What is ARG?
20 February 2016
“Chicken Harbor,” “Sticky Harbor,” or “Adult Daycare” are nicknames for Georgetown, Exuma. This is the furthest south in the Bahamas before some open ocean passages are required to go down island. These passages to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are often called the “thorny path.” Wind and waves are on the nose for much of this passage. Many cruising snowbirds get to Georgetown and decide to stay for the entire season before heading north again.
There is good reason for sticking around in Georgetown. It is a large and beautiful anchoring area. Protection is good from any wind direction but you may need to move from one side to the other when cold fronts blow through. The town of Georgetown is the largest in the Exumas. Large is relative, I would guess the population is several thousand. There is an excellent dinghy dock in the protected Lake Victoria. And the dinghy dock has a tap for free, RO (reverse osmosis, very pure) water. Shops with necessities and trinkets are numerous.
Stocking Island is a long, barrier island to the east, protecting the anchorage. It has beautiful ocean beaches and three holes with moorings for boats that really tuck in for the season. The area is home to several watering holes and restaurants, Chat and Chill, Peace and Plenty, St Francis YC, etc.
It starts at 8:00 am with the cruiser's net on ch 72 VHF. An experienced moderator starts the broadcast with weather then moves into announcements from local businesses. Then come the announcements from those organizing events for the coming days. “ARG is meeting on Wednesday at 4:00 PM on Hamburger Beach. Bring a dish to pass.” “Yoga on the beach at 9:00 every day but Sunday at Volleyball Beach.” “Poker tournement at St Francis YC 5:00 pm.” “Beach church at Volleyball Beach on Sunday at 9:30.” “Boater's general” is the chance for anyone to ask for parts, sell something, ask advice, lost items or anything they want to express.
A call is made for new arrivals to check in. The day we arrived was a great sail from the northern Exumas and a dozen boats arrived. After we all checked in, first timers were encouraged to stand by on ch 72 after the net for orientation. This was most helpful to the Uproar crew. We had no idea where Monument Beach, Chat and Chill, Volleyball Beach or other locations were. We were told about the harbor service launch that picked up garbage bags, pumped out holding tanks or picked up propane tanks for filling. Everything about the area was discussed and we were encouraged to ask questions.
One can fill each and every day with events among the 300 boats making up the cruiser's communty. Starting April 26 there are 10 days of Georgetown Regatta. Regatta has several boat races but also includes beer vollyball, rum volleyball, softball games against the local team, dinghy poker run, talent show, art exhibits, coconut challenge, pet parade, tug-o-war, beach golf and all the parties that go along with the events. There are even closing ceremonies with prizes and a DJ.
Regatta t-shirts are sold to raise money for a local charity. Last year the cruiser's softball team even bought shirts for the local team. Speaking of local Bahamians, they are some of the friendliest and caring people anywhere. Lisa and I had to visit the hardware store which is 3 miles from town. We hitch hiked there and back twice. We got rides right away from gracious and sometimes chatty residents.
Georgetown is not the remote Bahamian wilderness but those spots are not far. It is a fun place full of fellowship among the cruisers and Georgetown locals. We are enjoying our time here and becoming part of the community. Everywhere we go, we meet other cruisers and exchange stories. Boat cards are a must to help remember who we meet and become known around the harbor.
Oh, we did learn about ARG at Hamburger Beach. ARG stands for Alcohol Research Group!