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Paradise Next Door
Bahamas Cruise
2011
Don's Mahi-Mahi
~ Don's Mahi-Mahi ~
George Town, Great Exuma Island
The Pendent on the Emerald Necklace
Fish On!
We were several days en route to the southernmost edge of our cruise, but idyllic days they were. A few hours before the sun dropped below the horizon of the first night, we dropped anchor in a deep, aquamarine pool off the secluded shores of Cave Cay. My gypsy soul could spend a lifetime exploring the spellbinding beauty of these Far Bahamas.

The following morning, we unfurled our sails and continued south. Along the expansive eastern coast of Great Exuma, the sea finally gave up one of her treasures to Don by way of a beautiful mahi-mahi. I grabbed the wheel while Don cranked at the reel, both of us silently pleading to Poseidon to let us land this one as the iridescent catch leapt and wrangled at the other end of the line. The sea-god yielded, and in due course Don was able to bring the ample fish alongside in its entirety. But gaffed and successfully hauled onboard didn't necessarily end the battle.

Inebriated Ending
"GRAB THE RUM!" the proud hunter yelled as he lay prone on the fighting prey angrily flashing green, gold and blue in the gunwale.

"The RUM? I'm not wasting good rum on a fish!" I uncooperatively protested.

There are several, (some rather objectionable) ways to dispatch a spirited sea creature; a kill box full of ice (not feasible on our boat), a club (not tolerable by the crew), or oddly enough – an adult beverage. We'd been told that pouring alcohol into the gills worked beautifully to bring about a quick end – and I furtively hoped the intoxicating effect eased any discomfort in its demise.

Feelin' Like a Rockstar
~ Feelin' Like a Rockstar ~

"THEN GRAB THE…GRAB THE…GRAB SOMETHING!!" Don's agitation raised as his prize eyed the water rushing by, renewing its will for round two.

I went below, giggling at Don's reaction should I return with 'SOMETHING', like a piece of paper…or a feather. I'd a handle of cheap gin onboard for preventing algae growth in the water jugs (far more palatable than bleach), and the tip we'd been told proved true – a single shot of Bombay slayed the beast.

After a quick pose for posterity, the dirty work of butchering commenced and in due order we'd refilled the nearly vacant freezer with fresh fish!

Like a Rock Star
With renewed exuberance felt only by those who've traversed miles of ocean to land on exotic shores while successfully harvesting sustenance from the sea, we floated into Elizabeth Harbor feeling like rock stars. To the east lay Stocking Island, a lush hilly strand of land with fun-filled destinations like Volleyball Beach, Chat ‘N’ Chill, Turtle Lagoon, and Peace and Plenty Beach Bar. To the west lay Great Exuma Island, where among many settlements and villages, the majority of the southern Bahamas populace lived.

We slowly crept west toward Georgetown where a few scattered vessels lay at anchor. Then bump…bump…bump. No more barnacles on the bottom of the keel. We easily rocked ourselves afloat again and turned east toward Volleyball Beach where one or two vessels sat floating on their moorings. Then stutter…shush…shush. The sea floor sanded off the rest of the rough edges.

Don conclude we'd best drop anchor smack dab in the middle of the straight. By now, I was completely entrenched in the "no worries" predilection that pervades the Bahamas, and assisted without a care. My understanding was that at times, the harbor gets packed with thousands of boats preparing for Caribbean cruises, or staying put for the winter. But this time of year, we had wide open space all around us.

Chat ā€˜Nā€™ Chill
~ Chat ‘N’ Chill ~

As soon as the sand settled, I abandoned ship with my inflated float and filled flask; the water's beauty still irresistible after all these miles. Don soon followed and we bobbed around until overcome by curiosity about what lay on land.

Fresh Catch of the Day
We'd a great deal of fresh fish, and not wanting it to go to waste, ferried the fillets over to Chat ‘N’ Chill with the hopes of tendering a trade (Will Fish for Food). Happy to oblige, the chalk board menu's 'Fresh Catch of the Day' was updated before our over-flowing dinner plates arrived. It was a good trade.

We took the establishment's name at face value, and spent the remainder of the evening chilling with a cool beverage, and chatting with the locals. Thus was how we met the water taxi captain who, having confirmed our lone vessel, offered us free pick-up and drop-off services. We were, after all right on his route – literally!

Land-Ho & Soul-O
Having spent the previous day on Stocking Island, we devoted the next day to exploring the mainland. It's always an adventure trying to figure out where to make land, but previous experience established that sailors normally huddled their boats close to the requisites, so we aimed the dinghy toward the little flotilla of vessels close to shore. Having nowhere further to putter than through a low narrow bridge, we successfully navigated onto Victoria Lake, where we easily located the Exuma Market's dinghy dock.
Entrance to Lake Victoria
~ Entrance to Lake Victoria ~

Cruisers were graciously welcomed by Georgetown, shown by the way the locals catered to our particular needs. Not only does the grocery recognize that a good portion of their shoppers will be arriving by sea, they also provided Wi-Fi and fresh ROReverse Osmosis water – both free for the taking! Additionally, a propane truck made its rounds around the lake a couple of times each week, and the off-site laundry mat offered to pick us up and return us at no further expense than the tokens consumed by their machines.

Alas, on this day the market was closed, so fresh produce and bread were off the table. And, unfortunately for us wayward wanders seeking the company of other living souls, a stroll around the provincial capital manifested a hamlet as empty as the harbor. It was like a ghost town!

Church of God of Prophecy
~ Church of God of Prophecy ~

Don and I walked along the deserted Queens Highway, devoid of both transport and traffic lights. All was peaceful at the renowned Club Peace & Plenty. We passed the pious St. Andrews Anglican Church, a century year old structure that conspicuously crowned Kitt's hill, but heard nary a hallowed sound.

We sauntered by shuttered stores and dark windowed businesses, completely confused by the voided village. True, we were arriving out of season, but surely the locals lived here year-round. Finally, in the distance we heard a sound, growing louder and louder as each step moved us closer. We finally alighted upon the answer to our quandary.

It was Sunday and the sound that'd drawn our attention was coming from a miniscule shack with Church of God of Prophecy scrunched on the side. The choir was raising the roof of their pint-sized house of worship – I swear I saw the little shanty shake with every exaltation.

Forget the reverent quiet of the Anglicans, ignore the air-conditioned comfort for the Catholics – the spirit was clearly stoked in this little stanch shanty. We'd been cruising without care for so long the days of the week were meaningless until we landed on an island where a day of worship and rest each week was vehemently observed.

Getting to know the residents of George Town would have to be put off until Monday. Ahh-well, another day of bobbing around in the warm Bahamian waters would have to fill the hours, and for that I'd never complain!

2011 — Bahamas Cruise
Articles
Obtaining an Aspiration
Paradise Next Door
18 Feb thru 23 May
Obtaining an Aspiration
Bahamas Bound
Bahamas Bound
Feb
A Windfall of Spare Time
AWOL for the Boat Haul
Preparing for a Bahamas Cruise
Feb
AWOL for the Boat Haul
Provisioning Scents, Cents & Sensibility
Provisioning for the Bahamas
Mar
Scents, Cents & Sensibility
Going to Anchor before Going Abroad
Boot Key Harbor Departure
23 & 24 Mar
Going to Anchor before Going Abroad
Safe, Sound & Lounging Around
Bimini
25 Mar
Safe, Sound & Lounging Around
The Wonderland of Alice Town
Alice Town, North Bimini
26 Mar
The Wonderland of Alice Town
In Search of the Queen
Bimini Flats
27 Mar
In Search of the Queen
Exotic Excursions
South Bimini
28 Mar
Exotic Excursions
A Great Harbour Hidden in the Berries
Berry Islands
29 & 30 Mar
A Great Harbour Hidden in the Berries
Decline of the Concubine
Great Harbour Cay
31 Mar
Decline of the Concubine
An Endless Honeymoon
Sugar Beach Caves
01 Apr
An Endless Honeymoon
Strange Worlds
Great Harbour Blue Hole
02 Apr
Strange Worlds
A Phenomenal Day
Fanny Cay, Berry Islands
03 Apr
A Phenomenal Day
Soldiering On
Sailing to Soldier Cay
07 Apr
Soldiering On
Cosmic Waters
Hoffman Cay Blue Hole
08 Apr
Cosmic Waters
Barry and the Beguiling Bay
Little Harbour Cay
10 Apr
Barry and the Beguiling Bay
Paradise Lost
Sailing to New Providence
12 Apr
Paradise Lost
Spirit of Serendipity
Death in Paradise
13 Apr
Spirit of Serendipity
Nassau Anew
Nassau
14-17
Nassau Anew
Kaleidoscope
Allen & Leaf Cay
23-25
Kaleidoscope
Sorry Lore of Normans
Norman's Cay
25-27
Sorry Lore of Normans
Treasured Island
Shroud Cay
28 Apr
Treasured Island
Bluebloods, Brits, Banshees, Bones and Buccaneers
Warderick Wells
29 Apr
Bluebloods, Brits, Banshees, Bones and Buccaneers
Bumming with a Different Breed
Big Majors Spot
01 May
Bumming with a Different Breed
Sundries of a Sailor's Life
Staniel Cay
04 May
Sundries of a Sailor's Life
It Was Neat
Thunderball
10 May
It Was Neat
The Pendent on the Emerald Necklace
George Town, Great Exuma
7 & 8 May
The Pendent on the Emerald Necklace
The Wild Isle
Stocking Island Hike, Great Exuma
12 May
The Wild Isle
Bush Medicine
William's Town, Little Exuma
13 & 14 May
Bahamian Bush Medicine
Bush Medicine
Exuma's West Coast
18 May
Catch-a-Fire
Cruising Blogs
2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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