Lake Murray Power Squadron, Lake Murray's Boating Club

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Lake Murray Hosts the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron
for The Great Eclipse 2017

by P/R/C David Allen, SN

The weekend of the Great Eclipse 2017 – 18-21 August – saw a special time of fun, education and fellowship for Lake Murray Power Squadron and the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron.  The Georgia delegation brought eight boats, a couple of PWCs and about 50 kindred boating spirits for a once in a lifetime event.

It began when P/C Lisa Wilson (who grew up on Lake Murray) and Sheryl Laboda of the Atlanta squadron contacted P/R/C David Allen looking for a place to stay and view the eclipse from the lake. LMPS quickly extended an invitation to our home, Flotilla Island, and planning began in earnest. It materialized when our guests from the Atlanta area began arriving for one of our Flotilla Friday gatherings, which kicked off Eclipse Weekend activities. Meat was grilled and potluck sides were shared in a typical Flotilla Island feast. The docks filled with boats, captains, crew, and friends to share our common addiction – fun on the water.

Saturday saw perfect weather for our second Log Jam of the season. Late morning the Atlanta bag draggers loaded aboard with those who stayed on the docks and cruised up the lake to No Name Cove. There they connected with Joe Firimonte and the crew of Shell Shocked, the host anchor boat for the raft up. Over 40 boats joined the line at one time or another to beverage bob, swap stories and generally have a great time. Before we had too much fun, we returned to the Island for a spectacular barbecue put on by the Freedom and Hope Foundation, a non-profit group that raises funds to provide fishing and hunting activities as recreational therapy for children with life-threatening diseases and for wounded military, both active duty and veterans. The crowd numbered over 80. Then P/C Jerry Wise gave his presentation, Behind the Stars, to the group. It was a special look at the heavens from Jerry’s observatory, with a narrative that explained how eclipses are at the heart of the search for life beyond Earth.

Normally, that would have been enough fun for one weekend. But this was no normal weekend. The next morning, after a great breakfast, we took our Atlanta guests for a tour of Lake Murray. Our lake is very similar to their home lake, Lake Lanier.  Both are man-made, with long winding shorelines, mixed development and lots of activity. The trip followed a course down the north side of the lake, past the dam and up the Lexington side. We did a quick stop by the Wise observatory, then past Dreher Island State Park before rafting up for lunch. That was followed by more bobbing in our cool waters before heading back to Flotilla for a special dinner.

 P/C Jeff Langlois, our Cajun chef in residence, along with his crew of P/C Mike Kirk, P/C Lee Ayers, P/C Tony Dodson, Tommy Clawson and others too numerous to name, prepared a Low Country Boil for the ages. Over a 100 attended, including guests from as far as the hills of Virginia. No one left hungry. There was a reprise of Jerry’s presentation for those who missed it the night before, and then the group adjourned to the docks for an evening of fellowship and tall tales. 

Monday was THE BIG DAY. Eclipse glasses were passed out, thanks to Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative and Commander Janice Ayers. Group photos were taken, Atlanta Commander Mary Larsen presented LMPS with an Atlanta burgee, and a big Pizza Party for over 50 was held. Some folks hit the water for a floating view of the mid-day sunset, while others watched from the Island. The effect was as represented: the air got cool, birds and other animals acted strangely, weird shadows danced on the building. The flashing reference lights came on around the lake. There was a sunset in all directions. Then the sun came out, and things returned to normal.

The weekend was one to remember. Two groups from different squadrons got to spend time together and learn that we’re pretty much alike – just on different lakes in different states. Our interests are the same and we have the same personalities, scalawags, scoundrels and colorful characters – they just go by different names.  Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron has already invited Lake Murray to their home waters next summer. They don’t think they can make the Sun go away, but you never know. . . . .

To see more photos of all of our fun, visit our Eclipse Album on Google.

Updated 24 September 2017
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