- Katharine Hesmer
Bahamas | Take 2 | January 12, 2023
Rokers Point Settlement to George Town, Great Exuma Cay, Exuma Cays, Bahamas
KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map
Kind of regretting yesterday's promise of a blockbuster story as I put my fingers on the keyboard this morning, but I'll do my best to deliver, possibly throwing in a little embellishment here and there for good measure 😜. Just kidding. As far as you know.
Yesterday, following a rough passage and an attempt to anchor in an equally uncomfortable spot, we lucked out and got overnight dockage at the nearby Emerald Bay Marina on Great Exuma. This morning I flew my drone over the area and was reminded that we were basically adjacent to the site of the Fyre Festival fiasco. Cue crazy story.
In the video, you can see KORKZcrew tied on an outside dock in the lower left of the screen, and the video ends with a view over the Fyre Festival site. From Wikipedia: "Fyre Festival was a fraudulent luxury music festival founded by con artist Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. It was created with the intent of promoting the Fyre Media company's Fyre app for booking music talent. The festival was scheduled to take place on April 28–30 and May 5–7, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma. The event was promoted on Instagram by social media influencers including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski, many of whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so. During the Fyre Festival's inaugural weekend, the event experienced problems related to security, food, accommodation, medical services and artist relations, resulting in the festival being postponed indefinitely - and eventually cancelled. Instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals for which festival attendees paid hundreds of dollars, they received prepackaged sandwiches and FEMA tents as their accommodation."
In March 2018, McFarland pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud to defraud investors and ticket holders, and a second count to defraud a ticket vendor that occurred while out on bail. In October 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit US$26 million. The organizers became the subject of at least eight lawsuits, several seeking class action status, and one seeking more than $100 million in damages. The cases accuse the organizers of defrauding ticket buyers. Two documentaries about the events of the festival were released in 2019: Hulu's Fyre Fraud, and Netflix's Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. It was also featured on an episode of the CNBC series American Greed in 2019.”
Side note: make sure you watch BOTH the documentaries mentioned above. I'm not giving away anything by sharing the Wikipedia info; both documentaries start by telling you that the whole event was a fraud, as was its organizer. The event was originally supposed to take place on Norman’s Cay in northern Exuma, which was once the private island of the kingpin for Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. The current owners gave the strict condition that McFarland make no reference to Escobar, meanwhile, to add intrigue to his marketing, McFarland touted that Norman’s had been owned by Escobar which wasn't true. The owners of Norman's Cay cancelled their agreement, and the Fyre Festival organizers were left scrambling to find a new location. They ended up arranging to use the abandoned resort development you see in the video (still undeveloped 6 years later), falsely claimed it was its own island called Fyre Cay, and left themselves only two months to deliver on some pretty outrageous promises.
From Business Insider: "Attendees — who paid anywhere from $1,200 to $12,000 per ticket — came to the Bahamas expecting a music festival. Instead, upon getting to the festival site, they were met with chaos, confusion, and views that looked nothing like the ads or the promo video." I think I’m going to have to rewatch the documentaries myself. They are absolutely riveting. You just cannot BELIEVE someone can be this diabolically dishonest. How he thought people would never find out is beyond comprehension.
And to add to that disbelief factor, I literally JUST read that he is planning a comeback after spending four years in jail and owing $26 million to the people he scammed. What IS IT with narcissists?! The worst part is he'll probably succeed with his scamming this time around, based on the way "up" seems to be "down" lately. Practice makes perfect! 🙄 Lordy. Let the fraudsters be fraudsters. It's mind boggling that anyone supports, admires, or even trusts these sociopaths in the first place.
So enough with Fyre-y frauds and back to bumping along on a boat. With bump being the operative word. Or better yet blurp, a scientific term I coined my very own self. KORKZcrew had a two-hour voyage to George Town today which felt more like twelve, with the blurp factor in full force. You might prefer not to look at the next two videos should you have the slightest tendency toward seasickness.
The four of us are extremely fortunate to have fairly strong stomachs, but that doesn't mean we don't experience the dreaded wave of green from time to time. I've got friends (no really, I do!) who say they couldn't consider living on a boat even if they WANTED to because they get motion sickness so easily. So I don't take it for granted that this variable isn't an issue for our family. We are super lucky in that regard.
We arrived in the George Town area around lunchtime, cruising along Stocking Island past some familiar and favorite spots like the awesome beach bar Chat'N'Chill, and the Peace & Plenty Beach Club.
This area is a very popular anchorage for people living aboard their boats. Some people live here full time, some are passing through, but you can see as many as 200 to 300 boats anchored here depending on the time of year. This is obviously a huge number, but I can assure you it somehow doesn't feel crowded, and the community itself is so kind and supportive it's comforting to know you're surrounded by likeminded people who've got your back even though you're a complete stranger. There are far more sailboats here than anything else — probably around 90 to 95% of the boats — with their average size ranging between 40 and 50 feet. KORKZcrew is on the small side as far as live aboard boats go, but she's just right for us and I prefer her smaller, more manageable size of 37 feet. It's fascinating to realize who lives aboard these various boats. There are people from every age group. Some are solo cruisers, some are couples, and some are families. Some are retired, some are working full time, some are working AND raising children, and some are doing a little bit of everything in between. They are mostly from the USA and Canada, but we've seen boats from Germany and Scotland, and I'm sure we'll discover other international travelers as we go along.
KORKZcrew tucked into an area on the southwest side Stocking Island at Sand Dollar beach, where we plan to stay for the next several days if not longer.
Skeet and I celebrated our return to George Town with a plan to dive face first into Chat'N'Chill's well-known, fresh, and delicious conch salad, served up by none other than the conch master himself, Ronaldo. I filmed him doing his thing last spring.
Chat'N'Chill is also well known for some other non-human conch lovers, who are extremely happy to hang out and wait for anyone who might want to offer them a scrap or twelve.
The pile you see in the background is made up of Ronaldo's empty conch shells!
Once we are anchored in a particular area, the dinghy becomes our main form of transportation, and it's extra nice if your chauffeur happens to be Skeet.
Back on KORKZcrew, we had one item of housekeeping that needed to be addressed, which sadly for Steve translated into what we so delicately (!) call the Shave of Shame. He comes equipped with a very tight coat of curls, and those curls combined with swimming and sand are a recipe for perfectly impenetrable mats from head to toe. We've tried all the brush gadgets and mat busters and shampoos and conditioners in the world, but Steve's fur LAUGHS at any attempts to stay ahead of the inevitable. So Shave of Shame (SOS) it is. Or was. The sad part is we think he knows he looks ridiculous, as the cute gets shaved off right along with his fur, but we also think he's RELIEVED. At least that's what we tell ourselves.
Skeet is standing by with a trash bag to collect the blobs of fur so KORKZcrew doesn't get covered with a fresh layer of dog hair. 😳
Poor Steve. Someone who met him the other day said he looked like a billy goat. 😂 They aren't wrong. But I still think he's cute. Sort of. 😬
Ended our day with a beautiful double rainbow over Stocking Island, and some Fyre of our own in that beautiful Great Exuma Cay sky.
Night night, KORKZcrew!
2 hours underway; 12.2 nautical miles traveled
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