On the west side of Elizabeth Harbor is Great Exuma Island and the other side is Stocking Island. Great Exuma Island has most of the settlements in the area on it including Georgetown which for many cruisers marks the farthest from the US that they will travel. There are four main anchorages in the harbor, three of them are on the east side are called Monument, Volleyball Beach and Sand Dollar Beach. On the Georgetown side there is Kidd Cove anchorage. We have stayed almost exclusively at Sandbar Dollar Beach because it is quieter, you can anchor quite close to the shore and most of our friends have been staying here.
The first day here we anchored at Sand Dollar beach and crashed after a 7-8 hour forty mile beat into 3 foot seas. We woke the next day to a rough and rolly anchorage so we moved North of Kidd Cove in a shallow area where very few boats were. This was a great spot where we could refill the water tanks from the town tap and be close to the action in town. In addition, we hooked up with another cruising boat with kids, Shamballa and had a play date over there. We only stayed here one night before we headed back to Sand Dollar because the wind had shifted again. All afternoon more and more boats crossed to the east side to avoid the waves in the anchorage. This flitting back and forth across the harbor is known as the Georgetown Shuffle as boats shuffle back and forth as the wind shifts back and forth.
Sand Dollar was flat and calm the next day and we headed to the beach. We found a great trail that led across the island to the Atlantic Side, which was quite rough at that time. At the top of the hill we could see both the harbor along with Viatori sitting on the placid water.
On the beach, we found a big pile of lumber and a bunch of picnic tables. Perhaps this was to be a restaurant on the Beach but it fell through. I guess we will never know.
At Volleyball Beach is Chat`N`Chill which is a restaurant on the beach serving mainly burgers and fries. The decor in the restaurant consisted of mainly old flags and tee shirts hanging from the rafters. Most of these had messages written on them which varied but most commonly saying “boat such and such, on this day had a great time and drank a bunch of beer here.” We had lunch there and explored the area. Behind the restuarant was the first of three hurricane holes were boats were moored including a bunch of house boats that were brought to Georgetown to house the crew during the shooting of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. After they left, the locals took them over and I am told that you can rent them if you wish (dare 😉
As one would expect, there is a volleyball net at Volleyball Beach, we watched a few games but it was more fun to chat with the spectators than watch the games. One player in particular was extremely competitive and verbal about it, despite being not very good. This turned off many folks would have enjoyed a game for fun, but instead just watched. Competition is great but come on, this is the Bahamas, let’s have fun.
There is also a conch salad booth that is open sometimes, randomly it seems, where the cast-offs from cleaning conch is fed to tame rays. We waded into the water and petted the rays as they swam by looking for handouts. It was totally cool. A ray feels like a slippery yoga mat, smooth, spongy and slippery but not slimy.
Stocking Island has become our home in Georgetown which we have enjoyed immensely and will miss once we leave here.