Tropic of Cancer Beach

Friday evening sunset

Friday evening sunset

Cindy watching the sunset from Beatitude's stern

Cindy watching the sunset from Beatitude’s stern

We’ve been enjoying Great Exuma Island. On Saturday afternoon, we rented a car for a day so that we could go to church on Sunday. We did it this way so we could drive to dinner on Saturday evening. So, we hopped in our Corolla (with over 100,000 miles – rentals are not exactly like we are used to in the U.S.) and drove the length of the island to Little Exuma to eat at what is reported by many to be the best restaurant on the island, Santana’s. Unfortunately, although they advertise being open for lunch and dinner, when we arrived just after 5 p.m. they were closing. Island time means you open and close when you want. So, we drove back towards Georgetown and found none of the other restaurants open along the highway. We ended up eating at Club Peace and Plenty again — which was okay because the food was good.

The Three Sisters  (The story:  An English captain brought his ship to the Bahamas looking for treasure. When he took harbor in Exuma for protection from a great storm, he met 3 beautiful sisters. Each fell in love with him. Finally the day came for him and his crew to set sail. Each sister, one by one, jumped into the sea to try and swim after his ship. Unfortunately, all 3 drowned in their effort. After each died, a rock sprung up from the ocean marking the location.)

The Three Sisters (The story: An English captain brought his ship to the Bahamas looking for treasure. When he took harbor in Exuma for protection from a great storm, he met 3 beautiful sisters. Each fell in love with him. Finally the day came for him and his crew to set sail. Each sister, one by one, jumped into the sea to try and swim after his ship. Unfortunately, all 3 drowned in their effort. After each died, a rock sprung up from the ocean marking the location.)

On the way back from Santana’s, we stopped at Tropic of Cancer beach, which many guide-books describe as the most beautiful beach in the Exumas, if not the Bahamas. A treacherous, narrow, washed-out sand road must be braved to reach the beach, but, wow, was it worth it! The powdery crescent of white sand bordering the translucent blue-green water was gorgeous, and… once again, we were the only ones there. And… we were officially in the tropics.

Tropic of Cancer Beach entry

Tropic of Cancer Beach entry

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Tropic of Cancer Beach

Tropic of Cancer Beach

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Cool Crab Windvane

Cool Crab Windvane

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Saturday evening sunset

Saturday evening sunset

On Sunday, we drove back into Georgetown to attend church at St. Andrew’s Anglican church, founded in 1802. The service was very nice. And long… very long! Two and a half hours long. I need to remember to eat breakfast before going to church in the Islands. The service was unique, blending the traditional Anglican liturgical worship which we’ve grown to love, with the spirited worship of our Pentecostal background. It was almost as if there were two completely different services combined into one. After finishing grand hymns with blaring organ, the praise band took over with drums, keyboard and praise singers. The gregarious rector preached a pentecostal-style message prior to the eucharist (with Apple Juice! Or, at least that’s what it tasted and looked like, maybe it was white grape juice, but, I could’ve sworn it was apple juice.)

St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Georgetown

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Georgetown

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Sunday Lunch at Palapa Grill

Sunday Lunch at Palapa Grill

Otherwise, we’ve been enjoying our time relaxing here in the Exumas. We’ve made a couple of trips over to Palapa’s Grill at Grand Isle for lunch. We’ve swam in the stunning waters of Emerald Bay. We’ve enjoyed the beautiful, graciously-accommodated Captain’s lounge at the marina. In sum, we’ve been enjoying our cruising life.

156' Yacht, Seven J's, pulled into the marina today.  At a price tag of only $27 million, it could possible be yours!

156′ Yacht, Seven J’s, pulled into the marina today. At a price tag of only $27 million, it could possible be yours!

Exploring Great Exuma Island and Little Exuma Island

Great Exuma Island (the largest island in the Exuma chain) runs for about 37 miles from northwest to southeast. It was founded around 1783 by American loyalists fleeing the Revolutionary War. Initially, a cotton plantation economy replete with slaves was established. Lord John Rolle, one of the most important loyalist settlers, upon his death in 1842 bestowed all of his significant land holdings on the island to his slaves. Because slaves took on the surname of their master, well over half of the current islands residents bear the last name, Rolle. More than one town is also named after the influential lord, e.g., Rolleville and Rolletown.

On Wednesday, Cindy and I rented a car to explore the island. We drove from Barraterre in the far north of Great Exuma Island to the southernmost point in Williams Town, Little Exuma Island. Along the way we found some very interesting discoveries.

We kept getting in the wrong side of the car all day!  The cars suffer from situs inversus! (medical term:  look it up) :)

We kept getting in the wrong side of the car all day! The cars suffer from situs inversus! (medical term: look it up) 🙂

Cars especially designed for dumb Americans.  Keep Left displayed prominently on the windshield!

Cars especially designed for dumb Americans. Keep Left displayed prominently on the windshield!

Scary thought: Cindy driving from the wrong side of the car!  Although she states it felt natural because she's left handed.  I guess she was meant to be British.

Scary thought: Cindy driving from the wrong side of the car! Although she states it felt natural because she’s left handed. I guess she was meant to be British.

Beautiful turquoise waters.

Beautiful turquoise waters.

There are three tombs there in the middle of a secluded clearing, which date back to Loyalist times. The only inscription is found on the largest one, resembling an elaborate double bed made of stone with headboard and footboard. It reads, "Within this tomb interred the body of Ann McKay, wife of Alexander McKay who departed this life on the 8th November 1792. Age twenty-six years and their infant child." Mr. McKay reportedly came to Great Exuma from Scotland in 1789 to set up a plantation after receiving a land grant.

There are three tombs there in the middle of a secluded clearing, which date back to Loyalist times. The only inscription is found on the largest one, resembling an elaborate double bed made of stone with headboard and footboard. It reads, “Within this tomb interred the body of Ann McKay, wife of Alexander McKay who departed this life on the 8th November 1792. Age twenty-six years and their infant child.” Mr. McKay reportedly came to Great Exuma from Scotland in 1789 to set up a plantation after receiving a land grant.

View from Rolle Town

View from Rolle Town

Rolle Town vistas

Rolle Town vistas

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One lane bridge connecting Great Exuma Island to Little Exuma Island

One lane bridge connecting Great Exuma Island to Little Exuma Island

Ruins of an old loyalist plantation on Little Exuma near Williams Town

Ruins of an old loyalist plantation on Little Exuma near Williams Town

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Sheep by the old ruined loyalist home

Sheep by the old ruined loyalist home

Walking up to the cliff's edge at the Salt Beacon

Walking up to the cliff’s edge at the Salt Beacon

Standing on the cliffs above the white sand beaches and beautiful blue waters.

Standing on the cliffs above the white sand beaches and beautiful blue waters.

A 30-foot tall tuscan column (the Salt Beacon).  From the inscription: "Overlooking Exuma Sound and the “Great Salina” of Williams Town the thirty-foot-tall marker situated on this low waterfront cliff guided ships to pick up salt harvested from Little Exuma’s three salt ponds."  The Bahamas were (and still are) a major source of salt production.  Little Exuma Island, at one time, was reported to produce 10,000 tons of salt/year.

A 30-foot tall tuscan column (the Salt Beacon). From the inscription: “Overlooking Exuma Sound and the “Great Salina” of Williams Town the thirty-foot-tall marker situated on this low waterfront cliff guided ships to pick up salt harvested from Little Exuma’s three salt ponds.” The Bahamas were (and still are) a major source of salt production. Little Exuma Island, at one time, was reported to produce 10,000 tons of salt/year.

Cannon by the Salt Pillar

Cannon by the Salt Pillar

The Tropic of Cancer (26° 30' N) marks the northernmost journey of the sun at mid-summer.  It runs through the Exumas south of Georgetown.  Although we've been in tropical climes before, we are now officially in the tropics!

The Tropic of Cancer (26° 30′ N) marks the northernmost journey of the sun at mid-summer. It runs through the Exumas south of Georgetown. Although we’ve been in tropical climes before, we are now officially in the tropics!

Children at play at a Georgetown primary school

Children at play at a Georgetown primary school

Cindy, seated in downtown Georgetown.

Cindy, seated in downtown Georgetown.

Outside Club Peace and Plenty.

Outside Club Peace and Plenty.

The bar at Club Peace and Plenty, named after Lord Rolle's ship. Around the year I was born (1958), one of Henry Flagler's heirs opened this place.  The main building was once a sponge warehouse.  The bar was once the slave cookhouse.  Johnny Depp accepted his Golden Globe on national TV from this little bar.

The bar at Club Peace and Plenty, named after Lord Rolle’s ship. Around the year I was born (1958), one of Henry Flagler’s heirs opened this place. The main building was once a sponge warehouse. The bar was once the slave cookhouse. Johnny Depp accepted his Golden Globe on national TV from this little bar.

Walking up to the ruins of the Steventon Jail.  Also, site of the Pompey Rebellion.

Walking up to the ruins of the Steventon Jail. Also, site of the Pompey Rebellion.

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View from the jail.

View from the jail.

Me and my best bud, Pompey.   The year was 1829.  Pompey is said to have advanced the anti-slavery movement by leading a group of 77 slaves to run away instead of succumbing to an illegal forced relocation to Cat Island. Pompey’s group  stole one of Lord Rolle’s boats and set sail for Nassau  Unfortunately they were caught before reaching Nassau. Eventually, Governor Smith had Pompey and his followers returned to Great Exuma, where Rolle’s remaining slaves hailed them as heroes and promptly refused to work. The military was dispatched to quell the situation, with cooler heads prevailing only after Pompey accepted a punishment of 39 lashes, sparing any harm to the other slaves.

Me and my best bud, Pompey. The year was 1829. Pompey is said to have advanced the anti-slavery movement by leading a group of 77 slaves to run away instead of succumbing to an illegal forced relocation to Cat Island. Pompey’s group stole one of Lord Rolle’s boats and set sail for Nassau Unfortunately they were caught before reaching Nassau. Eventually, Governor Smith had Pompey and his followers returned to Great Exuma, where Rolle’s remaining slaves hailed them as heroes and promptly refused to work. The military was dispatched to quell the situation, with cooler heads prevailing only after Pompey accepted a punishment of 39 lashes, sparing any harm to the other slaves.

Sunset at the marina after a passing rainstorm.

Sunset at the marina after a passing rainstorm.

Emerald Bay

What a change of pace this is! And a needed one, at that!

Beatitude in her slip

Beatitude in her slip

It seems we have been on a relentless, driving mission to get back to the islands from the time we were in Nantucket back in September until now. Well, we’ve made it. And, it’s now time to slow down and chill a little. The Marina at Emerald Bay has been just what the doctor ordered. We had originally intended to stop in Georgetown, a few more miles south of Emerald Bay, but when we investigated marinas at which to leave Beatitude for a couple of weeks, we settled upon this one. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown and all the cruiser activity which takes place there. Emerald Bay is somewhat isolated, and it suits us just fine. It has been wonderful relaxing here for the past few days. The floating docks are like new. The lounge is beautiful and very comfortable. The laundry is free! (And, has excellent machines!) The wi-fi is well above average. The clubhouse has a billiard room. The showers and restrooms are very nice and clean. And, there is an excellent fitness center.

The lounge at The Marina at Emerald Bay

The lounge at The Marina at Emerald Bay

Billiards anyone?

Billiards anyone?

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Monday was a rainy, blustery day on Grand Exuma Island (gusts over 40 knots).

Monday was a rainy, blustery day on Grand Exuma Island (gusts over 40 knots).

The nearby restaurant is a short walk past the golf course to the Palapa Grill at the Grand Isle Resort. The cubans are delicious, and the view is gorgeous!

We pass this green on the way to the Palapa Grill

We pass this green on the way to the Palapa Grill

Grand Isles, home of the Palapa Grill

Grand Isles, home of the Palapa Grill

Lunch at Palapa Grill

Lunch at Palapa Grill

Our view from the grill.  It's been a little windy here.

Our view from the grill. It’s been a little windy here.

We’ve enjoyed relaxing at the crescent beach at Emerald Bay, upon which sits both the Sandals and the Four Seasons resorts. Access to this stunning white sand beach with its cyan waters is just a short walk from our slip. We’ve had time enough for boat work, reading, watching movies, playing games… and I’ve even started my book I’ve been planning to write for some time. In short, it has been a wonderful break.

Paradise!

Paradise!

My beautiful wife

My beautiful wife

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Relaxing on the beach of Emerald Bay

Relaxing on the beach of Emerald Bay

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Magnificent waters.

Magnificent waters.