Logan and I are happily typing away on our laptops from the comfort of “Club Pyfrom” this morning. As the regatta wound down in Georgetown last week, we took a look at the weather and decided to hightail it back up to Nassau to visit with our friends Sheree and Richard. This past week was a total whirlwind of our final days in the Exumas highlighted with some sailboat racing and a few spectacular sunsets.
Georgetown was a hip happenin’ place before we left. The National Family Island Regatta draws huge crowds of boats – both cruisers and Bahamians from other islands. The practically empty government dock transformed into a main street of restaurants, bars, and craft booths packed in wall to wall – buildings popped up overnight! Music, lights, and food gave it a sort of county fair feel, but heavier on the calypso music and surrounded by that brilliant Exuma water. And then there was the racing. Races started each morning at 9:30 with the last race ending in the late afternoon. The course often led boats straight through the anchorages, so there wasn’t really a bad seat in the house (harbor) – navigating the boat around meant paying close attention to the status of the races so that we didn’t get in anyone’s way. The traditional Bahamian sloops are divided into classes determined by length. The sails are giant and the boats are loaded up with people to provide ballast. Each race begins from a dead start meaning at anchor with sails down. With the starting signal, each boat scrambles to raise the anchor and provide enough forward momentum for the helmsman to gain steerage while the sail is pulled up. Cotton sails, no instruments, no winches – these boats are seriously cool. It was a great thing to watch and photograph – we are super glad the timing worked out so that we could stay.
We didn’t stay for the final Saturday night bash. The weather looked too favorable for us to stick around and we were ready to make our way up the Exuma chain. I was really hoping that we could spend a couple weeks spearfishing and beach combing these mostly uninhabited islands, but with the next cold front on the horizon, we ended up squeezing all that fun into just three days. We made stops at Little Farmer’s Cay, Hawksbill Cay, and finally SW Allan’s Cay. We skirted some nasty looking squalls, made fresh conch salad, and witnessed some of the best sunsets we’ve seen all year. We really really love the Exumas.
At least if we had to say goodbye to one paradise, we were on our way to another. We decided to return to Palm Cay Marina on the southeast corner of New Providence – about 20 minutes from Nassau. The security is great, plus the up and coming marina has even more amenities than it did last year. It’s a great spot to wait for our perfect weather window to cross the Gulf Stream and hopefully get some work done on the boat. Being back in Nassau gives us another “ah….back home again” feeling. As much as we love dropping the hook in a brand new spot, it’s also a wonderful feeling to return to a place that you love.