Lake Murray Hosts the Atlanta Sail and Power
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
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.