14.01.2016 - 19.01.2016
We were under no delusions when we decided to buy a beach house, no matter how small. I never had the “A beach house will be a dream! It will sit there and make money while I’m not using it and then all my vacations will be free!” fantasy.
When you buy a house in a place where a bottle of glass cleaner costs $12 and a gallon of cheap paint runs you $70, you know nothing is going to be free.
I knew that a beach house was a labor of love, not an investment….the emphasis on LABOR. I heard Matt’s “Do you know how many times we could stay in the nicest house on the island for what it will cost to own that tiny place?” lecture enough times to have it committed to memory and I fully realized that many of our trips would involve more work than play.
This is the illusion of beach house ownership:
This is the reality:
I knew that going in and I didn’t care.
You don’t buy a beach house because it makes sense. You buy it because you love it so much that you don’t care how little sense it makes.
That’s how I love the Bikini Hut.
Sure, I’m still in the honeymoon phase, and the dazzle may wear off at some point, but for now, I am more excited about going down to Guana Cay to change out electrical fixtures than I am about going and hanging out on the beach.
The same goes for boat ownership. I have heard it said that a boat is a hole in the water that you pour your money into.
The illusion of owning a boat:
The good news is that we ran into this thing with eyes wide open. So, when it came time to head down to Guana Cay for a quick trip with the primary purpose being WORK, we were okay with that.
Having our own boat and keeping it at Marsh Harbour has gloriously eliminated the need to leave at zero-dark- thirty in sub-zero temperatures in order to ensure we catch the early ferry.
Instead of scurrying out at some ungodly hour like 3:00 a.m., we set off at a comfortable time, with no goal more ambitious than “get there before dark.”
We landed in the early afternoon to warm sunshine and blue skies, immediately forgetting that it was 20 degrees back home with a forecast of snow. We made a quick stop at the hardware store (okay, that's a lie - no stop ANYWHERE in Marsh Harbour is "quick" - in reality, we wandered around the Ace Hardware with 4 employees for 20 minutes looking for some pocket doors we had ordered back in the summer). Before we knew it, we were on the boat headed for Guana Cay.
I will say that the new routine bypasses Curly Tails and my initial Bahama Mama, so I am going to have to work on better planning in the future so that there are some boat drinks on the way over! Arriving “dry” is simply unacceptable.
Pulling up to Bikini Hut for the first time after the initial remodel trip was awesome. That sweet, happy little cottage just screamed “Welcome Back!”
Look at what I found in the refrigerator when I arrived:
By the time we got settled and unpacked (and knocked back a couple of painkillers), it was late and we realized we hadn’t had lunch. We were tired and hungry so we made a b-line for Sunsetters wing night.
A $5 plate of wings never looked so good.
Or went down so fast.
We had noticed a glass case stocked with homemade desserts when we had arrived: carrot cake, chocolate cake, pies, cheesecakes….so of course we had to try them out.
I recommend the dessert. Any of them. All of them.
Who am I kidding? I always recommend the dessert.
One of the best things about Bikini Hut is how short the walk is to the beach. Rooby, Bella, and I can walk straight over every morning and see the sun rise. The place we used to stay required a golf cart ride, which is not easy alone, in the morning, before coffee with 2 very excited dogs in tow.
The girls and I got a long, leisurely walk in before heading back to the house.
I had checked the weather in advance and knew that Friday was supposed to be less than amazing. This made diving into the work we needed to do much easier. Matt and John would work on putting up some pocket doors to provide the room with the murphy bed some privacy, while Teresa and I ran over to Marsh Harbour to buy some things the house still needed.
I had no illusions about how un-awesome shopping in Marsh Harbour would be, but there were things we needed, so there just wasn’t any choice. I’d make do with whatever I could find and I would certainly pay 3 times as much for it.
The best part about heading to Marsh Harbour was that it meant we could stop at Curly Tails for lunch! Finally, that Bahama Mama I had been waiting for.
Paired with the blackened fish tacos, it was just perfect.
We were hoping to get our shopping done before the rain set in, but we weren’t so lucky. We found ourselves running to the afternoon ferry in the pouring rain with boxes of groceries, supplies, and a table.
We put our purchases next to several boxes of plantains, a boat motor, and a huge stash of tropical plants and found some seats.
Passenger ferry or freight boat? I guess it just depends on the day!
The rain kept pouring. It was coming down in thick sheets, often blowing sideways with gale force winds.
We had walked from Bikini Hut to the ferry. I spent the entire ride back trying to figure out how we were going to get all our stuff, that table, and our bodies to the house without being absolutely drenched.
I wasted my time.
It wasn’t possible.
We got all our stuff, that table, and our bodies back to the house absolutely drenched.
It was still pouring an hour later and we were all hungry. We considered our dinner options.
We could stay at the house and eat Doritos with painkillers, because I had only bought snacks (I still don’t understand why I was the only one that voted for that one).
We ruled out Grabbers because, even if we could get there without getting too wet, all of the seating was to some degree “open air” and the crazy wind made Grabbers a very bad idea.
We ruled out Nippers because, even if we could get there without getting too wet, there was no way to get to the indoor dining area without making that loooooooong walk.
We ruled out Sunsetters because it was the farthest golf cart ride and we knew we’d be soaked by the time we got there.
We ruled out Island Flavors because, even though it was the closest, it was right on the water and we could see from our window that the eating area was getting drenched.
We ruled out Kidd’s Cove because they were closed and I was pretty sure Edmund wouldn’t appreciate me letting myself into his kitchen to see what I could find.
This left Fish Tales. It was only a couple of doors down from Bikini Hut, so we knew we could get there quickly and stay pretty dry. It was also fully indoors, so no fear of being blown sideways while trying to swallow a conch fritter. The only problem was….we’d never been. We had no idea what it was like inside or what kind of food they had. Did they even have food? We knew it was a sports bar, so what if we got in there and all they had were chips hanging on the wall and one of those hot dog carousels like you see in a mini mart with the 2 day old wieners sitting under a sad heat lamp?
It was risky, but we had no other choice.
We dashed down the street and darted inside.
It was absolutely delightful.
Bright, pleasant, incredibly clean, with a great menu and a nice bar.
HOW HAVE WE MISSED THIS PLACE?????
The guys were extra happy because there were lots of TVs and a pool table.
I was happy because there was wine and pasta Bolognese.
We stuffed ourselves before making a mad dash back to Bikini Hut in between showers, falling asleep to the sound of the storm raging outside.
The winds of the previous day blew EVERYTHING out of the sky.
I mean EVERYTHING.
We woke to a perfectly clear day.
I knew from the forecast that this was the ONE DAY. The ONLY DAY. The PERFECT DAY.
This was BOAT DAY.
Sure, we had work to do, but all work and no play, right?
The weather in January in the Bahamas is a total crap shoot. You can get a high of 59 with 20 mph winds or you can get an 80 degree day filled with glorious sunshine. We had the latter. It was a gift and I wasn’t going to squander it.
We loaded up a cooler, grabbed some tunes, threw the pups onboard and set off for the lagoon.
I intended to celebrate our first real “BOAT DAY” (we managed to squeak out a half day in September, but that just doesn’t count) with mimosas, but I forgot the OJ and couldn’t actually find champagne. So we had fruit punch and Asti, otherwise known as a “White Trash Mimosa.” The only thing missing was some cheese whiz and Vienna sausages to make the party complete.
We did a whole lot of nothing for several hours.
It couldn't have been more perfect.
The plan was to hit the Dock & Dine on Man-O-War for lunch and do some shopping. I was pretty excited. We had only eaten at the Dock & Dine once. The food was GREAT but, at the risk of sounding like a person with a substance abuse problem, the lack of alcohol was a bummer. When we are out on the boat, we want drinks. Yes, even with lunch. We are sad, small, shallow people with an unhealthy dependence upon lunchtime cocktails.
Now that the Dock & Dine serves alcohol, we were ready to try it again.
Never ones to presume, we asked the host if our small dogs would be allowed. We felt this was an unnecessary question and really more of a polite formality as we had never been in any outdoor establishment in the Abacos where dogs weren’t allowed.
We were turned away.
I think I actually heard my heart shatter as I looked longingly inside at one of the Dock & Dine’s juicy hamburgers sitting on a dogless patron’s table. Or maybe it was just my stomach growling.
Looked like it was going to be Doritos and painkillers after all!
I did not harbor any ill feelings toward the restaurant. I understand that not everyone loves my dogs like I do and not everyone wants to eat with my dogs. I get it. We moved on.
Alls I'm sayin' is......I think my dogs would have been much quieter than the two kids that were running around the place, swinging off everything like a couple of rabid monkeys and definitely no less sanitary than the flies that were taking up residence on everyone's plates.
Just putting it out there.
We stopped in at the various shops, picking up some new bags from the sail shop and visiting with the seashell guy.
Lunch ended up being snacks on the boat at the little Man-O-War cay beach. Maybe it wasn’t a juicy burger, but I wouldn’t have traded the company for anything.
By the time we got back to Guana, it was close to sunset, and we’d had nothing more substantial than some cheese and chips & dip with a whole lot of boat drinks, so we cleaned up in record time and headed straight for Grabbers (who welcomed Bella and Rooby with open arms, I might add).
Frozen grabbers, a couple of pizzas, and fried lobster with mac & cheese was better than a dumb old burger anyway.
Sunday was supposed to be insanely windy with some possible bouts of rain.
The sky looked ominous as I took my beach walk with the girls.
Even though the wind was gusting around 20 – 30 mph, the rain held off. The blue sky was dotted with clouds that were moving crazy fast with the wind, but for the most part, the sun was out.
Matt and John had more work to do on the pocket doors, so I took advantage of the sunshine while it lasted and had my own Sunday Funday at Nippers pool.
I literally had the entire place to myself.
Here’s me alone with a bloody mary by the pool.
Here’s me alone with a frozen Nipper.
Here’s me alone on the dance floor……Okay, seriously folks, that would just be sad. Some Sundays just aren’t for dancing.
Not every Sunday can be a Funday. Some days it's a Oneday. I was content to lay by the pool alone and read the morning away.
By lunchtime, a small crowd….okay, more like 4 people, but on Guana, that’s a small crowd……had gathered around the bar to watch the game. Matt joined me for some lunch and I finally got my burger. Along with a giant plate of spicy, hot buffalo lobster bites.
The rain finally arrived in the afternoon, so we all used the afternoon to finish up some work – the guys on the pocket doors and me painting some furniture.
By the time we finished our work, it was late and everyone was tired. We ran back over to Fish Tales for a quick dinner of grilled fish, sweet potato fries, and a salad before calling it a night.
Monday morning turned out to be cool, but beautiful. We'd certainly had a mixed bag of weather, but since it wasn't really supposed to be a fun trip, we were thankful for any good weather we got!
The storms had blown through and moved out the clouds, but they brought in a cold front, dropping the temps to the high 60s.
You know what? When it’s January and the sun is shining, 68 feels pretty darn good.
We finished up our work and set off for lunch at Lubbers Landing. It had turned out to be a pretty nice boat day and no trip to Abaco is complete for us without a trip to Lubber's Landing.
When we got there, we found that Austin and Amy were in the states, leaving poor Stephanie to tend bar all alone.
I immediately proclaimed it “FREE DRINK MONDAY” on Lubbers Landing.
Unfortunately, Stephanie did not agree and made me pay for all those margaritas. She did, however, make me drink my free shot when I got the ring on the hook around the pole.
We soaked in the sunshine, eating delicious tuna burgers and playing with one of Lubbers many cats until it was time to go.
It was time to go because John had one margarita too many. Apparently, FREE DRINK MONDAY Is not good for everyone.
We spent the evening finishing up some painting. As we were cleaning up, I noticed the lights on at Kidd’s Cove for the first time since we’d arrived. We joined Forrest and Edmund for some drinks, but they weren’t serving dinner. That would have to wait until next time.
So, we ran down to Nippers for dinner, knowing it would be good, but not as good as Edmund’s black beans and rice with mahi mahi!
Nippers didn’t disappoint. The “potato skins” that we ordered turned out to be stuffed potatoes. Each one was an entire half of a very large stuffed potato. No one was complaining.
I had the cracked lobster with peas n’ rice, mac & cheese, and cole slaw while Matt went rogue and got the grouper parmesan. When I saw all of his melty cheese, I was jealous.
It was time to head home. It had been mostly work, but we had certainly managed to squeeze in plenty of fun.
At home, we woke up to snow on Wednesday morning, finding it hard to believe we had been basking in the Bahamian sunshine the day before.
I think Rooby can express it best:
"You mean, I went from this….."
We all feel her pain.
Until next time, when Matt and I will maroon ourselves on a deserted island in Honduras. Seriously…WHAT ARE WE THINKING??????
Want to see the Bikini Hut finished product?? Come on inside!