D64-81: George Town - Stocking Island

George Town is probably the biggest town in the Exuma chain.  Many cruisers head straight to George Town because it has everything you need.  It is a wonderful place to spend the winter.  As you can see by the red arrow, George Town is toward the bottom of the Exuma chain on Great Exuma Island.  

We anchored across Elizabeth Harbor from George Town in a anchorage called Monument Beach on Stocking Island.  We had to use our dinghy to run over to George Town for groceries and supplies.  The trip was about a mile and a half one way.  You can see the general track (red line in the photo below) from our anchorage to the entrance to Lake Victoria in George Town. 

D64: George Town Outboard Diagnosis (1/3/2020)

I decided that the simplest way to transport the outboard to George Town was on the water taxi. Travis picked me up at the boat on his first trip across the harbor. His passengers were a bit surprised when he pulled along side our boat and we swung and outboard over to the taxi with our crane. After getting a little tangled in the Bimini on the taxi, Travis help muscle it onto the boat. On the way, we stopped at the Chat & Chill beach where we dropped off a load of vacationers who were visiting Stocking Island.

We pulled into the Government dock and Jay was waiting in the parking lot. I handed him the outboard and it disappeared into the island. I returned to the boat and we decided to move a bit closer to shore to reduce rolling at anchor. So, we pulled up anchor and I tried to get as close to shore as the depth would allow. We anchored in about 14 feet of water.

Amazingly, Jay Rolle called me early that afternoon. He said "Do you have a power pack?". I said: "Can you say that again?". "Do you have a power pack?". I said "What is that?" He said "It sends the charge to the spark plugs. Yours is only firing one spark plug. You are only running on one." Bingo.

Well, I did not have a spare (as you might guess). He said he would look for one locally, but I thought there was a slim chance of finding one. I found one online. The question was how to get it here. Turns out, you can send the package to a service in Ft. Lauderdale and they fly it over to George Town. I started that process.

At this point, I did everything I could do to solve the big dinghy mystery and put the problem out of my mind. Cathy not so much, but that is another story. At this point, we started focusing on the weather forecast and getting to know the area. Today was Friday so nothing would really happen until Monday.

D65-67: George Town (1/4-6/2020)

Being without a dinghy and not really knowing anyone here yet, we decided to hop on the Water Taxi and explore George Town on Saturday. We ate lunch at the Island Boy Café, which was very good, and then ran some errands. We found ReggiExpress, the shipping service, and found out the details of what we needed to ship a new power pack to Ft. Lauderdale and then here. After that we explored the marine supply stores and the grocery store (Exuma Market), which is actually pretty nice. We grabbed a few essentials and headed back to the boat via water taxi.

Back at the boat we started preparing for the upcoming wind storm. A front was arriving Sunday night that will generate continuous NE shifting to ESE winds for the next several days that will blow at about 20 knots and rising, with gusts from 30 to 40 knots. So, it looks like we will be staying in George Town much longer than originally planned.

There is a very organized Cruisers Net, where cruisers share announcements and other information on channel 72. Bill on Charisma was the leader of the Net during our stay in George Town this time.  The general hailing and distress channel here is 68. Elizabeth Harbor including George Town, Stocking Island, and surrounding areas offer a very active community, if you want to just settle here for the winter. Very seductive, but we will try to move on when the winds die back a little. We do plan to use this place as a hub.

On Sunday a couple in a dinghy swung by and asked if we had ever been to Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville. Of course we had, many times. Turns out that they keep their boat there for several months each year. Once they pointed out the boat called The Norm and I looked at them again, I remembered them (Bruce and Rhonda Hoglund) being at the marina. They were always docked right at the ramp in front of the club house. We invited them aboard for some refreshments and on Monday they invited us to go for a hike up to the Monument and to go to the famous Chat & Chill Monday afternoon.

On Monday, Jay the mechanic found a used power pack and even though we had ordered a new one, we said to install the used one. The sooner the better. He said it worked fine and we arranged to pick up the Evinrude on Tuesday morning.

D68: George Town (1/7/2020)

OK. Today was the big day. Soon we would have a functional dinghy motor. When you live on a boat at anchor, your boat is your home and your dinghy is your car. You really need a reliable dinghy.

Bruce on The Norm offered to tow my dinghy over to George Town, so I could meet with Jay the mechanic and try out the repaired outboard motor. He dropped me in Lake Victoria and headed back. I was early, so I ran a few errands and then met Jay at the boat ramp. I installed the outboard on the back of the dinghy and it worked like a charm. I was happy to pay anything to have this working again. Jay was a very interesting local Bahamian who I like very much. I appreciate how fast he fixed the problem.

I made it back to the boat without any problems. Later that day, we went over to Chat & Chill where many of the cruisers were gathering for an anchoring seminar. Not sure I needed it, but it was good to see so many people there in preparation for the expected week-long blow.

By 8:00 pm, the wind shifted to the north and started to blow. So, it began.

D69-81: George Town - Stocking Island (1/8 - 20/2020)

Until we leave George Town for our next exploration or until something interesting happens, I will just add comments and photos to this entry. I will also create separate entries for specific topics related to this area. I suspect no one wants to read about our day-to-day routine.

From 1/8/2020 until 1/15/2020, we hung on anchor off Monument Beach in 15 knot to 30+ knot winds. The anchor held well and I will post a separate entry about my ground tackle and what others have done. On 1/15/2020, the wind is supposed to subside for about a day and a half, then pick back up again out of the NE and E. So, we will still not make our move yet, but we are planning a trip to Long Island.

Each day we try to do small boat projects, cleaning, water making, cooking, and planning. With a functional dinghy, we take trips ashore and over to Chat & Chill to be more sociable. I have felt a bit guilty making water and using it freely when I see other using Jerry jugs to bring water back from George Town. I am so glad we installed the watermaker.

We have met lots of very nice people here in George Town, mostly through events near the Chat & Chill and by talking with boaters anchored near by. The Cruisers Net provides lots of good information every morning on channel 72 at 8 am.

I have a few more stories to tell about out stay here, but wanted to end this section with this statement. We decided to leave for Long Island on 1/21/2020. We met another couple on another Beneteau 473 and we will be leaving together. Long Island has been on my list, but with the upcoming wind predictions, Tuesday would be a good time to get moving.

See random photos from the area below and click on them to see larger images.

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