S.V. Gratitude

Brewer 44, hull number 284

18 March 2019 | Cumberland Island, GA
08 February 2019
08 February 2019 | George Town, Exumas
01 February 2019 | Great Harbor Cay
31 December 2018 | Stuart, FL
21 December 2018 | Stuart Florida
21 December 2018
17 December 2018 | Stuart, FL
14 December 2018 | St. Augustine, FL
13 December 2018 | Sister’s Creek
12 December 2018 | Atlantic Ocean
11 December 2018 | Windmill Harbour
01 March 2017 | Exumas
26 February 2017 | Jumentos Cays & Ragged Islands
09 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos Islands, Bahamas
27 January 2017 | En Route to Nassau
23 January 2017 | Sister Creek, Marathon, FL
06 January 2017 | Cayo Costa State Park
17 March 2016
14 March 2016

Pipe Creek

06 March 2013 | Pipe Creek Exuma
EVS: Stormy
[This is a delayed entry, originally to be posted March 1. We now are in George Town and will do a post from there shortly.]

We had intended to go on to Cat Island, following the completion of our tour of Eleuthera, but the winds were forecast from the wrong quarter, so we opted to jump across to the Exumas, where we could find some protection from the West and Northwest winds. Our point of departure from Eleuthera was Rock Sound, so let us go back a bit and describe our path from Governor’s Harbor to Rock Sound and thence to here.

Although we could have made the run to Rock Sound from Governor’s Harbor easily in a day, we opted to stop at South Palmetto Point based upon descriptions and recommendations from others. It is a lovely spot, open to the West, but with no winds to speak of, we were fine. However, we were feeling lazy and so did not launch the dinghy or walk to North PP (there is no settlement at South PP). Instead, we just lazed around reading and relaxing. The next day (February 22) we sailed and motored to Rock Sound. When we started off, the winds were forecast at about 15, so we put up all sails. Soon, the winds built to higher speeds and we decided to take a reef in (i.e reduce the size of) the mainsail. We noticed the second reefing point had come unsecured so we knew that if we needed to reef more than one point, we would have to douse the main instead (it was too rough to try to climb up on the side rail and refasten the reef to the boom). Indeed, that is what we ended up doing. We watched an ever darker squall line coming toward us and doused the main before it hit. We also turned on radar because the rain made everything disappear – we could not see land or boats. The squalls passed fairly quickly and we continued on, finally furling all sails as we came into Rock Sound and motored up to the anchorage.

Rock Sound is a big area with plenty of room to move around as the wind shifts should one need to seek protection. Fortunately, we did not need to do that. Instead, we went ashore and explored the small settlement, shopping as we went. We returned to Gratitude and took a dinghy tour of the harbor, stopping at Pascale’s shore-side restaurant and bar for a bit of liquid refreshment before returning to the big boat. As we were finishing our drinks, a storm cloud appeared and we realized all the hatches were open, so we rushed back to Gratitude. In the end, we got wetter than she did.

The next day, Sautrday, we walked first about a mile to the grocery store (very nice) and then the 2 miles to the ocean side and found the Northside Restaurant, about which our friends Dave and Mary had informed us. The door was open, the sign said open, but no one responded to our call. So, we decided to sit on the deck and wait – it was too hot to walk back. Sure enough, in about 10 minutes, Rose (Rosie, Rosalie) came in and greeted us. She had gone to the funeral of a friend’s son (he was killed in a car crash – 32, leaving a young wife and two children behind). Rose provided us with cool drinks as we made her acquaintance and learned her life story – from Grand Bahama Island, lived and worked for many years in Freeport and its environs, and then retired early to Eleuthera, bought the beach front area and built several cottages with her husband as their retirement dream. He died in his early 60s and she has been widowed since, but relishes her independence. She is hoping one of her children will take it over, but all are successful in their own right and she is not sure any will have the dream. When we told her we were from Vermont, she asked if we knew Simon Pierce. We said we did and have visited his glass blowing studio many times. Seems he owns the property next door. Small world again.

We had such a nice time visiting and the place was so charming, we decided to come back for dinner. So, Rose drove us back to the dock and we told the 5 or so other cruising couples about the place and invited them to come to dinner. One couple decided to do so, Peter and Kathleen from Now or Never (no, not the Elvis tune; Peter said it was the way his life had run – he did things now or never). We had a nice evening and a good dinner – and very reasonably priced, even to the bottle of wine for $12!

Rose drove us back to the dock (she had picked us up too) and seems to know everyone in the area. She even picked up and dropped off groceries for a woman while she was driving us to her restaurant.

The next morning (Sunday, February 24) we headed out. We were trying to go to Warderick Wells, the main island in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, but we could not sail (or even motor sail) that high on the wind, so we headed a bit north of that destination and then tacked as we got to the eastern shores of the Exuma chain. We had tried making reservations for the north mooring field by calling on Saturday, but were told to call again Sunday AM to confirm. We tried but there was no cell coverage and we were too far for the radio. So, as we approached Warderick, we tried calling again, and then remembered the office is closed on Sunday afternoons. Fortunately, we saw a boat coming out of the pass at Warderick and identified them on AIS. We called the Patty D and they did a relay to the staff on shore who could hear us, but could not transmit to us as we were too far for his handheld radio. We got a mooring in the south field, by Hog Cay, where we had never been before. It was lovely, despite its strong current. The couple who did the relay showed us the snorkel reef and we had a wonderful time exploring that the next day (on slack tide). We then moved to the N mooring field and picked up the ball that had been reserved for us. While there, we hiked up to Boo Boo Hill and searched for, but could not find, Gratitude’s driftwood offering. We made another and inscribed the years we have visited. We also became acquainted with the owners of other Whitby/Brewer boats (Gratitude is a Brewer) in the north field – of the 22 boats, 4 were W/Bs – pretty amazing representation. We all congratulated each other on our fabulous boats; no conceit in the crowd.

Then, on February 27, with a cold front forecast, a desire to keep moving south, and a need to find another place where we could be protected, we sailed/motor-sailed to Pipe Creek. It is a place of incredible beauty and very few boaters go there because it looks harder to enter than it is. Although there is room for many more, there are only 7 other boats in here. The couple on one of them, Ian and Elaine, obtain most of their protein from the sea. Ian asked if we would like to go for lobsters, so we jumped at the chance. Because a cold front was forecast, during which the winds circle to the west, northwest, and north, the lobsters on the outside are accessible (because the waves are much reduced). We dinghied out and anchored by a huge rock island in front of the Atlantic side beach of Compass Cay Marina. While we did not get anything after over an hour in the water, Ian was a patient teacher and ended up giving us a lobster and some wonderful grouper filet that we had for dinner that evening. Van needs to get some weights to enable him to have neutral or negative buoyancy to get down and stay down to hunt. It was very worthwhile watching someone display the techniques for searching and hunting. Ian also kindly shared several locations south of here for good hunting, snorkeling, and hiding from bad weather. All in all, a wonderful connection.
Vessel Name: Gratitude
Vessel Make/Model: Brewer 44 Ketch
Hailing Port: Brandon, VT
Crew: Van and Lauren
About: It is hard to believe, but this is our 7th season aboard Gratitude. It will be a short season and close to FL, but we hope to relax, enjoy the time, being on the water, and each other. Come along.
Extra: Live it while you can.
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Gratitude's Photos -

2015 Cruise

Who: Van and Lauren
Port: Brandon, VT