public venue, all recently painted and in good shape with solar panels, etc., but was shuttered and obviously closed. There were no signs to indicate what might go on there.
Nov 20, Sunday: I took the dinghy to Lake Victoria to fill the dinghy tank and a spare tank with gasoline while Donna dealt with internet issues and getting communications set up. Then we hoisted anchor and headed north back out Conch Cay Cut and went for a leisurely sail down the outer coast of Stocking Is in about 8-12 kts of NE wind. I tried my luck at fishing with a lure trolling behind. Got a solid bite that took part of the lure, but a fish was not landed. We sailed our way into the southern entrance to Elizabeth harbor around Fowl and Guana Cays, then right up to our now favorite spot off of Sand Dollar Beach near ELZA by 1415. Swam. Nice sunset once again.
Nov 21, Monday: Stayed put while a weak cold front passed through. Only sprinkles of rain, not enough for a good rinsing. We've not had rain to speak of since arrival here. Today we got out the new water maker and got it going along with the generator for a good battery charge. The water maker worked well, making the specified 18.0 gal per hour of sweet fresh R/O water. Christiaan came by and offered his test device for a salinity check of the output which was nice, and checked out fine. We invited them over for Thanksgiving dinner, assuming we're all still here by then. Forecasts indicate poor conditions to try to move eastward until at least Friday, so looks like we will all be around.