The towns covered in this page could not be further apart in description, although just 30 Nm apart. George Town is a large, bureaucratic, expensive collection serving mostly tourists in their boats. The boats come for up to six months and bring their particular organization and personalities with them. As paying customers they transform the culture to their own, Stella Maris...star of the sea...is at the tip of Long Island and full of hard working people making slow but steady progress in retaining what is special about the Bahamas and resisting the temptation to answer each visitors demand to provide all that they are accustomed to.
Our arrival in George Town at just after noon on Sunday focused first on finding a safe place to anchor. The entire sailing fleet had attached itself to the beach side of Elizabeth Harbour. The place was blocked. It wasn't long before the social chatter on VHF convinced us that to nest among them was tantamount to crashing a party. We chose a spot half between the beach and the city center...Exuma Market's dock. The afternoon visit to the fair city was a bust, besides failing to connect on a working BATELCO pay phone, we made the mistake of stopping at the Peace and Plenty Hotel. Place was nice, but expensive. Jean's $10 glass of house white wine will go in the record books. And, the $5 beer was a close second. Clearly they have folks that flock here, but not the place for us.
On Monday after an oil and raw water pump change, we sallied forth to replenish, internet and scrape up a few spare parts. All went as planned until the bills arrived. Pump impeller was 3 times the inflated West Marine stock, internet went by the half hour and Exuma Market extracted a whopping $50 for a handful of produce. We headed back to the boat to concoct a wonderful meal of leftovers. The nights are breezy and cool by Bshamaian standard, but a sheet will suffice for us with all hatches open.
On Tuesday morning early we set the course off to the east toward the tip of Long Island. The plan was to check out a couple of marinas...Stella Maris and Alligator Point...and if they didn't pan out, push on to Salt Pond and anchor. Our first try found a willing one at Stella Maris. GPS began to get shakey about the time we crossed to the shallows and headed in. Next the hotel that handles comms for the marina was not sure who was available to greet us. We made it in as some of the wind picked up and the shoals registered on the fathometer. All was forgiven as we found a delightfully serene marina with free water to get the salt off, cheap laundry and a delicious meal at the resort. At this writing we have had our fill, filed our dispatches and are avidly searching for a cab to take us back down the hill to our sweet bed and boat.