Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Island Regatta, Georgetown April 2008
Threatening west winds chased us back to Georgetown, arriving back in town for the Family Island Regatta. This regatta is totally for the local Bahamians, a full week of partying and they know how to party!! At least six of the local commercial (mailboats) boats had brought boats and participants from all over the Bahamas.
There were three classes of Bahamian sailboats racing each day, one small dinghy, and two larger sloop racers. Each wooden boat is manned with enough crew to sit on planks on the high side, to help "flatten" the boat, and keep them from capsizing. Quite often, during the race, there was crew in the water that had to be retrieved. The boats start the race with their sails and anchor down. When the gun goes off, the anchors are raised, and the sails unfurled, and race begins. The first couple days were quite windy, and there were a couple of broken masts, and blown out sails. We were able to watch the races from the comfort of RAFT anchored in Kid Cove.
The GT commercial dock had been transformed into a parade route flanked by about 50 plywood temporary stalls selling all kinds of foods and beverages. Every evening, after the races, everyone dressed up in their finest, to meet, eat, dance and party. The locals were really having a great time, and it was fun to speculate.
With all the extra people on the island, and the nightly BBQ’s, it isn’t surprising that Exuma market and Shoprite were running out of food. Not that it mattered too much, because the stores were closed most of the time to allow their staff to attend the celebrations. Even after the Regatta closed, there still was no food in GT, since all the commercial boats had to return their charges to their respective islands, before heading back to Nassau to get stuff to bring back to GT. There were a few complaints, but hey, this is the Bahamas!!