A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about guana cay

You Can Huff and Puff, But You Can't Blow Guana Down

Guana Cay - The Little Island With a Big Heart

The Stages of Grief Dorian

1 DENIAL: The “It Can’t Be That Bad” Stage

“It’s not going to be that bad,” I said. “I’m sure the media made it look worse than it really is. They exaggerate everything.”

48777572296_14855e1daa.jpg

48777760257_61875c9e0e.jpg

48777223478_b05d6b7865.jpg

48777768092_84c49bda3f.jpg

48777760827_c1c557514e.jpg

We were landing at the Marsh Harbour airport 2 weeks after hurricane Dorian.

It was the smell that I noticed first.

A cloud of decay, the smell of rotten meat that has been left in the sun too long, overwhelmed me as soon as we opened the door of the plane.

I stepped out into the hot glare, seeing this place that had always welcomed me immediately with the fresh smell of sea air, a balmy breeze rustling through the bright green trees, and the smiling faces of the guys on the ramp as they greeted us warmly with a hearty, “Good Morning!” like I was seeing it for the first time.

It was just 15 days after Hurricane Dorian came screaming through, ripping across tiny Abaco like a vast beast, bent on destroying everything in her reach. Dorian, the 2nd most powerful Atlantic hurricane since records of hurricanes began, left a massive trail of destruction, reducing this gentle island I loved so much to nothing more than a cosmic pile of rubble, debris, and tangled power lines.

The smell was ever present as we stepped out onto the runway. What was part of the airport was now a twisted hulk of metal…hanger, airplane, vehicles….all rolled into one inseparable mass. The surrounding trees were sheared off, knocked over, those that still stood were stripped and brown. Helicopters buzzed overhead and giant camouflage painted trucks sped past. I looked around as several dirty, rag tag vehicles, salvaged from what was still running made their way around the rubble. Most had significant parts missing, a door twisted off, no mirrors, a cracked windshield. Some had been cobbled together with wire or duct tape. It reminded me more of a scene from Max Mad than my gentle Marsh Harbor airport, what was usually a happy gateway to an anticipated week of bliss.

48778217097_227b11274c.jpg

48799570962_f0a9947382.jpg

48799570737_8a6a02bcb4.jpg

48778213052_8ab309e826.jpg

Marsh Harbor was chaos. It was the wild west.

There was no customs. No immigration. No officials. No one asked to see my passport. There were just the ramp guys.

Still, they were smiling and greeted us warmly with a hearty, “Good Morning,” but their eyes looked weary. I handed them a box of Dunkin’ Donuts that I carried in my lap from Florida. It was a small gesture for these men that had lost so much.

After a long, hot wait on the tarmac, not really knowing what the plan was, a dusty Mercedes with a busted windshield pulled up.

48777851522_8d80f6cfd7.jpg

We hopped in and headed toward town.

Or should I say, the heap of wood and metal and cement that used to be town?

Windows down because almost nothing on the car still worked, the smell rode with us. It was everywhere. It was everything. As I looked out the window, my eyes couldn’t take it all in. I simply couldn’t process what I was seeing.

48777658126_c19f08dd88_b.jpg

I had seen the photos. I had seen the videos.

Nothing prepared me for the reality.

Beautiful Marsh Harbour was a wasteland. It was as though a giant had taken his fist and simply crushed everything in sight. I guess a giant did, Dorian, that monster.

It was just piles of wood and debris, caved in buildings, flipped over cars, and boats everywhere that a boat didn’t belong. Virtually nothing was left standing and what was standing was utterly destroyed. As I breathed in the smell of decay, I prayed it was only rotting groceries.

Our first task was to try to locate our boat and several others’. We knew approximately where they were and parked the car in the general vicinity.

The guys disappeared quickly, leaving me standing alone in the middle of the street with all our supplies and a busted up Mercedes.

I never once felt unsafe.

48777657368_46e4f0e9ca.jpg

There were people milling around. They paid me no mind. I even had one of the “dangerous looters” go by. He had his arms full of boat electronics…probably from our boat….and he simply nodded his head, smiled, and said, “Hello.” I smiled back and said, “Hello.” He waved with the arm that wasn’t full of looted boat parts and continued on down the road.

He was just trying to survive. I don’t begrudge him that.

I looked around at the massive destruction and what struck me most was the randomness of seeing perfectly intact, normal, everyday objects. It was surreal. There was a twisted heap that used to be a house and lying on the sidewalk was a perfectly good spatula.

I was startled by something behind me and turned around to see a medium sized dog. Its fur was wet and matted and the skin on its nose was raw and stripped. I spoke gently, “Hi there,” and turned to get a sandwich out of the car. By the time I turned around with the sandwich, the dog was gone.

I sat in the street and cried.

It was just too much.

Eventually I saw the guys crawling over an upside down boat. They had found everything they needed.

48777246318_25b37e3220.jpg

48777268868_313135297e.jpg

It was time to go to Guana Cay.

I wasn’t sure I was ready.

Back at the airport, we abandoned the Mercedes for a pick-up truck that we filled with a generator, endless tarps and roofing supplies, mold spray, tools, fans, drinking water, and a lot of tuna packs. The truck drove us to a recently repaired dock where we simply waited, again, not really knowing what the plan was. We were flying by the seat of our pants.

48777861287_5b60b9833f.jpg

48777865002_9ea30ed870.jpg

48777856962_fe84f47cdc.jpg

48777870727_5e8a8200cf.jpg

After some time, a small 18’ boat arrived.

With 25 mph winds….this wasn’t going to be a fun ride.

The ride over might have been one of the most painful experiences of my life to date. Matt and I took the bow, to spare the others the worst of the ride. They were here because of us, we owed them that. We were on our hands and knees (to save our spines) on top of canvas bags filled with tools…not the softest or most forgiving surface. We both white knuckled the rope tied to the front of the bow for dear life. The little boat slammed down repeatedly, as though it was hitting cement, as wave upon wave met us. Each time it slammed down, we were washed with a fresh wave of salt water. We alternated between grunting, screaming, crying, and laughing. Then it started to rain.

I looked at Matt. “Really?” I said. We laughed again. And then we cried.

48799076078_9bbdb7a238.jpg

After an hour, we saw Guana Harbour. As we motored slowly up to the island, my heart felt like it was being squeezed. There was nothing left. The bright and happy harbor that I had pulled into so many times, was a pile of pick up sticks, broken cement, and dead gnarled trees. Everything was broken and brown.

We put on a brave face. There wasn’t any time to be sad. This wasn’t a time to mourn. We had too much work to do.

The boat pulled into our dock which was surprisingly intact. About 4 other boats were tied up. I looked at Matt. “Looks like we’re the public dock now!” We were happy to do it. We were happy to still have a dock.

As the guys unloaded, I ran straight for my house. I know that is selfish, in the face of so much loss by so many, but I could no longer contain it. It had been my refuge, my peace, the place where my spirit felt happiness. I needed to see it.

Bikini Hut was standing. She wasn’t only standing, she was beautiful.

48778189047_2f7ae87512.jpg

48778192657_813b8dfb2c.jpg

I ran inside, not knowing what to expect.

Everything looked exactly like I had left it except it was all wet. And dirty. Everything fabric was soaked. The rugs were saturated. The walls, floors, and everything inside had a fine layer of funk laying on them. But to me, it was beautiful. Because it was THERE.

I ran upstairs, knowing we had lost a window, so I was prepared for the worst.

It looked like a bomb of glass, sand, mud, trees, and sheetrock had gone off in my bedroom. The bed was covered with what was left of the window and the wall. The floors and walls were covered with everything else.

Amazing that I could look at this and feel lucky. No, not lucky, BLESSED. God blessed. How this home had survived to this degree was simply a miracle. I felt guilty that my home had been spared when almost everyone I loved had lost theirs.

No time for that, I ran back downstairs to start cleaning.

It was 4:00 and we had only a few hours of daylight to get the downstairs clean and dry so we could sleep in there.

We ran over to the Command Center to check in before I got busy making us a dry place to sleep.

The church recreation hall located next to our house had survived, and now served as the new Guana Cay Command Center. It was an amazing bustle of activity. Supplies were being brought in on our dock and transported there. They had the big generator running and inside were tables lined up, supplies, food, water, a kitchen, and the smiling faces of the people we have grown to know and love. They invited us to join them for dinner and asked if we needed anything. Determined not to draw on their limited resources, we thanked them but let them know we’d eat what we brought, but that we’d take all the hugs and smiles they had to offer. They gave plenty. These people who had lost so much.

I was so impressed by how organized and productive they already were. It had only been 2 weeks and the Command Center was already serving as a base of operations for the locals remaining on the island.

We put our name on the board, shared hugs all around, and I got back to the house to do the world’s fastest post-hurricane cleaning ever.

With just a few hours of daylight, I was able to strip all the wet things and drag them outside. Matt said, “Throw all that away,” but I refused, putting everything in piles on the porch where I could try to clean and dry it later. You guys already know how neurotic I am, so this should not surprise anyone…..I was not going to lose any of it. I was determined.

About 15 minutes after dark, what remained downstairs was dry and clean. Using an inflatable solar lamp any my tiny backcountry camping stove, I made us a quick dinner using summer sausage, a pouch of pre-cooked rice, a plastic container of corn, and a pouch of black beans. That night, it tasted like filet mignon. We drank some delicious warm bottled water with it and followed that with a lovely bath taken by sitting in the (now clean) bathtub with 1 gallon of cold cistern water.

48777880962_8b640626bd.jpg

48777807281_b7b881be05.jpg

48777709421_28e4f86c33.jpg

48777893357_31ffdb99bd.jpg

48777358393_bb4efa91a4.jpg

I learned that night that I can wash my hair with shampoo, rinse it, condition it, rinse it again, and wash my body with 1 gallon of water. Don’t tell Matt. I don’t want him to have unrealistic expectations for the future.

With no electricity, we opened all the doors and windows and had 2 on the guest bed, one on the couch, and one on the floor. We were tired, but dry and strangely happy to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

2 BARGAINING: The “I Can Fix This” Stage

“Cock-a-doodle-doo!!!!”

The rooster was behind the house.

“Are you kidding me?” I rolled over and said to Matt. “That’s one tough rooster. He survived a Cat 5 and is now going to raise a race of super chickens on this island. We should be very afraid.”

“I guess he’s telling us to get up,” Matt said.

We hadn’t slept well. We were all wound up and exhausted at the same time. And it was so HOT.

“Shut up you two,” we heard from the couch. “It’s only 4:30.”

“The rooster doesn’t agree,” Matt said.

There was nothing to do but get up and get busy.

We had SO. MUCH. TO. DO. We didn’t even know how to start. We felt paralyzed by just how overwhelming it all was.

Coffee. I decided to start with coffee. We had a quick breakfast of instant coffee and cold oatmeal and then it was time to face all that needed to be done. We had so much to clean and dry, drywall and flooring to rip out, roof and siding to repair, and someone had to see if they could get us some running water. We had to flip the generator over and see if we could get it working, try to patch up the golf cart and see if it ran, and eventually go see what was left of Teeny Bikini. The water pump was busted, the gutters were off, and there was a dead tree attached to the porch.

48777888132_c88201e13c.jpg

Everyone got busy.

You would think we would have taken a look around. We didn’t.

You would think we would have gone over to Teeny Bikini to see what was left. We didn’t.

We weren’t ready yet. It was easier to just start working. I felt like, “If I can just get these rugs cleaned, everything will be okay. If I can just get the glass out of the upstairs bed, everything will be okay.” Surely there was enough mold spray and tarps to make everything right again.

I worked most of the day without even looking outside. As long as I was inside my house, everything was the same. I could pretend there was no Hurricane Dorian as long as I didn't look outside.

3 DEPRESSION: The “It’s Hopeless” Stage

By about 4:00, I was at the point that I needed to be able to use fans and a washing machine to finish my job. We hadn’t had any luck with the generator at this point, and had no idea if the generator from the other house survived, so I was stuck until we got some power and water going.
“I think I’m ready to go see the little house,” I told Matt. “I’m going to walk down.”

We hadn’t been successful getting our golf cart running. It was sitting in the yard, with no seat, looking quite forlorn.

“Let’s go together,” he said.

We walked down to Teeny Bikini. It was my first real look at things. Front Street was a war zone. Almost everything was reduced to a pile of lumber sprinkled with random, everyday objects. Very few building were standing. Trees were on the ground with electrical wires wound around everything. A huge crater had opened up in the middle of the road in front of the dive shop. Boats sat in snarled piles, some inside buildings, some in the middle of the road. Everything that was lush and green was brown.

48777829801_0c65df685d.jpg

48799075953_05856ec1ea.jpg

48799426746_c3170b7135.jpg

48777752617_494b8f3488.jpg

48777211668_a79f83ff47.jpg

48777757967_ac42563206.jpg

48777468123_7a4c68a2d5.jpg

48777969827_61d7f7c33a.jpg

48777974232_2268575997.jpg

48777390413_3950eceae7.jpg

48777445913_f812a85d74.jpg

I was in shock.

Somehow, with everything shattered around it, the little house stood. She looked pretty rough, but she was standing. I had SO MUCH HOPE.

48799278478_05631b0cb6.jpg

I had to crawl in through a hole in the door where something had busted through because the doors were screwed shut with plywood. When I stood up inside, I could see she was lost.

The floors and walls inside were bent and twisted at the wrong angles. The bedroom was a foot higher than the kitchen, a huge crack opened up between them where I could see the ground through the floor. The house had been picked up by storm surge and knocked off its foundation. The floors were covered with mud and sand. It was all broken inside.

“I’m sorry,” Matt said.

“Can you leave me alone in here for a few minutes?” I asked.

Matt crawled out to go check on the tools and generator sheds.

Y’all….I know it is just a house, but that little house was such a part of my soul. I sat on the wet couch and had a long, ugly cry. The kind where you make terrible noises and snot runs out your nose. The kind that makes you worry you might die. My heart was broken. I remembered exactly 4 years ago, coming down with Matt and Bella and Rooby to make this sweet little house our own. We painted, we scrubbed, we worked so hard and made it our home. Our home on Guana.

It was perfect and precious.

I cried like someone in my family had died. She went through a Category 5 hurricane and STOOD, but she was still gone. Silly, I know, but my heart was so heavy. It wasn’t the house so much as what the house represented. I love what my friend Chris said, “The house is really just a symbol of the love I have for this place…..”

I think this is how we all felt. No one was sad that they lost a boat or a car. Everyone's heart was broken at the loss of this island we loved so much.

When all the tears were gone, I crawled back out the door. Matt was waiting on the street, among the rubble and debris.

“Want to walk down the street to Grabbers?” he asked.

I wanted to.

I didn’t want to.

I couldn’t count how many times we had made this walk. Shutting Teeny Bikini’s happy white front door, holding hands, heading down the palm lined street to get a frosty frozen Grabber and watch the sunset.

This walk was so different.

Grabbers was gone. Even the pool was gone. Lifted and blown away to who knows where.

Matt sat on a downed palm tree and just looked around in disbelief as I walked around the other side of what was left.

When I came back, I stood and watched him and his grief broke my heart.

48777408818_5635e43e2b.jpg

48777958702_9fd40ed5eb.jpg

48777962957_caaf61ffe8.jpg

We’d been in Abaco for over 24 hours without thinking about the devastation, but it finally hit us. When it hit us, it hit hard, straight into our hearts.

“We can never fix this,” Matt said. “Look around. How can this small island handle this much destruction? How do we even start?”

“One board at a time,” I said.

4 ANGER: The “@##$%&&!!!” Stage

We went through a lot of emotions that first full day. It was like being on a roller coaster.

We got back to the house. It was hot. We were all sweaty and dirty. We’d been working about 10 hours. The stress of the situation was starting to hit me.

I knew I was at my breaking point when John, who had already spent 10 hot hours on my roof told me he used “that rag that was upstairs to clean the baseboards” and my head literally imploded.

I became an insane person.

“WHY WOULD YOU USE A FACECLOTH AS A CLEANING RAG? I HAVE CLEANING RAGS!!!! I HAVE A WHOLE BAG OF CLEANING RAGS AND, LIKE, 3 FACECLOTHS. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??? &*%$##!!@”

As the 3 guys looked at me like my head was spinning backwards and green vomit was coming out of my mouth, I realized how absurd it was.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m not angry about losing a facecloth. I’m angry about losing all of it. All of this. This beautiful island. This way of life. This future.”

The material loss was nothing. What was lost was so much bigger. This place was beautiful. This community was wonderful. Their homes and their livelihoods were important. This life we knew here was so essential to us. And it felt shattered.

I felt hollowed out.

I felt gutted.

I was sad.

I was angry.

I wanted this to be someone's fault. Someone I could punch in the face.

That night, heartsick, we let our island family love us back to life. We let them convince us to join them for dinner at the Command Center. We were grieving and seeing their happy faces gave us comfort. A relief group had brought in a feast of BBQ, mac n’ cheese, baked beans and they were having a party. How could these wonderful people be so full of life and joy in spite of what they had all been through?

48799076053_40bcc02c41.jpg

48799570817_7b19419997.jpg

They told us stories of hiding in basements that were flooding by the minute, wondering if they would survive, of living in their bathtub for hours with a mattress over their heads, of running from their home as it collapsed in the winds to another home, of being trapped inside their shattered houses for days as the rain and wind battered them long after the hurricane passed.

I couldn’t believe it. As I watched them all gather for a triumphant photo, and saw their joy in the midst of what felt like such despair, my heart lifted. This is why I loved this place.

This is what superheroes look like.

48778050866_12bbb28d4d.jpg

We went to sleep that night knowing we were committed to this place. No matter what it became or how long it took. This was still our place. It would always be our place.

Guana was still home.

48778078137_61f95cc7f8.jpg

5 ACCEPTANCE: The “This is the New Normal” Stage

It was our third day and our second full day on Guana. Our routine had quickly become, get up early, be working around 6:30 a.m., stop for a 15 minute lunch, and work until around 5:00. The days were long and hot and hard. Already, there was no part of my body that didn’t hurt.

I was impressed by the Command Center. The entire island would gather at 8:00 a.m. and share breakfast, and then everyone would go to work.

They were clearing debris from the roads, rebuilding the places where the road had caved in, fixing roofs, getting generators going, shuttling supplies. They would regroup at noon for lunch and return to work. Dinner was a joyful affair at 6:00. Then everyone would go home and do it all again the next day.

48777954361_26a65766cd.jpg

I was amazed at how quickly the landscape and strange daily routine became normal. By the third day in Abaco, it just was. It didn’t seem so strange anymore. It was simply the way things were and it was okay.

48778183812_4a90b6e586.jpg

48777902171_113a78da49.jpg

48777576293_bed9632924.jpg

We had gotten one of the generators sort of working the night before on a very limited basis. Matt swiped the water pump from Teeny Bikini and we cobbled something together that almost worked. I needed to run about 9 loads of laundry. Every single thing had to be washed. Matt said to hurry. He didn’t know how long our patches would last and I couldn’t use the dryer because we needed to conserve fuel.

I washed EVERYTHING. With no clothes line and no dryer, I had stuff draped on everything that wouldn’t run away. I had things strung up with chip clips. It looked ridiculous.

The generator and pump kicked off about every 45 minutes, but I managed to get it all done. I have never washed so much in one day. Somehow, I saved everything in that house except 2 rugs and a couple of throw pillows. I think Matt was very sad that all 12 decorative pillows on the upstairs bed survived.

John spent another long, hot day on the roof. Matt did rip and tear on the upstairs. Bob worked on generators and gutters.

It was so hot we probably drank about 10 bottles of water each every day just trying to get through the day. About halfway through the third day I asked Matt, “Don’t think this is weird, but are you peeing much?”

“No,” he said. “It scared me at first but I guess we’re sweating so much we don’t need to.”

It was weird. But apparently normal.

The new normal.

We ate nuts and dried fruit and lots of tuna. We drank lots of warm water. We were still bathing with gallons of cistern water because the pump was hinky.

Every time I looked out my window, the island was so busy. Troy was working on the generator. Mikey was hauling stuff up the dock from the boat. Nedias was shoveling sand into a washed out place on the side of the road. A crew was pouring cement into the caved in street. I heard a chain saw in the distance. Tami and Christine labored at the Command Center.

The entire island was working so hard. We all loved this place so much and it showed in every hour of sweat equity we put in. They had so much momentum and it was catching.

Sometime after lunch, I pushed my big wheeled beach cart down to Teeny Bikini to salvage what I could. I must have looked like a lunatic, crawling out of a hole in the door desperately clutching a box of tin foil and a roll of toilet paper.

I felt triumphant. I might have lost the house, but by God, I have this roll of paper towels. Take that, Dorian!

After two hot, sweaty trips, I had salvaged plenty of towels and sheets, cleaning supplies, dishes, anything from Teeny that survived. It was all I had left. I even managed to get a huge stack of clean facecloths. John could use all he wanted.

It was late afternoon. We were hot and covered with dirt and sweat. We were bone tired and our bodies ached.

“You know what would make us feel better?” I said. “Make us feel normal? The beach. The beach is still there. It’s still the same. Let’s go jump in the water for a minute. It will help, I think.”

It was a good idea in theory.

Y’all….we couldn’t get to the flipping beach!

48777853396_77b983de1e.jpg

48799570937_8b0b48ec34.jpg

Every road, every path, every stairway that led down was blocked, gone, or covered with debris.

We briefly reverted back to the ANGER stage.

“%$#@&!!!”

Then we realized there was nothing to do but laugh. It was sad and funny all at the same time.

Eventually, we found a path that was covered with what was left of two homes and many downed palm trees, but we could crawl over and around it.

We found the beach.

It was different. But it was the same.

48777501083_1aafea1061.jpg

48777879361_981c96c435.jpg

48778049707_1f3bbfc1e5.jpg

48777865991_ed292a2301.jpg

For just a moment, we forgot it all. The sand was still the same white sand. The ocean was still more shades of blue than I could count. The salty breeze still made me feel alive.

If I looked behind me, there was nothing but destruction, but as I faced forward, it was beautiful. We just needed to remember not to look back. We had to keep looking forward.

One board at a time.

48777207693_b1f7e1af10_b.jpg

48799426636_129a208554_b.jpg

48778077891_1e274823f4_b.jpg

48778073797_207fd069c7_b.jpg

48778061242_2900fe3a1c_b.jpg

48777915742_2f2d2df38a_b.jpg

48777700283_ec66635e5e_b.jpg

48777707123_89ce092812.jpg

48777715318_5c12a02568_b.jpg

48777397348_3e81e12943_b.jpg

6 HOPE: The “Every Little Thing is Gonna’ be Alright” Stage

48777906656_513e16269d.jpg

It was our last day. We had to get everything finished so we could leave the next morning and beat some weather to get home.

This was the day everything went from “new normal” to “we got this.”

It started when sweet Christine walked over from the Command Center with a donut.

“You need this,” she said as she put it in my hands. God love her.

Our friend Chris, known island wide for his coffee, had arrived the afternoon before. The damage to his house had been miraculously minimal. More importantly….the coffee machine had survived!

Coffee at Chris’s is a Guana tradition. If the sign on his sunny little yellow cottage is turned to “Hot Now,” everyone gathers on his patio for coffee that rivals any coffee shop I have been to. When Chris told us the night before to come over for coffee in the morning, my heart skipped a beat.

At 8:00 a.m. that last morning, we were sitting on Chris’s patio, sipping a cortado like nothing had ever happened.

48778097312_cdbbd2bd42.jpg

48778106262_511bffbcb4.jpg

48778119382_3d5afa6fd1.jpg

48777925841_c9509a0f8c.jpg

48777921531_025e376705.jpg

48777928711_bcd2ca9202.jpg

48778227532_29f48d4ed6.jpg

48778068641_f2a3336f4f.jpg

Well, unless you looked at the boat in the middle of the road.

New normal.

48799570897_bbf6756a8b.jpg

With only one day left, we got busy. John was back on the roof, Matt and Bob were still working on the generator and pump, gutters, and putting something over the back of the house where the siding was missing. I spent the day cleaning what was left of the upstairs and spraying for mold where the wet floors had been ripped up.

I wasn’t taking any chances. I sprayed twice with Lemocide. Then I sprayed 3 times with vinegar. I scrubbed with soap and water. Then, I sprayed twice with bleach. I know they say bleach doesn’t kill mold on wood, but the vinegar did and the bleach just made me feel good.

My entire upstairs smelled like I’d been dying Easter eggs.

By late that afternoon, the roof was temporarily patched, the back of the house was temporarily patched, the window was temporarily patched, all of the wet drywall and flooring was gone, the gutters were back on, and the house was clean and dry.

We hadn’t been using the generator for anything but fans and the washing machine up to that point, because it still wasn’t working right, but that last day we invited friends over for dinner and decided to make things as normal as we could. We decided to make ice, run the a/c, and use lights and showers that night! The water pump kicked off every 45 minutes, but we made it work.

It was time to celebrate.

“And Bob said LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

48777893541_759e3ff01d.jpg

I know God said it first, but Bob said it that night. And it was good.

Our friends brought a pork loin they had brought from home and wine they had salvaged from their house. We had champagne that had survived the storm, cold drinks, rice, broccoli, and pasta. After 4 days of tuna, PB&J, and warm water….. it was a FEAST.

48777604603_ca3a5d6716.jpg

48778154452_03c2da2fa1.jpg

48777672398_1b4fc4ed3f.jpg

Everyone got a cold shower. It was the best shower ever. Even though the water pump kept shutting off.

As we sat in the now clean den, surrounded by Guana friends, I knew that everything really was going to be alright.

Cheers, to my beautiful little island.

48777601618_df33f4aab5.jpg

And just like that, it was time to go.

Does it sound crazy when I say I didn’t want to leave? If I could have stayed and worked beside those people indefinitely, I would have. I felt sorry that I hadn’t had more time to do more for them. We barely had enough time to do what we needed to do.

I struggled with the extreme range of emotions we had gone through in so few days. I really didn’t know how to process what I felt. I’m normally very good with words and I had no words.

So I did all I could – I hugged the people I loved and told them I’d see them again.

48778036696_3c1bfbfb3b.jpg

48777681373_43eaa42f05.jpg

48778205697_f2401065ae.jpg

We pinned up the house as best we could, knowing we’d have to return in a few months to put a permanent fix on things.

As we climbed on the boat for another violent and wet ride, I looked back at Guana.

“I’ll be back,” I said in my best terminator voice.

And then I held on for dear life.

I smelled Marsh Harbour before I saw it.

A very wet ride later, we found ourselves once again on Great Abaco with no idea how we were going to get anywhere. Eventually, we simply flagged down a busted up SUV and asked for a ride. He was happy to help.

48777664333_20946dca07.jpg

48777650778_8aa1510b13.jpg

48777674583_9b03f6d32b.jpg

48778199187_89de0e558c.jpg

As the plane climbed, I looked down at the destroyed landscape below me.

Guana Cay is still there. They are alive and moving forward one board at a time.

48778232252_962ae19f5f.jpg

48777690303_19714cb810.jpg

Their homes are either gone or are damaged and patched. They have no electricity and won’t for probably a year. Their jobs are gone. Most of them don’t have hurricane insurance because it’s simply cost prohibitive. No one is going to come in and help them rebuild.

They put in long, hot thankless hours. When their day is done, they don't go home to a comfortable recliner and TV. They don't have a cold beer. They don't have a hot shower. They don't have a closet full of clean clothes. Still, they get up every day and work with joy in their hearts.

Their only clean drinking water is what you give. Their only food is what you give. The only supplies they will have to rebuild their homes and their lives is what you give.

Their lives are forever changed, but they have embraced it and are determined to rebuild. Their spirits and joy are beautiful. Great Guana Cay will be a Greater Guana Cay, but they need so much help.

If this blog has brought you any joy over the years, I ask that you please give something to the foundation set up just for Guana Cay. Donations are being matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donor up to $1 million dollars. All funds are tax deductible and 100% of the funds will go directly to Guana Cay. This is administered by someone I know and trust.

Please give anything you can through the Great Guana Cay Foundation.

And please don’t forget about them. They need our help for some time to come.

It’s still gooder on Guana Cay.

Much love!

48778051951_1bd5d944ab.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 10:19 Archived in Bahamas Tagged bahamas abaco dorian guana_cay Comments (8)

Hit Me Baby, One More Time

Back to Abaco we go....TWICE!

I have been SUCH A SLACKER lately! I am going to attempt to get caught up on some trip reports from summer and fall but I have just been so lazy lately!

This will be a very non-trip report blog post. Why? We go to Abaco so much that a "trip report" seems stupid at this point. Right? So, I'm just going to share some funny stuff and some photos and call it a day.

We ended up making 2 trips to Guana Cay in July. One was planned, the other was very last minute.

We scooted down unexpectedly in early July to look at a big sister for Bikini Hut. We love our little Guana cottage, but we love it so much, we've outgrown it! We really needed a second bedroom and Matt was itching for a dock. We had an opportunity to take a look at something, so we ran down with less than a weeks notice.

We hadn't planned to go for the 4th of July this past summer. We had totally sworn off the most crowded week of the year, filled with crazed millennials wearing trucker hats bearing the logo of Daddy's yacht; families with 17 children jockeying for position to see the fireworks; and every yahoo with a boat or jet ski that believed they could make it from Florida. Yet somehow we founds ourselves right down there in the middle of it, sweating in the impossible July heat and dodging the hordes of golf carts that uncharacteristically filled Guana's streets.

We spent a few great days eating our body weight in Bahamian mac n'cheese, visiting our Guana friends, and buying Bikini Hut a big sister.

We founds ourselves back down at the end of July for my birthday - the 10 year anniversary of my ill fated 38th birthday debacle on Guana that ended with one very bruised friend. I'm happy to report that we are older (I'm not sure about wiser) and managed a low key birthday where no one ended up with a black eye.

My favorite moments from the summer trips:

Thinking we were surprising our friends by showing up at their July 4th bonfire unannounced and dressed like creepy clowns only to find out they already knew and we were just two imbeciles in hot latex masks:

45569645751_e42c8880f1.jpg

Seeing the ACTUAL Bam Bam at Nippers.

44655793045_b5e20f1c66.jpg

45569714241_6cefa425c9.jpg

Spending my birthday on Guana and not ending up like this:

43628836542_bde0a3dd7a.jpg

But instead like this:

43860149912_0baa7ea143.jpg

Seeing this:

43868659402_cb3c31664a.jpg

Finding out a good friend has surprised me with a new Bikini Hut sign:

31697184978_a5212709b7.jpg

Discovering that there is something even scarier than my childhood Jack in the Box:

44655774175_006021523b.jpg

Being in the Bahamas for the opening day of lobster season:

31671922548_8f304b3b30.jpg

43727106200_d3fbcb649a.jpg

Discovering that each time my friends stay at Bikini Hut, they appear to have a compulsion to buy giant jars of peanut butter and leave them behind:

45569714431_5499dfa730.jpg

44655774255_4c695f7122.jpg

Realizing that I don't only love this place, I love these people:

45494714672_e6c816a36c.jpg

45545061421_e2c0165857.jpg

43726833930_dbec0e51ac.jpg

42108360920_1cde9cf7aa.jpg

43917464951_10087dae2f.jpg

28980851707_8c43493347.jpg

43199206274_282569463a.jpg

43869075132_ab674d8346.jpg

30048292748_e6ec04a175.jpg

43869010682_2bf86429a0.jpg

43868966622_6d6eae24a8.jpg

43012469845_01f2953e91.jpg

42108225400_e97e49fe95.jpg

28980717847_ce91595101.jpg

42108268360_de3e56dff9.jpg

28980834987_4347ace6b7.jpg

30048016738_24bec05a51.jpg

43199066214_13297a9c40.jpg

43199165044_02fdb22932.jpg

28980756157_4c4c2d03a3.jpg

To wrap it up, here are some favorite photos from the July trips:

43727948440_76983ae668.jpg

30603888907_db2b529bc5.jpg

44630631555_a3d1a5bcf0.jpg

45494515722_de9af71df8.jpg

44818618994_bfc2bd0c87.jpg

45569724471_2c8f4f308f.jpg

44630676955_d0eaa44d84.jpg

44630819165_552ce5e062.jpg

45543911811_b0ae98d2cf.jpg

30603997177_93c8a42aa9.jpg

43752247480_532a8b5021.jpg

30603085867_95a4889422.jpg

45569724131_7d4eb8d96f.jpg

45494390442_06b7b97238.jpg

45494064062_5c44e7b6f5.jpg

31671795558_2c4cd19a69.jpg

30603621597_74057f1631.jpg

30603714707_48f95ab439.jpg

45494408112_457d2dd4dd.jpg

31672304858_e90fa009c5.jpg

44630830335_c6bd353542.jpg

45544039421_5b5e660561.jpg

44818488774_a2507af95b.jpg

44819768734_0139f41d77.jpg

45493819972_83901c5308.jpg

44631037015_8e2790e4d7.jpg

43727002860_aa3de63766.jpg

45494841462_669be19aae.jpg

43726721430_b747b74000.jpg

44818557614_446f840d32.jpg

31672224448_63448ff494.jpg

30602955507_b7bd1e77f4.jpg

31671399788_c6257195bf.jpg

31672518978_425ded25c9.jpg

44818638944_57b064498b.jpg

45494634942_bc00c2b73d.jpg

45493630892_5af2ee6f5b.jpg

30603263797_8fff3dd908.jpg

44819325984_97e52a54fa.jpg

30602861267_7d0c81f7c3.jpg

45494574962_e3a86f5e52.jpg

44818507304_dd07d500b9.jpg

31672173218_ea06f172bd.jpg

31671491778_151611b1cd.jpg

44819229964_056277cbb3.jpg

45544752581_d30f4f663d.jpg

45544705701_bfe16cfa48.jpg

44631055685_d5899e9f98.jpg

44630645375_64988dc88c.jpg

31672812658_f2475cf460.jpg

43726604650_675f52ec6c.jpg

30047569468_dab983f2a7.jpg

43013915535_8637888b03.jpg

43197752174_94432df0d8.jpg

43013758925_edbcd42c89.jpg

43916537231_473dd78a52.jpg

43011060355_d653ede286.jpg

43011802675_e6d73512df.jpg

30047702578_427f5422ed.jpg

43918856111_1a75cf5bc7.jpg

28979559637_e01f1b43ee.jpg

30046548318_253348f868.jpg

28980105987_b51cce14c5.jpg

42109642570_5b1a7223a9.jpg

43916158101_044b1f0c08.jpg

30046675658_c7f6481c48.jpg

43013621575_16181243b0.jpg

43917432471_c32fa9ab0f.jpg

30049533158_4d9413ba6f.jpg

42107923480_702b79f640.jpg

28980585067_2bca5c004c.jpg

28980397787_f11aa10cdb.jpg

30047627518_528132fbbc.jpg

42106742750_bfc9b8fcaf.jpg

43867559972_681f2578b1.jpg

43198510014_a8a8af2c5a.jpg

43011133515_46c0f0a053.jpg

43870409082_09b34c66b4.jpg

42106764270_c539773ee6.jpg

43918760351_88df76f84f.jpg

43200621404_62b250be12.jpg

42109707700_d38bde1583.jpg

42109364760_908c8bd025.jpg

Up next: FINALLY......Our return to the Greek Islands! Wait for it!

Posted by vicki_h 10:05 Archived in Bahamas Tagged islands tropical bahamas nippers abaco elbow_cay guana_cay grabbers marsh_harbour lubbers_landing Comments (1)

A Double Dose of Vitamin Sea

We had a mid-April trip to Guana Cay planned when a last minute opportunity to fly down for free came up at the end of March.

There is no such thing as an overdose of Vitamin Sea.

It was the end of March when we zipped down with good friends and seasoned veterans of Abaco for a fun-filled weekend. We arrived early and were greeted with brilliant blue skies and an abundance of sunshine.

Keeping the boat at Treasure Cay has changed our “arrival routine” from a Bahama Mama and conch fritters at Curly Tails to a lunch trip to Treasure Sands before making our way to Guana Cay. Treasure Sands is beautiful and has amazing food, but it’s not the most convenient place to boat to from Guana, the passage demanding calm seas and as little wind as possible to be entirely comfortable. Because our boat is already there, it just makes sense to enjoy it before we leave.

40069286090_1277c8688b.jpg

28007349038_bd8b65b01b.jpg

41833940862_d84ae680c2.jpg

28007307038_1028760fdd.jpg

40977599595_25c9fa32e3.jpg

So we launched right in with drinks by the pool and a delicious seaside lunch.

27110188227_fc285a001f.jpg

41260610294_bae831e923.jpg

41833930352_3f3d2d0be0.jpg

28007311778_59a558863d.jpg

40977564125_59f5dae815.jpg

28007276638_fa07a7378a.jpg

27008494237_81b94f9a42.jpg

40069152860_05de611580.jpg

28007249908_67520ecb62.jpg

41876105551_5d40928c8c.jpg

27008408207_59f5bf394a.jpg

41159296824_cf7dac27a1.jpg

41159291244_82d88f7e66.jpg

We arrived on Guana too late for a grocery run and headed to Grabbers for sunset cocktails instead. Who needs fresh water and milk when you have a lethal frozen concoction of rum waiting for you?

I should point out that one too many frozen concoctions of rum often leads to a “golf cart incident.” In this case, Matt turned left and my body went right.

I think falling off your golf cart is a rite of passage on Guana Cay.

41159278794_5a2aaf7724.jpg

The next morning we grabbed the necessary provisions at Guana Grocery and discussed our plans for the day. It was going to be windy every day, so we couldn’t venture very far. Friends who were also on island were boating over to Firefly and we agreed to meet up for lunch.

That would have been fine if the boat had started.

40977398905_d5583d37fc.jpg

While the guys puzzled over the problem, the girls headed to Grabbers for sunshine and frozen mango daiquiris. Before we could do as much as dip a toe in the water, the guys told us to “Come on!”

41833684222_e87e06819f.jpg

41876022411_a9316efc54.jpg

41833654422_62689176b0.jpg

27008307567_f8c9297aee.jpg

27008297347_f62d9a3edd.jpg

After puzzling, deliberating, changing the battery, and finally giving up and calling Troy, we discovered that someone had inadvertently hit the battery kill switch.

Note to self: Check kill switch before calling Troy.

28007076588_94aa79b5eb.jpg

Humbled and late, we headed to Elbow Cay. We made it in time to meet our friends for a fabulous waterfront lunch with the best frozen drinks in Abaco.

41875900141_13fe66fe0c.jpg

41875948301_21dd966d6d.jpg

41875890431_5961a80e58.jpg

41875915081_15e7e0f134.jpg

41875906591_be00efc865.jpg

41875877881_7dbd20a417.jpg

28006978678_e5001927c2.jpg

41833535152_af6802269d.jpg

It was getting late and it was pretty windy, so we cut our losses and headed back to Guana for a peaceful sunset.

40068825640_80a0f4c3cf.jpg

41875784711_7d7f368b59.jpg

41875804041_86ce7b8aa2.jpg

41833475082_39ec44c54c.jpg

40977217855_ed917c7d27.jpg

27008086477_c6fe3a06c9.jpg

41159020754_3891e6c8c5.jpg

It was Friday night and Kidds Cove was serving up their Friday night grill. They day wrapped up with butter and garlic drenched lobster and crispy conch fritters.

41875848901_19e17bc9c0.jpg

41875839281_b5103dea17.jpg

41159099274_2333ba759e.jpg

40068724590_b090ca4a71.jpg

41875725551_11e649cc67.jpg

Saturday morning was beautiful….but still windy. I made breakfast from my score of fresh baked Johnny Cakes that I found at the grocery the day before, and we tried to decide whether to even get the boat out.

40068712730_e401e56e82.jpg

40977154695_01aaced8a7.jpg

41875697531_5234a8744f.jpg

27008009837_587f775004.jpg

40977108855_f96615672c.jpg

28006727668_bf3dccc2aa.jpg

But first....$5 bloody Marys from Sir Eden at the Orchid Bay Farmer's Market!

41875689361_1a34276b03.jpg

28006776658_71bedafd2d.jpg

28006770538_7a4305ae58.jpg

Ultimately, the sunshine won out and we decided on a conservative plan: a quick trip to Man-O-War for lunch at the Dock & Dine and a stop in at the lagoon, where the winds are always calm.

41875599501_53b2990711.jpg

40068576730_805f15647c.jpg

41875553091_29573a5985.jpg

28006643768_1578d5302c.jpg

41158833994_70977d9bcc.jpg

40977011315_e16a470426.jpg

41833194542_716d757dc7.jpg

27007816017_91c4e4cd9c.jpg

28006578488_85c883f482.jpg

28006586628_918e768724.jpg

28006561788_dc7b2e61e3.jpg

41833165312_26b4cc3463.jpg

28006550868_0dc4135215.jpg

41875497281_8c589720fb.jpg

27007773007_1a53c366a6.jpg

41875470051_5d43660076.jpg

40976955635_f6d4043ed4.jpg

40068454490_3c2b7457c0.jpg

One of the things I love about Guana Cay, especially since buying a home there, is that it’s more like home than a vacation and the people who live there and visit regularly have become friends and family rather than strangers. As such, we had somehow amassed a group of 14 for dinner that night and I only had a reservation for 6.

Mermaids was quick to accommodate the change and immediately had a table set up for our entire group. The service, the food, and the drinks were top notch as always!

41158723984_a61ec3959d.jpg

40976939245_dea959e039.jpg

After dinner, we hopped over to Grabbers for some Karaoke with Gabby and a little bit of (very bad) late night dancing.

27007713667_d73fd6b15c.jpg

It was Sunday Funday, but the water was the calmest it had been all weekend, so we decided to forgo Nippers and head north to No Name Cay. I had seen that there were some piglets on the island and wanted to get my baby pig fix.

27007704297_3b5fb161f8.jpg

41875414751_b6b497f588.jpg

41158686734_2d18b7ddbc.jpg

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I am not short of opinions and, from time to time, I have to climb up on my soapbox. So ….get ready.

I realize these are PIGS. However, they are not pets. They are not very keen on being touched, chased, or handled. I was dismayed by how many people I saw flat out running after them, chasing them, as they ran away squealing and terrified. I saw parents letting their kids throw things at them and grab at them, as they tried to hide under things to get away. I saw people throw food on the sand rather than in the nice, clean wooden trough that is provided, causing the pigs (who will eat ANYTHING PEOPLE) to gobble up the food….sand and all. All I am trying to say is that a little human decency goes a long way. These are animals. They are hungry, thirsty, and slightly apprehensive of all the human attention. Enjoy them from a distance, take a picture rather than grabbing a piglet by the tail, put food in the trough rather than throwing it in the sand, don’t chase them if they are afraid – let them come to you if they choose, give them some water. Be decent. That’s all.

40068395160_1508620cef.jpg

40976887305_89f5e93bd9.jpg

27007645887_1075dcb04f.jpg

41875361411_3449b4e076.jpg

40068363760_58835c1053.jpg

28006364408_c0dd9db230.jpg

41875318021_dd63288170.jpg

27007575967_0e72a09cea.jpg

28006317048_26e5ca74fe.jpg

41832886652_8eda8f94f4.jpg

40976783295_8755766d66.jpg

40976766815_3de412c3a8.jpg

28006265818_1681c1b91e.jpg

41875238871_3158e7209e.jpg

40068243350_196582b687.jpg

27007454837_dba8b1386c.jpg

Once we had our piglet fix, we headed to Green Turtle. We had always pulled into New Plymouth on previous visits, but decided to pull into the dock at Coco Beach and make the short walk to the Green Turtle Club.

27007445127_f4127b23ab.jpg

41158483474_3b992c4e59.jpg

27007424097_d3e47947e3.jpg

40976688805_78cdb75159.jpg

27007406797_de8401a172.jpg

41875175111_f404b4df0d.jpg

28006185298_043733d969.jpg

41875179401_4cc66354fd.jpg

41832660592_8e0ac7929f.jpg

41832651562_e54632f412.jpg

40068064890_a474c2ae9c.jpg

It was a great way to wrap up a short trip.

Beautiful beach, wonderful food, strong drinks.

Great friends.

41832670482_0bdb8a05a0.jpg

BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE….

Because Matt and I headed back down with newbies less than 2 weeks later!

Online friends Mark and Kristen became real friends back in October when we met in the flesh in Maryland. Somehow, we didn’t scare them off and they actually agreed to come to Abaco for a first visit.

Despite many trips to Exuma, they had not yet taken the plunge and visited Abaco so we offered to take them with us and show them around. It was a way for them to dip their toes in the water without making too much of a commitment.

It felt like “déjà vu all over again” as we lay in a near comatose state, sun drunk on the beach loungers at Treasure Cay.

26946965887_9a96626b05.jpg

41814708011_54f7a56303.jpg

40007760910_e5b57bf510.jpg

40017757320_f0feab5746.jpg

41824522411_e8de64131c.jpg

Champagne was followed by cocktails. Cocktails were followed by lunch. Lunch was followed by the beach.

40007792820_b50d05e239.jpg

41098038104_36761f5779.jpg

40007625320_75aa3b447d.jpg

26946939037_6cdcc47855.jpg

41772929542_8af015e1da.jpg

41772939542_58ba0fb411.jpg

41098115604_56d8ce53db.jpg

40009707940_5c1e598c6d.jpg

And…much like two weekends prior….that was followed by sunset at Grabbers and dinner, except that this time, I managed to stay in the golf cart.

41814855991_e2f65bf31b.jpg

27946922918_8e44566fd5.jpg

40926427275_b3a75544fa.jpg

26947147447_e2e30c5bf9.jpg

40916653665_d15449d7dd.jpg

27947030368_f692991923.jpg

40918124825_dffeebf762.jpg

41773152232_45ae7fb9a7.jpg

The next morning, we discovered that the winds were still up. That meant we couldn’t go very far comfortably.

27947058688_b7cca844b9.jpg

40007982460_d3acee0810.jpg

41773187442_02c33936d6.jpg

We settled on a trip to Elbow Cay (dang, this feels familiar). Our first stop was the beach at Man-O-War where we looked for starfish and shells, lounged in the sunshine, and enjoyed strawberry mimosas and bloody Marys.

40916733415_a95b8d36f9.jpg

40916750935_7a2a9e79dd.jpg

40008092030_0c657daa49.jpg

26947391307_a38deec9ab.jpg

41098398654_10d994f5dc.jpg

41773398612_b65f85c9c3.jpg

40009758060_07213880bb.jpg

40916794855_f74935a6b4.jpg

40008182090_3f0fcc25bd.jpg

26947463327_d93b4239bc.jpg

Next stop was Firefly for a decadent lunch and a revisit of those glorious frozen cocktails.

26947486317_facec62939.jpg

40009752670_d1eb9a0b49.jpg

26947512117_dc02ee0cb0.jpg

41098543054_362db3ac34.jpg

41773492832_b2bda88fe4.jpg

41098549254_bc5ccd4b15.jpg

41773502502_ca15343d99.jpg

41815148431_5b7e9e4088.jpg

41098596634_b702769e0a.jpg

Then it was on to Tahiti Beach for the sandbar party and boat drinks (or, more appropriately...lounging in the water drinks).

40017823240_2f1fb6f8f0.jpg

27947283468_02292de587.jpg

41824603841_1dc98d8287.jpg

Last stop was Hopetown for a quick shopping trip and a cocktail at Hopetown Harbour Lodge.

40008325770_9d5aba4b73.jpg

40008339270_fd68b46ab2.jpg

41815240251_e7bdb1e29d.jpg

40008346050_e3fa189633.jpg

40008354680_4a64c503b0.jpg

26947694117_131a1f75de.jpg

40008404190_1f5c828d16.jpg

41098718684_e76614ce93.jpg

41098743324_55c7db2f53.jpg

27947426768_e907f45447.jpg

41098779374_dc05fe6d41.jpg

41098825724_47393d9784.jpg

41098797514_ac95e52222.jpg

41815402261_8cc8647a22.jpg

27947476908_9978ce55e3.jpg

40017765050_cbc45e87ec.jpg

40917239575_eb145604fa.jpg

That night, Mermaids helped me surprise Kristen who had celebrated her birthday just before the trip with a mermaid themed birthday dinner. Mermaids is TOPS!!

40917249925_a2d60d1b9a.jpg

41108349904_7c998cb0d2.jpg

41815456011_acf10e3fa4.jpg

40917277355_43c1638b84.jpg

41773879722_bb57f431a3.jpg

40917328935_d64a4cc140.jpg

41098971524_2b50fc82a7.jpg

26947991147_a6903a783e.jpg

41773960822_620c74e349.jpg

27947673818_8a3117d794.jpg

41098019414_cca315e98f.jpg

Sunday Funday dawned bold and beautiful.

27947701318_9105712c85.jpg

27947741438_63eb9e18ef.jpg

41815656941_a07121594f.jpg

40917512165_ed6dc5b041.jpg

41774068102_882791d4f0.jpg

We felt like Mark and Kristen needed the Nippers experience for their first visit, but we didn’t want to waste a gorgeous boat day, so we made a quick trip to the lagoon.

41099167514_56fa046c38.jpg

41815720371_7a366fcc6d.jpg

40918419965_1c65581c9b.jpg

40017807480_1735d7d869.jpg

We sipped strawberry daiquiris and snuggled some warm beach dogs while we watched the water turn every shade of blue around us.

Then it was back to Guana for lunch at Grabbers. I love their tuna poke and wings! Yeah okay, I also love the Grabbers!

40917585695_4d82e197c5.jpg

40008848860_5e460dcd1e.jpg

26948197887_01263178d0.jpg

26948207037_e52742b99c.jpg

41774192772_97e2e4ee09.jpg

41815840601_7c05c41428.jpg

41100305254_9031436130.jpg

41099348254_718acf2b0a.jpg

41099371864_c29206f426.jpg

40008973120_b7d4a8d9bf.jpg

40917699845_be030ab8ce.jpg

It wasn’t a super crazy Sunday at Nippers, but that’s good. That might have been a bit much for a first timer.

41774304722_42812abe44.jpg

41774313982_dcafabee87.jpg

40917735625_61fea6eb18.jpg

It was just busy enough to enjoy some drinks, do some pool dancing, make some new friends, and hang out on the beach.

41108354504_fac4def1f6.jpg

41815969441_a1e5ac8b47.jpg

41774340682_0cb3e126c5.jpg

41815951181_d9393dc4ba.jpg

For dinner, we cleaned up and headed to Orchid Bay for pizza (my favorite Sunday Funday dinner!).

41815978581_cd563bc2eb.jpg

41782868752_022c9b2fd0.jpg

Our last day proved to be another windy one, so we didn’t want to venture very far. While I really wanted to show them Green Turtle, No Name, Munjack, or Pete’s…we settled for Man-O-War.

27948036348_1a01a8b7ae.jpg

We enjoyed some seriously good cracked lobster burgers at the Dock & Dine.

26948457987_8bccc2fe28.jpg

26948469887_2881a4bb85.jpg

40917829535_1afb9992a5.jpg

40917838155_c2021d7312.jpg

Then we wandered down to the Sail Shop, Joe’s Studio, and my favorite….Sally’s Seaside Boutique where I can always find something adorable made from her traditional Bahamian fabrics.

41774450942_a6b9c75d4e.jpg

41816089121_c539ccfcba.jpg

40009157980_504b2be25f.jpg

26948539647_658231fd79.jpg

Craving just a little more beach time, we stopped at my favorite little beach for some sunshine and afternoon cocktails.

26948566717_c734eb20e0.jpg

26948581067_0dea746e58.jpg

41099655984_07cd8cebee.jpg

27948144638_a35b0fa1e1.jpg

40918000615_f47f0d9c75.jpg

40918503895_f5608e2592.jpg

41099746064_9f777bfc13.jpg

41816265741_9776282e2f.jpg

41816274411_186887249e.jpg

26948843337_dcdd8e4430.jpg

41099877924_06a7dc5e5c.jpg

41099892344_2af95c1d1d.jpg

41108359644_6ae2c3cc30.jpg

41100093734_c3b2cd823e.jpg

Don’t worry….this little guy is in the water….it’s just that clear!

41099842824_c07289bd57.jpg

Too soon, our last day was over so we drowned our sorrows with frozen Grabbers, a final sunset, and a quiet dinner at Nippers.

26946912057_722867f007.jpg

40009477770_cf7d28ca68.jpg

41816418401_0dea96b21c.jpg

26948961977_c4b15297f1.jpg

40009534160_347d9f2cc2.jpg

41774872622_6408fcfca8.jpg

26949000937_f973a34955.jpg

But don’t feel too sorry for me just yet. Coming on the heels of back to back trips to Guana is an anniversary trip to Anna Maria Island! Stay tuned friends!

Posted by vicki_h 11:38 Archived in Bahamas Tagged islands tropical bahamas nippers abaco elbow_cay guana_cay grabbers marsh_harbour lubbers_landing Comments (3)

Ringing in 2018..... Guana-Cay Style

YOU CAN’T RAIN ON MY PARADE.

The flight to Abaco had been uneventful. It was the day after Christmas and Matt and I were en route to Bikini Hut to ring in the New Year.

Flying into Abaco is interesting. There is no flight control. There is no tower. Each pilot simply communicates on the radio with every other pilot to decide who is where and who is landing when. It doesn’t matter if you are a single engine Cessna Skyhawk or a commercial jet – it’s an act of cooperation and it amazes me every time to hear tiny 4 seater private planes coordinating with turboprops and jets to see where everyone is and what order they are landing in.

“This is Cessna 41-Mike,” we heard over the radio. “Has anyone made it into Treasure Cay in the last 15?”

It was raining, you see.

The flight was uneventful until this moment. Now…we were nearing the Treasure Cay airport in a downpour and many planes were having a hard time landing due to low visibility. The commercial planes had to turn back because there is no ILS approach and they required a higher altitude for visibility to land.

Just as we were considering turning back to wait it out at a drier airport, someone responded. “Baron 32-Alpha just landed. Clear of active runway.”

That said, we knew we could make it.

Landing in the rain is not my favorite, because it means unloading in the rain, getting a taxi in the rain, and probably getting on the boat in the rain, but what other choice was there?

We landed in the rain. We unloaded in the rain. We got into a taxi in the rain.

It was still raining when we reached the Treasure Cay Marina, where our boat was waiting. Rather than load the boat in the rain, we decided to wait it out with rum punches and fish burgers tucked inside the Tipsy Seagull where it was nice and dry and where our furry children were welcome.

26028526078_2272dc1ca4.jpg

39002779765_36eb75acbc.jpg

A few rum punches later, the rain dissipated and we loaded the boat to make our way to Bikini Hut on Guana Cay!

We were almost there.

Sure, we arrived later than expected, but we had plenty of time to unpack, get what few groceries we needed from the on island store, and get to Grabbers for sunset, that first frozen grabber of the trip, lobster bites, and mac n’cheese.

39901763711_29a88aebc3.jpg

39868886462_82972623d6.jpg

39901762911_09b5250afb.jpg

39901762281_653a7a6570.jpg

It felt like a Welcome Home to me.

IT’S NOT WEDNESDAY, IT’S SUN DAY.

Sure, it was mid-week but the sun was shining and the day started off bright and HOT. This was fine with me because December in Abaco can bring anything from 50 degrees to 80. A high near 80 with endless sun was a perfect first day.

39868886052_797f14330b.jpg

We had nothing planned. A whole lot of nothing.

The morning started with a walk on the beach with my favorite girls. Bella and Rooby were happy to be back.

Rooby loves watching the sun come up.

39868885042_d1f2e8081d.jpg

39868885542_0bb04f3f4b.jpg

39868885772_e7bfcfe4d2.jpg

Our December trips are more about “to dos” than leisure, and Matt had a list of things he wanted to accomplish during our week at the Hut. I didn’t have much to do, so I opted for a lazy day at Grabbers. I knew it wasn’t going to be this warm all week and I wanted to take advantage of it while I could.

39868884652_2afb15ef85.jpg

I grabbed one of these….

28121137929_fceb15490d.jpg

And stared at this….

28121139169_5e28be08b2.jpg

Until I was so sun drunk I could do nothing more than roll over every once in a while to ensure I burned evenly.

28121141299_04935067dd.jpg

28121136939_93564c0cc4.jpg

28121139939_a884e0ba38.jpg

28121138709_2652a7a1db.jpg

28121138259_505ce736fb.jpg

Eventually, the lure of the sun was more than Matt could take and he joined me for lobster caprese sandwiches and fish tacos.

28121137389_4a1c8552c9.jpg

28121135509_5e41409b80.jpg

28121135099_16a54cf3a6.jpg

And then a little more of this….

28121136289_98a92d6b20.jpg

We have become friends with several other homeowners on the island and everyone had finally arrived, so we agreed to meet up at one of the houses for dinner. We grabbed a sunset, a Grabber, and headed out to finish the day with our island family.

28121134769_4ee1aaa747.jpg

IT’S A PINK NIGHTMARE.

It was another beautiful morning on Guana Cay.

28121134389_7b8c5af095.jpg

28121133849_e6e0b7ef1e.jpg

28121133209_c94212824f.jpg

25029923437_7b0a7a9924.jpg

Matt had plans to do something fun like pour a cement ramp to the laundry room or rebuild the shutters, so I grabbed my beach bag and ran out of the house faster than you can shake a paintbrush.

28121131229_e338abda06.jpg

28121130469_18e7d9f00b.jpg

28121126779_023b46077c.jpg

28121126129_e06a0bc2a1.jpg

28121125269_1ae084524d.jpg

28121124419_974e6aeee5.jpg

I had no intention of spending a beautiful day painting trim, so I parked myself on a lounge chair at Nippers, ordered a spicy bloody Mary, and watched the clouds go by.

Matt joined me for lunch and we agreed to share a healthy lunch and a fried pile of delicious crap so that neither of us felt too guilty. The seared ahi tuna salad was amazing….but so was the cracked lobster with fries.

28121129289_b6edbb153a.jpg

28121123799_f0ec54864c.jpg

28121127459_3fca80fa6b.jpg

To avoid being labeled a total slacker….I spent the afternoon painting shutters.

Mainly because I had to soften Matt up.

You see, it was the night of the annual Guana Cay Christmas Golf Cart Parade.

We discovered last year that the golf cart parade is the most fun that can be had at 3 mph. Everyone dresses up in tacky Christmas attire and meets at the Lumberyard. From there, about 50 decorated golf carts roll through town, making stops at each of the 3 main restaurants on Guana where food is served and drinks are bought….ending the night at Nippers for a tacky Christmas dance party.

25029915007_7caaf6eca0.jpg

“I look like a deranged Easter Bunny,” Matt said.

“You look AMAZING!” I lied. (actually....he DID look amazing....)

Matt’s favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story, but I still couldn’t believe he had agreed to my costume idea. He did, however, require a small dose of liquid courage.

25029914297_e7e7b3f464.jpg

25029914497_1195fdb5af.jpg

25029914677_bf3e2ee998.jpg

25029913527_b485a5c8d1.jpg

25029913987_bdc49f5f3b.jpg

We met up with our island family first so that we could all head to the Lumberyard together to ensure we were lined up in succession during the parade.

I love these people.

25029915467_ab8fe46af4.jpg

39901726131_4ed9a09a52.jpg

39901723931_1a4fc4e750.jpg

We made our way to the Lumberyard and waited for the parade to start.

Now….Matt might have been wearing the world’s largest pink onesie, but I was wearing HIGH HEELS. I never wear heels on Guana. High heels and Guana Cay go together like Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna.

And much like Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna, mixing the two leads to a greater than average chance of violence, bodily harm, ripped fishnets, and tears.

I proved this point when I got clever and decided to hold one leg up under my lampshade, you know, so I looked more like the one-legged lamp from the movie?

Rather than looking like a MAJOR AWARD…I got my heel caught in my hoop and immediately took a hard dive to the gravel.

This broke my fall:

28121087859_fc086f8a59.jpg

At that moment, I would have given anything to have been wearing a pink fleece onesie.

Instead, I brushed it off and screamed, “And she’s up!” I guess I am not so FRUH-GEE-LAY after all.

25029915197_7f02a824d0.jpg

25029900247_2c620143e0.jpg

28121098239_89e4d6c0d0.jpg

25029899217_113882f90b.jpg

25029898697_c3076fce42.jpg

39002737995_b2aefbe167.jpg

25029897367_1340f7d496.jpg

FRI-YAY!

39868853172_20b0f81cb2.jpg

28121092449_da1ef211f2.jpg

25029894697_68e5df5d9c.jpg

39190977844_69f1c8a052.jpg

28121089489_b913516d44.jpg

The next morning, Matt had to make the Bunny Walk of Shame.

He had gotten our golf cart stuck at Nippers the night before, you see. Late nights, drinks, bunny suits, and golf cart parking do not mix.

With the golf cart secured back at the Hut, we decided it was a nice day to get the boat out. It was sunny, but the wind was acting up a bit, so we decided not to go far.

39190975844_c545ff5fde.jpg

39002733735_d2c1d34d41.jpg

26028481338_956a61ddf1.jpg

Our plan was to simply hop over to Man-O-War and grab lunch and pick up a couple of new bags from the sail shop to add to our ever growing collection.

We stopped in at the Dock-N-Dine where we enjoyed the beautiful views and ran into more Guana friends.

28121084469_9d66747cfc.jpg

39190974304_4a4da3c955.jpg

39901704221_9cdc219eff.jpg

25029888407_7d714ee756.jpg

I like any restaurant in Abaco that veers from the traditional menu of: 1) Cheeseburger, 2) Fishburger, 3) Cracked Conch…all served with fries, peas n’rice, or mac n’cheese.

For starters, we enjoyed the black bean and lump crab cakes topped with goat pepper salsa and served with citrus yogurt. For lunch, I had the triple seafood pita club: a warm pita filled with fried lobster, shrimp and crab along with crispy lettuce, tomato, and bacon. Matt dove into the amazing Tommy Burger which is topped with crispy onions, spicy apple jam, white cheddar, and a rosemary BBQ sauce.

26028477478_325c0c7c98.jpg

25029887407_0f819948b3.jpg

25029887007_c9b0d65326.jpg

We meandered through the sunny streets of Man-O-War until we reached Albury’s sail shop. This is a must stop on most trips to Abaco. We love their canvas bags and simply can’t get enough of them.

25029886527_5de2e6b6fa.jpg

39002728845_c69b3b4a28.jpg

26028474568_8e87d95819.jpg

28121077979_09dd183f5e.jpg

25029884967_a00c1cda09.jpg

28121076969_22bf3cd384.jpg

25029883837_eca694b0d6.jpg

In order to get Matt to knock off half a day and play on the boat, I had agreed to spend the afternoon working on the shutters.

That night, one of our island friends hosted dinner for the group and we all gathered for the end of another beautiful island day.

26028470938_e3e2f8eb5a.jpg

MEET ME AT TAHITI

26028468988_716bca4973.jpg

39901693981_d36b263e1c.jpg

26028467418_1b3caef167.jpg

26028466758_39a97d02fe.jpg

39901693101_258cbdc54f.jpg

28121071669_ea079080dd.jpg

39901692381_3da3da7a81.jpg

26028464638_7d144aff24.jpg

After our morning walk on the beach with the girls, I convinced Matt to take a full boat day. We’d been working all week (in between having a little fun) and it was a beautiful day to be on the water. The sun was shining, the water was calm, the wind was down….it was a perfect day.

39901692001_1ae4a6c5a5.jpg

28121069059_836dedb7fc.jpg

26028463398_819c5211bb.jpg

28121067869_e4b595dcb6.jpg

39868837672_bd6b929e3a.jpg

28121066639_1ab99d3560.jpg

We made our way to Elbow Cay and anchored at Tahiti Beach to watch the sand bar arrive.

26028461938_3c2e67d851.jpg

26028461388_c0227b95b5.jpg

28121064649_926e33fc70.jpg

39868832682_c16d520dba.jpg

39190957374_898aea3bb8.jpg

26028458558_44266c3b2d.jpg

39868828982_58dd842dc2.jpg

26028457638_58e061f4c5.jpg

28121059169_dba6b83b25.jpg

39901681541_289756f511.jpg

39190858974_f67b55e7fc.jpg

39868827372_6e5f97d892.jpg

25029869747_e40b7e60f2.jpg

26028454638_4127b7c3d3.jpg

26028454168_bb1dd23907.jpg

39901680711_1a650a0a49.jpg

26028452948_2bb8d9d9f5.jpg

26028452598_e05ae6acb1.jpg

What we didn’t expect was an actual SAND BAR.

This floating bar showed up just as we were leaving, so I didn’t get a chance to try it. That just means something new for next time!

39901678691_d217256cf9.jpg

I had my heart set on Lunch at Firefly. Without a reservation, you better get there early or you won’t be eating. We pulled in right at noon and scored an amazing waterfront table. By the time we left, they were literally turning people away telling them the list was too full to add anyone else for lunch.

28121053829_476d1d08f7.jpg

39868821832_e6fafcc5b8.jpg

25029865167_b3a4a5e745.jpg

39901674771_6973f933af.jpg

39901673831_49f36e81c2.jpg

Firefly has the best cocktails and food around, so a meal there is always something to savor.

I started off with a smoky mezcal old fashioned, which was a nice change from the sweet tropical drinks I had been sucking down for the last few days.

25029863717_1aab7f981b.jpg

The lobster quesadilla with mango pineapple salsa was calling our name. Drizzled with chipotle sour cream, it was the perfect way to start lunch.

28121050339_f3a1cecbe1.jpg

Matt had the panko crusted fish cakes (which looked more like balls….just sayin’) served with mesclun greens and fruit salsa.

26028450548_8c25a7a6cc.jpg

I had what was quite possibly the best salad of my life: the naked cobb salad with coconut panko crusted lobster. Yes, I realize the bacon, blue cheese and deep fried lobster destroyed any chance that salad had of being healthy, but it was so delicious I did not care.

28121049649_79027fffbc.jpg

After lunch, we hopped over to Hopetown Harbour where we walked around for a bit before relaxing with a drink at the Reef Bar at Hopetown Harbour Lodge. I never get tired of these views.

39868814472_d1e7b0d23a.jpg

39868815042_264608b9fb.jpg

39868815372_bcef2dba56.jpg

39868816212_6e61185dae.jpg

39901667121_5a8ce52545.jpg

39901668041_992b5fee20.jpg

39901668571_057ffac11f.jpg

39190945154_548eed2318.jpg

39002700925_4db48100c3.jpg

39868815812_cc28c0a7b6.jpg

39868814072_df2840936a.jpg

With the shorter winter days, it was time to head back so we could make it in before dark.

We wrapped up the day with a blazing sunset at Grabbers and a pizza at Orchid Bay.

39868812912_a24d8818e6.jpg

39868813162_4e3fc3926d.jpg

39868811322_f904f66dc8.jpg

39868811982_2ba6c48254.jpg

39868810562_27a2fb67eb.jpg

39868809872_9fb7982677.jpg

39868809492_4299e02993.jpg

39868807972_82d1c1ae43.jpg

39868808882_5c49cb67e1.jpg

39978337202_952767e02f.jpg

THE PERFECT STORM.

39868807672_ed86558ed7.jpg

It was Sunday Funday at Nippers. It was New Year’s Eve. And it was the day the famed Bucketlust yacht group and their Bravo film crew had decided to descend upon our tiny little island.

It was the perfect storm.

We headed to Nippers early so that we could enjoy the beach bar before the crowds arrived. I admit that I am one of the instigators when I am with a group, but when it’s just me and Matt, we keep things low key. We were just there to be spectators today.

39868806542_53f667f83a.jpg

39868802122_9b7f2b90f3.jpg

39868802982_14899fdbd9.jpg

39868805842_b3eaca671f.jpg

39868805072_11da333816.jpg

39868804692_1fb18877dd.jpg

39868800612_b0afdd308f.jpg

39868799902_2480f4507d.jpg

39868803492_999977ea16.jpg

The calm before the storm….

39868804062_e2cb254b1c.jpg

The place was empty and beautiful, just the way I like it. We had some frozen Nippers, dipped in the pool, lay in the abundant sunshine, and shared a cheeseburger.

When things went from this:

39868807332_d86f697b4f.jpg

To this:

39190922684_5f15a74e4f.jpg

We knew it was time to call it a day.

We did what old people do on New Year’s Eve….we went home and took a nap. How else am I supposed to stay awake until midnight??

Then it was time for NYE dinner.

39190920794_a2d6d574cd.jpg

39190919494_b0b6e15eeb.jpg

39190919764_6ec2ee826b.jpg

39868793442_d009527d5b.jpg

39190918964_6db22c6081.jpg

I tried to dress fancy for the occasion, but it had turned cooler, and within minutes, I decided to ditch the dress for jeans and a long sleeve shirt.
In case needing a nap in order to stay out late isn’t a sure sign you are old, another one is trading in a cute, sequin mini dress on NYE for jeans because it’s more comfortable.

39868791052_13672fd386.jpg

Normally, we spend NYE at Nippers, but we simply couldn’t resist the lure of being eyewitnesses to the debauchery promised by the Bucketlust NYE party at Grabbers.

25029845157_bb5a282fc3.jpg

From what we gathered, Bucketlust is an international group that puts together outrageous party vacations for young schmucks who like to spend a week wearing inappropriate costumes, throwing garbage into the ocean, consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and dancing while partying aboard a flotilla of 25+ catamarans as they sail through some poor, unsuspecting island chain.

It was our lucky day. This ghastly group of people had chosen the Abacos as their NYE destination and had chosen Guana Cay as their first stop to host their extreme NYE party.

39868793292_fca979e8dd.jpg

In a very short period of time, our sweet little Grabbers was transformed into a den of debauchery, loaded with 300+ partygoers dressed in their best porn versions of your favorite Disney characters. They proceeded to litter the beach and ocean, tear up the hammocks, throw crap into the pool, and drink until they vomited or took their clothes off in front of strangers – which ever came first.

It was quite a show.

39868791922_90075e2e08.jpg

39868790872_7cfee441a4.jpg

39868790242_18c30ca3ca.jpg

39868789692_11f391f78d.jpg

39868787022_b916b9af46.jpg

39868785662_b03770b7b7.jpg

39868781462_2cc2a82c3b.jpg

39868780782_fbc947f7df.jpg

39868780142_5358725107.jpg

39901612861_871fa97bf3.jpg

39901611731_d745c4d052.jpg

26028405158_a9929d9f27.jpg

39002649055_9cf5b4790c.jpg

26028389518_479a6733bc.jpg

28121000529_3ef1d82b7b.jpg

28120997959_4df25c0e2c.jpg

39868752092_7bc5f1560f.jpg

25029812137_a9cd0a3c3a.jpg

26028373558_fb2341a74c.jpg

26028367438_2fa7786935.jpg

39002629355_bb594bc98c.jpg

26028368798_2a9d309cb2.jpg

28121007859_ccc486eb38.jpg

One of the Bucketlust staffers actually approached us before midnight and advised that we leave just after midnight because ….”It will really get bad after that.”

At midnight, we left. We’d had enough. If what I saw was only the beginning….I didn’t need to see any more.

Sign 3 that I am getting old? Sure. After watching those young people, I wear my age with pride.

39978384512_5f0e830585.jpg

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...

On our way to walk the dogs, Matt and I stopped at Grabbers because I wanted to get a look at the boats in the harbor (they had arrived after dark, so it was our first chance to see this massive group of boats).

39868739692_f0edd25d05.jpg

What I didn’t expect was the amount of devastation they left in their wake. Plastic cups, Styrofoam plates, straws, flip flops, and the remnants of costumes littered the beach, hung from the trees, and worst of all….floated all in the harbor. You could still hear the electronic dance music eurothumping from their boats AT 6:00 a.m.

39002622325_e496fb2789.jpg

(Sign 4 you are old – you are up at 6:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day)

I’m sure the homes nearby loved listening to their music all night and into the morning. I’m sure Grabbers staff loved trying to get their dirty underwear out of the palm trees. And I’m sure the sea creatures loved swallowing their plastic straws and dodging their plastic cups in the ocean.

I sincerely hope Bucketlust was a “one and done” as far as the Abacos are concerned. The Abacos are family islands. I love a good party as much as the next girl, but these people were not respectful of this island, it’s people, or the environment. I say take your garbage and bare butts to Ibiza or Mykonos. Go to Cancun for God’s sake, but don’t bring it back here.

(Sign 5 you are old – you give a lecture to young partygoers for partying too hard on NYE)

39868740102_a1978e8451.jpg

39868738742_95997f2492.jpg

26028362868_c33d68b5d1.jpg

I will now climb off my soapbox and tell you about how we spent our last day on the island taking the girls on a boat ride to the lagoon.

39190870164_0d1b0baec4.jpg

39002619595_41b8a48d1f.jpg

39002618715_e825b60059.jpg

39002618105_86e9f442ec.jpg

We drank strawberry daiquiris and ate chips and wasted the day away.

39002617555_3bec3e426e.jpg

39002616695_c5d28f870d.jpg

39002613945_394cc898c0.jpg

39190863454_4e6667cea8.jpg

39190862434_f821b42d6d.jpg

26028356458_1f4949afc2.jpg

28120974349_8df0207369_b.jpg

We ended the day with a quiet dinner at Nippers – seafood fettuccine for Matt and grilled lobster for me.

39002611065_0d3e29141e.jpg

39002610495_195575a841.jpg

39901561301_6deb62f878.jpg

39002609095_df7887b55e.jpg

28120975559_0b2d6868b0.jpg

ARRIVE IN THE RAIN. LEAVE IN THE RAIN.

We had amazing weather while we were down, but we had arrived in the rain and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t pouring when we woke up to leave.

I have to brag on Matt here. The man is a saint.

We had to take the boat back to Treasure Cay. This meant loading the boat in the rain, driving the boat to Treasure Cay (an hour) in the rain, unloading the boat in the rain, loading the taxi in the rain, unloading the taxi in the rain, and loading the plane in the rain. He put me and the dogs in the dry and did all of this by himself so we wouldn’t both be wet.

39002606145_2f339eefa2.jpg

He’s a good man.

We arrived home to unreasonably cold temperatures, but with the warmth of our island home still in our hearts.

39002606865_410f8e3a86_b.jpg

Next up – we couldn’t handle the cold, so we ran off to Key West! Stay tuned!

Posted by vicki_h 13:25 Archived in Bahamas Tagged islands caribbean tropical bahamas abacos abaco guana_cay Comments (5)

Better Late Than Never - July on Guana Cay

Obviously, I am a little behind on the travel blog. We did a lot of travelling over the summer, but life got in the way and the photos have stayed buried in my camera and the stories have stayed buried in my memory. It’s time to get them out of there!

As we have done for many years, we made a trip to Guana Cay in Abaco for the week of July 4th. What can I tell you about Abaco that I haven’t already? How many more photos of deliciously clear water can I show?

Besides, it’s been almost 3 months. I have no idea what we did.

Rather than a play-by-play that will leave you knowing every meal I ate and what time I brushed my teeth each morning, I’m simply going to share my favorite stories from this trip.

37342431011_12639582e1.jpg

Doom, Despair, and Agony on Me….the Cheeseburger in Paradise Party

37342332681_3e422b892c.jpg

We arrived at the airport early Friday morning, with every intention of getting to the boat and making the hour-plus boat ride to Fiddle Cay in time for the 2017 cheeseburger party. This was an optimistic goal, and one that, in hindsight, we should have crossed off our list.

First, let me make it clear that this IS NOT the same party that we have attended in years past…AND LOVED.

THAT party was the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party, hosted by Bob and Pat Henderson. We enjoyed it immensely every year that we attended.

Bob and Pat had to take a hiatus from the Cheeseburger Party due to several difficult family events and, without their blessing, another group started the “Cheeseburger in Paradise Party” on the same date and on the same deserted cay. Our gut instinct was to avoid the new party and find something else to do, but we were travelling with friends and they really wanted to go.

We should have stuck with our gut. I found the event less awe-inspiring than in years past.

We managed to arrive around 1:00 p.m. and found a very different atmosphere than we were used to. It was apparent that large crowds from Nassau and other non-Abaco places were present and they definitely changed the feel of the event.

Too many jet-skis with careless drivers zoomed recklessly between carefully anchored boats, causing them to rock and crash into each other as the repeated wake hit. A hover boat kept zipping past people trying to relax in the shallow water. Small boats that barely looked seaworthy floated in, loaded with about 5 times the number of bodies that could safely be aboard. Too many deafening speaker systems, thongs stretched far past their maximum usefulness, and guys with grabby hands.

Ick.

Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day and we were in a beautiful spot – might as well enjoy what we could.

36632613754_23258c89db.jpg

36632609334_c19e10322a.jpg

23490422918_ec06abc50e.jpg

23490416228_f097f1520d.jpg

23490414318_01dd96b235.jpg

We entertained ourselves by dragging out the Inflata-Bull and dragging it around. It wasn’t until about halfway through the day that I realized exactly why Matt wanted to be in charge of the Inflata-Bull.

37085360230_528d4a336f.jpg

37085359020_1fabb627ea.jpg

36632623474_656cff7dae.jpg

36632617504_708816e509.jpg

36632603784_f35aed210f.jpg

37341787391_be59ea39b7.jpg

23490427738_048f660744.jpg

36632620964_5c47f1f093.jpg

I’m a little slow.

The day was going fine until I realized the pool float my camera (yes….THE camera) was being pulled around on was getting splashed excessively and that my camera was sitting in an inch of water.

This is the last photo that camera ever took.

36672376653_9b18938267.jpg

It would be vacation by iPhone at this point.

So far, I had made the bad decision to even come to the Cheeseburger Party and the bad decision to think a float in the ocean was a safe place for a $4,500 camera. I decided to make it 3 for 3 and agreed to sleep on the boat that night, despite how it went the last time.

I thought we had remedied all the issues we encountered the last time we tried to sleep aboard:

• We now had a power cord long enough to reach the dock which gave us a/c and allowed us to use the bathroom;
• We had the center cushion that actually allowed the seating and table in the cabin to be turned into a bed; and
• I was not dying of the Bubonic Plague.

Apparently, I had been misinformed.

While we had a power cord, the a/c on the boat didn’t actually WORK. Likewise, Matt proceeded to inform me that something was wrong with the flushing on the toilet so I couldn’t use that either.

This would have been fine had the dock we chose for the night ACTUALLY HAD A BATHROOM. Quite the opposite…it was located in the middle of nowhere and had no facilities of any kind. It was more “dock with electricity” than marina.

36672719093_e97b562615.jpg

I went to bed and hoped for the best.

Much like my “hope for the best” with the Cheeseburger Party, the best was not meant to be.

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and HAD TO GO.

It was not #1.

We were on a remote stretch of Green Turtle Cay, so I made the decision to try to walk into “town” and see if there was any sort of park building or other public facility where I might find a bathroom.

The walk was excruciatingly long and dark. Like dark dark.

I walked around town and exhausted every possibility.

There was no bathroom.

I was sweaty and desperate.

I walked back to the remote dock and did the only thing I could do. …I had to hang my happy a$$ of a dock ladder and go in the ocean.

It was horrific and humiliating.

I feel very sorry for the turtles and fish.

At least it was dark dark.

Social Media vs. Reality: My true confession

I am sharing this photo to illustrate the difference in the version of our life we wish to portray through social media and the reality of our life.

The moment I was trying to portray…a peaceful, solitary morning on the beach.

37294854186_536e7c9eb9.jpg

The actual moment…I sit and stare at the ocean unaware that my dog has chosen that exact moment to take a crap behind me.

37294852896_b4072c317c.jpg

The hard truth: My life is less about peaceful moments on the beach and more about picking up crap.

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

37312177472_8862e3963a.jpg

How do you know if someone REALLY loves you? I mean really, really, really loves you?

They’ll pee on you if you ask them to.

Unfortunately, after getting a jellyfish wrapped around my upper thigh on Treasure Sands’ beach and enduring Matt’s hot urine on my leg, I discovered that whole “jellyfish and pee thing” is a myth.

Now my leg hurt and I was covered in pee.

37342049681_1f90bd3129.jpg

Don’t worry, I was able to effectively drown my sorrows with pink drinks.

37342042911_b744bc25f3.jpg

23490821458_17a1e87c7e.jpg

36672696743_b2175fab32.jpg

36672683103_4d332fdb2d.jpg

Meanwhile, back at Nippers…..

36672519003_4949700332.jpg

37295429936_3774fdfb3c.jpg

37086014540_e3eca6da34.jpg

37085994140_77d12e6ec2.jpg

23491063458_1fdefe6629.jpg

37085988960_3d3beac5a9.jpg

23491065658_19073268cc.jpg

It was a great summer week, filled with all of the best things….good friends, my sweet dogs, lots of boat drinks, endless sunshine, and all the fried things.

23490919518_7718c044ba.jpg

36672461793_15f8edcea8.jpg

37085774310_cef1958036.jpg

36633223534_194c243a91.jpg

37312557702_70618760ce.jpg

37294815956_e9f1aa5c8f.jpg

37085743620_58dca4468e.jpg

23490848608_ecf9aac141.jpg

37085760120_a78f7415fc.jpg

37294913716_2dc4b9d71a.jpg

37085493900_9ba280ff5f.jpg

37312161282_8d11449de5.jpg

37312334142_67df58f1f8.jpg

37342156991_c95ffc4bd7.jpg

23491113748_deb4a27610.jpg

23490881068_ebb56da36b.jpg

37312086002_dc32a3bb46.jpg

36633291284_c08e5777ea.jpg

36632922354_f8b53b51be.jpg

Until next time Abaco!!

37312095422_488bfee4c6.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 12:05 Archived in Bahamas Tagged islands tropical bahamas nippers abaco elbow_cay guana_cay grabbers marsh_harbour lubbers_landing Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 27) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 » Next