goodbye to George Town

Fri 26 Mar 2010 01:35
23:44.519 N
76:03.764 W

Today we wrenched ourselves from George Town. Since it took us five weeks to get here, we felt we couldn't linger, given that we're only giving ourselves 3 weeks to get back. There was an East wind, and we told ourselves we had to take advantage of it and that we should leave by noon. Also, we learned that the Caribbean Marine Research Center on Lee Stocking Island (20 some miles north) gives tours at 9:00 on Fridays.

The girls had a prearranged morning date with new friends, Malia and Madison, two girls from a ketch called Avalon. We had met them, along with the grown ups that belonged to them, Sarah and John, yesterday. The girls spent 3 hours on "Volleyball Beach" (too early for volleyball, but there was a yoga class on the beach) playing with Isabel, Malia, Madison, and an even newer friend, Stephanie--a girl from Quebec--and an "old" friend Chantelle (who they met two days ago). Garth took Amazon for a magnificent sail across the harbor to town to get wifi, propane, and to top off water and gas. On his return trip, as he was tacking across the harbor, with a look of bliss on his face and his feet up on the gunwale in a reclining position, a cruiser he passed in the harbor, John on the Marylee, said to him, "You've got to learn how to relax." When Garth returned, he and I paid a parting visit in Amazon to Carol and Bob on Time Enough II. Carol had baked brownies that morning and gave us a plate of them to bring to the girls. We told Carol that Malia had been sad that her birthday had been two days ago (before she'd arrived in George Town) and she'd had no friends to celebrate it with. Instantly, Carol whipped out pink birthday candles, and sent us back to the beach with the brownies and we had an impromptu birthday party for Malia.

It was 2:30 before we departed.

One common theme that we've perceived among cruising couples, with or without children, is that the man has a far greater tolerance than the woman for sailing in rough seas. This is a gross generalization, and I'm sure there are many exceptions, but we haven't met any yet. If the man doesn't become more cautious and ignores the woman's discomfort for long enough he ends up having to find a new crew. The happier cruising couples have worked this out. Cruising together may be like renovating a house together--it's either a bonding experience and an exercise in mutual decision making, or it's a deal breaker. I'm happy to report that Garth has been sensitive to my sailing anxiety.

We left George Town, torn about whether we were doing the right thing. We felt like ogres tearing the girls away from their new friends, and we felt bad leaving our new friends, too. But we feared not leaving enough time for the return trip, and, again, the wind was favorable for sailing. Soon, though, we were about to feel even worse...

The sail north up Elizabeth Harbor, in the protection of Stocking Island, was pleasant. Then, as we entered the Sound (Ocean), on a rising tide, against the current, and into a choppy sea, we suspected we had made the wrong decision. We said, Let's just see what it's like when we get farther outside the cut. And, maybe the big waves will subside in deeper water... By the time we realized that the waves were not getting any smaller, and possibly bigger, it had been an hour since we'd left George Town and we didn't want to backtrack. It was when we were 2 hours into it and poor Rose began to weep and feel seasick that we realized we were no better than the bully sailors who ignore their partners' fears. We promised Rose that we would never sail on the Sound side after days and days of a NE wind. Three hours into the sail, the seas did begin to calm down a bit and by 5:30 we entered a cut to bring us back into the wonderfully smooth water behind a line of small cays (our first safe opportunity to leave the Sound). Immediately Garth, Isabel, & Rose burst into song, such was their relief and elation. For some strange reason I was not worried on this sail. Usually Rose and I have the same low tolerance for big waves.

We had a lovely last 2 hours of the sail over shallow banks with practically no waves as the sun sank low in the sky behind the sail. We didn't make it all the way to Lee Stocking, but nearly. We're on a beautiful little beach on Children's Bay Cay, a private island. We restricted beach play to below the high tide line. Tomorrow, we'll leave early so as not to miss the tour at the research center. Winds are supposed to be very light.