Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Southernmost Point

No we're not back in Key West (although that would have been a good guess given how much we love it there), but rather we're in Georgetown on Great Exuma Island, the southernmost of the Exuma chain and often called "chicken harbor" since it is the last real decision point for boats wanting to continue south on the "thorny path" into the Caribbean. Many boats wind up staying in Georgetown all winter and never make it further south even if they had planned to - for some this is the final destination in and of itself! For us (and September Song who we are traveling with) this is as far south as we will go this year and we will start meandering our way back up the Exumas hitting many of the places we missed on the way down and maybe even stopping in some of the funky places we grew to love!!!

We've had a pretty eventful several days since the last blog (internet connection was spotty at best - sorry for the delay!) We finally made it over to pig beach on Big Major Spot where we were anchored in a beautiful harbor for several days protected from the ever present and blowing East wind (those are the trades down here!!) We happened to hook up with Lynnie and Rick from Rickshaw just in time to see Lynnie feeding the pigs who were swimming (yes that's what I said!!!) out to their dinghy.

Lynnie had cleaned out the produce drawer in her refrigerator and the pigs were happily scarfing down old wilted lettuce and various other pig delicacies (uck!). I've got to say that it was really weird to sit in our dinghy watching these pigs swimming around with mouthfuls of lettuce and carrots!! They were so ugly they were actually cute - check out the pictures if you don't believe me!!

The next day we all (Gypsies, September Song, Tide Hiker and Rickshaw) set off for Blackpoint Settlement (that's what it is actually called...I think it's a stretch but at least some people live there and there are a couple little restaurants).
The Anchorage at Black Point Settlement
Life's2Short, Rickshaw and September Song in the anchorage at Black PointGypsies in the Palace in the anchorage at Black Point
We joined up with Life's2Short, who was already hanging out in the anchorage there, in time to explore the island and visit the local "craft fair" which was a couple booths on the pier with shell jewelry and miscellaneous crafts. That night we helped celebrate Todd and Brenda's (Life's2Short) 10th anniversary with drinks and dinner at Lorraine's Cafe - a little hole in the wall hangout with supposed internet connection (although the satellite was down more than it was up from what we saw!)
Doug and Stephanie at Lorraines
I played bartender for the night (wow that brought back memories!!!) and kept track of our drinks on a little piece of paper (everything down here is pretty laid back and the honor system rules). Lorraine made us all a fabulous dinner of ribs and fish and even baked Todd and Brenda a cake!!!
The bartender and two of her happy customers
Happy Anniversary, Todd and Brenda
The next morning we headed in with Life's2Short and September Song to explore one of the beaches on the "rough Sound side" where there was supposed to be lots of beach glass - the view back on our anchorage was spectacular!!
The dinghies on the way to Beach Glass Beach
Beach Glass Beach
We had a great time checking out all the tidal pools and we found a bunch of colored beach glass for our collection so mission accomplished!! We then dinghied in to "town" - and I use that term very loosely - to pick up the "world famous" coconut bread that Lorraine's mom bakes which we had ordered the day before - it certainly lived up to its reputation as Doug and I demolished several slices with lots of butter!!! That afternoon found Doug and I on yet another gorgeous private little beach soaking up rays, tossing back a few coldies and swimming in the warm gin clear water that is ever present throughout the Exumas.
A private, secluded beach
We were soon joined by Life's2Short and September Song and spent the next half hour gathering firewood and building a firepit for the beach bonfire we intended to have that night!!!

After an early dinner we all headed over to the beach for our last night together - Tide Hiker brought the makings for S'mores this time so that was the highlight!!
The Bonfire
You could tell no one really wanted to leave since people kept throwing more and more wood on the fire - poor Lynnie was getting smoked out (there's a strategy involved in where you put your chair around the firepit - hint, check the wind direction!!) But by 11:00 it was time to say good-bye - we aren't sure when we will see most of those guys again, but know that it will be on the water sometime and it will be fun!!!! Life's2Short was headed south but to explore the shallower inside route on the banks which our deeper draft doesn't really allow - we may reconnect with them up north to do the crossing back over to the States. Tide Hiker and Rickshaw were headed down to one more Cay (Farmers) but were then going to head back up north - we likely won't see them again until we're back in the States (but we know where they live so on our trip north, they are bound to get some visitors!!) In cruising there are no real good-byes, just until I see you agains!!!

So then there were two (boats that is) - the next morning September Song and Gypsies set off for Georgetown. We had 50 miles to cover so we wanted to head out into Exuma Sound to fish - we hadn't been able to fish the last couple times we were in the Sound because we were still in the Land and Sea Park which is a no take zone. Unfortunately the wind and waves had kicked up the Sound so it was way too rough for fishing - after about an hour of taking spray up over the flybridge, we cut back in to cruise on the "inside" or banks side for a little while. After going through some really skinny water (can you say 6 inches under our keel), we wound up dropping the hook off Cave Cay where we had lunch and hung out waiting for the tide to rise. We had planned to run on the inside for a couple hours getting as far south as we could but as we looked out the cut, the Sound had died down so we headed out and made it all the way down to Lee Stocking Island. A great run but we both got skunked on the fish - bummer, guess it was hot dogs for dinner. We found a beautiful little anchorage though that we had all to ourselves and had a wonderfully quiet night sitting topsides under the stars!!!

That next day we didn't hear any weather (since we were too far from both the Park and Georgetown for our radios to pick up the signal) but decided to give the Sound another try and boy am I glad we did!!!! It was a beautiful day out there and pretty quickly the lines were out in the water and the mahi slayers (Doug and Bob) were back in the cockpits fishing! Not too long thereafter, Doug and Bob almost simultaneously yelled "fish on" and the games began! Unfortunately Doug's turned out to be a barracuda which is a double bummer - not only can't you eat them but you have to try and get the hook out without those enormous teeth causing bodily damage! Bob pulled in a 36 inch mahi so at least we knew we weren't having hot dogs for dinner that night. But the games were just beginning!!! Doug caught a second barracuda and was starting to get really bummed out - those things are nasty critters!! But just when we were thinking we might get skunked again, came the fish on yell from Doug - this time from the flybridge I could see a gorgeous electric blue fish jumping out of the water at the end of his line - yahoo - it was a mahi!!!! There's just nothing quite like seeing such an amazingly beautiful fish (think unbelievably vivid shades of electric blue and greens!) jumping out of the water!! The adrenaline kicked in and the fight was on - but Doug prevailed and soon was the owner of a gorgeous 36 inch mahi which we got off the hook thanks to some cheap vodka poured into her gills (yes it was a she and we can really tell - the things you learn while out cruising)!!
Doug's first Mahi
But the mahi slayers were not done for the day - about 20 minutes later, Bob had a fish that was so big it broke his 60 pound test line and stole his lure!!! Then the fish on yell reverberated through Gypsies and Doug was at it again. This time it was a big!!!! mahi that I saw jumping out of the water. She fought hard and even tried to go under the boat to cut the line but after spinning the boat to help Doug, he got her up and into the cockpit. No amount of cheap booze was able to tame this one and she put up quite a fight even once she was on board - our cockpit looked like a battle zone with blood everywhere!!!
The second Mahi of the day
The two Mahi's
(curved because the cooler is too small for them to be laid out)
Yuck - but it was worth it - she was 41 inches, 18 pounds of prime mahi filet!!!! Not wanting to be piggy, we kept the lines in on the boat after the second mahi (the rule is you catch what you can eat or freeze) and headed in to Elizabeth Harbor and Georgetown. We dropped our anchor off a beautiful sandy beach (Sand Dollar Beach no less) on Stocking Island and proceeded to toss back a cold beer as the adrenaline rush of the day wound down!!!

But then it was time to clean and filet the mahi - over Bob and Stephanie came to give us a lesson!! We traded rum punch and nachos (after all it was cinco de mayo) for fish filleting instructions. Doug and Bob proceeded to reduce our two beautiful mahi to gorgeous fillets!!!! We had plenty of mahi not only for dinner that night but also to fill our freezer so we will be enjoying those mahi for a long time to come (but there is still plenty of room in our freezer for more so know that we'll be fishing the whole way back from G'town)!!! We even set aside some of the smaller pieces for Bootsie - she has learned that she too loves mahi and can't believe we kept it form her for 20 years!! She is now making up for it - Puss on the other hand couldn't care less (she likes her cat treats!!)
Bootsie's Mahi comaBootsie repositions and takes another napPuss naps after her cat treats
Dinner that night on Gypsies was a festive affair....grilled mahi marinated in pineapple juice and soy, Bahamian mac and cheese, a wonderful salad and chocolate rum cake for desert!! Since Bob broke out his rum cake, it was only fitting that we break out some aged rum....OK maybe we had a little too much, but no one can prove it and we took no pictures!!!

Yesterday we explored Georgetown - after it took us awhile to find the dinghy dock (it was after all through a little canal and in the lake!!).
The entrance to Victoria Lake where the dinghy dock isHalf Note (tender to September Song) coming through the canal to Victoria Lake
Outside of a wonderfully stocked market (which we haven't seen since leaving Nassau), there just wasn't much to it. After walking for miles (we kept getting less than accurate directions from everyone), we finally found a place with wifi - you have to bend over to get through the door and it has a cement floor, but heh $5 for the whole day!! We'll take it!! Since we didn't have computers with us, that's where we plan on heading later today to catch up on our blog and emails, etc!!! Yesterday late afternoon we dinghied over to a really funky beach bar on Stocking Island called the Chat and Chill - now this was my idea of a cool beach bar and what I had expected to find in the Bahamas!!! There were picnic tables and adirondack chairs out in the sand, a wooden deck and bbq pit and a ramshackle bar with old teeshirts and yachtie flags hung from the ceiling and walls!! A couple cold Kaliks made the afternoon perfect!!! but then again, they usually do!!
The Chat and Chill on Stocking Island
Doug on the beach at the Chat and Chill
Directional sign at the Chat and Chill
Sunset that night over September Song

Click here to see our location off Stocking Island across from Georgetown.

No comments:

Post a Comment