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20 Things I Learned on Guana Cay....

a.k.a. The Worst Vacation EVER.

This was a very short trip that we took with our good friends, John and Teresa, to Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. The plan was this: fly down in our Seneca on Saturday, July 26; spend a few glorious, sun-drenched days on Guana Cay; and fly back on Wednesday, July 30. With John's birthday being July 28 and mine being July 29, it seemed like a great plan. But you know what they say about the best laid plans........

#1. When the customs guys at the Marsh Harbor airport want lunch….customs closes…..sometimes for 2 hours.

The flight in was pretty good. We got there pretty early, at noon. We had plenty of time to catch the 1:15 ferry from Marsh Harbor on Abaco to Guana Cay. Or so I thought. My first clue that this trip might go south was when the customs guys at the tiny airport made us stand outside for almost 2 hours before checking us in because they wanted to stop for lunch. Okay, maybe they weren't having lunch. Maybe they were watching T.V., taking a really long smoke break, or napping. I don't really know. I just no there was no one in line and we waited for FREAKING EVER.


#2. Going anywhere closer to the equator in July is just a stupid, stupid idea.

We have never been south of Florida at any time other than spring, fall or winter. Now I know why. Holy crap, it was so HOT. By the time I had waited on the hot pavement at the airport, waited for the ferry, and made the trip by golf cart to our little house, I finally understood why "peak season" is in the winter.....


#3. Hot sauce repels flies.

First order of business upon arrival was FOOD, because we made the 3:30 ferry instead of the 1:15. I was officially starving. We headed to Grabbers, a great little beachfront bar and grill. Like I said, we’d never been to Guana Cay in the summer…so we had no idea HOW bad the flies and no-see-ums would be. Every restaurant is outdoors. We literally got swarmed every time we tried to eat. Thank goodness for the waitress at Grabbers that told us hot sauce repels them. Sprinkle a little around your plate and VIOLA! No flies. We may have had severe indigestion for the rest of the trip, but we didn’t have flies! Heck, by the end of the trip, I was ready to just bathe in it.


  1. 4. Flimsy beach umbrellas, while cute, do not offer actual protection during a severe thunderstorm.

Okay, so the highlight of the trip was supposed to be on our first day on island. I couldn't wait for the Sunday beach BBQ at Nippers with an afternoon beach concert by Abaco favorite, Barefoot Man. You have to understand, Nippers is a beach bar that serves a very lethal drink called the “Frozen Nipper.” The contents are a highly guarded secret. I personally think it contains a controlled substance. Because of the frozen nipper, Nippers is a crazy place, especially on a Sunday.

The Sunday event gets really crowded, so you have to arrive early to ensure having a table. We did. Shortly after we got there, a HUGE thunderstorm blew in. I had the brilliant idea to stay at our table so as not to lose our claim. I mean, there were people standing nearby that were eyeing it like a bunch of vultures looking at roadkill. We rode out the entire storm under that stupid little umbrella.....the girls getting soaked and the guys getting drunker by the minute on those dang frozen nippers. This was not looking good.


#5. Frozen nippers cause men to pull down their pants or their friends pants.

Well, with nothing to do but drink during the storm, the guys simply got out of hand. Things really started to go south at this point. The other patrons were talking about "those crazy Tennesseans" and everyone wanted to join our table. The guys were getting hammered. Strangers were at our table. People were dancing on the tables. It was all at little too much. I was doing my best to keep a low profile. Having gotten pretty sick on nippers once, I learned my lesson. I am a one nipper girl. Unfortunately for the party, I was sober as a judge. I knew I was in trouble when John's shorts went down. Twice. Granted, Matt started it by pulling John's pants down, but guys, no offense, but ladies don't want to see IT. It ain't pretty. When are men going to learn this?


#6. Spending $120 on lunch tokens at a beach BBQ does not guarantee you will get to eat.

So, while John, Matt, and Teresa are more nippered by the minute, I sat there sober as a church mouse. All I was looking forward to was the meal and the concert. At about 1:00 they put the food out. Yay! Bahamian Mac-n-cheese and BBQ pork. Yum! Sadly, Matt had lost our 2 $20 lunch tokens because he was drunk and acting like a fool. No problem, we bought 2 more and I got my lunch. I was just digging in when Matt got mad because Teresa kept teasing him and he dumped my plate on the table and in my lap.....before I got to eat it. WTF??

Happy Birthday to me. I was PISSED.


#7. Drinking 5 frozen nippers in an hour will cause one to vomit on a table in front of strangers and proceed to pass out in said vomit.

Well, I had enough and I walked home. It's about a 30 minute walk down the beach. I am sure I was cursing to myself and kicking imaginary Matts all the way down the beach. However, I think I left at a good time. Apparently, after I left, all hell broke loose. First, John threw up and passed out. Matt decided to take him home. One guy apparently said, as the Tennessee fools were leaving, "Damn, you Tennesseans know how to party hard, but you sure burn out early...."



#8. Nippers vomit will stain a white beach hat.

The frozen nipper is RED. John’s projectile nipper vomit allegedly (I can't say, I wasn't there....) went all over Teresa, her hat, her bag, her towel, her clothes.....While she was trying to find her bag and clean herself up, Matt left the bar with John passed out in the seat.

They left Teresa there.

In a strange place. Drunk. Alone.



#9. It is unwise to try to walk home on sharp, jagged limestone while drunk.

Poor Teresa tried to walk home drunk, along the jagged limestone on the beach. She fell, hit her face on the rocks, and pretty much busted her whole face. By that afternoon, Teresa was lying in bed with ice on her face, John was asleep on the deck in the blistering sun, and Matt was apologizing profusely to everyone and unpacking my suitcase....because I had packed up and was ready to LEAVE! The only reason I was still there is because I couldn't find my stinkin' passport. (I had apparently hidden it so well from would be villa thieves that I couldn't even find it...)



#10. Ladies with black eyes don't want to go to the beach.

Okay, so T. had some real shiners. I was mad at Matt. John and Matt were hung over. And it was only Day 1.

We decided to put that bad day behind us and try to enjoy the next two days. So, the next day, we decided to stick with my original plan to go to Man-O-War Cay, a neighboring island. Teresa stayed at the house to rest. Can't say I blamed her. The other three of us went to Man-O-War Cay for a day of sightseeing and snorkeling. The day started off pretty good. Maybe things were going to take a turn for the better.

I didn't knock on wood soon enough.


#11. Taking photos can be hazardous to your health....at least if you are me.

Never try to walk down a cement boat ramp that is covered with green slimy algae. Just sayin'.

I tried to walk down a cement boat ramp to take a photo while Matt and John got the rental boat. I am a clumsy girl. It's no secret. I am as gawky as a newborn foal. Well, I slipped on the layer of green slime that was covering it and proceeded to smack right on my ass and then slide about 20 feet, giving myself a pretty good cement rash down my tookus. Oh, and I had green slime from my ankles to my ears.

Just. Great.


#12. Rental boats + underwater rocks = $500 new boat propeller.

Oh yeah, the day just got better from there. Once I got the slime off my clothes, we got in the boat to head out.

The cement slide should have been a clue to turn around and stay at the house, but noooooo.....away we went. About 30 minutes later, while trying to drive the boat into Man-O-War harbor, we ran the propeller up on the rocks. Yep, we had to buy that propeller.

Did you know that propellers in the Bahamas cost a hell of a lot more than they do in the states? Just in case you needed to know.


#13. Never try to walk across Man-O-War Cay with 2 hungover men with no water when it’s 98 degrees outside.

Well, my brilliant idea was to walk across Man-O-War.....hey, how hard could it be? The entire cay is only 2.5 miles long. Okay, in 98 degrees with no water, a block is too far. Add to that the "hangover duo" whining like girls every 10 steps. I am big enough to admit it was a bad idea. We nearly died. We all got mad. Everyone started yelling at everyone else. So, we aborted that plan and I stomped off back to the boat and decided I just wasn't speaking to them any more. Where was my friend Teresa when I needed her? Oh yeah, banged up back at the villa.


#14. A cinnamon roll can cost $7.

By the time I got my sweaty, and still partially slime covered, butt back to the boat, I was hungry. This sweet little old lady pulls up in a golf cart and asks if I want to buy a cinnamon roll. Turns out this was Man-O-War's famous Miss Lola, who bakes yummies and sells them from her cart. Did I want one? Heck yes! I asked how much……


For a cinnamon roll.

Did I buy it? Hell yes I did. Granted, it was as big as a pizza pan. And it was GOOD.


#15. Wild kittens like cheese.

We managed to get through the rest of Day 2 without too many mishaps and even managed to have a little fun snorkeling out on the barrier reef. On the third morning, Teresa decided to join us out on the boat. We were packing lunches when 3 wild kittens came up begging on the deck. So I tossed them some string cheese. They ran off with it like a prize. We fed them string cheese for the rest of the trip.

Don't worry, you animal lovers out there, we also bought a bag of cat food at Guana Grocery (for $35.....no....I am not exaggerating....) that we left at the house for them.


#16. When on the beach, always use lip gloss with SPF.

We spent a LOT of time in the sun on the 3rd day. Someone told me not long ago that wearing lip gloss without sunscreen can burn your lips. Well, I am such a girl. I slopped lip gloss on all day. Lip gloss WITHOUT SPF. Yep. That thing about the lip gloss? Way true.

By the end of the day, my lips were so puffy I looked like I had collagen injections.

Oh well. With my puffy lips and scraped up butt and Teresa's purple face, we were a sight. We looked like we'd been in a bar fight.


#17. A barracuda will chase dangly things hanging off your swimsuit, especially if they are shiny. Oh, and they like to hang out by boat ladders.

I hate barracuda's.

I hate their ugly little faces with that snarly underbite and those big sharp teeth. I hate the way they just appear out of nowhere and then just sit there, still, staring at you.

I am less afraid of sharks.

So, of course, while snorkeling, I ran into the biggest barracuda I have ever seen. He kept chasing after me and Teresa. We couldn't figure it out. Why did he keep following us????? We figured out later that we had silver dangly things on our suits and it was basically like hanging fish bait off our bodies.

I had turned myself into a giant, human fishing pole equipped with sparkly bait.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.


#18. Don’t unplug the a/c when the power goes out unless you want to be awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a yelling man. A really sweaty yelling man.

As though we hadn’t been through enough already, the power went out on our last night. We all fell asleep in our rooms in the sweltering heat. Matt went to the extra room downstairs, thinking it was “cooler.” I totally disagreed and stayed in the much more open room upstairs. The power came back on in the middle of the night and my a/c came back on. Apparently, Teresa, unbeknownst to Matt, had unplugged the a/c in the room he was in thinking you had to do that when the power went out lest the unit violtently explode when the power came back on. About 2 a.m., Matt woke the entire house up yelling about why everyone was sleeping in a nice a/c room and why everyone had left him in that hot room to die.


#19. It is possible to wash your hair using a small, dirty airport sink and a Styrofoam cup when desperate.

I hate to say it, but I was actually happy when it was time to go home. It had been a long 3 days.

Dreaming of just getting home and washing it all away, I nearly cried when we had to land in south FL because of thunderstorms and then spent 9 hours in a cramped FBO waiting to go home. By this point, we all hated each other. Teresa wasn't talking to John. I wasn't talking to John or Matt. Everyone was cranky. Then, to add insult to injury, I had to “bathe” using paper towels in a tiny sink. We finally got home at 1:00 am.

Hey, at least I was clean.....


#20. It's not over until the fat lady sings......

This trip just kept on giving. Even once we were home we discovered one of us had inadvertently picked up some strangers suitcase at the ferry, thinking it was ours, and we carried that damn thing all the way home. We thought it was theirs. They thought it was ours. We even took it through customs. Thank god it wasn't full of drugs or a human head. Anyway, once we got it home, we had to pay $50 to ship it back to its rightful owner.

Oh, and "someone" (insert J-O-H-N here....) had taken Matt's binoculars to Guana Cay and had....you guessed it......left them there. We had to pay to have them shipped back to us.

The party that never ends......

My final lesson? Spending your 38th birthday with 3 crazy people on Guana Cay can be hazardous to your health.


Now repeat after me: There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home......

Posted by vicki_h 05:05 Archived in Bahamas

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Love your story! Of course it is easy to laugh at others trials and tribulations. I am sure you now look back on this misadventure with smiles and laughs. Because it is over! It seems most of the problems were from: hot weather, excessive alcohol, idiot men.

Now in regards to #5. I think most men know dropping their shorts is not a smooth social move. Young, drunken men simply don't care. Since you have a husband that seems to enjoy getting hammered, this probably will not be the last time the shorts hit the floor.

Love your writing style and sense of humor. Good job Vicki!

by vegasmike6

I randomly came across your story.....very entertaining. Hopefully you got to hear barefoot....

by Legate

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