We made it to Elizabeth Harbour, Georgetown, the southern terminus of our Exumas cruise, on May 17th. This section of the trip included stops at Great Guyana Cay and Cave Cay, before making a run of about 35 miles down the deep – and somewhat rough – waters of Exuma Sound.
Most of the PDQ fleet has now turned around and headed back, so we’ve had plenty of time to explore this area on our own before our son and daughter-in-law join us in early June for a cruising vacation.
The time also provides an opportunity to catch up on our blog, and reflect on our Exumas experience so far. Our strongest impressions include…..the clarity and colours of the water….the countless pristine beaches, from tiny to many miles long…..the diversity of sea life (tropical fish and coral of course, but also sharks, barracuda, rays, turtles, and dolphins)…..and the remoteness of the region.
While very beautiful, the Exumas are sparsely populated, and less developed than we expected. Even Great Exuma, the business and administrative centre, has limited services, and one must be patient if there is a need for certain supplies (e.g. we had mechanical difficulties with our outboard and had to wait days for parts to arrive from Nassau on the ‘mail boat’). Fortunately, the helpfulness of both the local and cruiser communities goes a long way to compensate for this.
We also continue to adjust to the differences in the marine environment – wind, sea states and sometimes intricate passages – as it is not the same as the coastal cruising with which we are familiar. However, for us, this is all part of the excitement and attraction of cruising.
The captain snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto…..
…..as seen through this small opening in the Grotto’s roof.
Celebrating John’s 60th birthday with friends aboard Tar City Star; thanks Maureen, Ed, Carole, Bill & Ria for a great party!
A beach scene from the small, remote and traditional Bahamian community of Black Point, Great Guana Cay…..
…..where woven handicrafts are an important source of income for the community.
The view from atop the hill at White Point, Great Guana Cay.
The fleet at rest at Cave Cay; this cay is owned and was developed by a Texas oil millionaire, who we met while there.
This is Musha Cay, owned by illusionist David Copperfield; other celebrity cay owners in the area include Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage, and Faith Hill & Tim McGraw.
Meeting up with the ‘mail boat’ as we enter Elizabeth Harbour, Georgetown.
Hanging out with other PDQ cruisers at the ‘Chat & Chill’ beach bar at Gaviota Bay…..
…..where we signed and hung one of our Exumas Expedition tshirts for posterity.
The directional sign at the Chat & Chill beach; the distance to Port Coquitlam is on the shiny green sign near the bottom.
On a beautiful day we hiked the windswept eastern shore of Stocking Island…..
…..and through the jungle…..
……to get to the top of Monument Hill…..
……for a view of the harbour.
The Chat & Chill attracts all kinds of visitors, by all kinds of transportation.
This is one of the resident rays who stops by to get fed scraps of conch from the Chat & Chill.
We toured both Great and Little Exuma islands by car, where we visited Tropic of Cancer Beach.
Nearby salt ponds, where 200 years ago slaves and others worked in horrendous conditions to produce salt for export.
This column was erected to mark the location for ships to anchor offshore to collect the salt.
Conch fisherman harvesting their catch; conch is very plentiful in the Bahamas, and served in many tasty ways.
Perhaps a fitting final picture, as we have had quite a few thunderstorms and squalls with heavy rains the last few days; we’re hoping this situation will improve before our guests arrive.
Thee’s still lots more to come from the Bahamas, although the next post will likely have to wait until our return home to Vancouver, around the end of June.