We dropped anchor just off Monument Beach and spent the afternoon relaxing after our eventful trip over. There’s a saying that cruising is fixing or repairing your boat in exotic places, so that was the next order of business. Russell determined that our voltage regulator had gone out so he replaced it with the spare one we had on board. This solved the problem of our engine not charging the batteries. He was also able to fix the lifeline.
The next few days were spent exploring the town, supporting the local establishments, doing laundry, grocery shopping, snorkeling (me) and spearfishing (Russell). We were a little disappointed to find the laundry was only that and not also a bar like we found on Staniel Cay. Doing our laundry wasn’t quite as much fun. George Town also has a couple of well stocked grocery stores, a number of liquor stores and a very interesting hardware/general store. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to replace his prescription glasses so he’ll have to rely on cheaters until the Dominican Republic.
We learned a lot about cruising being a lifestyle option by watching videos put out by people already doing it. One such couple is Paul and Sheryl Shard on Distant Shores. They’ve sailed all over the world and documented their travels with a television and video series. One evening I was up on deck and see their boat, Distant Shores III, sail by and drop anchor. I was really excited and hoping to meet them but, in the end, decided they probably wouldn’t appreciate me showing up to their boat uninvited. A couple of days later we ran into Paul in town and introduced ourselves. I got to let him know they were largely to “blame” for our new life!
Over the next couple of days the winds changed direction and were forecast to be stronger. Since we felt we were a little close to the shore which can be a problem if the anchor drags, we decided to move anchorages. It’s kind of interesting because you start to notice boats moving around based on the weather forecast.
Since we’re always working toward getting to the Dominican Republic for hurricane season Russell started looking at the route options for getting there from George Town. Fortunately, he was plotting it using our electronic plot charter and not just the paper charts because that’s how he found that the software we had only covered the Bahamas. Now, I do understand that people have sailed for hundreds of years without electronics but we (mainly me) are much more comfortable using a combination of both electronic and paper charts.
In the States getting the chip we needed would have been no big deal. A quick trip to West Marine and it would have been done. But, as they say, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We went to the post office and were told that it could be mailed to us but would have to go to Nassau first and the post office there was moving to a new building so no telling how long it would take. Next, we went to the hardware/general store because they advertise accepting DHL packages. Those packages also go through Nassau first to clear customs and would take a minimum of two weeks. I even checked the price of flights back to Miami from George Town thinking I may have fly over to buy it. We had been told about an import/export broker in town, so we spoke to them. Their office in Ft Lauderdale has a plane that flies directly to George Town every week. That sounded like a better option than having it go through Nassau. I called the West Marine in Ft Lauderdale to see if they had the chip we needed in stock. They did so I purchased it by phone, got them to UPS it across town to the broker who then flew it to George Town. We got it in six days but it cost us an additional $270 in customs and broker fees. I understand that if it’s a boat part it would be duty free, but our chip was not considered a boat part. At least now we won’t sail off the edge of the world so I guess I shouldn’t complain!
Once that was handled, we could relax and enjoy the remaining time here. Our new friends, Matt and Kristen (make sure you subscribe to their YouTube channel Sailing Good, Bad, and Ugly), had arrived so we spent a few evenings hanging out at the Chat’N’Chill having drinks, playing cornhole (yeah, yeah, I know, get your mind out of the gutter) and meeting folks visiting the Bahamas from all over the world.
We’ve really enjoyed our time here and completely understand why it has the reputation for sucking boaters in so they never leave. The local people are friendly, there’s a tightknit boating community with a daily cruiser’s net, supplies are available (if a bit pricy) and the water is gorgeous. But as always, we realize hurricane season is fast approaching so it’s about time to move on.