Sailing Bahamas: Georgetown to Thompson Bay via Calabash Bay

SV Seamlessly anchored by Treasure Cay, Bahamas

Our journey has been amazing so far. Although living on a boat full-time, and cruising, comes with its own set of challenges, we have been able to see places that will remain unvisited by most others. We’re so excited to get to share these memories with you, and take you along for the ride. Here we go!

Georgetown | Calabash Bay | Thompson Bay | (Oops) Our Windlass Did it Again!

Georgetown

Elizabeth Harbour, in the Exumas
We arrived in Elizabeth Harbour around 1 PM, after our departure from Cave Cay, and dropped the anchor at the first anchorage — Monument Beach. Anchoring amongst many boats in a small place still isn’t a pleasant thought and probably will never be something we’ll enjoy. Thankfully our anchorage at Monument Beach was great.

Monument Beach is named, likely after the monument on top of the mountain. When we first arrived, we were planning for a VERY brief stop in the Georgetown area, wanting to get back to the beautiful islands. We almost missed the great trails that start right at Monument Beach, leading up the mountain, and back down the other side. Without rambling on, this was a great anchorage with some amazing trails.

We enjoyed our trip to the town itself, got a bit of fresh produce, and were happy to depart for Calabash Bay.

Little did we know that we would be back here soon again!

Chat'N'Chill on Stocking Island
Chat’N’Chill on, and you guessed it: Chat’N’Chill Beach. This is the place of many events and get-togethers.
Sunset in the Exumas
Nothing like The Abaco, but the sunsets here can be quite spectacular.
The Atlantic Ocean from Stocking Beach
Stocking Island Beach on Stocking Island. This island is covered with trails and beaches!
Leanne and Kevin up on Monument Hill on Stocking Island
Selfies on Stocking Island, up by the Monument. The view from up there is spectacular.
Blurry... because we were running from bugs!
Yup, taking a picture while running, often ends up with a blurry result. We’re running from THE BUGS!
Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne

Hanging out in the dinghy in Hoppers Bay, by Turtle Beach, waiting for Leanne to return from the butcher shop (Prime Island Meats). It’s a good dinghy ride from Monument, but better than catching a ride with a local.

Calabash Bay, Long Island

Seamlessly anchored in Calabash Bay, Bahamas

After 2 weeks in Georgetown, we picked up the sails and tacked through the wind all day to make it to Long Island to prepare for a crossing over to Conception Island. The sail was beautiful, smooth, and relaxing.

Now, most anchorages we’ve visited are rather straight forward to “get into,” but the anchorage at Calabash Bay, Long Island is not one of them. There are three routes into the anchorage, the South, Middle, and North entrance. We came in on the North route, and would never do that again. The water is amazing here, but that also means you can see the reef under your boat really well — hoping that the depth gauge is correct, while worrying about the swell moving the boat around. We departed the anchorage through the South, along the reef, and it was much less stressful than getting in.

We only stayed here for two nights. The swell was not insignificant, and while we didn’t overly care much on our catamaran, the swell was much more unpleasant to our friends and their monohull sailboats, so we decided to shift south to get out of the swell.

The day after arriving, we spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful beach before checking out the beach resort and getting dinner at the restaurant. The service was, um, alright, and the food was decent — but we had a great time with friends, and the pizza made a couple of people at the table very happy. Also, Leanne discovered that sweet plantains on a burger are, in her words, “everything!”. So, I’m sure we’ll be dining on many a burger with fried plantains on top in the future.

Thompson Bay, Long Island

SV Seamlessly anchored by Treasure Cay, Bahamas

The charted depths for Thompson Bay were all over the place when we did our research. As usual, we looked at Navionics, Explorer Charts, and also Sonar Charts all using TimeZero — and none agreed with one another. In the middle of the bay, the depths were fine, but it quickly got shallow towards the shore.

We rented a van with friends from Seaside Car Rental, which cost us $110 for the day. Exploring Long Island, we stopped at Flying Fish Marina for lunch and visited Gordon’s Beach. The blue hole was a must-see stop, but maybe our expectations were set too high, still pretty cool though. This particular blue hole, Dean’s Blue Hole, is 202 meters (663 feet) deep and is used for free diving competitions. It also is the second deepest blue hole in the world after the Dragon Hole in the South China Sea, which is 300 meters deep (987 feet).

On our way back to the dinghy dock, we stopped at Seafarer Marine Supply — which had an impressive selection, much better than Georgetown, and very fair prices. The same went for the grocery store, Hillside Food Supply, which also had an impressive variety and seemed cheaper than Georgetown. There were even gluten-free and dairy-free treats! We didn’t buy anything because Leanne does such a great job provisioning for our trips, but it was cool to do our research should we come here again and need to stock up!

We lent a hand to our friends who wanted to fuel up and took their monohull to the fuel dock by Long Island Petroleum. There are no channel markers, and the water around the fuel dock looks very shallow — we just filled up our six jerry cans instead of taking the catamaran to the dock. The dock is sturdy, and the staff were reasonably friendly.

We landed our dinghy at the Hurricane Hole eatery and hiked to the other side of the island where there was a beautiful beach for walking and swimming. Highly recommend making the 30-minute trek over there for swimming!

There’s a mini cruisers net on VHF channel 68 around 8 AM. The boats in the bay often organize meet-ups at the beach and the local bar. We attended the beach meetup and didn’t bring Coconut, which was a mistake. All the cruisers brought their dogs, and we wish we had, too. Next time. The beach was overly rocky, not great for long walks or swimming, so we were happy when the weather improved and we were able to hightail it out of there!

We’d made plans to lift the hook and head back to Calabash for a night before making our way to Conception Island (a beautiful place, which every cruiser says is a must-stop while in the Bahamas). We’ve been dreaming of visiting this place for YEARS! Sadly, as we were lifting the anchor and preparing to take off with all of our friends, we ran into issues with our Lofrans Falkon windlass, and had to make the quick decision to shift our plan and head back to Georgetown where we could order parts and figure out our next steps in a safely protected spot.

Blurry... because we were running from bugs!

Princess Pebbles enjoying the motor-cruise from Calabash Bay Thompson Bay.

Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne

We visited Gordon’s Beach with the car rental.  It was pretty, but inaccessible by boat, which we didn’t like. And, there was LOTS of seaweed at the bottom, which made Leanne run out of the water quicker than you can say, “crab!”.

Blurry... because we were running from bugs!
We passed by and stopped for a couple of sheep (we think they are sheep). They were very vocal!
Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne
Lunch at Lighthouse Point restaurant, by Flying Fish Marina. It was, um, alright — but the stunning views and good company made up for it.
Blurry... because we were running from bugs!
A very prominent sign at the Dean’s Blue Hole — it’s a deep hole, don’t do silly things.
Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne
This is the Dean’s Blue hole. Leanne swam, Kevin did not — and it turns out there were jellyfish!
Blurry... because we were running from bugs!

The dinghy dock at Thompson Bay where garbage is free to leave in the designated spot. A nice treat after paying $2 a bag in Georgetown.

Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne
This is the Long Island Petroleum fuel dock. The channel isn’t marked, and things looked very shallow (and rocky).
Blurry... because we were running from bugs!
A very nice, hidden beach (23.352242, -75.158275). The trail entrance can be had to spot (23.354031, -75.156728).
Hanging out in the dinghy, waiting for Leanne

The Tiny’s Hurricane Hole resort is very cute. The chicken wings were pretty good, but the fries were absolutely horrible!

(Oops) Our Windlass Did it Again!

SV Seamlessly anchored by Treasure Cay, Bahamas

What happens when a stripper gets too close to a gypsy? The chain pipe gets all bent out of shape!

Yes, we came up with that joke all on our own — even though we didn’t feel like laughing at the time.

A year ago, almost to the day, we ended our Bahamas trip through Eleuthera after our windlass, the anchor winch, jammed up and caused quite a bit of damage. We quickly identified the problem at the time, which was that the chain was piling up below the windlass, eventually creating a jam at the windlass. We hired a company in Fort Lauderdale to fix the damage and remount the windlass.

The feedback we’ve been getting is that the work was not done correctly, allowing the windlass to sink into the fairing material. Fairing material is used to smooth out uneven surfaces before painting. It is a relatively soft material and shouldn’t be used to provide strength to a mounting surface. Since the walls of the drilled holes were not protected, water was able to penetrate the base itself, causing rot, further softening the base.

The company neglected to seal the fiberglass core during the installation of our JetThruster system as well, but thankfully we caught that before water penetrated the hull itself. Fleming Marine Composites fixed the thruster holes, but that’s another story.

The movement of the windlass and movement in the chain pipe eventually resulted in the chain stripper hitting the gypsy on the winch and causing a big hot mess.

So, here we are, working out all the options we have. Dealing with constant change is just part of this lifestyle.

The Two Explorkers 2020-03-30T09:06:20+00:00

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