George Town, Exuma

We have been extremely lucky this year with fantastic, calm weather for every one of our several 60+ mile “offshore” legs from Florida.  Our last leg from Musha Cay (mid-Exuma) down to George Town (southern Exuma on Great Exuma) was no exception.  We even hooked 3 fish trolling along the way.  A barracuda (threw it back), a ??? (chomped off half of my lure) & … a small yellowfin tuna!

While we knew it was some kind of tuna, a quick text & photo to Ron on powercat Fruition (we had just passed them 1/2 hour before) confirmed it was a small, prize yellowfin tuna – “bleed the hell out of it & cut it like a gold” was his sage advise!

“Fillet like gold” made me even more anxious, but with my iPad propped up with a “how-to” diagram, I managed enough for 4 generous dinners.  2 nights were variations of ceviche.
2 nights we seared our catch on the grill.  We were lucky the ship had just arrived with fresh food, so the market even had asparagus & avocados – Lori could really “kick it up”!  I’m not usually much of a “raw” fish guy, but WOW was it great! Between it’s small size & the freshness – we’ll never experience this again.  When you order yellowfin tuna in a restaurant (often called “ahi”) it is often from 200 – 400 pounders caught thousands of miles away.
Always interesting cloud shapes over Elizabeth Harbour
Our first few days remained beautiful & calm
It’s not all paradise – laundry day aboard Twin Sisters. We do it all ourselves – even make our own water with our RO watermaker powered by our solar panels.
The depths shown are in meters

We will remain here in George Town for January & February, alternating between anchoring spots, depending on the winds.  While our first few days were calm, more traditional “winter” weather has since arrived with days of winds 15 – 25 knots, followed by a calm day or two, repeat.  The desolation of our beautiful anchorage spot with no other boats close by, unfortunately, will be short-lived.  This small spot is great for us with only 4′ depth at low tide, a 3′ depth approach & surrounded by a small island & shallow sandbars.  For many years, a sailing cat named Little Sister would hang out in this spot, but they have moved onto the Caribbean, so Twin Sisters will enjoy it as long as possible!  Most years, over 400 boats will crowd into the harbor complete with anchoring too close, dragging anchors, noisy generators & whining wind generators.  So … this is bliss!

Along with the rest of the world, we’re keeping a close eye on COVID, but we’re never indoors except for the grocery store (where we wear our KN95 masks).  We’re glad we crossed to the Bahamas when we did, as travel & testing requirements have since become more stringent.  Hopefully the authorities won’t need to institute mandatory curfews & other restrictions, as they did last year.

Happy New Year!

The weather forecast was looking excellent to depart Abaco & head the 80 miles south to Spanish Wells on Eleuthera the day after Christmas (nice not having to be underway on Christmas Day).  We always love stopping at Little Harbour, which is right before we head out of the Sea of Abaco.  The main feature of Little Harbour is Pete’s Pub. The origin of Pete’s goes back to his father Randolph Johnston, a world renown bronze sculptor, who wandered into Little Harbour in the 50’s on his sailing schooner with his young family & never left. The foundry is still there in it’s original building & we scored a private tour a few years ago – very fascinating.  So I guess you could call it a foundry with a fishing & drinking problem!

A Pete’s Pub lunch with friends & crew of ADVENTURE – Maryella, Mike & Gene. We introduced them to Pete’s signature rum drink the “Blaster” – at a foundry – get it?!

Lori’s family tradition (over 50 years) of baking Babka for Christmas continues even aboard.

Christmas Eve sunset over some of the Pete’s Pub & foundry buildings

What to do in the Bahamas on a beautiful Christmas morning? Go fishing & snorkeling of course!  Gene took us out on ADVENTURE & Maryella caught a few small fish, but both the fishing & snorkeling ended when this little but curious lemon shark wandered by & didn’t want to leave.

A Christmas dinner feast aboard TWIN SISTERS with grilled chicken, lamb chops, fresh baked bread & lots of laughs.

Fish on!!  Should have bought a bigger net! A nice Mahi landed while trolling off the coast of Abaco. Actually, a bit smaller than my “normal” (really!), but the most delicious ever!

A “tiny” 174′ yacht we passed by – with a helicopter, of course.  This is one of over 50 yachts we passed near Staniel Cay in the Exumas – a bit smaller than most, but had the helicopter, a small tender alongside, plus some sort of large, covered 40’ish vessel it could launch off it’s stern with a crane.

We’re next in line for fueling up with diesel at Staniel Cay.  The water is especially beautiful in this part of the Exumas – crystal clear!

Speaking of fuel – obtaining fuel in much of the Bahamas may be a bit of challenge for a while … the fuel tanker TROPIC BREEZE was rear-ended & SUNK by the “super” yacht UTOPIA IV (photo on right -likely traveling 26! knots in the dark) on Christmas Eve.  TROPIC BREEZE sunk in 3000’+ of water minutes after this photo was taken (if you look carefully you can see the decks already awash).  While the crew was rescued, the tanker (with it’s tens of thousands of gallons of fuel) cannot be, due to the extreme depth.  In addition to being an environmental disaster, the TROPIC BREEZE was THE fuel tanker which delivered to over 50 “out” islands.  Very few islands have large docks with enough depth, so this small, shallow draft, specialty tanker would anchor off each island, rigging long hoses pumping to tanks ashore – we’ve seen it in action many times.  It supplied all of the fuel for cars, trucks & boats, plus cooking propane for homes & restaurants and it was the only diesel source for the islands themselves, which are powered exclusively by diesel generators.

While we had planned on spending a few days at Spanish Wells & the rest of Eleuthera, continuing perfect weather & upcoming COVID regulations kept us moving to the next island chain of the Exumas, where our final destination of George Town is located. We made brief stops along the way at Normans Cay (the 70’s base of the Medellin drug cartel & Pablo Escobar which used the island as a base to fly cocaine into the U.S.), Staniel Cay (jammed with charter boats & yachts for the holidays) & Black Point (for Lorraine’s Mom’s famous coconut bread).

Beginning Jan. 7, the Bahamas will begin COVID testing requirements traveling between island chains.  While it is yet unclear if/how it will apply to boaters, remaining in the Exumas will make it simplier for us.  Hopefully they will not reinstitute curfews or other restrictions as they have in the past.  COVID over soon??  We certainly all hope so!!

Have a safe & Happy New Year from Russ & Lori at Little Farmers Cay, Exuma, Bahamas!