Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-03-2010, 05:13   #1
Registered User
 
skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 1,388
Send a message via Skype™ to skipgundlach
Hooked on George Town! 2-18/3-14/10

Hooked on George Town! 2-18/3-14/10


We left you having arrived after a bit of a lumpy, but exhilarating, 44-hour
ride from Marsh Harbour, Abaco to George Town, Exumas. We anchored in about
12 feet of water, putting out our usual 7-1 scope. As we have a 5' rise
over the waterline to the bow roller, the critical point of measure then
being about 17' (12' depth plus 5' rise), that meant that we put out 125' of
chain. Our actual practice is to stretch the line and count chain in the
water, so that 125' was a bit of overkill, as the catenary (the shape of the
stretched chain due to the weight resulting in a curve rather than a
straight line) put well over 100' in the water as opposed to the needed 84
feet. So, effectively, we had more like an 8-1 scope, always comforting.

Being somewhat tired after a little-sleep (due to the exaggerated motion of
the boat on most of the way over) passage, after being secure in our
anchorage, we headed to bed for a welcome nap. Surprisingly, we slept like
the dead for 4 hours :{)) After our nap, we got up and surveyed the
situation, which was very much more settled than our trip outside.
Reassured, we had our Zone Bar lunch as we always do, finding it a filling
and diet-happy, low-calorie, complete-nutrition meal. Afterward, enjoying
the settled conditions, we put out the dinghy and headed to shore.

A stop into Chat'n'Chill, the famous drink-and-eatery on Stocking Island,
the barrier island outside Great Exuma, home of George Town, revealed that
Kendall, the guy behind the bar, remembered Flying Pig well, and, in
particular, asked after Lydia's mother, who'd been with us for 6 months last
year, including our entire time in George Town (well, technically, a week in
Monument Beach, and the rest of the time at Volleyball Beach, on Stocking
Island). Later enounters with nearly any boat's crew which had been here
last year also generated questions as to whether Louise was with us again
this year. Obviously, she was a great hit with all she encountered!

Once we'd made the rounds of those we recognized, Lydia settled into reading
on the beach, and I again hit the volleyball courts. KB (for Kenneth
Bowles), the owner of Chat'n'Chill, graciously provides a host of amenities
for visiting cruisers and other vacationing folks who may come from hotels
here or on Great Exuma Island. His only qualification for the use of all
the amenities is that you buy your drinks and food from him, rather than
cart it in like picnic-bent folks might usually do.

As his marvelous burgers are only $4, ditto the grilled chicken sandwiches
and the $3 hot dogs, along with a large meal (meaning entrée and sides) menu
being similarly affordable, that's a very small price to pay for the
amenities.

"What amenities?" you may well ask, if you've not had the pleasure before.
Well, there's the hundred or so beach chairs that get taken up each evening,
and then set out again in the morning, after the beaches and the walkways
have been groomed by his staff. Then there's all the (VERY hefty, being made
from 2x6 and 4x4 pressure treaded lumber) picnic tables and benches, many
with large folding umbrellas. If that's not enough, there are three
immaculately groomed and maintained sand volleyball courts, with many balls
available (those are stuck in the top of the signboard which announces
cruiser-related events) if one of the cruisers hasn't brought their personal
favorite ball. In the event of too much of a crowd, there are two overflow
courts as well.

Of morbid interest to cruisers, the posts for the volleyball courts are made
from sections of masts, no doubt from dismasted boats, set far into the sand
so as to be entirely stable against the very-tight pulls needed to keep the
(also supplied by KB) nets firm and straight. And, in case you're not into
physically-oriented activities as such, he also hosts the Beach Church (an
organized church run by and for cruisers every Sunday morning), providing
seating for the over-100 (and usually closer to 150) weekly attendees. I
got my singing fix by being part of the choir and, this year, also part of
"Opening Night" - the beginning of the 2-week cruiser's regatta activities -
where I and a couple of dozen other folks accompanied a singer in Barry
Manilow's "One Voice." Unfortunately, despite there having been about 8
other male voices, time and events conspired against me and those who showed
an interest in doing some Barbershopping (very close harmony in a quartet),
and we never were able to get a group together for that...

When there's not something going on directly at the volleyball courts, or on
the tables for the beach church, there's Bocce, basket weaving (don't
laugh - the local materials make for some VERY beautiful and functional
baskets, including some which are watertight), Scrabble, and, on the
beaches, classes and seminars galore. All hosted, free to cruisers and
townspeople alike, by our benefactor KB.

Anyway, I digress, as the thought of the volleyball courts got me
sidetracked. Many who have never been here deprecatingly describe George
Town (the experience, not the actual town) as summer camp for geriatrics or
seniors (the bulk of cruisers are, shall we say, "mature"). While that's
true in the event you want to become part of the many organized and regular
happenings, it's also entirely easy to be totally alone in an island
environment, enjoying the other beaches, birdwatching walks, nature walks,
the ocean side, accessible by many paths from the Elizabeth Harbour (the
water between Stocking Island and Great Exuma) side, and on and on. So, if
the "reputation" of George Town puts you off, be sure to talk to those who
have actually been here. It's anything you'd want in a remote island, but
easily accessible to town for the airport, groceries, parts, supplies, and
local events (of which there are also many) in addition to all the
activities on Volleyball beach.

Included in those activities is YogaLates, a combination of yoga and
pilates. Last year, yoga was held, by an experienced cruiser, on Sand
Dollar Beach, about a mile south of Volleyball Beach, but this year's
sessions were done right out in front of us. This year's instructor has a
studio in which she has taught for many years in her home in Toronto, so she
really put us through our paces. By "our" I include myself, never having had
the first bit of yoga in my life, and Lydia, a regular last year. She had
told me that it was a good workout, and my experience this year proved her
correct.

Those of you who've followed us regularly recall that Lydia and I both lost
a substantial amount of weight during our refit in Saint Simons Island last
summer, thanks to the prodigious effort expended and the blistering heat.
Wanting to make sure it stayed off, I decided that I'd get even more
excercise than I usually do here (more on that later), and went off to learn
how to be a pretzel (or so I thought).

Surprise, yoga isn't about twisting yourself into knots, but mostly
stretching and passive-resistance type of exercise, done at a pace which
elevates the heart rate and tones the muscles. The pilates part is a bit
more strenuous, but I welcomed the opportunity to become somewhat less of a
computer-chair potato than I might have otherwise have been. So, over the
last month, depending on availability (some days were not held either due to
weather or conflict with the instructor), I've put myself through 20 or more
sessions and am more flexible for the experience.

My major exercise, however, comes on the volleyball court. Volleyball here
at Stocking Island is very relaxed - in fact, it's called "fun volleyball."
There are 9 to a team, no overhand serves or spikes, and all ages and both
sexes, from 15 up, are invited and encouraged to play. Needless to say,
there are widely varying skill levels in any game, and with 9 to the court,
nobody has to be all that energetic in getting to the ball if they don't
want to. In fact, to prevent collisions, most are a bit reticent to move
outside their "position" - which makes for a fair number of untouched balls.
Of course, you get the level of exercise you wish, and I made sure I worked
up a good sweat each day.

However, it's fun, as the label describes, and chatter on the court is
another reason sometimes balls don't get returned. It's also the reason that
one is required to send the ball to the other side during a serve change by
throwing it UNDER the net. Over the net, you're likely to bonk someone who's
not paying attention :{)) One (well, two, really) other difference from
"regulation" volleyball is that the poles (masts, recall, lovely big
flat-sided ovals) are considered players. Thus, if a ball hits a pole, it's
still in play; if it was intended as a return but wide, and the rebound puts
it in the other-side court, it's in play. If YOU hit the ball, and it comes
back to you, you can play it again, as it's come off another "player," just
as if someone had set it to you. The net, however, isn't a player, so, if
it goes into the net when you hit it during a return, someone else has to
play it before you can hit it again. There have been some exchanges where
the ball alternates off the net for many repetitions before someone finally
gets it high and back enough for someone to return it properly. Which brings
me to the other major differences in fun volleyball and regulation
volleyball...

On a serve, the returning team has to hit it at least once before the
return. And, as long as it doesn't hit the ground, it can be played for as
many hits as it takes to either return or fail-to-return the ball. Now, I
readily accept that if you're a serious volleyball player, this doesn't
sound much like the game you play - and, of course it isn't. Not to
worry...

For the hard-chargers, there are two more courts where it's 4-on-4, and all
the normal rules apply. Overhand serves, spikes, and a bump-set-spike
return is the norm, with a maximum of 3 hits on the return. With sand as the
base, getting a good pushoff for a dive is tough, but the sand is forgiving
on the landing :{))

Last year, Lydia swam to and from Volleyball Beach, as seen in the news
pictures which featured our boat at anchor, with her head visible as she
returned to the boat, about halfway there. Once again, regular readers of
our log know that picture showed up as a result of a search-and-rescue
mission launched by the USCG when it appeared we might be missing, and the
resultant news coverage of that event. Of course, that wasn't the case, and
as soon as our SPOT (tinyurl.com/FlyingPigSpot, if you'd care to follow us
when we're on the move) signal returned, the search was called off, but we
sure did "enjoy" a lot of notoriety (if we weren't already notorious
enough!) during that period. Anyway, back to the story, this year has been
the coldest winter that anyone in the Bahamas can remember, and there's not
been the first swim for either of us.

For much of the time here, we slept under blankets, and, on the normally
sunny and hot volleyball courts, there were frequent occasions where the
players wore full sweats. The fronts marched through with great regularity,
but little rain, so most of the vessels in the harbor are salt encrusted
from the lack of fresh water coming from the sky. Those regular fronts
caused us to reanchor several times, in order to allow the appropriate scope
for the wind direction. Those boats less hardy than we decamped to the town
side of the harbor to gain some protection from the wind and waves, only to
return in a couple of days, again, which made for much adjusting of scope so
as to not run into the "crowds" (on which, more, later) which redeveloped
each time.

We'd been blessed to be close to shore, including one instance, when the
wind was in the right direction, where we could nearly have stepped ashore
from our transom's platform. That's because the lovely beach out in front
of Chat'n'Chill extends into the water only a few feet past the low-water
mark, after which it falls off very directly to about 12 feet deep. Our
final reanchor was this morning, as we had lots of scope out when the wind
was parallel to the beach, but the wind directly toward the beach, as it was
forecast to move later in the morning, would have required us to shorten
scope to avoid the possibility of our rudder finding that shelf, not a happy
thought.

As there were rather high winds forecast for the day, including some nasty
squalls possible, I didn't feel comfortable with the only-125' which would
have resulted from our shortening our rode sufficiently to avoid contact
with the beach. Accordingly, we moved very far out (for us - there's a few
other boats out this far), anchoring in about 20' of water. Because of the
available swing room, and my preference for not having to deal with any
potential for reanchoring in nasty conditions, we put out 200 feet this
time. As the wind was already close to 20 knots, with my intended eventual
scope, we were able to pay out substantial line in each segment. (I anchor
by letting the anchor bite, and then letting out segments which allow the
line to tug firmly on each segment, gently digging the anchor further with
each yank). With 200 feet as the eventual destination, I let about 25 feet
out each time after the first 50, and was rewarded with a very substantial
jerk on the bow (no, not ME!) as we started going sideways to the wind and
the slack caught up, straightening us again. Secure in our position and
scope, I came below to write this :{))

Back to the anchorage and the harbor, for all that description of "crowds,"
this year, with only a mid-200 count, has been lighter than last year's 327,
which was lighter than the typical 500 boats in Elizabeth Harbour in past
peak years, and, as well, there has been little of the excitement of
dragging anchors as there was last year. In fact, aside from one boat which
had a mooring line (as opposed to an anchor line) break today, I'm not aware
of any dragging incidents this year. By comparison, last year had frequent
bursts of activity as the cruising community sprang into action in their
dinghies to fend off boats which were dragging down on another, or to grab
another anchor to kedge out some extra security on a boat which had come
adrift with nobody aboard (HEY!! I resemble that remark! [Flying Pig and
the boat behind us both did that while we were ashore during one of the
sudden wind shifts which allowed slack chain to gain momentum, and the
anchor pull out]), or just generally lend a hand to others in distress.

That was my only experience with dragging here, but last year I jumped in my
dinghy a couple of times to assist others, and, in a reanchoring nailbiter,
as the moving boat started to slide toward another, I and another dinghy
jumped out and played tugboat for the singlehander who was struggling to
simultaneously get his anchor up by hand (bless our windlass!) and avoid the
other boat's rode, shoving him sideways away from the other's rode until he
was clear. All was well in a couple of minutes, but the experience is very
typical of the cruiser community here. None of us knew the other, but it
was instant-reaction to a viewed potentially difficult situation, followed
by a wave and a thank-you, as everyone returned to what they'd been doing 5
minutes before...

As there were plenty of periods of high winds this year, I suspect that part
of it may be that with the smaller boat population, folks felt comfortable
with putting out more scope, a great deterrent to dragging anchor in any
conditions. Certainly, last year, we were lucky to have 75' out in 10-12'
of water. As I type this, we have an approaching front with boats which are
currently in it reporting 40 knots, so we're very glad for our extended
scope. I popped upstairs to look at our chartplotter, which we turned on,
with the track enabled, and, after the event, we had a huge pile of
higgledy-pigglety marks followed by a nearly straight line to the SSE as the
wind shifted. Fortunately, the bulk of the squall passed us by, resulting
in only a high of just over 30 knots of wind (35MPH) and a very small
shower. That slight wetting helped with the exterior salt, but didn't
really wash it off :{/) Fortunately, as it turned out later, there was a
slight drizzle for most of the afternoon, and we're well rinsed!

You'll recall that our wind generator took flight in Marsh Harbour, only to
be retrieved and stripped to useful parts before returning the balance to
the sea bed. As usual, we've continued our boat 1-2-3's (the name for
regular and continuing chores aboard given by a dear friend of ours from St.
Pete, now in the Dominican Republic), and verifying those parts as suitable
for reuse, we're about to order the needed housing and bearings to restore
our wind generator to its place on the arch pole.

After fishing a plastic part out of the power-plug hole in Lydia's laptop, I
also managed to return the plastic parts, thanks to SuperGlue, to a usable
condition. Once that was finished, I cut away the power cord's hard
rubber housing until I could get to the point of being able to, first,
superglue the plastic interior to the remainder in the cord-end, and then
solder the barrel portion to the electrical ground on the power supply.
Success! It's fragile, no longer having the reinforcing hard rubber around
it, but ok to power her up until we go, again, for the month of July, to the
states to give Lydia her grandson fix and for me to visit with my kids and
grandkids. When I'm ashore, I'll, again, order boat parts and spares, shop
for replenishments in our food stores, and find another properly-sized
barrel connector with a pigtail to splice on to the power supply line, thus
making her barrel-end secure.

Other boat chores happened, as well, of course, but those were the most
critical. I also did a repeat of my on-beach seminar on Wireless
Communications for Cruisers, attended by about 60 folks, of whom a
half-dozen were new owners of the same setup I have, a result of having
attended last year's seminars. As was the case last year, data throughput
has been spotty, due to the available bandwidth provided for all the users
in the harbor and ashore not equipped with their own satellite reception
services. However, unlike last year, other than the last week of our stay
in '09, we've been entirely free in our connections, enjoying the unusual
reach of our system.

I also did a repeat of my on-air seminar on the Honda eu2000i generators so
popular among cruisers, but bedeviled by what I can only assume is a
make-standard-parts-fit-non-standar-applications policy at Honda which has
nearly every 2000 eventually break their starter pull-cord due to a non-fair
exit in the rewind mechanism. Fixing that (well, making do on a relatively
permanent basis - there's no fix without boring into the crankcase and
relocating the mounting bolts) is very simple, but getting to the part
isn't! As I'd done a great deal of phoning around to distributors, I
eventually was able to find a service company who had a tech willing to walk
me through the procedure, which I shared. It's tedious, but not difficult.

That on-air session also included many tweaks I'd learned from the Honda2000
mailing list on yahoogroups (go to groups.yahoo.com and search for
Honda2000). Fortunately for those who came last year and took notes, even
though they'd not yet had the problem, they (as several ashore had told me)
were able to repair their broken cords successfully. Better yet, for the
future, NonLinear, a boat here in the harbor, recorded the session, and has
put it up on the cruiseheimers web site. As I'm not familiar with that
group, I don't have a link for you, but if you'd like to hear that session,
it's available there on a wave file.

Today we're winding down as we prepare to go to Long Island for a visit
there. As usual, weather dominates our planning, and, as has been the case
throughout our recent travels, our departure date kept being pushed back.
Other than the persistent cold weather, we've enjoyed our time here, and
helping other cruisers with our second outboard (we didn't launch the
PortaBote this year since we didn't have guests), one for a day while they
worked out a fuel problem on theirs, and the other for 10 days while they
had guests aboard and an engineless second dinghy, along with passing along
hard-earned (by making mistakes, usually!) tips to cruisers who'd not yet
encountered some of the challenges we've overcome..

We'll continue our saga with our log on our trip to Long Island and
environs, but for now, we'll leave you, content and exterior-shampooed.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!

L8R

Skip and crew

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hand
(Richard Bach)
__________________

__________________
skipgundlach is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2010, 07:17   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
Inkwell's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: St. Simons Island, Ga.
Boat: Hunter Legend 37.5 1993
Posts: 241
Send a message via Skype™ to Inkwell
Thanks for the update. Have fun.

David
__________________

__________________
Eat Well. Savor Life.
Inkwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-03-2010, 18:13   #3
Registered User
 
skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 1,388
Send a message via Skype™ to skipgundlach
:{)) always! Great sail down here, more to come with the next log!

L8R

Skip and Crew, Thompson Bay, Long Island Exumas
__________________
skipgundlach is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2010, 08:25   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bahamas, US Gulf Coast, and East Coast
Boat: 38' 1983 Pearson 385 - "Zydeco"
Posts: 154
Images: 3
Skip, What's your impression of wi-fi availability in Georgetown compared to, say, the Abacos? We plan on heading over that way in the fall and need regular internet access to feed the cruising kitty. We have an Island Time PC wifi antenna and it looks like you have had good luck with yours. Anyway, from what I read, it appears that wifi is widely available in the Abacos, pretty good in many areas of the Exhumas, but some have described it as "spotty" in Georgetown. What have you seen in terms of wifi access?

Dave
__________________
Zydeco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2010, 19:41   #5
Registered User
 
skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 1,388
Send a message via Skype™ to skipgundlach
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zydeco View Post
Skip, What's your impression of wi-fi availability in Georgetown compared to, say, the Abacos? We plan on heading over that way in the fall and need regular internet access to feed the cruising kitty. We have an Island Time PC wifi antenna and it looks like you have had good luck with yours. Anyway, from what I read, it appears that wifi is widely available in the Abacos, pretty good in many areas of the Exhumas, but some have described it as "spotty" in Georgetown. What have you seen in terms of wifi access?

Dave
Hi,

WiFi in Georgetown is spotty (well, was when we were there, but may ease up when we get back, more below), as you've heard.

Our setup allows seeing a great distance, and also communicating for that same distance. Since you have the same system, you may have the same results we did. However, Batelco, unless you've got a private satellite systems like most of the megayachts and some of the very well heeled smaller ones, is the only pipe in the Bahamas. Everyone drinks from the same pipe, whether they're a pay subscription service, a home user, or whatever.

Accordingly, just like in a fire hose, there's lots of water if it only has to serve one location. However, split it up in to thousands, perhaps, hundreds, certainly, and it's more like drinking from a straw in a glass, with lots of other straws nearby. You get lots less flow, and sometimes another straw sucks the water from where you're trying to drink and you come up empty for a bit.

In Georgetown, regardless of whether we were on a freebie site, or as other cruisers using pay services confirmed, promptly at 7:30AM, bandwidth went to hell as businesses started to log in. It improved steadily from 8PM onward.

Occasionally, you'd have a burst of data in the middle of the day, but continuous flow was very unreliable. All the pay providers ask you not to use voice comms during the day for that reason - the businesses get the bulk of it, and if lots are Skyping or other VoIP, their bandwidth suffers.

Specifically, Harbour WiFi gave lots of trouble, fairly consistently. Gaviotta Bay, in addition to the same behavior, has gone to metered service, charging for bytes rather than time. That was complicated by their system being down frequently (as shown on the SSID list in a scan; they modified their router name to show when it was down). However, if you are on one of their balls, it's free; if you're in one of the holes or on Volleyball Beach, the signal strength is huge.

I didn't talk to any who used Palm Bay Beach Club, but with their many repeaters, they stand a better chance of providing a reliable service.

That's because all the above is complicated by a huge number of cruisers trying to use the same site all at the same time, and data collisions can result. Because of the headers and footers, you'll eventually get your data, but it may take a great long while. It's also complicated by the forest of masts, which have lots of opportunity for signal degradation.

That said, if you're going to be there early, you'll find a much smaller cruiser population. E.g., a friend arrived in early November to only 28 boats in the harbor. That's not an unmanageable number, and I'd expect the bandwidth would be much better.

If you have a system similar to ours, you can be at any of the beaches and see all the pay sites, as well as several open sites at each (different ones, of course, as the household routers are much lighter strength, and won't go the entire length of the harbor).

We have yet to pay for WiFi this year, anywhere in the Bahamas. However, when we get to Norman's, we'll have to go into MacDuff's, as it's the only site on the island, and encrypted (hook a cable to your computer there, for free) WiFi is only for their cottage guests, despite our easily being able to see them. OTOH, other than in Warderick Wells, the only place in the Exumas, last year, due to its being extremely remote, and the park being the only game in town, we were able to get on, free, in each location. We were on with Sampson Cay Yacht Club for about 15 miles in each direction. I forget where we hooked in on Cat, and haven't yet been to Eleuthera, but others have said there's plentiful WiFi there. We were too far out on our passage, and moving too fast, to establish a useful connection on the North and East sides, but expect no problems when we go there later.

Here in Long Island, it's a bit complicated to say why, but we have an open router with killer broadband (the entire island is wired with fiber-optics); Lydia's on a video conference VoIP as I type this.

Back to Georgetown, if you're there early enough, or anchored on the mainland side of the harbor, and have a setup similar to ours (see Flying Pig WiFi for our system; I have no connection other than being a very happy customer), you should have no difficulties with availability there.

More on Georgetown, not related, which may make it easier in the future: Moorings and pumpouts are coming. It's already a fact of life as the moorings are being installed in the harbor right next to town (Kidd's Cove), the pumpout boat's already running ($10 standard, more for over 40G), and Gaviotta is trying to make it happen there. The bulk of the cruising community there is not moorings-and-pumpout folks, and I'm sure a large number will leave if that becomes a requirement. Already, here in Long Island, the population is growing rapidly, and, soon, the opportunity for a pay service will become attractive enough to get someone to do it, particularly since the bandwidth on this huge island isn't strained by a large population. There's not the same level of services available here, but the beaches are every bit as lovely, snorkeling is great, folks are uniformly friendly, yada, yada, only 31 miles away - and the Jumentos beckon for short out and back jaunts (not the same day, but a few days). Expect Georgetown to further suffer as the number of cruisers there continue to decline, already sorely felt by businesses there due to the economy; the pumpout situation will drive even more away.

(Short story: town has no means of dealing with sewage; a UN grant was obtained, which must be spent or returned, for a moorings-pumpout-treatment [what are you going to do with all this pumpout stuff???], money was spent, giving the town a sewage treatment plant and now they have to justify it. It's only a matter of time before there will be no anchoring in Elizabeth Harbour and pumpouts mandatory. See Marathon for example, much less well done, cuz Marathon includes the pumpout in the mooring fee...)

Sorry for the digression; get there early and you'll be fine, IMHO, but it will get more difficult as the winter progresses and more arrive.

Side comment, unknown quality: you can also buy a Zoom or other open SimCard enabled USB cell adapter and Batelco will sell you time on an annual contract with monthly suspension privileges if you're a commuter, so to speak, while the contract continues to run; after a year it's monthly. They claim DSL speeds, but the very few I spoke with who have such say it's not any better than dialup. Caveat Emptor, but it's a possibility...

L8R

Skip and crew
__________________
skipgundlach is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2010, 22:19   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
Skip: Thanks for your detailed post. You present many of the wonderful things Georgetown has to offer. If you like social activities, there is no doubt is has more to offer than most anywhere else in the Bahamas. While I did appreciate what it had to offer, I personally prefer the side of the Bahamas with fewer people. Only 15 miles or so north we spent days with nobody around, swam to secluded beaches without the worry of 400 boats dumping their sewage. A great thing about cruising the Bahamas is one can find such diversity to meet one's own personal desires.

A few notes regarding WiFi on my recent cruise (Jan 1 to last week) since many seem interested:

Free at Exumas Market in Georgetown, but a bit spotty. A wifi extender meant I didn't have to sit right next to them. By the way, the bench on the east side next to the ice cooler has power and shade (and rats...) I usually had a wonderful cheap lunch at that upstairs take away restaurant near Exuma Docking where all the locals go and picked it up from there. A pay service was also widely advertised but I did not use it.

Free at Farmers, Exumas as a customer.

Available for pay in Staniel.

I know many of the marinas in the central and northern Exumas advertised internet, but I did not stay at any of them. Available for a fee at Warderick Wells.

Available for pay or possibly free in Rock Sound, Eleuthera.

I did not pick up any service at Spanish Wells or Harbour I., but I'm sure something up that way was available.

In the Abacos, pay OI service is available at most islands having a town, except the Grand Cays, but one can get it through Rosie's Place there. Available at terminals at West End.

Some restaurants in Marsh offer it free if you are a patron. Various wireless and internet cafes available.

May be free as a patron on Green Turtle at Pineapples and Sundowners. (Pay OI available) I used it at Pineapples just a week ago.

Was free as a patron at the coffee shop in Hope Town.


I know OI was advertised as being available at Man-O-War for a fee, but I did not personally use it there.

The kind folks at the Manjack/Crab Cay anchorage have often let cruisers use their wireless, but this was spotty when I was there and I heard rumor this may not continue. - An unverified rumor...

In the Abacos I could pick up internet via my Iphone at: WE, Grand Cays, Double Breasted and Strangers. I could not at the Carter's Cay group from Joes through Little Carter's. Couldn't at Paw Paw either. Could at Fish, Allan's Powell, Manjack and most all points south of that. Spotty when I was at Deep Sea Cay and Snake Cay. I couldn't pick up OI internet there either.


Things can change quickly - much of what I wrote may change without notice.


Perhaps on my next cruise I need to spend more time settling into the Georgetown scene. You make a wonderful case for doing so. Stocking Island is truly unique.

if anyone else knows other wifi hotspots I'd love to hear. I'd love to post it on a Bahamas page I'm working on.
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2010, 06:41   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bahamas, US Gulf Coast, and East Coast
Boat: 38' 1983 Pearson 385 - "Zydeco"
Posts: 154
Images: 3
Skip and Nautical - Thanks for the excellent deatailed information. We are really looking forward to the Bahamas in the late fall. Hopefully, the wifi situation will only improve between now and then.

Skip - you mentioned using a SIM card device for internet access. We use an aircard with an AT&T data plan and get excellent internet access along the Florida Gulf Coast. I noticed BTC has data plans, but had not seen anyone mention trying to use an aircard or tethered blackberry or other phone for computer internet access in the Bahamas. Dial up speeds would be not much use, but maybe speeds will get better.

Thanks again for the information and keep those trip logs coming!
__________________
Zydeco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2010, 07:42   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
Zydeco.

I do not have a card, but my phone was AT&T. I was surprised how often I got reception, (pretty much 10 miles or so from any cell tower) though it often seemed very slow for data. The roaming agreement fees are quite steep, so I only used it to download the occasional weather forecast or for emergency calls. I eventually bought a Bahamas phone which was much cheaper for calls within the Bahamas and just under half the cost for calls to the U.S. What's nice is they offer pre-paid phones which have no monthly fee.

I believe the texting agreement with AT&T was 50 cents for every text message sent and free for incoming. This was very handy for things like brief weather updates, crew letting me know they were arriving on time, etc. You need be be very careful with an AT&T phone with data however. Just downloading e-mail headers can make you go broke. Texting worked for me even with the data roaming turned off, so that was a good solution.

Hopefully someone else can give you a more complete answer regarding cards or tethering. (For my needs, just getting a weather page directly on my phone was more practical than trying to figure out the tethering thing.)
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2010, 07:55   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bahamas, US Gulf Coast, and East Coast
Boat: 38' 1983 Pearson 385 - "Zydeco"
Posts: 154
Images: 3
Thanks Nautical, Yeah I figured data or phone service through AT&T in the islands would be too expensive for more than occasional use. It would be nice if BTC would offer data plans similar to what is available here in the states such as 5gb/mo for a flat rate. It would be an alternative to wifi. But if it's as slow as dial up, it would not be much use anyway.
__________________
Zydeco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2010, 20:18   #10
Registered User
 
skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 1,388
Send a message via Skype™ to skipgundlach
Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Skip: Thanks for your detailed post. You present many of the wonderful things Georgetown has to offer. If you like social activities, there is no doubt is has more to offer than most anywhere else in the Bahamas. While I did appreciate what it had to offer, I personally prefer the side of the Bahamas with fewer people. Only 15 miles or so north we spent days with nobody around, swam to secluded beaches without the worry of 400 boats dumping their sewage. A great thing about cruising the Bahamas is one can find such diversity to meet one's own personal desires.
We agree with the remote-alone benefits. When we first came this year, we were frequently the only boat.

Where were you in the above instance? Did you have shelter? Did you have WiFi?

Also remote, shortly we'll go to the Jumentos, REALLY remote :{))

L8R

Skip, off to another day of exploring the island
__________________
skipgundlach is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2010, 21:54   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
We agree with the remote-alone benefits. When we first came this year, we were frequently the only boat.

Where were you in the above instance? Did you have shelter? Did you have WiFi?

Also remote, shortly we'll go to the Jumentos, REALLY remote :{))

L8R

Skip, off to another day of exploring the island
I was anchored east of Leaf Cay in the Allan's Group during the storm of February 11 or 12? Less current than between the islands. Messages concerning the weather were text messages from a former crew, probably via Highborne Cay tower. Winds were above 40 knots but less than the 50+ predicted as possible by Chris Parker (Thank god!)

Please give me a Jumentos/Ragged report. I really wanted to get there, but weather, crew changes, etc. prevented that this year. I'm hoping for next winter. Did spend 4 glorious slow days between Helmet and Square Rock just north of Georgetown and had an island to ourselves each night. Can't beat that!

If you would like a list of some of my favorite out of the way places where you may have an anchorage to yourself in the Exumas or Abacos for your return trip, let me know. I have a good list.

For example, in the Abacos, Joes and Jacks in the Carter's Cay group are way more accessible than any of the guidebooks or charter make them appear. Much, Much easier than say Big Carter's or Double B. The only foot prints I've seen there have been my own.

The Paw Paw cays are also infrequently visited. One has a nice little beach. Swimming isn't great, but being the only person in an entire island group is pretty cool!

Please do update me on the Jumentos/Ragged. I am very much looking forward to spending time there.

All the best - Dave Z.
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2010, 08:13   #12
Registered User
 
skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 1,388
Send a message via Skype™ to skipgundlach
Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Please give me a Jumentos/Ragged report. I really wanted to get there, but weather, crew changes, etc. prevented that this year. I'm hoping for next winter. Did spend 4 glorious slow days between Helmet and Square Rock just north of Georgetown and had an island to ourselves each night. Can't beat that!

If you would like a list of some of my favorite out of the way places where you may have an anchorage to yourself in the Exumas or Abacos for your return trip, let me know. I have a good list.

For example, in the Abacos, Joes and Jacks in the Carter's Cay group are way more accessible than any of the guidebooks or charter make them appear. Much, Much easier than say Big Carter's or Double B. The only foot prints I've seen there have been my own.

The Paw Paw cays are also infrequently visited. One has a nice little beach. Swimming isn't great, but being the only person in an entire island group is pretty cool!

Please do update me on the Jumentos/Ragged. I am very much looking forward to spending time there.

All the best - Dave Z.
Please do send us a note on your favorites (skipgundlach@gmail.com - that way I can easily have a copy; I actually detest any web-based applications, but usenet has about died, so, here I am!). We'll be in the Bahamas for a year, total (another 9 or so months, likely), before we head down the thorny path, similarly slowly, so we'd like that a lot.

As to the Jumentos/Raggeds, I'll be posting each of our logs in this space, under their own titles. Either this is a new section, or I'd missed it, because my prior stuff had been in the general sailing category, I think. As this section, as deep as it's buried, seems to get used, it's really the better place for my ramblings :{)) (I think an admin put it/them here; I don't know that I'd have thought to look in Scuttlebutt and deeper...)

TIA on your notes, and look for my postings here on all our travels, not just the Bahamas. Or, if you'd like your personal copy, as it comes out, subscribe to the yahoogroup shown in my original post's sig, theflyingpiglog@yahoogroups.com (sometimes my log, while we're under way, goes over winlink, to my son, who posts it to the two email-based places it appears, my log list and a usenet group; thus spaces like this have to wait until I' near a signal, rather than in the middle of the ocean, to get it, sometimes weeks later). Unfortunately, there's no automated means (like, "subscribe@") to sign up, but you can do it by going to the groups.yahoo.com page, searching for theflyingpiglog, and enroll there...

L8R, y'all...

Skip, off to help another cruiser figure out WiFi and maybe dive the bottom, later. Just another day in paradise...
__________________

__________________
skipgundlach is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I Think He's Hooked! clausont Training, Licensing & Certification 6 20-09-2009 09:37
Hooked on the Sea islandkid Meets & Greets 3 16-08-2009 14:41
...and I am hooked. Capt Darren Meets & Greets 8 14-05-2008 06:30
JusDreaming hosts George Town Cruisers Net Entlie Cruising News & Events 2 16-02-2008 07:19
George Town Cruisers' Regatta - March '05 GordMay Atlantic & the Caribbean 0 22-02-2005 04:17



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:35.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.