Day After Christmas BBQ
26 December 2008 | Airport Island
Beach BBQs are a fairly august cruiser tradition. It seemed only appropriate that the anchorage get together for a good day on the beach around Christmas. Every cruiser has a budget all their own and many long term cruisers are careful not to blow out big dollars at resorts and expensive restaurants so that they can cruise longer (or indefinitely). Yet no matter what your budget, you can always swing a Cruiser Beach BBQ. Thus it is a great way to get everyone out for some fun in the sun.
The Cruiser BBQ Pot Luck is a slight variation on the Strict Pot Luck. The Strict Pot Luck involves everyone bringing a single dish big enough to feed about three to four times their crew (amounting to three to four courses for all attending). Someone has to manage the division between entrees, sides and deserts in this format.
The BBQ Pot Luck on the other hand is a little more random. Everyone brings something to grill for themselves and one side/desert to share, sized for two to three times their crew. You build a big fire to cook on and everyone has a great time with a wide variety of random sides and deserts (I always like it when there are lots of deserts).
Today we had a perfect Cruiser BBQ Pot Luck. Kliener Bar brought their big boat over and the rest of us dingied our way to the airport island beach. The beach is on the northwest tip of airport island and has good shade under the trees. There's a lashed branch table in the clearing and a rock fireplace for cooking. The dive Gizo folks tipped us off to the spot and since it is government land, we could use it without getting permission from a chief somewhere and paying the kastom fee.
The weather cooperated perfectly. We had a pleasant sunny day and everyone had a lot of fun. Polaris brought the obligatory patonk balls and all comers had a good time trying to beat Warner and Eric (though none could).
Three planes landed while we were there. You could stand right next to the run way to watch the landings and take offs. The FAA would not approve. You also need to make sure to park sailboats off to the side of the approach line.
Another party of local folks started a BBQ down the beach from us in the afternoon. Everyone had a great time mixing and chatting together. The local kids, Chad and Latasha from Gizo, joined Lucas and Nina, from Kliener Bar, playing about in the water.
We broke camp just before sunset, prior to any mosquito activity, and headed back to Gizo. The dinghy trip to the island was in displacement mode. The reason being the hull was full of water. While our hull does not leak to the outside there are several penetrations in the deck for the helm and what not. If it rains and the dink fills up with rain water overnight (a good foot in some cases out here), some of the penetrations are not perfectly caulked. So fresh water gets into the space between the deck and the hull.
When this happens planing is tough because as you accelerate the water goes to the stern. On the beach I pulled the hull drain plug to let the fresh water out. This allowed us to plane on the way home. Not bad for a 25hp considering we had three big and one small adult on board with a full party load of stuff, not to mention the console, starter battery, full tank of fuel and backup tank, anchor, etc.
I did go around the reef that runs out to the east at the north end of the anchorage on the way back. At noon on a new moon we had plenty of water to dinghy straight to the beach at airport island from the Gizo anchorage. On the way back (low tide) I was not so sure. With the light failing we followed the channel around.
It was a lovely day at the beach!