April 16, 2014

Welcome to Georgetown

"There's always a way if you're fearless today.
But don't go in half cocked.
When you pull the trigger to the float the river,
You leave behind the rocks.

And if you hesitate, that's alright
Cause it happens everyday.
But I'm here to tell ya,
I'm a believer that there's always a way."

My final leg to Georgetown was an epic trip in many ways 

Altho the distance was only 22 miles, it required new skills and levels of perseverance I had not known before... I sort of impressed myself by successfully navigating my way from Rudder Cay, and threading the needle of the narrow cut of Rat Cay, rocky outcrops on both sides,  that led me out to the open sea 

I chose the tide times wisely and avoided any incoming swells that could thwart my passage through the narrow cut... I was giddy as I made my way between two narrow bluffs and got out to the blue water of the open sea to head south... but that was only the beginning of what would turn out to be a rather grueling day... the wind was on my nose again, and I could not point her in the southerly direction straight to Georgetown, my destination.  So I had to tack out into the open ocean for about 3 miles into some 4-5’ seas... splish, splash, spray was everywhere... but I powered on ahead into the braze with a combination of sail and engine power... finally, I was out far enough and pointed her south 

Coated in salt spray, she was now on a strong heel over to the starboard side for the next 18 miles... in sailor terms this leg was what we call a “slog”.... which means leaning, leaning, leaning while all the while catching rather large waves and unpredictable swells on the opposing port side of the boat... again, she was tight hauled, but tight enough to make the rest of the leg without having to tack to the outside again

the auto pilot wiring has shorted out again (loose connection) and so it all hand steering in this high pitch assault on the cobalt blue water... that means there was no time to leave the helm... at one point I carefully planned my dash down to the galley for a few seconds to grab an inviting granola bar I had left there There are no photos from the section because my hands were glued to the wheel and there was not time to dash below or even consider focusing on a still shot 

After about 5 hours of this leaning, banging, pounding tack, I eventually found my way entering Elizabeth Harbor at the entry point known as Conch Cay... Suddenly, she relaxed in the lee of some small islands and the water returned to the brilliant turquoise allure I have come to love... ahhh.... relax, you made it… here we are … worth it.

In this magical place known as Georgetown, there must of been at least 200 sailboats all anchored on the lee side of Stocking Island I am told in the peak season, over 500 boats anchor here. It was here that I would meet up with my old buddy, David of sailing vessel Swell Horizon... If you recall, David was my dock neighbor in Fernandina, and my buddy boater from when we crossed the Gulf Stream together to enter the Bahamas on February 25.   

Sure enough, there he was anchored just where he said he was at Sand Dollar beach.... I waved and shouted hello as I passed his boat and was relieved to drop my hook in the ever welcome embrace of the sandy bottom....  Georgetown, I had arrived... This would be my southernmost target before my return trip whenever that might be… Heres some pics of David and Cindy and a cool hike we took up to the "monument" high atop a hill overlooking all the anchorages…

The hike up to the monument is well worth the effort. 

 David overlooking the scene… he's quite the hiker…. keeping up was a  challenge!

the anchorages in Elizabeth harbor are unlimited…. Georgetown is this huge community of sailor cruisers from all over the world… meeting folks is easy as pie.

This is David and Cindy returning to Swell Horizon… a gorgeous Spencer 42 ketch rig...

Georgetown is a city of cruisers... mostly sailors... It is a long harbor called Elizabeth Harbor.... Stocking Island is to the east and the town of Gtown is about 1-2 miles across the harbor... in the height of the season (Jan.-Mar.) it is not uncommon to see about 500 vessels all anchored neatly and swaying the breeze the the 2 mile strip on the west side of Stocking Island... What you have here is a little city of sailors... all connected by the water, the sun, and the VHF radio 

It’s easy to make new friends... little inflatable boats, dinghys, are always scooting all over here and there... to a buddy’s boat, to a snorkel hole, to a beach, to a hiking trail, to a yoga class, to anywhere your heart desires... and it’s cool to stop and say hello to most any vessels path you come across... conversations begin, friendships are made, and discoveries are exposed... most any cruiser will tell you its not the boat, the water, the places, but the PEOPLE you meet along the way that sticks most in your mind, and more importantly in your heart.

My Brother Mike Comes to Visit!

Mike arrived in Georgetown on April 7… We had a great time, altho he came in a period when the winds were very high, making it difficult to fish or snorkel very much… His visit was truncated by a couple days, but still we had a good 5 days… Plans to sail south to Long Island were scratched due to the time factor… here we are hiking around and fooling around in all kinds of stuff.
 Mike ponders the situation… 

High atop Monument Hill

Its all good...

After a few weeks here, your sorta take the water color for granted… God, it's gorgeous… I could just sit and stare a it for hours… and hours… and days… and weeks… well, you get the idea...

Nice hiking trails on Stocking Island...

Believe it or not, this is a live termite colony… 

This guy wanted to propose, but he wasn't sure… 

thirty one million five hundred thousand and thirty six seconds in a year…
each of them a miracle.... Suddenly here
Tears of joy tear and gratitude linger on your face
 evidence and living proof, 
that there is always .....a way.

Play the cards that you were dealt or maybe trade in a few,
Its all a gamble that we must take when it comes to being true
to all of the passions and all of the dreams that so often slip away,
I'm here to tell ya, that I'm a believer
There's always a way...

 Local islander Cordell Williams gives a history lecture about the islands each Sunday at 1:30… humorous and informing… but I got sleepy and slipped out for a cold conch salad ...
 these people were feeding these huge stingrays right out of their hand… see the ray in the shallow water there.
 Conch salad made right on the beach front… chop chop chop… quite yummy… these boys could sure work a knife...

 Everybody comes in their dink to this place called the Chat and Chill… the local hang out.. boats anchored just a few yard off the shore… cold beer please

this works for me...

Makin music with Ted and Mark at the boater pot luck was fun

These 3 French ladies, Vanessa, Chloe and Suzanne came to my morning yoga class that I offered on the beach in Georgetown… It didn't take them long to figure out that I was not a real yoga teacher… still we all had a good time stretching, bending, and sharing postures from downward dog to cobra, and my personal favorite, the childs pose…  the class lasted 2 days before I headed south… other ladies attending making me on the only guy…  I had to deal with it.

Gloria and Maurice also have a boat named Glory Days, a gorgeous catamaran with tons of space… They had me over for drinks and then again for conch fritters at sunset another day… they own homes and boats in St. Augustine and Newfoundland and other places it seems… I think they must have more money than God but you'd never know it… they were sweet as could be… … Maurice and I enjoyed a great snorkeling day on the reef too.

I love these islands… I shall return
I've been at this 4 four months now and feel more giddy than the day I began… thank you God.

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