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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 45 | January 27, 2022

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

George Town, Great Exuma Cay, Exuma, Bahamas

KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.

Good morning, Stocking Island!

Today we all did our usual computer work and boat chores for several hours, and just enjoyed hanging out. I absolutely love living on this boat. It really seems to suit us, and while it is small, it is so well designed that it's spacious enough for everyone to be able to carve out a spot if they need some time to themselves or prefer to be outside vs inside etc. Even Steve has found his favorite hangouts, and it will surprise a grand total of no one that these consist of either a bed, sofa, or bench that is right beside one of the three of us. Extra credit if he can have his head on one person and his legs on another, but that's just getting crazy. Regardless, you can rest assured that whatever spot he ends up selecting will have everything to do with . . . rest. That boy does nothing but sleep.

One thing we've had to adjust to on KORKZcrew are the steep stairs that lead from the main floor and the pilot house up to the flybridge. These stairs made it to the list of "cons" when we were narrowing down our boat choices over the years and considering various features that were important to us. We had looked at several boats that had a more gradual incline from one level to the next, and felt this would work well for Steve and for schlepping things up and down the steps. For instance, when Ron puts together my afternoon array of appetizers and glass of wine, I'd really hate for him to have to struggle with stairs that are so steep that he might risk stumbling or even — heaven forbid — falling, and then how on earth could I be expected to satisfy my hunger and thirst? There's just a lot to consider here.

There's a local Wilmington metal fabricator who makes railings, racks, and everything in between for boats of all sizes, and he's also the one who made the railing we added to the flybridge several months ago. He's very hard to pin down to do a job, but once he does it, you're usually satisfied with the results. It's just the pinning him down part that can be super frustrating as we found last summer when he promised he'd come up with a spiral staircase design that never materialized. But it's ok. Ron and his engineering mind has put a portable set of stairs on the bow, and these are sturdy enough that in calm seas, he can deliver all of my food and beverage needs to the flybridge without incident.

We've also passed Steve back and forth using this "system", but the norm has become guiding him up the back staircase with his paws on the risers while holding him the whole way. He's definitely caught on to this approach, but couldn't accomplish it without a "spotter" by his side. For the trip back downstairs, he usually wraps his front paws around my neck and I carry him down like the furry child that he is. ❤️

The other tricks I use for getting myself and all of my "stuff" up and down the steps are bags. Bags bags and more bags. My go-to is my black and white Scout bag because it's waterproof and easy to clean, but first and foremost it's got six awesome outside pockets that are wide, deep, and easy to access, and a large zippered interior compartment.

Although it's obviously not a proper camera bag, I still use it to make my lenses easily available, or to put my GoPro within arm's reach. It's great for sunscreen too, or anything you use a lot where you need quick access. My Kelty fanny pack has been a lifesaver on this trip, and while it also helps me schlepp things up and down KORKZcrew's stairs, its more important role has been in simplifying the process of taking things to shore via dinghy. With it strapped to my waste, I can be handsfree to get onto and off of the dinghy while still bringing my cameras, sunscreen and wallet along for the ride. Anything you can do to make getting into and out of a dinghy more simple and/or less awkward is a welcome solution. The third bag that gets quite the workout is that ugly pleather (plastic + leather) bag in the pic. Christine has seen this dumpy bag for something like 15 years because it fakes its way as a pocketbook (something I rarely use in this life no lie. Yes, I'm female.) but lets me carry the gear I need if we're going to someplace semi-reputable where I don't want to look like a complete hillbilly. Just a partial one. But again, those accessible outside pockets are the chef's kiss. Love 'em. This bag is great for going up and down the steps too. I even put my water cup in the outside pockets if I need to (but only when Ron is off duty).

Today Ron broke out the inflatable stand-up paddle board for the first time, and used his compressor to fill 'er up. Skeet and Steve familiarized themselves with it, and I was admittedly pretty impressed with how sturdy it is for something inflatable. I, however, did NOT familiarize myself with it, as I have the agility of someone with zero agility, and the thought of falling into that cold water makes me blame everything I can think of on my lack of agility. And my gosh, let the kids have all the fun! Who am I to deny them the first crack at this great toy? (Was that convincing? I didn't think so.)

At lunchtime Skeet asked if the two of us could PLEASE have round two of that amazing conch salad from Chat 'N Chill since during round one, we didn't realize we could upgrade to the "tropical" version which includes mango and pineapple. I mean, who am I to turn down such an offer? Ron was working on boat projects so he and Steve stayed behind, and off we went for fries and a side of salad. It was even better the second time if that's possible.

Behind Skeet you can see Chat 'N Chill's very cool landmark of directional signage that includes points all over the world. The Chat 'N Chill origin story is pretty fascinating, as its owner KB is an Exuma native who can trace his roots back to 1765. Skeet and I met his wife Kwanza in the bar when we were placing our lunch order because she noticed my KORKZ sunglasses retainer, and asked me where I got it. I told her that I just happened to know the boss 😜, and explained that he could laser engrave a logo or name onto each side of the cork, or any artwork that translated well to black and white. She introduced herself and told me she ran Chat 'N Chill's gift shop, and to please stop by there and give the clerk Ron's contact information. Pretty fun! Hope it turns into a good opportunity for him as their shop is impressive, and Chat 'N Chill seems to be perpetually busy.

Late this afternoon, Steve and Ron went BACK to another doggie playdate on the beach. It cracked me up watching Steve as they were leaving, and made me flashback to Ron taking our children to school with their little backpacks, or dropping them off at a summer daycamp. Now my dog was doing the same 😂.

The day came to a close with one of the coolest ideas I'd ever heard of, which we learned about on channel 72 on this morning's cruisers' net. A nearby boat was hosting a drive-in movie. For real. So anyone interested could get in their dinghy and float around behind this person's boat and watch the feature for this evening which was Avatar. Ron and I went by to check it out and didn't stay, but we were both so impressed by the ingenuity of whoever went to the trouble to set up the projection screen and sound, both of which were surprisingly great quality, unlike my video and photo, but at least you get the idea. It was so cute to see all of these dinghies hanging around watching the movie. An amazing concept, and equally amazing way to end the day.

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