Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dear Diary (week 3 Georgetown)

Full Moon in the anchorage

I recall our last week in Georgetown as very boring and not worthy of a blog post. However, as I looked back at what I wrote, I decided to share it for continuity. Be patient. WE ARE PREPPING TO DEPART GEORGETOWN!

Study, study, study.

Day 15 Fri, Jan 22: The Captain walks over the hill to refill propane at BEC ($10 for 11 lb is the cheapest in town).  The winds are forecast to kick up and clock around again, so we're hunkered down. The boat count for the season is 178, down from 262 (400 at a peak). Our little anchorage swells from one to nine.  Chartbooks come out. Winds shifted south but not 20 kts yet. 

Day 16 Sat, Jan 23: The winds swung to the west overnight at less than 10. We slept like babies except for the short rain shower that meant I had rollover & close a hatch. The winds were so calm that when the Captain popped his head out, he's disoriented. "Did somebody move?"  Nope.  We both hate to think it. Should we run into town?  We'd like to be ready to jump to Long Island in the next weather window. We risk it and make it back, no worse for wear so The Captain makes a second run for water.  By noon, there is an occasional gust to 25, but the sun is out. Dinghies and multiple kayaks are in the water. Someone is snorkeling. A few boats are "shuffling". It's chat n chill west in our tiny anchorage. .(Seriously. I guess part of the appeal of Georgetown is moving anchorages with the wind, but we prefer to find a spot & stay put--our anchor is buried nicely!).  

We hear from friends that there is a good grocery store, water and fuel at Thompson Bay, Long Island. A long weather discussion ensues and I'm counting the days until we can move on. We're both getting a little testy.  Chris Parker has reported the trade winds are light for this time of year. Everyone keeps telling us how weird the weather is compared to usual. The evening email says the trend should change:  "February should bring a rapid & significant change to weather pattern...we'll continue seeing about 1 ColdFRONT every 6-7 days...but LOs will form & track farther N...and we'll see N<ENE winds behind FRONTs (instead of W<N)...and more days with ENE<ESE Trades and settled weather between FRONTs - a rather typical winter pattern. Sure, there will still be on average 1-2 days each week you may need to "hide", but that's better than 3-5 days/week of inclement weather we've seen for much of January."

By moon rise (it's a full moon!) the boat is gently rocking from the wind. I stay up late after a cold-brew ice coffee--until almost 9!  We've started watching Justified on DVD, then download some Elmore Leonard books. It's chilly, so I close hatches and dig out some socks to go with the flannel jammies then unroll the blanket. Cuddling tonight! 

Day 17, Jan 24:  I'm up at 4:00 am. The wind is a steady 20-25 kts and the sloshing and squeaking of the boat drags me into the cockpit to check on things. I might as well make coffee. The cat can't tell time. 4:00 am.  6:00 am. Mom is up. Let's eat!

We passed the Shedd Aquarium (Chicago) rv Coral Reef II which was docked downtown the other day. A quick google revealed 1) I haven't found a single conch salad since we've arrived, apparently because the Queen Conch population is near collapse from overfishing 2). Part of the reason for near extinction of the lizards is junk food from the tourists!  Don't feed the lizards!  Learn more here:

Another beautiful sunrise in Georgetown, S of Goat Cay

Day 18, Jan 25:  Freedom!  The winds let up. Another morning discussion about weather and the First Mate convinces the Captain to anchor downtown for at least one day to provision up. With the First Mate at the helm (because raising and lowering the anchor is "exhausting"), we cruise down the Georgetown shore instead of going back out to the channel. We scoot over to the southern side of Kidd Cove trying to avoid the crowds & crazy dinghy traffic. By the time we hit the dinghy dock, there is a LONG line for water. I hop off and head to the grocery store while The Captain waits in line, then runs it back out to the boat.  Since Peace and Plenty provides free wifi, we go for lunch on their patio. We chat with some Canadians at the next table, who saw our boat pass by from their patio this morning.  A quick stop at the the liquor store for more coconut rum and Kalik.  "Bottles or cans?"  "You have cans?!"  We almost can't extracate ourselves from the dinghy dock.

Now who would expect a line for water on Monday morning after a forecast 3-day blow?

Returning to the boat, the harbor is in full "shuffle" mode.  One neighbor has left and another has arrived.  The wind has also shifted west, then gone calm, so our anchor chain has a loop in it and we've passed over the anchor!  We are at low tide and the depth sounder reads 5.3, so I jump in for a quick snorkel. It's a little chilly, but I check on our anchor and the abandoned mooring lying on the bottom next to us.  Anxious for some exercise I request the scraper. I get 3/4 of the boat done including between the hulls and lower than I can usually reach.  I had tossed the flippers back on deck because the water is so shallow, I can almost stand and walk with my snorkel--so I didn't get the keels. I rinse off and wash my hair on the stern steps.  The Captain has cut open our second coconut, so I'm greeted with a rum punch & coconut meat.

Where is the world is our anchor?  Not over there!

3 more days. 

Day 19 Jan 26:  Grocery run. Bank. Liquor store. 

You never know who you'll be anchored next to (note the roller furling sails & the dolphin!)

Day 20 Jan 27:  Laundry run.  Grocery.  Red Boone.  Chat with Dos Libras about their southbound plans. 

After 20 days, it's time to leave Georgetown. I felt a little claustrophobic as soon as we pulled into the harbor. Chat n chill anchorage still makes me cringe. Yes, it's nice to have access to a 2 groceries and a meat market, free water, two laundromats, a vet, unlimited wifi and numerous anchoring options. We've met a lot of nice people. You can't walk from the dinghy dock to Red Boone without running into old friends or meeting new ones. We haven't fully covered all the activities here--we never even stepped foot into Chat n Chill. (Don't tell anyone!). However, we are ready to be out on the water exploring somewhere new. Yes, it's a five mile stretch down the harbor that can justify a motor sail. Yes, there are anchorages we haven't tried. Plenty of trails & restaurants to keep us busy. However, the lure of the Turks & Dominican pulls us forward. We bought a few more guidebooks (thank you sv Shoestring).  We sold our East Coast charts and guidebooks (good luck sv Puffin).  We're talking through all the stops. It's sad to leave our friends, but many are starting to plan their trips back north.

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