Monday, June 10, 2013
Lost in Georgetown, Bahamas
Georgetown, Bahamas is a gathering place for cruisers who come down from the northern states, stay for a few months and then go back to the northern states for the summer months. Some cruisers do this year after years, but a small percentage of adventurous cruisers go further south to the island chain.
Because cruisers keep coming back year after year, it's a very social place. Cruisers are a social bunch anyway, but while staying in one area for months at a time, it becomes more social than usual. There are multiple beaches in the area, Volleyball Beach and Hamburger Beach are a couple popular beaches. Yes, there is volleyball at Volleyball Beach and there is food at Hamburger Beach. There are cookouts on the beach, get-togethers at the local eateries and happy hours happen on lots of boats in the different anchorages.
There are multiple anchorages in the area and as many as 500 boats at any time during the season. Unless you're paying strict attention, or have your GPS with you, this could be a problem getting home after dark with the forest of masts that don't look familiar, especially if you've had a few.
Cruisers usually have their VHF radios on when they're home and awake. It's like a party-line, everyone can hear what you're saying. One night, we were home having a quiet evening and it was probably about 10 PM. A call came on the radio requesting the location of a certain boat. After listening to numerous conversations with a few other boats, we learned that the owner of the boat mentioned had been circling the area in his dinghy and couldn't find his way home. One of his neighbors took pity on the guy and went outside to signal him with a flashlight. Turns out he wasn't even in the general area, but did find his way eventually.
Everyone we saw the next day was chuckling about it and teasing the poor lost soul. We shared our secret of finding our way home - we had put reflective tape around the top of the mast. That works well, we found it helpful a few times. Of course, that's assuming you remember to have a flashlight with you.