Georgetown & Long Island
21 February 2017 | Salt Pond, Long Island
Feb 5 - Feb 21 So we had our order in for the new outboard and set about making ourselves at home in Georgetown harbor for the next week at least. It turned out that our friends we met on last year's group cruise to Croatia had finally arrived in Georgetown for their 12th season, namely Tom & Sandy on Anania. They had arrived much later in the season than their normal time due to some engine problems while in Florida, but were glad to finally be here once again. And to our good fortune they offered the use of their spare dinghy outboard that they just happened to have with them. This made things so much easier for us and we were able to enjoy trips ashore for supplies and activities that would have otherwise been a major effort, if not impossible. As a result, we participated in many of the cruiser activities on Stocking Island including beach volleyball, water aerobics off the beach in the mornings, poker nights and trivia contest night as well as a fun Superbowl party at the St Francis resort and visiting on each other's boats. One afternoon we spent with them going over charts of the islands for tips on good places and must-see sights. Thanks a million to Tom and Sandy! In a way, I was able to pass along the good Karma by helping a fellow cruiser who had generator problems and had anchored next to us. By sheer luck I was able to supply a broken fuel line bolt (a specialty 'banjo' fitting hollow bolt) and he was back up and running soon after. It was a spare I had obtained and not needed from my own generator issues back in December. They were interesting folks who had done some far and wide cruising, originally from Poland, and now are Canadian residents. Did I mention that the prevalence of Canadian boats is still surprising to us? As the boat count in Georgetown is nearing 300, it seems as though two thirds of them are from Canada. What's more, a good portion of those are French Canadians--so we're picking up tidbits of French just by listening to the VHF radio these days.
By Thursday the 9th we took delivery of our new 15 HP outboard...almost twice the power of our old one, so we're getting used to the new speeds and acceleration that we never had before. It really comes in handy in this spread out harbor. We were having a good time enjoying the cruiser activities here, so decided to stay a bit longer until a favorable wind direction formed from the south to southwest that we rode back over to Long Island and Thompson Bay...where we had anchored two weeks prior, but had never made it ashore. The trip back across to the east was a very fast one, first with only Solent jib, then with full genoa jib that resulted in speed average of about 7.5-8.0 kts with winds 22-26 kts most of the day. Once in the harbor it was still fairly bouncy since it offers little protection from the southwest...an unusual wind direction for these parts. But a front came through later in the evening, bringing the winds around to the north, then east and going much lighter, which was to be perfect for shore-side exploration of Long Island.
Saturday and Sunday (18th & 19th) we had a car rented which was very convenient to the dinghy dock. We took a drive to the south along the "Queen's Highway" after visiting the local farmers market here in Salt Pond. The island is narrow and very long and settlements (not really towns) are spread quite sparsely along the main road. Things like the food market and a great marine supply are separated by ¼ mile of vacant land. One of the two banks is down the road about 5 miles. We took a detour to the east side of the island to see Dean's Blue Hole--a super deep hole in the water near cliffs at the end of a beautiful beach. The site is famous for free diving where the world's record free dive in 2007 was made with a depth of 660 ft. Not exactly our cup of tea but we did talk to folks who snorkeled the surface at the rim of the pool and enjoyed it. After that we visited Clarence Town, the only settlement on the eastern side of the island. It had a decent harbor and small nearly new marina where several sport fishing boats were moored. Further south from there by road was somewhat desolate with very sparse houses that in many cases had been abandoned after hurricane Joaquin destroyed so much here in 2015. Unfortunately, the island's only museum in Buckleys had not reopened since that event. Some of the side roads were in pretty rough shape and trying to locate points of interest would have been best done with an off-road 4WD vehicle.
Sunday we drove north from Salt Pond and visited several points of interest on our way to the Columbus monument on Cape Santa Maria. It seemed like a simple enough drive on paper but the unpaved road to the site was crazy rough--it was a good thing that our little rental car had a very short wheel base and high ground clearance, if not four wheel drive. We were thinking that the poor rental cars here must really take a beating on these roads that us tourists take them on regularly. Anyway, the monument was a very scenic site, one that we had seen from the water a few weeks ago when rounding Cape Santa Maria. We then found lunch at a large resort of the same name where I had a local dish known as "Souse" consisting of chicken wings and potatoes in a tart spicy broth served with "Johnny Cake"...very good. Afterwards we did more hunting for historical points of interest including a drive then hike to ruins of Adderley's Plantation on a trail that was pretty rough and overgrown. Nicely kept up signs kept us on our mission or we would have otherwise turned back. The stone walls of the plantation were built by loyalists in the 1790's and were occupied until the early 1900's, but are being rapidly consumed by nature at this point. We had a difficult time imagining a functioning plantation here in the rough overgrown 'jungle' that exists here now. One final site that we found by accident was near the resort area of Stella Maris. We spotted a sign for a cave and stopped and hiked down a paved trail to the entrance, marked with skulls on either side and opened into a wide cavern that contained low stone tables and seats and a half of a boat hull's bow as a bar and a small stage. It turns out this is the location where cruisers from the big Georgetown Regatta -Long Island rally are bussed to enjoy dining and an evening in the cave as one of the planned events. Would be fun but we plan to be on our way to parts north by the time this is taking place in early March. Monday morning we fetched some more gas for the dinghy as well as filled the rental and returned it. That afternoon there was a cruisers get together on the beach and we had a good time chatting with folks about where they've been and where they're going next. As of this writing we are once again staying put for the expected arrival of a strong weather front Wednesday into Thursday, then we plan to make our way north to Cat Island.