Winter Getaway Aboard Rode Trip – Week #2

It’s hard to believe that two weeks have already ended and our friends, Brian and Jennifer, are making their way back to Honesdale, PA. Brian and Jennifer adapted to Rode Trip with ease! They could practically sail and maintain this ship by themselves, not to mention that they totally kicked back and enjoyed the cruising lifestyle. I think it is safe to say that they had a spectacular vacation; and we were sad to see them go.

During our first week with Brian and Jennifer, we had explored Staniel Cay and nearby Big and Little Major. We had celebrated a festive Christmas on Great Guana Cay with the fabulous residents at Black Point. During week two, we island hopped southward along the Exumas.

At Great Guana Cay we followed the trail which led us to a cave just north of Oven Rock.

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Snorkeling opportunities were plentiful…even frolicking with mermaids!

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Fishing comprised a large part of each day. Fish tacos were on the menu the evening the guys harvested roughly 20 lion fish.

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Deep sea fishing was less successful. We didn’t land any mahi-mahi’s, although we did manage to select the best lure for barracudas…and each catch was larger! Finally we opted to take the line out of the water, we’d had enough barracudas.

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The guys tried their best…but sometimes even without fish a night of burgers and BIG beers really hits the spot! MMmmmmm!

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Glamorous sunsets were the perfect ending to each fun-filled day.

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Kayak excursions provided a nice change of pace. Brian and Jennifer took a turn and explored the salt pond at Normand’s Pond Cay.

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Fishing was a hit at Normand’s Pond Cay and the small blue hole provided a great backdrop for photo shoots. Brian landed this new find for us, a stone crab, which was delicious.

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On the trails a Stocking Island, we hiked to the top of Monument Beach for beautiful views.

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Termite mound.

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“It’s a starfish!”

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We chilled at Chat’n’Chill where we enjoyed rum punches, goombay smashes, and Kalik.

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It was a spectacular vacation and we are looking forward to Brian and Jennifer’s next visit…wherever Rode Trip may be!

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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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