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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 44 | January 26, 2022

George Town, Great Exuma Cay, Exuma, Bahamas

KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.

Good morning, Stocking Island!

Today we took the dinghy to the beach just south of the Kahari Resort where Skeet had seen a trail he wanted to investigate further: the Art Trail.

Some clever soul(s) had the terrific idea to take found objects and turn them into artwork along this trail. Lots of people had added everything from mobiles made out of painted shells to decorated tree roots that looked like faces to full-blown sculptures.

Skeet (and Steve!) led the way on this relatively short but rocky path that ended on the Atlantic Ocean side of Stocking Island.

Ron had taken an alternate route and found himself on a cliff just north of the beach where we were standing, so he encouraged the three of us to check it out. What a view!

While Stocking Island isn't huge, it seems to have endless opportunities to explore it on foot, and so far, it has been well worth that effort. Here's what Wikipedia says about Stocking Island:

"Stocking Island is lightly inhabited, with a population of only 10. It is located 1 mile (1.6 km) from Government Dock, George Town, across the harbor. The long narrow island protects George Town from ocean waves, creating a natural harbor. There is one high hill, known locally as the Beacon, which is capped with an old, unused gas beacon. The glass top portion is missing, but the concrete pillar is visible for miles. The central part of Stocking Island features an inlet known as Hurricane Hole where sailboats anchor for protection during storms, and which features a blue hole. Opposite Hurricane Hole is a sandbar beach called the Spit where a Bahamian business has built a popular bar/restaurant accessible only by boat known as Chat and Chill."

This afternoon, Ron took the dinghy for a grocery run to Exuma Market in George Town, and Skeet and I swam off the back of the boat and hung out with best-boat-buddy Steve.

Just above Steve's head, you can see another one of Ron's brilliant additions (or I guess I should say revisions) to KORKZcrew. The Great Harbour N37 comes equipped with a handheld shower just off of the stern, which looks a lot like an old-style telephone or wand on the end of a hose. The handheld design means you have to be one-handed for washing your hair and body, so Ron rigged up this alternative, where he connected a PVC pipe to the existing water supply and added that nifty large shower head, along with a foot pedal at its base to operate the water. We still don't use an unnecessary amount of water, and are hands-free to use shampoo etc. It's awesome!!

While Ron was gone, André, one of the nice men who had helped him with KORKZcrew's batteries the other day, stopped by on his dinghy just to see how our batteries were behaving, hoping they were better able to hold a charge. So decent & kind! AND he noticed and raved about Ron's shower setup. I told him he should let Ron help him with that on HIS boat, at the very least, and he said no, thank you — just understanding the setup was all he needed to know. I made sure he knew that one trick was to spray paint the PVC pipe silver so it looks like metal (don't tell 😜). I asked André where they were anchored, and he explained that they were in Hole #2, which I discovered meant the area past Chat 'N Chill where a number of boats are moored for long periods of time to protect them from the elements. That area is considered a hurricane hole with three distinct "bays", and so they refer to them as Hole #1 (next to Chat N Chill), Hole #2, and Hole #3.

I told Ron about André's visit, so we decided to take a dinghy ride to find his boat and take him a bottle of wine to thank him for his help. We located his sailboat and pulled up next to it in the dinghy, and he and his wife shared all kinds of helpful tips. André said that while he has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean for over 10 years, he found the George Town boating community 7 years ago and has never left. He is from Montréal, and leaves his boat in Hole #2 from Easter through the winter. He explained that about half of the moorings in the hurricane hole are owned by one George Town individual, and the other half are owned by the St. Francis Resort. I need to find the name of the George Town person they rent from, but André raved about how reasonable the monthly rate was, and how this individual will check on your boat weekly and let you know that everything is ok. Pretty amazing service.

One interesting anecdote that André shared is that there is a popular "Blue Hole" right between Hole #2 and Hole #3 at Stocking Island. From the web:

"Blue holes are scientific curiosities...caves formed by water erosion when sea levels were lower and the area was on dry ground. In the 1970s, the marine biologist and tv personality Jacques Cousteau filmed a dive into the hole traveling inside for about 1,700 feet. In fact, he released red vegetable dye during an outgoing tide to look for an exit point. Apparently the cave drops down about 70 feet from the surface and then runs under Stocking Island and out to the ocean more than a mile away! Experienced divers dive the blue hole, but tidal currents can be dangerous inside the cave."

It's apparently a really good snorkeling spot too, so we've added that to our list of things to do while we're here.

On our way back to KORKZcrew, we stopped at a tiny beachfront resort just south of Chat 'N Chill called Peace 'N Plenty Beach Club, and ran into a nice couple from Raleigh who Ron 'N Skeet had met at a previous doggie play date. They’d had battery problems too, so we commiserated over rum punches. 😂 Poor us! But on a serious note, it has been really refreshing to meet such friendly people and to have a break from the toxicity and cruelty that seem to dominate the airwaves in the U.S. Call me crazy, but I prefer kindness and decency no matter WHO you are — you know . . . like that good ol' fashioned Golden Rule type stuff. It just shouldn't be that hard for all of us to get along and accept one another, differences and all. I don't understand how kindness can be construed as controversial. But I'm naive that way. And so be it! 🤷🏻‍♀️

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