Hiking on Stocking Island

Brian and I found great trails on Stocking Island. After our venture to Volleyball Beach, we stumbled upon this very well marked ‘Treasure Trail.’ This way! I hope there is a big, black X at the end!
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Here was a clear description of the Poisonwood tree. We’d read of these trees and been cautioned to avoid them, but until now weren’t certain how to identify them. We took a good close look and then proceeded down this section of the trail with our arms at our sides. Touching any part of the Poisonwood tree elicits a response similar to that of poison ivy; an itchy rash that can be more or less severe depending on exposure and location on the body.
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Quite a unique rest stop. Here someone had made a trough for drinking water. However it was not intended for hikers. The water jugs stated “WATER FOR BIRDS PLZ ADD IF M.T.” Hopefully we’ll see or hear some neat birds, that would be a good start for our Big Year.

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Uh oh…a barren section of desert…will we make it without any “WATER FOR HIKERS…”

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Yup, made it! These little trees were a nice change in scenery. We thought maybe we’d found the road to Narnia.

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Scenery change presenting several low bridges ahead!

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How will we stay on the trail??

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Palm seeds.

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South Beach. I don’t see that big, black X yet…where’s that treasure?

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Ah hah! This is better than treasure. A swing just for me with a great view! Wheeeeee!

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Our treasure hunt had ended. We kicked off our Keens and continued down the beach toward the monument. The trail to the monument was well marked at the bottom of a steep incline. The sun was just right so that when we looked up we half expected angels to be circling round. Maybe they’ll be waiting for us at the top. (Yea, and maybe there will be an escalator leading back to Fry Heaven…I’m starved!)

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Welcome to the monument where we had a beautiful view of Stocking Island. The monument was once known as the Salt Beacon. When lit, it guided cargo ships into Elizabeth Harbor to Georgetown to retrieve salt that had been mined in Little Exuma and Great Exuma Island. (Thanks to Chat n’Chill for providing a nice history lesson as well as other local tid-bits on their website.)

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View of south end of Stocking Island. Here you can see the three hurricane holes that were mentioned in the previous post ‘Volleyball Beach.’

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View of north end of Stocking Island.

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Time to make our journey back to Rode Trip. We took the Intrepid Trail to Maries Trail. Here is the start of our trail (to the right side of this photo) as it meanders its way down the hills toward the beach. We think after today’s exploration that we can easily spend a few more days in the Georgetown area.

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Volleyball Beach

Volleyball Beach seemed to be a happenin’ place; on VHF during the daily Georgetown Net we’d heard a variety of activities planned here. So after our chores were done (getting propane, water, and groceries) we made our way toward Volleyball Beach.

From our current anchorage, we dinghied to the beach. We followed the shoreline along the beach, wading in and out of the water, toward the mid-section of Stocking Island where the famed Chat n’Chill Bar and Volleyball Beach are located. Of course along the way we were easily distracted by this short trail.

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Leading to Turtle Lagoon; one of the three hurricane holes on Stocking Island.

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We continued back at the shoreline and just around the next corner we found Volleyball Beach.

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There are daily volleyball games held at the three, sand volleyball courts just beyond the picnic tables. The Chat n’Chill Bar has a variety of cold drinks. They also have a Conch Shack where a fresh conch salad will be made right before your eyes ($10). It was downtime during our visit to the beach. At 2:30pm, the 2:00pm volleyball games hadn’t yet started; teams were just beginning to form and more dinghies seemed to be arriving at the beach. Chat n’Chill was quiet and there were a few children swimming along the beach. Of course we didn’t plan to actually arrive during one of those fun activities we’d heard on the Net…but that’s how it goes.

We paused to take a closer look at the signpost. We’ve come quite a distance from Newburyport, MA Rode Trip’s ‘ol winter stomping ground.

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With much more exploring to do and little activity at the beach, we decided to see what else Stocking Island had to offer. On our walk back we were greeted by two very friendly stingrays. They had been casing the discarded conch shells near the Conch Shack. These rays were very used to people and were just as curious of Brian’s feet as he was of their wings.

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Fun at Red Shank Cays

Brian and I were thrilled to once again spend time with Mark, Marta, Alec, and Roan on sv/Por Dos. We had two full afternoons together.

Mark and Marta were stowing some gear for us from Newport friends, John and Lory. Mark brought it by Rode Trip and we chatted for a bit while Marta, Alec, and Roan finished school at Por Dos. After school, Brian and I spent the afternoon catching up with everyone. We had much to share from our separate journeys. We chatted into the evening. Roan and Alec prepared us a most delicious pasta dinner. I invited them to cook at Rode Trip anytime!

The next afternoon Marta, Alec, and Roan paddled out to Brian and I on their paddle boards while we were dinking around the perimeter of the cove. We all hoped to find a good snorkeling spot but all we managed to find were sand and sponges. Brian and I spotted two sea turtles and two huge, orange starfish. When the boys started playing bumper boards we rescued Marta and headed back to Por Dos.

We had a very fun filled afternoon! Roan has been interested in cooking and baking and so I shared some recipes with him. He was anxious to bake and decided to try the apple pie recipe I’d shared. Marta and I pooled our resources and had all the tools and ingredients for the pie. Alec and Marta got to peeling and slicing apples while Roan and I got to mixing and rolling dough. When the bottom crust was in our dish, and the apple filling was added, Roan and Alec made a fabulous woven top crust. I showed them how to make Grandma’s cinnamon roll-ups with the extra dough and sugar – a tasty appetizer later that day!

While dessert baked Brian, Mark, Alec, and Roan played Settlers of Catan. Brian had finally found competitive players! The game lasted long into cocktail hour. Everyone had their own strategy; Roan was a trader, Alec held his resources for the appropriate moment, and Mark worked with whatever resources he could acquire as the robber kept visiting his land. I would of course have traded Mark anything, but alas was only observing. Brian did his usual build, build, build. Naturally then Roan, Alec, and Mark devised a plan to shut Brian down. But it was to no avail. I think they’ll all be wanting a second go at Settlers of Catan.

We topped off the day with dinner and a movie. Once again Marta and I pooled resources and made a lovely meal. We settled down to watch The Big Year, which I’d recommend. Roan served the apple pie which everyone praised. We are looking forward to more good times before we part ways once more.