A Travellerspoint blog

George Town, Miscellany

sunny 79 °F

  • We had planned to leave for Long Island on Saturday, 03/17. But, in the way of boats, stuff happened. Both Carol and I felt like we were in the early stages of colds; we did not yet feel bad, but we surely didn't feel very lively. This we might have gotten past; but on the cruisers' net this morning we heard that there is going to be some sort of regatta to Long Island, maybe as many as 40 boats, leaving Saturday and returning Tuesday. Too much company in too small an anchorage. So we stayed put, did some chores, read some books, drank some gin, and just hung out. Carol noticed that the snap hook we have securing the painter to the dinghy was kaput; it was a really good Wichard snap hook that I expected to last forever. It would have been a very expensive part failure that allowed the inflatable boat and motor to drift off into the sunset. One of the chores was to make a new painter.
  • Carol had thought that she would not like it here in George Town, too much like Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, FL. But, since we are well away from the critical mass of boats she had decided that it is OK. The town has a certain charm, we think; the concentration of activity near the grocery store is remarkable. I would guess that the cruising population has a significant economic impact on the community. There seems to be a certain frenetic level of action down by the Chat 'n' Chill Grill: games, yoga, activities, e.g. water color painting, going on all of the time. It seems that many folks make a dash for here and then just sit for the duration of their allotted trip time, having close friendships with others, built up over time, who do the same thing.
  • There is a cruisers' net every morning at 0800 on the VHF radio. These are typically brutally boring and this one almost meets that standard except --- the host has a voice like a professional radio announcer and has a ready wit about him that makes it seem almost like morning drive time before it was taken over by shock jocks. Matt, the rooster, (yes, he does crow on the air) is way too much personality for me in the morning, but it is different from other nets we have heard.
  • Having no idea what this place would be like, we have been a little surprised by the turnover in boats. Every morning there is a trail of sails heading north and south; every afternoon a similar number of boats arrive to take their places.
  • There is a BaTelCo cell tower maybe a mile or so away and we have a direct line of sight to it. Despite this, the Samsung smart phone has not worked at all as a wifi hot spot for the computer except on rare occasions, another of the many things that I have not been able to understand, especially if the laptop cannot get to the internet how can I have a steady stream of Microsoft updates processing. It has, however, been able, usually, to load the internet onto its own screen. So, in order to put out the blog I have had to schlep the computer and accessories into town and go to the local wifi store pictured below. It's hard to imagine a bigger mismatch than this building and anything to do with wireless technology. It's about the size of a one car garage and in its previous life may have been .... I cannot imagine. Regardless, the price is pretty good: $5.00 all day and the upload/download speeds are not bad, in the relative sense, anyway.


  • On the dinghy ride into town this morning we saw that Braveheart of Sark was anchored a little south of us, just like a regular boat. I had thought that this was the most beautiful boat I had seen. On further reflection, it is one of the most beautiful things (things exclude people and places) that I have seen. It was rude and inconsiderate of them to put their dinghy on the side where I had to take the picture.


  • Our boat, which we don't think of as small, is on the smaller side of the boat universe here at George Town; the bottom third easily, more likely the bottom quarter. Despite this, some folks are here in what seem, to us, to be very small boats, 30-ft. max. These two guys are anchored just to the north of us, the long and the short of it in boat terms.


  • Every day, about 1500 (3pm) now on DST, our boat gets done up like a tie dyed, psychedelic 60's VW van as Carol redecorates the cockpit to reduce the harsh afternoon sun as it comes in over the stern. It's pretty hard to argue about this; she is a skin cancer survivor; the sun is not her friend, after all, and most people with her history would opt for a dark cave over a Caribbean cruise.


  • A little bit before 1300 on Sunday we headed down to the Chat 'n' Chill to meet David and Alice for a BBQ on the beach. We never made it there; the O/B motor quit after a few hundred yards and then quit again after a restart. We eventually figured out that the motor would run, but only at about idle speed, so we limped back to the boat. The most reasonable explanation was a fuel supply problem, the second was water in the fuel. When we got back to the boat I went through the trouble shooting guide, exhausting all possibilities except adjustments and settings, whatever those are. Replaced the spark plugs and checked to see that each was getting power; they were. Replaced the fuel hose, fuel fittings, nothing worked; the engine continued to stall above idle RPM's. Got tired and quit. After a few hours I decided to see if the engine would even start after cooling down. Not only did it start, it ran at the full range of RPM's. Left it alone and came back in the morning; it still ran but, maybe, it was a little rough; or, maybe, that was the way it has always run but I never paid that much attention. Went down to see David, probably less than a mile one way, and he said that the engine sounded good and offered to loan me his RACOR fuel/water separator, truly a DUH! moment, and a testament to my lack of linear and/or horizontal thinking. Such an obvious thing to do and I had never even heard of such a thing. I took the dinghy into town and headed to Top II Bottom, a marine supply store that carried the filters at only twice the price of the Defender catalogue, but about what we would have paid to get one shipped here from the states. I installed it this afternoon and the engine still seems to run OK. As prophylactic measures we have also added a tow rope in case the engine quits again; we carry the seat, now, in case we need to row; and we now carry the handheld VHF in case we need to beg a tow back to the boat. It's good when things work; it's a simple, straightforward issue when things don't work. It's the in-betweens that are hard to handle and do not accommodate themselves well to planning: will the motor keep working or not? Having checked Staniel Cay Marina, the only solution is Nassau; Lightbourne Marine sells and repairs Mercury engines, but we've made that return voyage too many times this trip.


  • When we bought the boat Carol and I both ordered prescription, polarized sunglasses. Carol wears hers almost all of the time, light eyes having a propensity for cataracts. I rarely wear mine, no particular reason for that, but chose to wear them today for the ride into Lake Victoria. The Bahamas are a beautiful place, with the blue of the sky, the white clouds and the variegated water shading blue through turquoise to green. I was struck by how much more vibrant the colors were with the sunglasses on. The intensity and clarity of the colors went up several orders of magnitude making a beautiful view even more so.
  • Small world stuff #1: Some folks, Bill & Ann, came by the boat on Sunday to chat for a while. They are friends of Ann & Marshall who live in Spring Creek along Meadow Fork Road, maybe two miles from our house as the crow flies, although the crow would need to tunnel through some rocky real estate to make that flight. They hail from Beaufort, SC and are anchored a few hundred yards away from our boat.
  • Small world stuff #2: the New Passage, a sailboat I have much admired, spent the same two years on dock #4 of Brunswick Landing Marina that we did. Last year when we moved to dock #9, they were on dock #8, one slip away from being stern to stern with us. Today I saw that Bob & Carol are about a quarter mile south of us, several hundred miles from south Georgia.
  • Carol has had an intestinal/stomach problem recently, never a pleasant thing, probably less so on a boat.
  • Being in the far north of the anchorage we have a very long dinghy ride to Lake Victoria, probably close to two miles. When leaving the lake the first of those miles runs almost due east, and is almost always directly into the wind; with the long fetch and higher wind speeds, over 15 knots, the ride gets very jarring and very wet. Carol has taken to wearing a Gore-Tex jacket to stay mostly dry and demanding slower dinghy speeds so that, despite her generous padding, she will not feel so knocked around. I haven't been wearing a jacket and when we get back to the boat my t-shirts are so salt encrusted that they will stand up by themselves. Then there is dinghy hair, a variation of hat hair. Hair gets wet and salty, blown by the wind into strange spikes and scapes, and then, due to the salt, dries that way as solid as if coated in styling gel.
  • On the dinghy ride into town this morning the O/B engine was doing well, having started on the second pull, and then it wasn't. So, we turned around and headed back to the boat. I had already planned the run north to Nassau when I noticed that someone, not saying who, had neglected to push in the choke. At this age my legs are too stiff to be able to kick my own butt. Having put in the choke, the engine seemed to do OK but I am still hyper sensitive to real or perceived signals that things are not well.
  • Our future plans are uncertain. We have a few days of winds coming up, 20~25 knots. When first we got the boat, eager to sail, I grudgingly reefed the sails at, maybe, 20 knots, other times waiting until 25 knots. Now, a few years in I know that our boat is fairly light at 16,000~17,000 lbs and that that much wind makes for very hard and physically demanding boat handling. So, we will just sit this out, test the dinghy some more and, if the weather is right, try for Long Island, about 38 nm, later this week. On the other hand, the dinghy may force us north.

Posted by sailziveli 10:43 Archived in Bahamas Tagged boats boating bahamas

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