Return from Long Island
03 February 2011
This post is out of sequence; it should have appeared after "A Propitious Meeting" as our second installment of our Long Island soujourn
After a wonderful afternoon exploring the southern half of Long Island, we arrive back at Thompson Bay/Salt Pond and head to the Thompson Bay _Inn for happy hour. The owner/proprietor Trifenia Knowles had announced this morning on the VHF net that she was putting on a happy hour for cruisers with free conch fritters. So like good, parsimonious cruisers we head there for some free munchies.
I commend you to read the novel by Herman Wouk, more popularly known as the author of "War and Peace", entitled "Don't Stop the Carnival". This whimsical and poignant piece which was more recently put to music by my favourite artist Jimmy Buffett, chronicles the travails of an entrepreneur aspiring to establish a resort on a tropical island. Well, Thompson Bay, epitomizes this scenario. It was built twenty five years ago and probably thrived for a while; clearly it struggles now. Trifinia, the daughter of the original owner/developer does not lack enthusiasm or commitment; the sagging economy and high cost of island living have obviously got the best of this place. Nonetheless, she greets us six (the only patrons) and serves us beers and wonderful conch fritters. It's another "island experience" which we will cherish.
We get underway early the next morning and muster with our friends on board Escapade for the second half of our Island journey. Today we head north. And there are as many churches and bars on this stretch as the southern sojourn. We explore various places including a very old graveyard, a marina, a dated but still gracious resort, the most northerly beach and a funky place called the ""New" Watering Hole". This bar, cum, store, cum night club was setting up for an afternoon of " Shake and Scrape" which is the nomenclature for impromptu music and song accompanied by lots of Kaliks and even more food. Sorry we have to take our van back 'cause this would have been a great experience.
Not to have this appear as a testimonial for the Long Island Chamber of Commerce propaganda for Long Island but we loved this place, the cleanliness, the proud and resourceful people and, of course the incredible vistas.
We feel the need to head back to Georgetown because even though the forecasts are not bad, we've had a great run of weather in this semi-protected Bay and want to get out before the weather closes in. In addition, Judy's birthday is approaching (Feb 1 - hint, she would live lots of messages) and, while she loves the seclusion of these "out islands" she wants to be where there may be lots of fuss for her actual nativity day.
So we leave, in the company of quite a few of the fleet to work our way back to G'town. And what a great sail it was! Once we cleared Thompson Bay the wind was on our starboard beam at about 15 knots and the seas were only about one foot. We killed the motor and sailed along in the company of various other cruisers at times making well in excess of 8 knots. This is a strange route so for one leg we have to bear off and the apparent wind eases up so we turn on the motor to keep our speed up but as we round another waypoint, we head closer to the wind again and our speed picks up. We are pleased as we reel in several boats including friends on a Hunter 376, the newer version of our boat. Adam, you'd be proud of Sea Sharp. We are able to sail right up to the entrance back to Georgetown and while it gets a bit lumpy and disorganized as we enter the passage to Elizabeth Harbour, but we're not long before we're in the shelter of the harbour.
Not long after we enter the harbour we get a radio call from our friends on Escapade; Irene has caught a Mahi Mahi! We motor to our anchorage at Sand Dollar Beach and about an hour later Escapade returns. I dinghy over and see this monstrous fish that the diminutive Irene has landed. It's nearly as long as her - 48 inches (Irene's barely 60 inches but a scrappy lady). They clean it and provide us with some filets which we have for supper. It is a superb, tender fish and we are proud of Irene for her fishing prowess.
It has been a great sojourn to Long Island with great weather, wonderful sailing, amicable company and impressive vistas. We'll be back!