When Columbus entered Elizabeth Harbor— the setting of George Town—he reportedly exclaimed “the harbor could fit half the boats in Christendom.” Indeed, George Town is nestled in one of the largest and most beautiful protected harbors in the Caribbean. The water is crystal aquamarine and the beaches are a powdery white public relations dream. The town is the capital of the Exumas, arguably the most beautiful chain of islands in the Bahamas stretching 150 miles south and east.
Elizabeth Harbour was a favorite haunt of pirates and privateers. Later, during World War II, the harbor was a US and British allied forces Navy Base. From here, sea planes combed the skies between Cuba and Florida looking for German submarines.
George Town is the most southerly annual destination of hundreds of American and Canadian sailors. But given its scale, the harbor never felt crowded. Over the years, returning cruisers have gotten things organized. A morning VHF radio program gives boaters the day’s weather report, a review of events, and opportunities ask questions of fellow boaters. There are seriously competitive volleyball tournaments, beach yoga and Pilates, children’s programs, workshops on topics like celestial navigation, weddings, craft projects, and weekly Texas Hold’em games.
The town provides a full range of services to cruisers. The well-stocked grocery store offers free reverse osmosis water and accepts packages for boaters at no charge. (Water is normally purchase in the Bahamas for 40 cents a gallon.) Several places in town offer cheap phone connections to the United States so leisurely, catch-up conversations are made possible. We paid our taxes at a small internet café. My favorite George Town perk: Mom’s Bakery because Mom gives hugs and blessings with each bread sale.