George Town’s popular appeal

George Town’s popular appeal

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You can tie up for lunch at the Turquoise Cay boutique hotel. Photo: Stephen Connett

George Town on Great Exuma is surely the most popular destination in The Bahamas with well over 300 boats in Elizabeth Harbour during much of the winter season. One good reason why George Town is so popular is the spectacularly beautiful harbor with its variety of anchorages that accommodate huge numbers of boats without overcrowding or compromising safety.
The major change to George Town is that in recent year the harbor has a much nicer atmosphere. All the boats are good quality and well-maintained. The cruisers network is efficient and informative, and cruisers are upbeat, friendly and respect each other’s privacy. There is all manner of communal activities including a local regatta, yoga, volleyball, bridge, church services, and dinghy drifts—recently 86 dinghies watched the sunset together. If you don’t find your favorite activity it’s easy to get something started.
The hub of activity is Chat ‘n Chill on Volleyball Beach on Stocking Island. Chat ‘n Chill is still going strong and has excellent grilled food—the ribs are some of the best in The Bahamas. The beach is busy with people of all ages getting to know each other and having a really good time. As in most places things change over the years, but Peace and Plenty, Minns Water Sports, Exuma Markets, Eddy’s Edgewater, and Chat ‘n Chill are well managed and continue to provide excellent facilities and service.
The harbor community—local authorities, citizens, and cruisers—is generally conscious of both enjoying and conserving the environment. There are dinghy moorings on the best snorkeling sites, instructive eco-tours, better garbage and sewage collection, and the town is cleaner. Mariah Harbour Cay and surrounding flats and mangrove creeks are exciting areas for bonefishing and birding. Also, south of the bridge to Little Exuma, miles of flats and creeks invite you to fish and explore.
There are also short destination cruises you can make in your dinghy. Highly recommended is a lovely run down the channel past Rolle Town and Hartswell to the Turquoise Cay boutique hotel. Bring a couple of friends, have a leisurely lunch, and take a swim or go bonefishing on the way back. If you want simpler fare make a run to Cheater’s for traditional Bahamian food. Call (242) 357-0329 or visit turquoisecay.com.

New facilities on New Providence

A prestigious membership in The Club at Palm Cay will open doors throughout the community and grants entry to the broad network of social and sports societies within the community.
A prestigious membership in The Club at Palm Cay will open doors throughout the community and grants entry to the broad network of social and sports societies within the community.

Palm Cay, a new residential and marina complex on the southeast shore of New Providence offers a 194-slip marina with plenty of room for long-term and transient vessels from 18′ to 110′ and drawing up to 9′ at low tide. The current dockage rate is $1.75 per foot with a wide range of services including a restaurant, café, courtesy car, and swimming pool. At first glance you’d think that the luxurious development known as Palm Cay was designed only as the ideal vacation destination with an assortment of beach club amenities and huge stretches of white powder-sand beaches, but it is a great place to rest and provision before jumping off to the Exumas or north to Eleuthera. Call (242) 676-8554 or visit palmcay.com.

Courtesy flag legality

Bahamian courtesy flag. Photo: Stephen Connett
Bahamian courtesy flag. Photo: Stephen Connett

Courtesy flags are not just for courtesy; they have a legal meaning. When a vessel enters foreign waters it is required to fly a “Q” flag on the starboard spreader to show that it has just arrived and needs to clear Customs. After the vessel has cleared, the “Q” flag must be removed and replaced with a courtesy flag, which must be flown until the vessel clears out of the country. The courtesy flag signifies that the vessel has cleared Customs and has permission to be in the country. The vessel should also fly its own national ensign when underway and during daylight hours when moored.
The Bahamian courtesy flag has a red field with a white cross and has the national ensign in the canton or upper corner. If a proper courtesy flag is not available, it is better to fly The Bahamas national ensign than none at all. By tradition in the U.S., the New York Yacht Club—as the country’s oldest yacht club—is the authority for flag etiquette on yachts. Many cruisers today do not belong to yacht clubs, so they may prefer to use the etiquette published by the U.S. Power Squadron or another organization. Any owner can also design and fly his own private signal or house flag, which can be fun and add distinction to one’s vessel. According to the Power Squadron, the private signal “should be a unique design and always in good taste.”

Summer Escape to Abacos