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Georgetown, Friends, New and Old, and Karma Points

Between the relatively large Great Exuma Island and the long, narrow Elizabeth Island lies a sandy-bottomed stretch of water that provides anchorage for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, and a couple more hundreds of boats. Some of these come here and stay the entire winter season. We arrived to George Town on a Wednesday, two days prior to a forecasted big blow, and had reservations on Thursday at a well-protected mooring field a little away from the main town.

With an east wind, we passed many boats anchored along Elizabeth Island, and many of them had boat names that we recognized from our travels up and down the East Coast. We were among friends. We picked a spot to anchor in 20 feet of water and put out 100 feet of anchor chain, then took the dingy into town. In town we met with our good friends, Lee and Wendy from SV Further. You will recall them from Maine, and from the ICW, and other destinations in the Exumas. You will hear more about them because we have decided to buddy with them on our way back North. We did some shopping and stopped by the medical clinic to get a prescription for a mild bacterial rash that Allen picked up at Black Point. Norma later got it from him, but fear not, it is well under control with the meds.

On Thursday, we moved over to Red Shanks mooring field. The wind was picking up but, we decided to go into the laundromat a mile and a half dingy ride from our mooring. The laundry, normally open at 8 am had a sign saying they would not be opening until 12:30. While Norma waited, Allen and a couple of other waiting boaters hitched a ride to Browns, the local Marine Supply store to look around. Upon Allen's return, Norma and a couple of other cruisers were still waiting. Allen went to the liquor store to pick up a six-pack of Radlers, which is a kind of a shandy, a mixture of beer and other flavors. Here, they have them in Mango, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit, Cranberry. They are quite popular in the Bahamas. He drank one and even at 2.5% alcohol, in the heat, it went to his head!

The laundry lady finally arrived and we got the laundry started. She put the TV on Netflix and started an episode of Iron Chef. When the washers were done, the laundry went into the dryer, but within five minutes, the power went out. Norma wanted to take the wet laundry and leave immediately, but Allen convinced her to wait twenty minutes. Twenty minutes went by and still no power, so we got a refund, our wet laundry and left. It was a wet dingy ride into the wind and chop back to the boat, and we strung some laundry lines in the cockpit and hung it all out to dry.

The Storm

That evening the storm came in. We kept the radio on and maintained a loose watch. We felt confident in our mooring, but it is prudent to keep an eye for a break or another boat with an issue. Some boats were reporting seeing winds up to 49 knots, and several boats were dragging their anchors, but none around us. But then the thunderstorm went overhead at about 1 AM. The radio reports started, and it turned out that by the end of the storm, seven boats had been struck by lightening. The boating community was great, keeping watch, reporting strikes, and making sure all aboard the vessel were safe and not in imminent danger. A few folks even ventured out in their dingy during the storm to check on their neighbors who had lost communications.

The wind was still up in the morning and during the regular 8 AM radio net, Calls were going out for people with electrical and electronics expertise. Allen was one of those that answered some calls. Over the next two days, he visited several boats and helped make sure that they were safe (no blown-out through-holes and their bilge pumps were working) Then he checked anchor windlasses and main engines, in two cases making repairs to get those running (with spare parts provided by the boating community). After those systems, battery charging problems and finally navigation systems were issues.. All the struck boats lost their onboard nav systems, but most of them already had back-up tablets or PCs and in one case the boating community had spares to give or loan. If one is going to be struck by lightning while out cruising, Georgetown is a good place to be when it happens.

We still had a couple of days of high winds and ended up spending Thursday through Sunday on the Mooring at Red Shank. On Monday we moved over next to Georgetown and took the dingy into town.


Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by Staph germs. We think Allen picked it up on his leg in Black Point, possibly at Government Dock. Norma got it on her arm a few days later. After two trips to the medical clinic--the only one with a real medical doctor--Allen and Norma hitched rides to the local pharmacy and got the appropriate medicine and bandages to clear up the infections. They will stay on antibiotics longer than needed to ensure that they are completely bacteria free. (Boy, did these itch!) Norma's aunt asked what we did all day, and how can we explain how long it takes someone to get into the dinghy, ride a mile or so, find the clinic, wait in line for about 2 hours after the scheduled appointment with one doctor only , hitchhike to the pharmacy 4.5 miles away, wait in line again at the pharmacy, get the meds and tons of bandages (costs of these are about 1/3rd one would pay for them in the states), get lunch, go back in the dinghy to the boat, apply the meds and then it's time for dinner. Time passes quickly when we are having so much fun. Third World medical care can be time consuming.

Chat and Chill

The next day we moved the boat over to a special place near George Town, a beach called Chat n' Chill. dinghied over to hear part of a lecture with 100 other people on the Caribbean, walked around in the sand, bought a magnet, and watched children play with a large stingy ray which really went out of its way to play with the kids. It was big and old looking and fun to watch near the conch shell midden. Fun place.

Allen enjoyed looking at the signposts on Chat 'n Chill especially the ones indicating mileage from the Chesapeak and Noank, places we know well.

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