February 26, 2009.
It’s been a week since our Friday arrival in Georgetown. The weather during the weekend was pretty benign. Since we’re anchored at Sand Dollar Beach we’re a bit more than a mile across Elizabeth Harbor away from the town itself. The trip across the harbor in the dink is a wet one unless it’s done in fairly settled conditions.
We went over to town twice in the first 3 days. Christy got some fresh broccoli and cabbage at the market while I jerry jugged fuel back to the boat. We also off loaded our garbage and walked around a bit.
Monday we went out one of the cuts in the dinghy and did a little snorkeling. The wind was already starting to build and the waters surface was a little rougher than I had hoped for. There was a lot of good structure, but no fish that I cared to take. I did however spear our first lobster of the year.
As forecast, Monday evening the weather started to deteriorate on us. We are supposed to have anywhere from 20 to 30 knots of wind from the northeast until late Thursday.
We’re anchored in right up next to the shore so there is no real wave action. The wind is cranking and it’s more inconvenient than it is uncomfortable. We won’t cross the harbor to town as the ride back would be wet and nasty. We do however have Stocking Island at our disposal.
We’ve attended a couple of ARG meetings in the late afternoon. ARG stands for Alcohol Research Group, it’s a tongue in cheek group that takes themselves as anything but serious. The dress code is informal but rigidly enforced with the possible loss of your research materials as penalty for over dressing. It’s been good to run into several old friends, some passing acquaintances and to meet some new people.
On Wednesday the wind was still over 20 knots when we got together with the crews from 5 other boats for a bit of hiking. First we headed up to the highest point on the island and then transited trails and beaches for a few miles. It was good to get off the boat and “blow the stink off” as they say. Once again during the evening the wind built back into the 25 knot range.
Since the wind has been cranking for a few days we’ve spent a lot of time on the boat reading and tackling boat chores. The water maker has been a pleasant surprise so far. It’s a high energy demand item and we’ve been pleased to see that we can use it without running the generator. It draws 17 amps while running and at this latitude we generally make just about that from our solar panels. So we can make water without drawing down the batteries. On the other hand, now every time we have to run the generator (to make hot water) we can run the water maker at the same time with no impact on our charging regimen at all. So for now its “water, water everywhere and even some to drink”.
Since we’re in Georgetown its time for my annual Georgetown rant. Last year we arrived here under the impression that we were like Muslim pilgrims finally arriving in Mecca. We heard that this was the place to be, the goal, the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Talk about an anticlimax. There are about 300 other cruising boats here so there is a lot of opportunity to meet and interact with other folks, as well as AHOY and ARG functions to attend. But for me that’s pretty much where the attraction ends.
So many of these people drop their hook and spend the entire winter here doing the same thing everyday. Most of these people motor their sailboats straight here for a thousand miles braving weather and seas just to sit here and play canasta, bridge or bocce´ with the same people everyday. It seems to me that it would be simpler to just move into a retirement home and shuffle down the hall to the game room everyday. I dunno, I just don’t see the allure.
While I’m having a mini rant let me cover all the bases. The freaking French. Everyday at 0800 there’s a cruiser’s net here in the harbor. The local businesses advertise specials and such, there’s info passed about what events are happening where and when and then there’s a time for asking for or offering to help with various issues that some boaters are having.
During this net if a French Canadian has something to offer they give their message in English and then often repeat the entire schpeel in French. Considering that 99 percent of the people here are fluent in English it’s a giant waste of time for most of the boaters here to listen to someone drone on and on in French about who won yesterdays Bocce´ tournament. Until now I never realized what a slow language French must be. Something said in English seems to take 30 seconds but drags on for a minute and a half when spoken in French. The only thing that slips from their lips quickly seems to be “They’re coming, quick, drop your rifles and run this way”.
It’s been suggested that the French host their own net but that hasn’t happened. Its also been asked that if there is something important that needs to be conveyed just do it at the end of the net but that seems to be too much to ask. It’s degenerated to the point that when someone starts to drone on in french several people start to key their mic’s thus disrupting the french speakers.
Often times it’s assumed that it must be Americans doing this but I have a theory of my own. I think that it’s the non french speaking Canadians. The two groups of Canadians seem to dislike each other at about the same level as the Shia’s and the Shite’s of the Muslim world. Although at a much more civilized level. Instead of sending suicide bombers at each other they just sit and click their mic’s as their own little act of defiance.
What bothers me most about all this is the content of what is repeated. When people are asked not to use certain trash receptacles in town, or to clean up after their dogs while on the beaches, or to not bring your own food and drink to local bar owned beaches and the like, nothing is said for the benefit of the supposed English impaired. But the time for geriatric bingo has been changed please God, we must be allowed to inform the French.
The winds are supposed to abate a bit on Friday so we’ll probably wait a day for the seas to lay down before heading out on Saturday bound for Long Island. So until then au revoir….