Move to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Yesterday we woke up before the crack of dawn to move the boat to Georgetown, Exuma. We had spent several days in the Ragged Islands 30 miles south of Georgetown (which I will write about later after I process photos). The Raggeds a series of cays (little islands) bordering the edge of a vast shallow area south of the Exumas which provide a huge array of coral reefs, blue holes, and many kinds of fish. To the east are deep waters between the many islands of the Bahamas. We did some snorkeling and island and beach explorations. But, our goal on this morning was to move the boat 25 miles north-north-east to a place called Hog Cay Cut which would afford us the shortest route to Georgetown. The map below shows the route (zoom in to see how awesome the water in the Raggeds look):

speed and depth

speed and depth

We had about 15 knots of wind from the south east, and once we departed the anchorage we raised our sails. We were soon sailing at 9 knots average, which in this case was a bit unnerving. Why? Because we were in pre-dawn conditions in only 20 feet of water with coral reefs all over the place. We needed to be at the cut by high tide at 9AM. But, we had good satellite imagery from Google Earth, and charts. So, we were reasonably confident we shouldn’t hit anything. We continued like this for a while, and the shallowest we saw was 12 feet. Then we approached the area south of the cut where we knew it was going to get shallow. When it got to 8 feet, we stopped and lowered our sails. We then motored towards the cut. By the time we got near it, we only had 4.5 of water under the hulls (our keels are about 3 feet deeper than the hulls). Yikes! In fact, we saw as little as 3.8 feet briefly. But, we never touched bottom and it was sand anyway.

Approach to Hog Cay Cut

Approach to Hog Cay Cut

When we got to the cut between two islands, we knew it was in a zig-zag. You could see rocks blocking the straight route, but you could also see deeper water in a S like shape. Once in the cut it was 10 feet deep and we actually breathed a sigh of relief. The rest of the way through the cut was uneventful except to make sure we stayed in the center because it was only a couple boat-widths wide! Below is the view as we departed.

Through the cut

Through the cut

St. Francis Resort

St. Francis Resort

We wanted to go to Georgetown to get some provisions. But, the main reason was to re-visit the home base to where we bought Tahina in 2008. Stocking Island is home to a place called St. Francis Resort. The owner is a South African man named George who is the sales representative for St. Francis Marine (the maker of Tahina). He sold us Tahina. So, we drove Tahina right up to the resort so we could take a picture showing that we had brought Tahina full circle right back to where we bought her after sailing around the world.

George of St. Francis

George of St. Francis

George came out in his custom St. Francis power cat to greet us. He said Tahina looked great and looked good enough to be shown at the Miami Boat show! What a nice compliment. He was actually serious, because he said he was looking to show a St. Francis at next year’s show. We told him we weren’t interested right now because we aren’t currently planning to sell our boat. Later we went to visit him at his nice restaurant and bar and he treated us to some drinks while we told him a few stories about our trip. Below is a map where we are anchored now just south of St. Francis Resort off the island (away from mosquitoes).

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