Whilst in St George’s Anchorage we had a few of our beliefs in anchoring shattered during a vicious squall. We already knew the holding wasn’t great in dead lumps of coral, rocks and sparse sand but we had always believed that if a boat dragged its anchor, it would be a slow process, towing the anchor and chain across the seabed but leaving plenty of time to avert disaster.
Absolutely not! We were on board during the squall which registered over 40 knots and witnessed a neighbouring catamaran lose hold and race backwards at a frightening speed into ‘Moana’. The owner of the cat was ashore but our friends were on Moana and managed to get their fenders in place to protect the 2 boats.
2 other dinghies raced towards the cat and the owner luckily saw what was happening and raced back as well. They managed to get on board, start the engine and motor around for ages until it passed. A few other boats decided to lift their anchors as they were dragging and waited well behind the anchorage before moving further south near the beach.
We kept an eye on our position and after the squall passed we snorkelled on the anchor again and saw we had dragged back about 5 metres too. Easy decision then, to move around the headland to the bays on the south coast, where the holding is better. We needed to pick up our new battery anyway.
The trip was a little rough around the headland and as we passed the airport but we were motoring into the wind and swell. We looked into True Blue Bay first but it was full of little pots with hardly any room to anchor, so we carried on to Prickly Bay.
We only stayed 1 night as the swell made the whole bay really rolly and it becomes tiring after a while. Budget Marine was at the head of the bay so we picked up the battery and got ready to move further east to the next bay. Moana motored by just as we were leaving to say Emil had caught a tuna and could we help them eat it that evening.
Mt Hartman is walking distance to Prickly Bay so we motored around through the reefs in quite large swell. The breaking waves on the shallows were huge but the reefs are easy to see in good light and the navigation marks are correct, being reasonably new. Once in the bay we were delighted to see it millpond calm and scenic with lots of space to anchor.
We had a lovely evening eating fresh tuna and toasting the catch with Italian red wine brought from Denmark.
We met a Canadian couple who told us they had remained in the same position for the last 55 weeks and have just had their own mooring laid. It is a lovely place, quiet and peaceful with a small, almost empty, marina in one corner where we will move to for a boost of power and the laundry. There is also a waterside bar with Wi-Fi and a big screen for Rob to watch the Grand Prix! It will cost us 30 GBP a night but water and electricity are extra.
The cruiser’s net is still a brilliant source of information and this afternoon I attended a cookery class, with around 40 fellow cruisers, to learn how to use the local vegetables and spices. A bus picked us all up from the different bays and it only cost 5 GBP including the bus. It was held in the True Blue Bay resort, another lovely location.
Every night one or more of the bays has entertainment and there are numerous trips to the shops, cinema and island sights. We may well stay here next hurricane season and remain in the water longer as it will be cheaper and more comfortable. Mt Hartman is a hurricane hole and we are tucked right up in the corner at the moment, feeling nice and safe!
Before we left St George’s we had a walk around the town, finding the fish market, fruit and spice market and seeing some lovely buildings around the Carenage area of the harbour. The people are really friendly and keen to say how the British helped them by bringing in food and medicines during the crisis of 1983.
This is certainly a lovely island with all the facilities we need and a great support and social network for cruisers and we will be here a while yet.