Posted on January 19, 2017
Camp for Cruisers
I mean, I’m not the first one to say it. Georgetown is like summer camp. Sometimes, though, camp is pretty good.
We are not anywhere near peak season here in Georgetown, so the number of boats hanging out in Elizabeth Harbor is more like 100 instead of 300. Yeah, that sounds like a lot, but it’s an enormous harbor; we’re currently nestled into the anchorage at the Monument, but we could be farther south at Volleyball Beach; beyond that at Sand Beach; anchored right outside the town, on the other side of the harbor; or tucked into one of three hurricane holes here at Stocking Island (well, maybe not the hurricane holes; it looks pretty shallow in there). And that’s just where the majority of the boats hang out; there are plenty of other spots to park.
None of the spots have a dock, however, so we’ve been shuttling back and forth to town to fill up our jerry jugs with water and diesel, and replenish the fridge. It’s about a mile to Georgetown from our current spot, and it’s been pretty windy, which has made for some wet dinghy rides. So wet, that some days we just hang out over here….and camp it up.
Tomorrow morning, for example, I’ll be heading to the lovely Lumina Point resort for free yoga, in a shady pavilion overlooking the harbor. If I really wanted to fill my day, I could go to the volleyball game; grab a three-hour lunch at the Chat and Chill; feed the stingrays at the conch shack that allow themselves to be petted; and show up for poker later at the St. Francis. There might be more going on tomorrow—I’ll have to listen to the cruisers’ net.
This is only the second time we’re really tuned in to a “net,” and we’re kind of enjoying it! Every morning at 8:00, Sue from Wind Dancer comes on to Channel 72 on the VHF radio and starts off by asking if anyone has any emergency that needs to be addressed. She follows that up with weather, usually from Chris Parker, and then lets local businesses call in with any announcements (this is where Lumina Point will remind me about yoga). Next up, if I remember correctly, is community announcements, followed by anyone needing help (lots of requests for engine assistance during that stretch); then it’s buy/sell/trade time, followed by new arrivals and departures. Anyone in the harbor can call in, give their boat name, wait to be acknowledged, and then make a request at the appropriate time; we picked up some dive weights this morning from a neighbor, just by asking on the net. At the end of the whole shebang, Sue has new arrivals stick around and gives them the rundown on garbage disposal, dinghy docks and other vitals for the area. Everyone else shifts down to 68, the de facto hailing channel for the cruising community, and finishes making arrangements with their trades or technical support. Not only have we found the net to be super-helpful, it is some fantastic voyeurism.
A great number of boats hang out here for three months solid. Our plans have revolved around reprovisioning, more or less. We had set a lofty goal to find a new toilet seat—the hinges on the old one were barely hanging on. Accomplished!! So it’s basically like an entire bathroom renovation in there, since the toilet takes up half the space in the head. We’d also hoped for good wifi, but after struggling to upload photos at a restaurant reputed to have good internet access, we decided it was easier to buy data for the phone and tether it to the laptop. We’ve also learned how to compress the photos to a more manageable size, so as long as we’ve got cell service, we’ve got blog posts. We are clearly tech geniuses, and will be looking for jobs at Google when we return.
Georgetown is also, for us, a parting of the ways. As we’ve been heading south, we’ve met up with so many people heading in the same direction; but our closest cruising friends will not be following us to the Ragged Islands, or to Cuba. The Perlas are right behind us, but won’t be going to Cuba; Mafalda and Wildcat are heading east; Sapphires are off to Turks and Caicos. While it’s always possible that we may see these folks again, it’s unlikely; so we’ve had to start saying the goodbyes that are so common in the cruising life. The kids are rolling with it, but some of these boats we’ve been traveling with since South Carolina, and we’ve shared a lot together. We are faced, once again, with the end of a chapter in our journey. Looking forward to the next tale.