Vicki vs. Tropical Storm Arthur
28.06.2014 - 05.07.2014
The siren song of the Caribbean in summer has an allure that few of us can resist. The sun is bright, the water is calm and the nights are warm. When the mercury hovers over 80 and there is still a light breeze and you have miles of soft sand with blue waters just waiting to be explored, you just have to go. It’s no wonder Matt and I end up in the Bahamas every summer despite the fact that it is a hurricane hot zone from June to November.
When we decided to fly down with friends for the 4th of July, we knew it was risky, but the forecast looked fine as we loaded up the plane and made our way south.
Things started off well enough. The sun was shining and the Bahama Mamas were flowing at Curly Tails as we waited for the ferry to Guana Cay.
By the time we arrived on Guana, the skies had started to darken. This should have been our first clue that something was amiss….but we attributed it to nothing more than a passing tropical shower as we bought our groceries in the pouring rain.
NOTE: A golf cart does not make ideal transportation in a monsoon-type situation.
By the time we got unpacked and had the groceries put away, the sun had popped back out so we loaded up on the boat and headed to Elbow Cay for a dinner at Firefly.
It was a beautiful night for dinner on their deck looking over the water.
After dinner, the ride home was a perfect chance to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Rain? Pah. I’m not afraid of no rain.
When we woke up, the sun was shining. It was a beautiful morning. See? No rain. We loaded up in the boat to head down to North Guana before the Nippers Sunday BBQ.
As we anchored just off Baker’s Bay, we couldn’t help but notice it was starting to….cloud up a bit.
The skies started to darken, so we thought it was probably a good idea to head back. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a rainstorm on a boat.
Besides, it was time for Nippers Sunday Fun Day!
To spare you the gory details, here is the highlight reel:
Met a Giant.
Sat next to Steve Spurrier (but no photo, because he scares me).
Had some Nippers.
Stuffed toilet paper into the back of Matt’s pants when he wasn’t looking. Photographed it.
Had some more Nippers.
Had more Nippers.
Had tequila shots.
Got rowdy. Found dirty headband on the ground and made Matt wear it.
Watched lady come down the stairs with a Nipper on her head.
Went to Grabbers.
Danced some more.
Had a food fight. Told to “calm down” by Irene.
Asked for more Grabbers. Told “no more Grabbers for you.” (Seriously…how bad do you have to be when they refuse to bring you another Grabber?)
Decided to head back to Nippers where they don’t care if they overserve you.
Wrecked golf cart en route.
Saw police. Ran home.
(When my mom reads this, I am pretty sure I am going to get grounded)
It had drizzled off and on all day Sunday. This gave way to gray skies and rain on Monday. It was so bad, we couldn’t even go outside. The weather forecast said something about a tropical depression forming near the Bahamas.
We spent the day checking the weather obsessively, napping, watching t.v., napping, checking the weather, and eating cookies. Matt walked to Dive Guana in the rain to get us a replacement golf cart because we had killed ours. I remembered watching the little wheel roll sadly down the street as the cart sat stuck in the bushes in front of the Art Café. It was now parked sadly next to the ferry dock where pretty much everyone could see it.
Oh the shame.
I started to wonder if I should have paid attention to any of those: Tips for Travel in a Hurricane articles. I hadn’t, so I wrote my own.
Planning Tips for Travel During a Tropical Storm:
1: Choose your destination carefully. If you are worried about hurricanes, go to Boise. I should have gone to Boise.
2: If you still insist on the Caribbean, get travel insurance. Or just bring lots of alcohol. It’s just as good as insurance in the event of a failed vacation.
3: Tell people where you are going. This will help the authorities locate your body when your housemates kill you and bury you in the sand after being trapped inside with you for 3 days.
4: Pack an emergency kit. Mine included rum, tequila, chocolate, and a coconut pie. Oh, and matches. In case the power went out and I couldn’t find my pie.
5: Dispose of perishable foods before a storm hits in case the power goes out. When someone asks you why you just ate the whole coconut pie in one sitting, tell them you are disposing of perishable foods.
6: Make sure you travel with people you really like. Like, enough to be locked inside a 1000 square foot apartment with them for 60 hours with no T.V.
There was nothing to do but wait.
Well this pretty much sucked.
We woke up in the middle of a Tropical Storm. Hello, Arthur.
The rain was blowing sideways. We could hear non-stop thunder and lightning. It had gone on all night, so none of us had slept very well. We’d been trapped inside for 36 hours at this point and there was no sign that the weather was going to break any time soon.
We spent the entire day stuck inside.
How to lose your mind in 48 hours or less:
1. Go to any small island during hurricane season and wait for a storm.
2. When the storm hits, immediately go to the interwebs. See this:
3. Have a small meltdown.
4. Once your housemates untie you, run out of things to do. In the first 5 minutes.
5. Watch the Travel Channel and cry a little as the World’s Top Ten Beach Bars episode comes on as you look outside your window.
6. Hate the people on the World’s Top Ten Beach Bars episode.
7. Take a nap. Who cares if it is only 11:00 a.m. and you have already had two naps today.
8. Find yourself looking at a roll of duct tape and a few pencils and wonder if you can make a life raft.
9. Find yourself looking at the same roll of duct tape and a few pencils and wonder if you can use it to bind your housemates and put them in the closet.
10. Hide in the closet and eat your coconut pie so that your house mates won’t eat it all.
11. Fight with house mates over who ate the whole coconut pie.
12. Watch a spot on the ceiling for 45 minutes wondering if it's a spider, decide it is not, look away just as you think it moves, and watch it for another 45 minutes to be sure.
13. Pace for 15 minutes.
14. Try not to kill your house mates.
15. Die slowly inside.
16. Repeat steps 5 – 15.
We thought we had a break when the rain slacked off to a drizzle late Tuesday evening. We jumped in our golf cart and zoomed to Grabbers to grab dinner before the gale force winds started blowing again.
We rushed back home just as this arrived:
Woke up to rain. And thunder. And lightning. This is a photo of me from Wednesday morning:
We were all irritable. We had eaten all our food in 2 days, had bedsores, and would be fine if we never saw another episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey in our lifetime.
We settled in for what we assumed would be another washed out day, but then….the heavens opened and a glimmer of sunshine peeked through around noon.
You would have thought I was Noah and a dove had just brought me an olive branch.
We looked like a bunch of blind albino mole rats when we crawled outside on weak legs, eyes blinking against the bright light, skin pale and pasty.
Before the rain:
After the rain:
We had a few glorious hours in the sunshine before the rain returned and drove us back inside.
We had been on Guana Cay for 4 ½ days and had only managed a few hours outside by this point. Today was supposed to be the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party on Fiddle Cay. An all day event where hundreds of boats descend upon an uninhabited island, pull up along a long sandbar, and party with burgers and margaritas until the sun goes down.
We were thrilled when we woke up to glorious blue skies.
We boated over to Fiddle Cay, arriving early enough to get a great spot on the sandbar.
We met old friends:
And new friends:
We ate cheeseburgers:
And then the party started.
Do you know what happens when 4 adults on vacation get trapped inside for 3 days and then attend an all day party on the beach?
They lose their minds.
It’s all fun and games until someone ends up passed out on top of the chips.
It was the 4th of July and it was our last day on the island. Since we had not been able to do much boating, we decided to put Nippers 4th of July party off until the afternoon and take the boat out for some much needed sun.
First stop was my favorite little cove on Man-O-War Cay.
Next stop was Lubbers Landing for saltwater margaritas and some of Austin and Amy’s amazing island burgers.
If you haven’t tried Austin’s cauli-wings, you gotta’ try them.
Last stop was Tahiti Beach which put on an exceptional display of amazing clear water just for us.
We decided to do it up right for the Nippers July 4th festivities. I mean, when the red, white, and blue denim vest comes out...you know it is ON.
We all took it pretty easy that day and did more spectating and less participating. I can only handle so many hangovers in a single week, you know.
We ended the day with dinner at Grabbers with our good friend, Glenn.
The best part of the day was the fireworks show at Nippers. Nippers now has these cool wooden loungers down on the beach. We decided to watch the fireworks from there instead of from up on the hill.
The fireworks were literally IN OUR FACE. Like…right in our face.
It was part excitement, part fear, but all amazing. (I have suffered a little PTSD since, but the doctor says I’ll be able to hear loud noises without wetting my pants in about 10 more months).
Our final morning dawned bold and beautiful.
Sure, it hadn’t been the ideal trip, but we had maximized the time we had. No silly little rainstorm is going to stop us.
Take that, Arthur.
What's next for us? A return to Glacier National Park to hike 60 miles in 6 days. Hopefully with fewer blisters than last time......