"Time Enough" in the Bahamas 2001|
Regatta Week 2001 We reached George Town, cruiser central and end of the line, just in time for the 21st annual Cruising Regatta. I say end of the line because this is the furthest south in the Exumas and the turn around point for most cruisers unless they are going on to the Carribean. There are 480 boats anchored here, many of which haven't moved in weeks or months. The harbor is huge-1 1/2 miles wide and miles long. There is plenty of room despite all the cruisers. The cruiser population outnumbers the Bahamian population. At night the anchor lights across the harbor look like a major city, far outshining George Town itself.
We arrived Friday, March 9, just in time for the big party. Party is the key word here. Let me run through the schedule:
Friday-PM registration, evening party hosted by George Town
Saturday-Opening night party, conch blowing and 50's dance party
Sunday-Children's events, tennis
Monday-small boat racing, sand sculpture
Tuesday-race (finally), dinner dance
Wednesday- "fun" volleyball
Friday-swimming, regulation volleyball (these folks take their volleyball seriously)
Saturday-scavenger hunt, peas and rice eating contest, variety show
Sunday-coconut harvest contest, closing party
As you can see, sailing is not a high priority of this regatta. We missed registration but did make it to the opening party-free food and drink and Bahamian music. I entered the dingy sailing and rowing races - came in last in both of them. We had been looking for somewhere to play Irish music on St. Patrick's Day so signed up for the variety show. It was great fun, starting with the local Junkanoo band (all drums and cowbells), some hilarious skits and some very professional musical talent. It was a great show, and as always much Guiness and Kalik beer was consumed.
The Coconut Harvest Contest deserves some explaination. Each team of four mans a rubber dingy propelled by one swim fin each. Coconuts were released floating in a protected lagoon and the object was to collect the most coconuts. It was a free for all water fight. Stealing your opponents coconuts was definately part of the strategy. Physical violence was discouraged but not prohibited. Great fun to watch.
The harbor is emptying out as it is time to turn around and head north. We have about a month to make our way back to Florida, which isn't very long when you travel 20-30 miles a day. Besides, who wants to hurry? But spring is around the corner, and we look forward to seeing you all again this May and July. Life is good.
Bob and Carol