Harbor Fever, we all get it and we all have to learn how to deal with it. First of all, I should explain just what is, “Harbor Fever”. Simply stated, Harbor Fever is a mental disease all cruisers get from time to time especially if they are in a fully equipped safe harbor with many other boats, cruisers, provision stores, and all the amenities necessary to provide you with a comfortable life. But, alas, there comes a time when you have to move on if you want to continue on your journey. I speak only for myself, I cannot speak for others. However, I know first hand from my own experiences that I am not alone suffering from this contagious, ever present feeling almost every time we have to plan to move on from a favorite harbor. Now, this does not happen with every harbor and town you visit. Some harbors you just can’t wait to leave and sail on to a better harbor for any number of reasons. Other harbors lure you there with their Siren’s songs urging you to stay just one more day. This is such a well know fact that, nautical singer and song writer, Eileen Quinn, has written a song about this malady called, “Tarpit Harbor”.
To put this in proper prospective, I am quoting the words from Eileen’s very memorable and oft quoted chorus to the song:
“Tarpit Harbor has sucked down my anchor and with it my will to be free, There’s some that go sailing, I seem to go anchoring, Stuck in the muck by the side of the sea. Mondays there’s movies, Tuesday’s there’s potluck, Wednesday I play volleyball, There’s a luncheon on Thursday, Happy Hour on Friday, Saturday the market has my favorite stall, Sunday’s I look at my list of boat projects, Then lie down and try to recover from it all.”
This very witty, nostalgic, sailing song was written about Georgetown, Bahamas which is often the terminus for winter cruisers. We have been there many times and this is all true and more. I have mentioned Georgetown in previous articles such as “Home Schooled Children” and “Mom’s Bakery on Wheels, and will continue to write articles on this boaters’ playground so close to home. Both power and sail are prevalent in the anchorages and marinas. According to “Washington Post”, Great Exuma is one of the most desirable locations to visit by boat.
We flew back there again this past New Year’s Eve and much has changed since we were last there by boat. The changes were mostly for the good. The Exuma Market is a well stocked supermarket. However, the prices have increased since we were last there. Mom’s van is no longer in town, but, her baked goods are available at the supermarket.
Some of our favorite restaurants are still there. Peace and Plenty Inn and Restaurant is still there and as gracious as ever with their food and swimming pool or Two Turtles which was a must and great place to meet up with friends who were just “liming” around in town waiting to see who shows up. From the anchorage you can easily take your dinghy across to Stocking Island near Volleyball Beach to meet friends for lunch, happy hour or even a game of volley ball. Chat “n” Chill, a cruisers’ favorite meeting place on Stocking Island across the harbor is still there along with a few more hangouts where you can meet with friends.
If you do not have a boat or donot wish to sail there yourself, there is a small airport that you can fly into and stay in one of the many inns on the islands. There are small boats that will ferry you back and forth to Stocking for a fee. There are new inns and guesthouses where you can stay that were not there when we left to sail to our new home here on Marco Island. We flew there last New Year’s Eve with a friend in his plane. We were amazed at how much Georgetown had changed and grown since we were last there. No matter, it is still one of the most friendly and inviting islands we have ever visited throughout the Caribbean from here to Venezuela.
If you should happen to visit Georgetown, take a short walk to the Government building and check out the cement sidewalk. Here, in freshly set cement, we made a lasting impression on the street. We carved our beloved boat’s name GRENDEL in the cement and it is still there after 10 years have passed. I must say that we did indeed have harbor fever. We stayed about 6 weeks and loved it.
Both the Abacos and the Exumas are very different from each other. Each has something special to offer. Visit each island group, but do it separately. There is too much to do and see to try to rush through them. Sit back, enjoy the pleasures offered to you such as beautiful beaches, friendly people, different histories, making new boating friends, and just plain “liming” around. “See ya in the Bahamas mon.”
Frances is a Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a member of Sailing Association of Marco Island and AP United States Power Squadron.