Mark's vacation was entering into its final hours and we were all brainstorming how he could continue his computer consulting from Rode Trip. Having a third crew member has been a blast!
To get to our final destination, Georgetown on Great Exuma Island, we put Lesson 5: The Ocean is Powerful to the test. We decided to leave on the tail of a northeasterly front. The worst of the front had passed around 2:00am that morning; we knew this because Rode Trip was vibrating intermittently from the 25-30knot squalls. The sky was clearing when we made ready to haul anchor to depart Norman's Pond Cay. Still, the wind was 15-20knots from the northeast and we knew outside of the protection of the island we'd encounter high seas. Thank goodness we were headed downwind! We'd changed out the genoa for the jib and prepped all the sails for whatever combination might be best. We hauled anchor and motored through the channel toward Adderly Cut. Behind Leaf Cay, we set a double reefed main and staysail. Passing through Adderly Cut Brian gave us a boost with the motor so that we'd stay in the appropriate channel. Once into the deep blue water, we set our course and maintained a speedy 6 knots all the way to Conch Cut.
Entering Conch Cut literally kept us at the edges of our seats; rolling 8 foot swells had Rode Trip's toe rail lying flat in the water at least once. Good thing our full-keel bounces back up! It was actually a bit more than we'd expected, but Brian did an excellent job of sailing us through the cut while I navigated and Mark held fast to the cockpit.
Soon afterward we were anchored at Elizabeth Harbor on the west side of Stocking Island. We changed into our "town" clothes and headed to Volleyball Beach. Mark noted the contrast between this and our previous anchorages - like we'd just entered the big city. The water wasn't as clear, the beach was swarmed with people, and there were burgers! We all forgot our self-sufficiency skills and bellied up to the Chat and Chill Bar.
We took Mark onto the trails on Stocking Island.
We paused on Marie's Trial to admire Skip's bench; thanks to Skip on sv/Eleanor M for maintaining these beautiful trails. Unfortunately, Skip bid Georgetown farewell (we heard on the VHF) while we were anchored at Kidd Cove for Mark's flight and we were unable to introduce ourselves to him.
From the top of the monument we wondered, who wants to marry Josh? and did he say yes?
At monument beach a rare sighting indeed, a bird, and one we'd never seen!
Back at Rode Trip, Mark and Brian fashioned souvenirs. Homemade conch horns! They'd found these unbroken conch shells at Norman's Pond Cay. A farewell serenade...until next vacation, we'll miss you, Mark!