A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about island

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 1

Relaxing, self-indulgent, easy….those are typically the last 3 words I think of when planning a vacation. Those words are for vacationers. Not me.

Vacationers come home with big smiles, clean clothes, and shiny trinkets purchased at junk stores that still have the “Made in China” stickers affixed. Vacationers come home with good hair and pedicures that are still as fresh as the day they left the spa a week before. Vacationers bounce back into work with a photo album full of glossy pictures, ready for their 8:00 a.m. meeting without missing a beat.

But vacationers come home with nothing they didn’t have before they left, except maybe a tan and a good night’s sleep.

Travelers come home completely exhausted, with their last pair of underwear inside out because they ran out of clean ones the day their flight home was cancelled due to hurricane force winds. Travelers come home with no money, dirty shoes, and the closest thing to a souvenir is the paper wrist band still attached to their arm from the all night beach party they left to run to the airport. Travelers come home with sunbleached hair, chipped toenails, blisters, and a slight case of food poisoning from eating that fish the local guy grilled on the sidewalk.

Travelers come home with a renewed sense of who they are, a feeling of accomplishment, and an awareness of the world they didn’t have a week before.

I rarely vacation.

I travel.

14339022202_9826d29ff2.jpg

Day One: Flying into Great Exuma – The Necklace of the Bahamas

I have heard the Exuma island chain, made up of some 365 cays stretching for 100 miles, referred to as a necklace of sparking jewels. It appears like glittering emeralds and pearls scattered across a turquoise sea filled with forgotten hideaways, protected harbors, and deserted beaches.

Viewed from the air, it was dazzling.

14317526516_76edc22869.jpg

14337327741_a401c6707c.jpg

14154046440_64088ecb95.jpg

14317523546_7eea4300cf.jpg

We made an uneventful landing and were in a taxi within minutes, headed to Augusta Bay to spend a night while waiting for our Canadian friends, Keith and Sydney, to arrive.

14337325321_09eb2666f9.jpg

14317522446_cec371ec31.jpg

14340649955_d922c0a959.jpg

14339873944_b25e08c3f6.jpg

14153995348_401fba7e59.jpg

14154161557_75d087c669.jpg

Augusta Bay is a small boutique hotel that sits on a private beach just steps from shallow turquoise water. It was clean and quiet, and, with the exception of the shiny black comforter in my room which had a slightly 1970s-porn quality about it, we loved it.

14154162697_29a47fb60c.jpg

We had loads of sunshine and nothing to do but kill time, so Matt and I walked down the beach, which was dotted with small hotels. When we reached the end of the hotels, we found a pretty little beach on the other side of a small rise.

14153993908_e6f8b16005.jpg

14317517046_6788e875ba.jpg

14153993008_18d9832b48.jpg

If we had stopped there, we would have been happy. It had beautiful water, swaying palm trees, and what gets my vote for "most interesting snack bar."

14153992428_6ca01e5baa.jpg

14360837603_c487841cd3.jpg

14339009892_82a42d908d.jpg

14154155907_e7958e48ca.jpg

14154037080_9291028543.jpg

But we kept walking to see what was farther down the beach.

That’s when we found Jolly Hall Beach. We were greeted with a fine curve of soft, white sand shaded by casuarina trees and bordered by clear, shallow water of the most brilliant turquoise.

14339865664_3e36fcc04f.jpg

14153988558_04513bf67f.jpg

14154149837_d2458b1156.jpg

It was, without a doubt, one of the finest beaches I have ever been to.

And we were alone.

THIS is why I love the Bahamas.

14154026220_42ec16bf76.jpg

14317509066_e89fbe1142.jpg

14360829013_e4a61f4279.jpg

14337310271_5b651dc8a0.jpg

14154031870_2eae047676.jpg

14153982468_b7f7659f60.jpg

14340638655_10e3cd5625.jpg

14360828013_5854a4eb2e.jpg

14153978779_a332770631.jpg14340633165_b5b0ac988a.jpg

That afternoon, we decided to head into George Town. I’m not sure what I expected, but considering it was the capital on one of the larger islands in the Bahamas, the largest city in a 100-mile island chain, and home to an international airport…… I expected more.

The guys decided to stop for a beer while Teresa and I strolled through the shops.

14153976238_5d610df1f8.jpg

Teresa and I were finished in approximately 8 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, it was sweet. It was quaint. It was friendly……But it was so SMALL.

14339855754_f07e2bb04f.jpg

14360820463_e45f6dd666.jpg

14360819413_f31c61a51a.jpg

14339849204_1d66b4d6e0.jpg

14337296201_aa15c5c688.jpg

14317496496_c4866d165a.jpg

More a village than a city, George Town is a smattering of shops and eateries on one street that circles a small lake. It takes longer to walk through the average Super Target than it does to walk around George Town. I’m pretty sure my first apartment was bigger than George Town. And the widely touted "straw market" reminded me more of the Bean Station Flea Market than a craft market, well.....minus the boiled peanuts, discount cigarettes, and bootleg copies of Hank Williams, Sr.

14340630535_e00280554f.jpg

14360823363_4f55949156.jpg

14153976848_ebdec14513.jpg

Unfortunately, we had expected ……more….so we had asked our taxi not to pick us up for 2 hours. Sure, we could have just called another taxi. Except that we had just purchased all the liquor for the trip and put it in that taxi’s trunk.

Oh dear.

We did the only thing we could do with 2 hours to kill.

We headed for the bar.

We found a waterfront view and cold goombay smashes at the Club Peace & Plenty. There are harder ways to spend a couple of hours.

14340623265_c113ab8c6b.jpg

We were pretty sure that with $300 worth of free liquor in his trunk, we’d never really see Vencil again, but he showed up, exactly 2 hours later.

We had him drop us off at Catch a Fire, a restaurant that has the best sunset view on Great Exuma.

And yes, we left all that liquor in his trunk again. We are a very trusting bunch.

Catch a Fire was fantastic. All Balinese teak furniture, tiki torches, and bougainvillea….right at the edge of the water, with a sunset view.

14154014120_18e33eb2f1.jpg

14154013320_c79b0d09e5.jpg

14340619905_85290929b9.jpg

14360812833_f442e6af28.jpg

14337291021_e198c3bf6f.jpg

14338984452_ec73181293.jpg

14338982262_cf5be9640f.jpg

14339841144_b8fda58b34.jpg

Although, they seemed to run out of signs when it came to the men's room. This either means "Men's Room," or it means "Women who do not wear skirts are men." I'm still not 100% sure.

14154012150_1249e6ee29.jpg

They also had Bahama Obama. At least that’s what he told us his name was. I think he was a little more Bahama Flavor Flav. He was the self-proclaimed Fun Meister of Catch a Fire and he tried to make dancers out of me and Teresa.

He failed.

14317485186_eda092224d.jpg

14154007540_76be7a9783.jpg

14153963298_656f651725.jpg

30 minutes past the time we told Vencil to pick us up he still hadn’t shown. We were sure he had decided the $300 worth of liquor in his trunk was worth more than the $30 cab fare we owed him and was probably hosting a party somewhere on the other side of the island waiting for Bahama Obama to show up. Just as we were about to give up, he came rushing into the parking lot, apologizing because he’d started watching the basketball game and forgot about us.

14154127387_1ab2067d4b.jpg

What he lacked in punctuality he made up for in honesty.

We bid good-night to Catch a Fire, Bahama Obama, and the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and called it a night.

14360807613_536a427b9c.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 12:26 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma Comments (0)

Do You Have Time for a Quickie?

Another mini-cation on Guana Cay

14001946275_15689649f0.jpg

I don't have to tell you that Matt and I can’t go very long without the itch to get out of town. Unfortunately, our lives and jobs are demanding and don’t often allow us the luxury of a full week off, so we make do with lots of mini-cations.

Who says a 3 day jaunt can’t be a full-blown vacation? A mini-cation can recharge your batteries and provide some much needed downtime.

It was March and the world was just starting to thaw, but it still wasn’t warm enough to get outside. I want to speak to the person that decided that spring begins on March 20, because that person is just a LIAR. There was no spring outside my door.

I was pretty sure that if I had to spend one more weekend cooped up inside with Matt watching “Game of Thrones” in a marathon frenzy, my head would explode.

It was time for a getaway, and there is only one place I can go when I need to getaway but haven’t spent my requisite 9 months obsessively planning my vacation in such precise detail that I know exactly what time I will be brushing my teeth on Day Four.

Hello, Guana Cay!

13998774291_d483ede684.jpg

14002386884_1dd723af4c.jpg

13998772831_3b2c9c4902.jpg

13978844386_73e1e34816.jpg

Guana welcomed us with open arms, a beautiful sunset, and some darn good ribs.

14021955843_8cafd4cb05.jpg

14002378364_b2b7e8d6ab.jpg

Day One: Abaco is for Lovers Lubbers

14021947553_030f29d7da.jpg

14021946843_f94c886395.jpg

We wanted to try something new. We had contacted Austin & Amy of Lubbers Landing about spending the night. I mean, if their tuna burger is that good, how awesome must the cabins be?

As we boated over to Lubbers Quarters, the water astonished us with light and color. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this water…it still amazes and delights me.

14002369294_d411433df0.jpg

14001927355_80f83a998b.jpg

13978826416_7d52397c36.jpg

13978825716_985f775856.jpg

13978822436_26711e08b7.jpg

We made a pit stop in the small bay at the narrow point of Man-O-War Cay. The sand is soft, the water is shallow, and the beach is a gentle crescent. It’s one of the most perfects spots in the world.

14002364274_656c26fc14.jpg

13998749521_c9b8267e9e.jpg

14001917695_c02feeda76.jpg

13998730082_bb8a7900bb.jpg

14001916835_1a5714228f.jpg

14001905585_a5de838250.jpg

14001909595_6f0a97ab73.jpg

14021921953_7350a14a14.jpg

If you walk onto the beach, you’ll see that all that separates the sea from the ocean is a road. Cross the road, and the raging Atlantic rushes at you in a mist of salty water. It’s simply a breathtaking spot with a 360 degree view to die for.

13998725532_289c758f9d.jpg

13978813426_91a336bd20.jpg

14021928363_a5a6de5d6f.jpg

14021927463_d23f7436ca.jpg

13998717862_747a3e5115.jpg

14021920143_6b7467cc90.jpg

Getting pretty hungry, we decided it was time to move on.

14001904135_69f3ae7bf1.jpg

13998713632_616b92f9ff.jpg

14021916063_6df6b35eb0.jpg

14001902045_2b3be854b6.jpg

14001901715_4011aa794d.jpg

13998711322_48b6945cd3.jpg

we stopped at Firefly for lunch. The Firefly Sunset Resort is located near White Bay on the Sea of Abaco side of Elbow Cay. This upscale resort has some of the best dining in the Abacos.

14002340994_995ac6c689.jpg

13998709992_6d06552cd1.jpg

14001898695_49f0083d1e.jpg

We discovered they also have some of the best drinks!

13998707922_d3e40e3d4e.jpg

14021910683_3663e31531.jpg

14001897065_82a86f9714.jpg

Most restaurants in the Abacos have a menu that looks like this: Fish (fried, grilled); Ribs; Hamburger; Cheeseburger; Cracked Conch; Conch Fritters; all entrees served with french fries, baked mac n’cheese, and potato salad (aka, how to have a heart attack in 3 days).

Firefly had a menu so delightful that I literally became giddy and lightheaded. Or maybe that was the drink.

14021910063_563911f437.jpg

13998706212_48f81430fb.jpg

I had a hard time deciding between the Panko Crusted Fish Cakes with Fruit Salsa or the Stone Crab Quesadilla with Mango Pineapple Salsa and Chipotle Sour Cream. Wait, maybe I should get the Curry Lobster Salad tossed w/ Garam Marsala & Citrus Juices?

Too many choices. Too little stomach space.

At the very last minute, much like a squirrel that can’t decide which side of the road it wants to run to, I went for the Fish Taco. It came out with crispy romaine, sweet-hot Vidalia onions, & savory heirloom tomatoes wrapped in a chili dusted tortilla. It came with crispy sweet potato fries. We also tried the bacon wrapped lobster skewers with lemon garlic aioli.

13998705222_d00a12b5c0.jpg

13998722591_132f4eec3c.jpg

Don’t worry. I still got my mac n’cheese. I’m not crazy, after all.

13978794806_d5e9b43c20.jpg

We made a quick hop over to Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay after lunch. It was low tide and I never get tired of seeing the sandbars that make their daily appearance in the shallow water.

13998702462_6fca9fe1d2.jpg

13998716001_eccef34b42.jpg

13998716741_b1ef068dc5.jpg

14002330834_dd48fb653e.jpg

We saw Austin from Lubbers Landing on his kiteboard. He was whizzing through the water and flipping through the air.

14001887915_91e6ccdbd6.jpg

That’s when I remembered we hadn’t made a reservation for dinner.

Like many restaurants you find on the smaller cays in the Bahamas, you have to let Lubbers know you are coming to eat dinner by 3:00 p.m. and you have to order your food at that time. Otherwise, you won’t be eating. They don’t get enough foot traffic to simply have food out ready to prepare “in case” someone happens to come by.

It was 3:05.

I started to have heart palpitations.

There’s a saying around my house, “If Vicki’s hungry, ain’t nobody happy.”

No dinner?

My mind quickly went to the bag of chips we had leftover on the boat from earlier in the day. I thought about running back to the boat so that I could hide it in case I needed it later for emergency provisions. Maybe I could find an old granola bar stuffed in the bottom of my bag.

It was every man for himself.

Just before I made a mad watery dash back to the boat in an attempt to hide any food that was left in my tote bag, Austin came over.

“I have exactly 4 lobsters left,” he said. “You guys want them for dinner?”

God bless Austin.

We left the beach and headed in to the dock at Lubbers Landing. We were greeted by Austin & Amy, sunshine, and one gigantic saltwater margarita.

14002327404_5e1958e0fe.jpg

13998714321_b54d9975e1.jpg

13978835176_0abd5c6e4c.jpg

13978783206_c0a8b54a5e.jpg

14002321074_3726ae4eb2.jpg

After drinks, Amy showed us our cabins.

Lubbers Landing has only 3 cabins, all nestled privately in the woods and connected by a maze of raised wooden walkways with rope railings. It is like the world’s best grown-up summer camp.

13978785166_2e23228c6c.jpg

14021884903_94c5087b5f.jpg

Each cabin is unique and is furnished beautifully with Amy’s eclectic and artistic touch.

They were rustic, yet luxurious, with soft bedding, air-conditioning, and high end furnishings. Special touches like seashells, handmade pillows, or Amy’s handpainted signs gave it a personal touch.

I was in heaven.

13998707601_fa227287f7.jpg

14021892093_effe27a8bb.jpg

13998687732_54a37107f1.jpg

14001876825_e9669e2e44.jpg

14002318684_fc9494c3ab.jpg

14021889383_895a8f5455.jpg

14001874865_fa5f522b76.jpg

13998684222_185a655b7e.jpg

14001873665_4a6b814b71.jpg

14001872685_1de995d9d3.jpg

14002314444_b7850cbf56.jpg

Our room even came with a Chihuahua.

14021881593_5a9890d04e.jpg

I was trying to figure out how I could live here forever without Austin & Amy noticing, when Matt reminded me it was time for dinner.

Ecclectic stemware and soft lights greeted us as we sat down at a thatched umbrella table looking out at the Sea of Abaco.

14021878643_c6becf776f.jpg

13978765656_10a8edc0ae.jpg

13978769896_64175cbdbf.jpg

The lobster was grilled and served with a fresh salad, house made dressing, and their signature home-cut fries.

14001864245_4ea8bc5a97.jpg

Just when we thought adult summer camp couldn’t get any better, Austin built us a bonfire on the beach where we sat and sipped our wine, ate chocolate cookies, and listened to Bob Marley tunes.

14021875893_b63af1a761.jpg

14002303014_d9d27ce708.jpg

13998690831_b703a4134e.jpg

Day Two: Time to DEVOUR!

Sunrise is beautiful on Lubbers Quarters. I thanked God for the beautiful sunrise and I thanked Austin & Amy for the most perfect place to watch it.

14001861085_0c843d5563.jpg

14021873443_8f347e1045.jpg

13998669012_5c652dce24.jpg

13998686891_f1b9f62036.jpg

13998665982_545d35eddd.jpg

After some much needed coffee, which Amy makes early every morning and leaves out for guests, we decided to walk along the path behind the cabins. Austin said it would take us to a beach.

13998684301_111a5b8179.jpg

13978755356_5be85975ff.jpg

It took us to a pretty little beach with a swing and a makeshift bar. I can only imagine what that water would have looked like if the sun had been out.

14001846215_71b3283441.jpg

14021865323_79741c7fc7.jpg

14021862483_a9c71e36d9.jpg

14002295574_f55617c856.jpg

13978748666_9818512a4a.jpg

14002292054_f09e1c4ae1.jpg

13998656262_823a6a94ab.jpg

Breakfast is a casual affair at Lubbers. When we were ready, Amy asked us what we wanted and cooked it up. Breakfast was a fried egg sandwich with peppers. Oh yum!

13998654142_2ecfbcdbc6.jpg

We lounged around all morning, but eventually, we had to get a move on. We hated to leave, but gave Austin & Amy a hug “goodbye” (Where else do you get a hug when you leave a hotel? I mean, really?), and headed for Green Turtle Cay.

We docked in New Plymouth, grabbed us a golf cart, and made a quick stop at Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar for a Goombay Smash. Then it was off to the Green Turtle Club.

14021856963_34d4c654eb.jpg

14001843875_df0f8fbc2a.jpg

14001842745_75ae3f0a2f.jpg

We had afternoon tickets to the Coco Beach Party that was part of the Devour Food and Film Festival that was taking place on Green Turtle Cay. Devour is an international festival celebrating cinema, food and wine culture that takes place in Nova Scotia and is in its fourth year.

13998670011_9afdbd268a.jpg

This was their first year having a festival in the Bahamas. Called “Devour! The Beach,” the event included several days of food & wine events and film screenings. Our tickets were for the all-afternoon-rum-infused party at the Green Turtle Club where chefs would take turns grilling lobster, making fresh conch salad, and roasting wild boar.

Wait a minute. Abaco? Wild Boars? Whaaaaaaa? Was someone trying to say that there were wild boars on Abaco???? Don’t ask me why, but I had an irrational fear of wild boars as a child. It’s not like I lived in an area with wild boars. Nor had I ever actually seen a wild boar. It’s more likely that my older brother showed me a picture and told me that they were in the woods waiting to gore me to death, leaving me terrified every time I tried to walk through the woods alone, certain that a wild boar was hiding behind every tree. Do wild boars even live in Georgia?

It's just like the irrational fear I have now of snakes coming through the bathtub drain. It doesn't have to be possible in the real world to be scary. I mean, just think about MONSTERS. Okay?

My mind was now filled with images of me laying on the beach and being gored to death by a wild pig. Were there really wild boars on my beloved Abaco?

Apparently, yes. Like most things in the Bahamas, it all started with the settlers. They didn’t just show up with a bottle of rum and a desire to tame an island. They brought household goods, seeds and plants, and, you guessed it, livestock. That would include pigs. Combine that with the occasional shipwreck where it was every man, woman, and pig for himself, and you ended up with some loose pigs that eventually became the wild pigs that live on Abaco today. Thanks to a plentiful supply of fruit, sugarcane, and thick forests in which to hide, they continued to roam, forage, and have lots of babies.

I guess I was going to have to start carrying my pepper spray in my bikini.

When we arrived, we made straight for the rum punch table, because we are classy like that.

13998658571_c2c6071cb6.jpg

14021840933_376cbfc8ed.jpg

13978740376_26462abe0c.jpg

14002280684_5763fd56b4.jpg

The first station had Abaco wild boar with Bahamian potato salad and cole slaw. I did not expect to like it. I’m not sure how I thought wild board would differ from farm pig. I guess I thought it would taste like something that had been eating tough coconut shells all it's life and running from dogs, but pig is pig. That was some fine pork.

13998665261_df6334d24a.jpg

There was fresh conch salad, grilled lobster tail with roasted garlic, tacos with goat cheese and charred poblano guacamole…oh, so much food.

13978735776_c791b1780b.jpg

14001833215_a256f6092f.jpg

14002275364_dc941e7474.jpg

14021845933_f9c7d8a5f6.jpg

14021844893_db2889d4a0.jpg

13998639812_7409c42ba7.jpg

14021843583_d8192f5fd3.jpg

14001828985_6599d4d50b.jpg

I had a bit of a conundrum when I had been standing in the taco line for a good 20 minutes. It's important to note that I don't believe in waiting in line for food. The line was short and I was close by, AND I LOVE TACOS, and I was all jacked up on rum punch and goombay smashes, so I hopped in it. I reached that point, a good 15 minutes later, where I started to wrestle with the, "Do I get out of line?" question. You know, when you've already invested so much time that you can't make yourself quit, but you know that the longer you have to wait, the stupider you are going to feel. But I reasoned with myself (the way we do in these situations), "These must be AMAZING tacos if they take so long to make and so many people are waiting for them, right?" So I kept waiting. Like a dipshit. Another 10 minutes passed.

That's when I discovered I was in the LAMB taco line.

I don't eat lamb.

I generally try to avoid eating anything in its infancy.

Pisser. I had invested 25 minutes in this line. What was I supposed to do now?

So I ate them. And, yeah. They were good. But I'll never be able to listen to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" the same way again.

13998636252_b562566a63.jpg

13998635412_e45563bb6a.jpg

14001825005_64eddc8ed5.jpg

13998633612_b18e819740.jpg

Drinks were flowing, music was playing, and a good time was had by all.

Well, except for those conch. I don’t think they were having a good day.

13998632662_cb89cb7957.jpg

We ended the day back on Guana at Grabbers.

13978723396_3e5d7e4fa7.jpg

14002264254_99ba359875.jpg

13978721676_e3517f2a9d.jpg

We had conch fritters, frozen grabbers, and a thick slice of mango cheesecake because there is no such thing as calories when you are on vacation.

Everyone knows that.

Day Three: How NOT to End Nippers Sunday Vomiting Off a Dock

Sunday morning greeted us with a beautiful sunrise.

14002261574_af0553a49b.jpg

13998627662_1ebc5f169a.jpg

14021831393_28fbca88e2.jpg

13998645441_8811311641.jpg

13978715036_0efc82691b.jpg

14002254894_3d0727e0fb.jpg

It was much sunnier than the previous day, but it was SO WINDY. We decided to leave the boat docked and waste the morning in the sunshine at Grabbers.

There are worse ways to waste a day.

13998634601_cf5eacf983.jpg

13998635221_e59f4bc176.jpg

14001805365_74af6947db.jpg

13998613702_6d00897dbe.jpg

13998612782_e48ff72751.jpg

13978703066_facb744a16.jpg

13998610202_e056d527c4.jpg

Around lunchtime, we wandered over to Nippers. It was a quiet day We ordered up lunch, and, since I had my fill of pig the day before, I declined the buffet (yes, hell just froze over) and got a cracked lobster sandwich.

14001800075_f95beb1b1d.jpg

14001798725_925eca4833.jpg

And some fried buffalo lobster bites, because one fried lobster is never enough.

14001799385_d5f35a0ff4.jpg

It just wasn’t a day for dancing, so we chose to walk down to High Rocks instead. This is the most beautiful stretch of beach that you can reach by land on Guana Cay.

13998626421_91e8b00914.jpg

14002237604_aebc5cf3b1.jpg

13998604472_c98aafea0a.jpg

13978692736_5db97d93d6.jpg

14021805623_f6e82bc1b1.jpg

13998600522_b33bcf70ac.jpg

13998615151_b7ba4eb7c3.jpg

13978690726_9419daa744.jpg

13998619091_c5dac8c4d7.jpg

14002231944_8fce40d224.jpg

14021794233_3c126e555d.jpg

13978682706_6d1b07e9ab.jpg

14021801623_be7e7a8f0c.jpg

13998610081_ace8d02318.jpg

13978683076_96c53f37db.jpg

13998616091_520f4caf69.jpg

We wrapped it up with a quite dinner and a beautiful sunset at Grabbers.

14001779915_cd3c6e3e7c.jpg

14001775425_309a42c66e.jpg

13998607841_9e86afe0c2.jpg

14021790003_e4fb246d2c.jpg

13978675386_97c44b43a6.jpg

14002214144_573a18d137.jpg

14021782393_4243d38daf.jpg

14001768635_ff41b69a00.jpg

14001767345_5cd629fdf0.jpg

13998594351_49b723d024.jpg

14021778123_c9bac7d8fb.jpg

14021775423_e90ef5a94b.jpg

14021775993_bc23133a2a.jpg

14001759995_23de3eb56f.jpg

13998589591_89d01a6d8a.jpg

See….I can do a quiet, relaxing, respectable trip. I just don’t like to make a habit of it. ;-)

13998587311_e75f39ab3a.jpg

Next up: 6 adults on a sailboat for 7 days in the Exumas. We’ll either kill each other before it’s over or we’ll have the adventure of our lives! Stay tuned……

Posted by vicki_h 11:16 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island caribbean tropical bahamas nippers abaco elbow_cay guana_cay grabbers lubbers green_turtle_cay Comments (4)

Beating the Winter Blues

Take that you stupid groundhog.

I thought the whole point of living in the south was to make fun of northerners in the winter.

We southerners are not equipped to deal with extreme cold and we panic at the very idea of snow. Actual snow is not necessary. All we need to see is a forecast predicting flurries or temperatures below 40 degrees and we declare a State of Emergency. We run to the nearest grocery store and buy it out of bread, milk, and eggs. We clean the hardware stores out of salt and we prepare to burn our furniture.

It was January and it was cold. It wasn’t just cold outside. It was cold inside. I live in a historic home. By “historic,” I mean “drafty and probably insulated with newspapers.”

My old Victorian house found it impossible to cope with the single digit temperatures and my thermostat showed me that, despite the fact that it was set on 71, it was, in fact, only 55 degrees in my house.

photo_2.jpg

To add insult to injury, my most recent utility bill had been for $658….to keep my house at that balmy 55 degrees. There was ice on my windows. ON THE INSIDE.

photo_1.jpg

My Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was kicking into high gear.

I needed to go to the Bahamas.

We threw the dogs in the plane, shook the snow off our boots, and headed south for a long weekend.

12081047496_e5b504c867.jpg

So, for all of you who are suffering through you own 9 months of winter, here is proof that warm places still exist. That the sun is still somewhere in the sky. That the world has not, in fact, been swallowed up by cold and snow, thrusting the universe into some eternal night like some end-of-the-world Bruce Willis movie.

12080713283_877391ca07.jpg

12080703383_5cf92d09ea.jpg

12080759894_019b116e1b.jpg

12080662383_523960db5d.jpg

12080732454_5c93bab430.jpg

12080755876_351248b5e3.jpg

12080962376_a52d0c3c38.jpg

12080572354_7ef73725fb.jpg

12080661734_8979a5b055.jpg

12080542673_e96551713e.jpg

12080862076_13c3c9cac7.jpg

12080469963_a877b7dc21.jpg

12080515013_f10920b421.jpg

12080835976_809975d678.jpg

12080498263_080030b3de.jpg

12080183015_32d9de1d12.jpg

12080178645_c7dec9b770.jpg

12080567194_af67d1601b.jpg

12080816316_5b883c429b.jpg

12080165175_8a23a764d4.jpg

12080137845_547646a517.jpg

12080326033_487217f1ab.jpg

12080305433_66c9bd0768.jpg

12080629766_0fdd71a925.jpg

12080258073_44e76d4e59.jpg

12080584346_ebcf45b23a.jpg

12080700976_e07ed889b7.jpg

12080708086_c9276989a9.jpg

12080306734_c94fbdc6ac.jpg

12079927225_c2dddc3114.jpg

12080217083_bee89543c8.jpg

12079878235_19fb2e4c79.jpg

12080260154_34b066415a.jpg

12080361224_f8a39a7137.jpg

12080500656_4a3391650c.jpg

12080234744_81862cf2cf.jpg

So, here is my parting message to Old Man Winter. We've had enough. You can move along now, and take that stupid groundhog with you.

12080750376_c8a9aec5d9.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 06:28 Archived in Bahamas Tagged beach island tropical bahamas abaco elbow_cay guana_cay Comments (4)

20 Things I Learned on Guana Cay….Redux.

I started this blog 5 years ago after an ill-fated trip to Guana Cay with our good friends John and Teresa. Two black eyes, a busted boat propeller, a slide down a boat ramp, sunburned lips, power outages……..Everything that could go wrong on that trip did and it inspired me to start writing about my travels.

Well, we’ve made a lot of trips to Guana Cay since then, but it took 5 long years for our friends John and Teresa to decide to return. We made the trip in August, exactly 5 years after the first trip.

A lot can change in 5 years.

So, let’s try this again. Here are 20 NEW things I learned on Guana Cay.

#1. There is no sunrise more beautiful than the first morning you wake up on Guana Cay.

9981940263_705a9cc9d7.jpg

9981834996_faa7747f27.jpg

#2. There’s no such thing as “too much mac n’ cheese.”

9981889686_ea8b86831c.jpg

9981789145_ddbd25f597.jpg

9981775135_4499ba5e06.jpg

#3. The Nippers Sunday Buffet is so much more enjoyable when it’s not in your lap.

9981804294_6e03137262.jpg

#4. There is no greater joy on earth than the first time you make it on the hook and ring game at Grabbers.

9981840826_5fe3cd992f.jpg

Unless it’s the first time you make it on the “around the pole hook and ring game” at Lubber’s Landing.

9981743816_4da9c198b2.jpg

#5. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating 3 burgers in 3 days.

9981677215_37d5183833.jpg

9981717886_e44d99b0ca.jpg

9981597825_b169c5b321.jpg

#6. The best days are the ones where you do nothing at all.

9981709854_ac836f7f72.jpg

#7. You might as well JUMP.

9981735416_4e5d2c924d.jpg

#8. Dreams can come in the shape of a dirty bobber hanging on a tree.

9981711053_4042df4b00.jpg

9981595234_cab5e1112f.jpg

9981708943_25c5b5ec23.jpg

#9. There are more shades of blue than you can count.

9981802895_6c57981fce.jpg

9981776004_ce5229c302.jpg

9981886103_fdc2e80f26.jpg

9981860543_23ba549eda.jpg

9981744163_aeda8aa91e.jpg

9981603735_7c17c85893.jpg

#10. You can watch the same sunset from the same spot every night and it never gets old.

9981816835_9b68b5834b.jpg

9981778465_af46f34cd8.jpg

9981787853_49a070c039.jpg

9981905143_5bb5c0289e.jpg

#11. There is nothing cuter than a dog jumping with happiness across the beach, even if the sand does end up in your bed.

9981765075_60004ff34b.jpg

9981764045_9a990d6182.jpg

#12. Don't drink and Jenga.

9981728623_711236655b.jpg

9981727263_76bd0c0739.jpg

9981611664_f075faf6eb.jpg

#13. Three rainbows in 3 days is almost as good as 3 burgers in 3 days.

9981890533_15e4038a7b.jpg

9981647156_299c917bac.jpg

9981707863_9ecdda3e37.jpg

#14. No matter where you go in Abaco, there is a deserted beach with your name on it.

9981807025_3a0dc6614a.jpg

9981873183_d531ec577e.jpg

9981828253_f7b39d231f.jpg

9981606425_67807f3650.jpg

#15. Sometimes it’s okay to break the rules.

9981742075_afe4d4ea07.jpg

#16. There is absolute joy and wonder to be had in the simplest of moments.

9981669664_1bb16d2cf3.jpg

9981655265_fa7e2c84a6.jpg

9981821675_881ba13e40.jpg

9981659265_39fe8e441c.jpg

#17. If you don’t like where you are….just get in the boat.

9981729636_26c503a0a3.jpg

9981611415_67de4fef7f.jpg

#18. The best walks don’t take you anywhere.

9981837143_7561406d6e.jpg

#19. When you are happy, time doesn’t matter.

9981766904_6a52ee9b9a.jpg

9981862523_0176c0bde4.jpg

9981829013_46e16b3834.jpg

9981806333_935b96df25.jpg

9981665795_7ae87da00c.jpg

#20. Spending your birthday with good friends on Guana Cay can be the best weekend ever.

9981663015_d2b5c6c500.jpg

9981617274_ff59eb4a30.jpg

9981609044_7a91fdd8cf.jpg

Now repeat after me: There’s no place like Guana. There’s no place like Guana. There’s no place like Guana…..

Posted by vicki_h 12:48 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island caribbean tropical bahamas abaco guana_cay Comments (2)

Stranded Naked in Abaco

9316665123_f630ca69e4.jpg

We should have known better than to plan a trip to the Abacos during a week when there were three, yes….THREE….big beach parties. I can barely keep myself in check when there is just the one Sunday Pig Roast at Nippers. However, the first week in July we found ourselves faced with the Sunday Pig Roast, the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party, and the 4th of July Celebration at Nippers.

Oh dear.

I have to apologize in advance to my mom and dad. And to my Granny. All of them will be reading this, trying to figure out what they did wrong all those years ago when they tried to teach me how to behave in public.

I’m sorry.

I did not behave like a lady. I did not use my inside voice. I did not eat my vegetables. I did not wait an hour after eating to get in the pool. I did not wash my hands before I ate. I did not act my age. I took candy from strangers. I talked with food in my mouth. I stayed up after midnight. I ate dessert for breakfast and ran through the house with scissors. I put my feet on the table. I jumped in the ocean without a life jacket. I wore that skirt that was too short.

An no, my face did not freeze that way. I did not catch my death of cold. I did not go blind. I did not fall and crack my head open.

I had the time of my life.

Day One:

The flight down to Abaco never disappoints me. The views from above are nothing short of a miracle of nature.

9319451020_68cac52b63.jpg9316662155_cdbcf26fe8.jpg
9316661211_d4a6a11a41.jpg9319449246_b34ae1c577.jpg

I have to start by showing you photos of the trip down. I can’t help it. It’s a compulsion. I always take photos of the flight, the ferry, the plane. I can’t help it. I want you to know how I got there. Otherwise, I can just imagine you, dear reader, sitting in front of your computer screaming, “BUT HOW DID YOU GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE FERRY DOCK???? HOW???!!!! Did you take a bus? Did you ride a donkey? Did you hire a pedi-cab? For God’s sakes, I have to know!”

I just can’t do that to you.

9319446956_e978d90b7c.jpg

After an easy landing and a quick taxi ride, we found ourselves at Curly Tails with about an hour to spare before the Guana Cay ferry. That should have been enough time for drinks and lunch. Should have.

We had just ordered up some Bahama Mamas to kick off the trip when the 4 horses of the apocalypse came bearing down on us at breakneck speed.

The sky went from this:

9319448164_5982661f21.jpg

to this:

9319448806_ae0b9d73cd.jpg

in about 10 seconds. In case you don't see it, that is a wall of storm coming right at us.

We were soaked by the time we ran down to the ferry dock and grabbed our luggage. I think I ripped a shoulder muscle as I dragged my too heavy bag up the staircase. Then the power went out. And stayed out. We ran onto the ferry an hour later soaked and starving.

When we got to Guana, we didn’t even unpack or get cleaned up. We just headed straight to Grabbers for some dinner. That’s one of the many things I love about Guana Cay. No one cares if your hair looks like a wet dog and your clothes are a mess. Heck, you don’t even need shoes. Just come as you are.

A chicken-in-da-bag can cure a lot of ills.

9316658067_075154a3c4.jpg9316657563_6b03e9b298.jpg

As can meeting a new friend.

9316656977_a45ece84da.jpg

We called it an early night. We were tired and disheveled.

What we didn’t know was that “tired and disheveled” was pretty much going to describe us for the rest of the trip.

9316656445_6450c6f83f.jpg

Day two:

Good morning, Guana Cay!

9319443382_26aa501630.jpg

There is nothing I love more than a long, slow walk on the beach to watch the Guana sunrise.

9316653781_a6e3e08857.jpg9316653243_fa7f6bce32.jpg9319440030_2d5d88e2e9.jpg9319439462_ec92af1938.jpg

It was Sunday, so we made our way to Nippers. Of course we did.

9316649127_3a6ee520c0.jpg9319436674_53064ea121.jpg

On every trip to Nippers on a Sunday I swear this will be the Sunday that I behave. It will be the Sunday that I don’t give in when the frozen Nippers start flowing and the young girls start dancing. The Sunday that I don’t have that extra frozen Nipper and find myself front and center, dancing badly, the oldest person in a bikini, singing loudly to the Village People.

That Sunday never seems to come. Before I know it, the Cupid Shuffle is playing and I have that extra Nipper. I pull out all my bad dance moves. I step on people’s feet. I frighten their children. By the end of the afternoon, I feel a need to throw an apology to the universe.

9319435500_3f0376e74d.jpg9319434828_c5f7d24b22.jpg
9316645803_2517675d84.jpg9319433586_7260161437.jpg

Things always start off well. I am incredibly well intentioned. We found a table, enjoyed the view and sampled the buffet. We laughed with friends. We made new friends. It was all very civilized.

large_collage1.jpg

But then these guys showed up and all hell broke loose:

9319426080_007aee61e5.jpg

You know it's going to be a memorable afternoon when the patriotic thongs come out.

I know some people find the behavior at Nippers over-the-top. I remember reading one trip report where someone made fun of people dancing that thought they could dance but couldn’t. The way I see it, there is nothing better than a place where a person who dances badly can feel comfortable doing it.

Hello. My name is Vicki. And I am a bad dancer.

9316617803_07b7a4d6a5.jpg

Nippers is a place where those of us who are fairly uptight in our normal lives can let our hair down in a safe setting.

We had fun that day. Fun that I know I am technically too old for, but when those days come along, I find it’s best to just jump in and grab them. One day, they’ll stop coming.

large_collage2.jpg

Somehow, we all made it out the other side intact.

The best end to a day at Nippers is a pizza at Grabbers. So, with the final rays of the setting sun, we ended the night. Sure, we were tired and disheveled, but we had made memories that we wouldn’t forget.

9316599733_f15f2181e4.jpg9316599219_2bb2381bd3.jpg
9316597415_285c3321e4.jpg9316596761_1bf42b0a3e.jpg

Day Three:

9319383066_0c72f60b7f.jpg

Looking forward to a quieter day, we decided to take the boat to north Guana. It was very windy and this seemed like a good way to test the boating conditions before we got overzealous.

9319382496_1cf634bd09.jpg

I agree that Bakers Bay is the root of all that is evil on Guana Cay. I would prefer that they had never developed the pristine end of this beautiful island. When I see those beautiful beaches now covered with mega-mansions, it makes my heart hurt. I remember when it was nothing but a blinding stretch of perfect white sand, fringed with palms that waved ever so slightly in the breeze, with the bluest waters of the island lapping gently at the shore.

But Bakers Bay is there now. There’s no stopping it. And I have to admit that I do like the restaurants. They provide a much needed break from bouncing back and forth between Nippers and Grabbers, which we tend to do like a giant, over-carbed volleyball.

On the way to the beach, we stopped at the Conch Shack for lunch.

9319374100_930ef17d36.jpg

This drink was not only delicious, it was gorgeous. Like a little tie-dye cup of happy.

9316594435_6251f061f2.jpg

The shrimp salad was to-die-for good. Giant, plump grilled shrimp on a bed of lettuce drizzled in creamy balsamic goodness and topped with fried onions.

9316593863_380ff1b7ed.jpg

We wandered around the grounds a bit. After eyeing a dress in their clothing boutique that turned out to be $1050, I started wondering if I was in the Hamptons again and decided it was time to get back on the boat before I started getting an inferiority complex.

9316593337_84102b53bc.jpg9316592445_b8ec5154fa.jpg
9319379250_966f3144f8.jpg9316590033_da25240bba.jpg
9316589167_5efa0162e5.jpg

It was too windy to make it all the way around the point so we stopped a bit short and couldn’t have been happier.

It was a slice of heaven.

9319373058_102c6ecc28.jpg9316582935_bc0264161e.jpg
9316582485_bc48dfa20e.jpg9316581199_c72e080c2b.jpg
9319367568_60ec870d4b.jpg

This is my favorite thing to do on Guana. Nothing compares to an afternoon spent on a long, deserted stretch of perfect beach, when the water is calm and clear, the colors changing from bright turquoise to cool blue to indigo as the ocean stretches toward the horizon. The boat rocks gently in the water and the soft sounds of the radio fill your head as you do nothing more than float on an endless sea.

It is my perfect moment.

9319365042_3990b8dacd.jpg9316576561_416c4299aa.jpg
9319363950_db7b696e87.jpg9316574939_6f6b725f89.jpg
9319361918_6713726c3e.jpg9316572485_262f01d63a.jpg
9319357714_4dbc94cc78.jpg9316569141_4f151a0536.jpg
9316568087_835db1004c.jpg9316567531_7f77aea0e1.jpg
9316566935_5436b902e0.jpg9316564747_525fcb3a30.jpg
9319352214_1266c9dfb5.jpg9316563621_da58ab1f86.jpg
9319351096_2e56d961c8.jpg

That evening, we had a potluck of sorts. We met up on the deck and several households brought what they had. We had been given a ridiculous amount of fresh caught fish the day before by some guys that were flying home and didn't want to carry it with them.

9319349244_af76d09664.jpg

There was grilled fish, peas n’rice, salad, tuna sashimi, and a chocolate concoction that I had managed make with the weird ingredients I had mish-mashed together from the grocery store.

It was so much better than those potluck dinners we used to have at work sometimes, where we always ended up with some overcooked sausage balls, four dishes of baked beans, and weird tuna salad.

9319348058_38a3ae54ab.jpg9319347464_362d5dee40.jpg
9316557649_2844f47ab8.jpg

Good-night, Guana.

Day Four:

9319343646_e9ca73e461.jpg9316555117_d58f0c0bb1.jpg

The boating had been good the day before, despite the wind and choppy water, so we decided to make it an Elbow Cay kind of day.

9316554465_27b60a9e5d.jpg9316552825_4a03428f6a.jpg
9319339504_7ef2f26cd8.jpg9319338292_02d2a19680.jpg

We hit Tahiti Beach right at low tide. Tahiti amazes me because it never looks the same twice. This time it was more blue than green and the sandbar had made an impressive entrance.

9319335190_663bf6769a.jpg9319334606_9203014cea.jpg
9316546083_d5ddea0ae6.jpg

We caught Austin from Lubbers Landing doing his thing. He was amazing on that kite board.

9316534367_dc4e2ae0d3.jpg9319322028_1026b8c10b.jpg
9316533323_2545e86ebd.jpg9319320974_f0e2f7bfc1.jpg

The guys anchored the boat.

Or so we thought.

9316544867_f62da79524.jpg

Everyone was wandering about in the shallow water, spread from here to there, when a stranger started waving frantically at me. I was halfway to Tilloo, wading through the shallow water so I couldn't hear what he was saying. He was shouting and jumping up and down.

Because I couldn’t hear what he was saying, and because he looked positively frantic, I jumped to the only logical conclusion: there must be a great white shark behind me.

Holy Crap! I started running toward the sandbar, certain that death was upon me. I was in knee deep water, so this was not a graceful run. I was high stepping it like a drunken drum major. I was going so slow that I might have been going backwards.

I was nearing a panic attack. Not a butterflies in the stomach panic attack. Not a going down a roller coaster panic attack. Not a nervous first date panic attack. No. I felt like I was about to jump into a pit of rattlesnakes while being chased by clowns.

Not funny clowns. The scary kind.

My heart was racing. My breath was pounding. That little vein in my temple even started to throb. I couldn’t move fast enough. I would have simply curled up in the fetal position if it hadn’t been for the fact that I would have drowned. And then gotten eaten by that shark.

Dammit. I KNEW this would eventually happen if I came to the Bahamas enough times.

He was still jumping and waving. I knew the end was near.

That’s when I got close enough to hear him.

He was not shouting, “There’s a big freakin’ shark behind you,” as I was certain he was. No. He was saying, “Is that your boat?”

I was so confused that at first my brain couldn’t process the question.

Shark? Boat? Shark? What?

That’s when I saw a tiny speck on the horizon that I recognized as our boat.

Oh dear God. The panic attack was back. But this time the clowns had machine guns.

Matt and John were REALLY, REALLY far away and I had no idea where Kelley was. Holy hell. I was already exhausted from the shark run. Now I had to run to the other side of the universe to tell them the boat anchor hadn't held and the boat was well on its way to Africa. So now, I was running toward them, still high stepping it through the water, but this time I was the one waving my arms and shouting.

I was like Tattoo from Fantasy Island. “Da boat! Da boat!” I screamed as I flailed and ran. I knew they figured out what was going on when I saw the “Oh shit” look on their faces.

That’s when they started running.

So now, all three of us are running, knees to chin, through the water, screaming. I’m not sure if we thought we could run to the boat, which was now at Lubbers Quarters, but we kept running because we didn’t know what else to do.

By the time we reached the sandbar, we realized a stranger had taken his boat from Tahiti to retrieve our runaway. He was towing it back to us. I have said it before and I will say it again: you won’t find kinder people on any island anywhere than you will in the Abacos.

To the stranger that saved our boat that day: Thank You.

And I am sorry if I scared your little boy when I was running and screaming about sharks and clowns.

The guys got the boat PROPERLY anchored and we resumed our beach day.

9316519701_be762ddb6c.jpg9316521223_5380d14849.jpg9319329898_b0efc383fe.jpg9316542425_c1dd076d2c.jpg9319329206_57d9d38508.jpg9316539645_a7d16ff952.jpg
9316536491_3fd5849706.jpg

As though giving us a little gift to make up for the Great Boat Chase of July 2013, God provided the Tahiti Beach Hot Tub.

9319319674_c56134ece8.jpg9319316810_91948c22d0.jpg

We found this perfect little spot after wading through the shallow water toward Tilloo. There it was, a perfect circle of white sand in the midst of an endless bed of sea grass. It was about 2 feet deeper in this one spot than the seagrass bed around it.

How unbelievably cool. We made it ours and dropped in to relax with some cold drinks until our fingers pruned.

9316532197_bb05675893.jpg9316527571_82553e2aba.jpg
9316524691_60f11a7b9d.jpg

All the running and screaming had left me famished, so we loaded up in the boat, which was blessedly still nearby, and motored over to Lubbers Quarters.

9319307794_abcdbda249.jpg9316517415_edf68599c9.jpg

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than the saltwater margarita, they had to go and dazzle me with the caipiroska. The recipe says: two muddled limes, organic cane sugar, & 3 oz of Stoli vodka. What it doesn’t say is that she oozes this amazing sugar syrup on the top.

9319302990_09b1ab0c8b.jpg

As we waited for our food, the guys became obsessed with the “around the pole hook and ring game.” I think men just like anything that involves a floor to ceiling pole.

9316512827_d2e83f8fa5.jpg9319299758_2f6094849b.jpg

Or maybe they were just enticed by the free shot of Patron for a successful ring.

9319300986_185290a743.jpg

I decided to have the island burger – a ground tuna patty filled with some kind of mysterious spices, so delicious that it makes my mouth water just to think about it. I think they are putting a narcotic in there. Because I’m pretty sure I’d be willing to knock over an old lady or a small child to get at one of those burgers.

9316515829_0ec368b9bf.jpg9319300502_65e488bf75.jpg9316510141_6e4f11c2ca.jpg9316507195_cf6cc89cb4.jpg9316505919_826d9176eb.jpg

After lunch, we all agreed that the dockside sofa at Lubbers Quarters is the single most perfect spot in all of the Abacos. Maybe in the entire world.

9316505297_a6b2b2a9f4.jpg

Back on the boat, which we kissed every time we saw it, thankful it wasn’t in Cuba by now, we motored over to Hopetown to grab a drink at the Reef Bar.

9319293126_c15af900ea.jpg9319292664_32d232a97c.jpg9316503315_7a4d98e507.jpg9316502885_cffbd8d178.jpg
9316502317_bf68967c37.jpg

We were excited to see that Gary was back! The last time we visited, he had moved across the harbor, but it was great to see him back where he belonged.

The Reef Bar just isn’t the Reef Bar without Gary.

9316499315_aa31d55377.jpg9319290380_94f3ca4ae5.jpg9319288290_eb9161d6b3.jpg9319287278_91a2e16135.jpg9316498223_89bcc03c66.jpg9319285650_3f821b243d.jpg9316496667_b45b3f678c.jpg

We had enjoyed our lunch at Bakers Bay the day before enough that we decided to try it out for dinner. Okay, we really went because I had packed a maxi dress and where else are you going to wear a maxi dress on Guana????

9316492217_e340db437e.jpg9316494627_406056e5ff.jpg

The guys were still all jacked up from that free Patron and it was all we could do to keep them in the cart long enough to get to the other side of the island. Random bouts of erratic street dancing kept delaying us.

9319276544_5d274b01f2.jpg

We finally made it. I hate to admit how pretty Bakers Bay is, but yeah, it’s pretty. Even at night.

9316485807_d50f5cdb57.jpg9316483867_1b70d615e8.jpg9319270322_b262f1878f.jpg9316481693_07a847fe11.jpg

We grabbed a table outside the Market Restaurant. Only on Guana Cay will you find that the restaurant that comes the closest to “fine dining” is a combo grocery market-deli-restaurant with a table of souvenirs thrown in for good measure. Reminds me of the Video-Tanning-Gas Stations we have back home in TN.

The setting was lovely, the drinks were tasty, and the food was delicious.

9319267390_fddd8f6b66.jpg9316478843_439afaf993.jpg

After dinner, we wandered down to the waterside bar. That’s when John spotted the bell.

You know how you can’t help but pop bubble wrap when you see it? That was John with that bell. He was mesmerized. He just couldn’t help but ….…..ring it.

As soon as he did, the bartender said, “All right everybody! This man’s buying a round!” Everyone clapped and she proceeded to go around the bar and take everyone’s order.

$120 worth of drinks later, we knew what the bell was for.

Thank goodness there were only 12 other people at the bar. Dear lord, what if there was a bell at Nipper’s??? You could end up with a second mortgage on your house.

It was worth every penny to see the look of disbelief on John’s face. Every. Penny.

9319265862_346cb468a5.jpg

We managed to make it through the night without Johnny ringing another bell. Actually, he’ll probably never ring another bell. Ever.

Day Five:

9316476655_67b8e93c17.jpg

For an island chain that hosts one of the biggest beach parties in the universe EVERY SUNDAY, you’d think there couldn’t be anything too special about simply moving that beach party to a different location and calling it by a different name, right? No, this wasn’t the Nippers Sunday Pig Roast. Today was July 3rd. This was the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party.

A small, uninhabited cay just off of Green Turtle has become the host to one of Abacos biggest parties of the year. What began as a few friends grilling up some burgers on the beach has become hundreds of boats, 1200 cheeseburgers, 100 turkey burgers, 450 hot dogs, 450 pounds of french fries, 100 gallons of margaritas, and 100 gallons of rum punch. Throw in some temporary tattoos, hula hoops, a limbo contest, and top it off with some Jimmy Buffet music and you have the annual Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party on Fiddle Cay.

Did I mention that it is all FREE?

No one is actually naked.

At least I didn’t see them.

It’s just a big beach party and everyone who has a boat is invited.

9316473253_96a9f1cb65.jpg9316470425_bc7715a59d.jpg9319257068_a4e3327253.jpg9319255442_6619c03068.jpg9316466229_eba8cd0147.jpg

We had never been, but we always wanted to go. Just to see what it was all about. We had timed our trip to coincide with the event this time. We were finally going to get stranded naked. The ride over was filled with the beautiful sights we have come to expect from the Sea of Abaco.

When we arrived at Fiddle Cay, I knew quickly that this was no Sunday Pig Roast.

9319253750_9faf092486.jpg9319253240_9b04462747.jpg9319252228_fd4c7439d4.jpg9319251660_dc62b8517c.jpg9319251176_a83a395f3e.jpg9316461467_1afa2b5a29.jpg

Crewed yachts were tying up to dingys. Luxury power boats with triple 250s were saddled up beside rental Whalers with 75 hp engines that were jimmied up with duct tape. Hundreds of boats were carefully placing themselves around a deserted island as what looked to be about a thousand people drifted in the shallow water toward the shore.

Pool floats were blown up and set adrift. Tables and chairs were erected in the water and tied down with cement blocks and rope in a manner that would have made McGuyver proud. The smell of grilled beef and boat fuel filled the air as Jimmy Buffet music pumped out of the speakers, competing with a hundred different boat radios. Depending on which way your turned your head, you could listen to Margaritaville, Zac Brown, or Daft Punk. Girls in bikinis strolled through the water with coolers full of beer tied to their waists, men carried gallons of rum punch on boogie boards, beer bongs flowed off the backs of cruisers.

For a people watcher like me, I’d hit the mother lode.

9319250062_3726d2edf1.jpg9319239750_60acfebea7.jpg9316449967_4700067278.jpg9316409021_8202aa75c8.jpg9319194788_8c8b1b2613.jpg9316404501_e1c68f7542.jpg

As we wandered up toward shore to find the cheeseburger line, a guy in a bandana and sunglasses approached me.

"Are you our photographer?" he asked, eyeing my giant camera.

"Um....no," I replied.

"Do you want to be? Meet me at that sign in 9 minutes. I have to go round up some girls in bikinis."

And that, my friends, is how I got commandeered to take the sponsor photos for the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Party.

9319236136_3cc44b0c74.jpg9316439955_6e60d47529.jpg
9316439349_369960195e.jpg

My compensation was excellent: a temporary tattoo, a free tank top, and....the best part....I got to get in the front of the cheeseburger line.

9316426939_9b6795b06c.jpg9319214394_6e21ab14c4.jpg
9319211200_a961ce18ec.jpg9319209544_dde4508a80.jpg9319207892_0b3ef40109.jpg9319207360_95df8e3548.jpg

Walk softly and carry a big camera, I always say.

It was a crazy afternoon, as more and more people arrived. I think I heard one person say that they waited in line for 4 hours for a burger. Drinks flowed. Music pounded. Frisbees and footballs flew through the air. Girls danced on the backs of boats. Kids did backflips in the shallow water. Dogs rolled in the sand.

9316454919_f9ca4ee429.jpg9316454297_bbf0262933.jpg9319224746_e1a72934c9.jpg9316430509_c9642effaf.jpg9319210422_beb21585cc.jpg9319203222_67b7c62ca1.jpg9316413863_11d0c215fa.jpg9319200996_ea24a1744c.jpg9316412405_818d12e203.jpg9316411695_ca6ca87773.jpg9319195944_e3b3927155.jpg9319190432_aa092bdc50.jpg9316397467_ac608c8ff2.jpg9319184686_dd7bc42460.jpg9319183048_f45a7dd395.jpg9316394523_9f940a6809.jpg9319179566_c6407f6b7a.jpg9319175728_6af8b07b01.jpg9319174572_eca2f6bb32.jpg9319173904_e2e9bccef6.jpg

I have never seen anything like it.

Oh, dear sweet Jesus, my hair – I was tapping my inner Chewbacca.

9319176330_c94a37392e.jpg

We stayed until late in the afternoon, and as the sun began to drop low in the sky, we saw how much the wind had picked up and realized it was going to be rough going back to Guana. The seas were choppy and rolling. The waves were big. We had an hour long ride.

As we unhitched ourselves from the safety of the giant motor yacht next to us and began rocking to and fro as we motored out of the protected shallow waters, I began to regret eating that hot dog and fries after I finished my hamburger and knew I never should have had those last couple of drinks that stranger was pouring out of a gallon jug. I wondered just how long it would be before I threw up on myself.

Matt gave us all some really good boat advice before we hit it: "Hold on. Don't fall out. And if you have to puke, do it with the wind, not into it. Hang on!"

And away we went. As we hit against the first wave with a smack, raising my butt about 6 inches off the seat as the boat started bouncing violently against the water, I instantly knew this boat ride was going to be awful. It's all fun and games until someone loses a bikini top. Or their last meal.

9319170230_9463fc4639.jpg9316380663_44f582a203.jpg
9316379541_789fd38b18.jpg

Thankfully, we all made it back without anyone getting sick, although I'm pretty sure I had chipped a couple of pieces off of my tailbone.

We had a quiet evening at Pirate's, wolfed down some ribs and lobster, and went to bed thanking the sea for not capsizing our boat.

9316378311_9454ca89ff.jpg9316376993_338ca7f438.jpg9316373873_8c70060138.jpg9316372611_655e4e1432.jpg9316371385_69f456c6b8.jpg9316370577_9a138530e0.jpg9316367541_9380992e6c.jpg

Day Six:

9319155080_d240eb223b.jpg

It was July 4th, and although Bahamian Independence Day is celebrated on July 10th, Guana Cay was celebrating Uncle Sam all day long. We knew that Nippers was having a big party later in the afternoon, and we were all still a little rubber legged from the previous day's boating, so we decided to chill at the house for the morning and have a good, old fashioned cook-out for lunch.

First, we made a morning run to see the dream tree. People hang their dreams on this tree.

9319154618_2cf060233c.jpg9316365495_950be867dc.jpg9316364185_72aa806304.jpg9316363701_c952387595.jpg

Apparently, most peoples' dreams look a lot like dirty mooring balls and bobbers.

We grilled up the rest of the fish for lunch and paired it with a key lime pie we'd found at the Grocery that morning.

9316360153_76be8b80f0.jpg9319147896_d782bb4957.jpg

We also found Harrison.

9319146748_75d7606fe2.jpg9319146100_9292e86036.jpg

Typically, I would describe a little boy as noise with some dirt on it. But Harrison might have been the coolest kid I ever met. And the cutest. We thought about making his parents an offer, but we were pretty sure they wouldn't sell him.

After lunch, we stopped at Dive Guana to take a look at a boat that had run up on the rocks earlier in the week. This is called "How to ruin a vacation in 10 seconds flat:"

9316363159_8a95816f5d.jpg

Ouch.

Then it was time to head back to Nippers, the scene of Sunday's madness.

You know that old saying about learning from your mistakes? Yeah, well, that doesn’t apply to me so much. I make a lot of mistakes. Like, a lot of them. And every time I do something stupid, I say to myself afterwards, “Self, we are not going to do THAT again.” A couple of days later I do that again. I don't know. Maybe I’m just a really slow learner, and one day I will eventually learn not to repeat my mistakes – like when I’m a hundred.

Or when I’m dead.

I think a better saying for 2 Nippers parties in one week is "Like a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly."

Sigh. Here we go again.

9316356079_b939d2f8cf.jpg

As it always does, it started off nice enough.

9319143368_33e0f61ca2_b.jpg
9316354715_fa717c43fb.jpg9319141660_a679ebd526.jpg9319139810_e6b01b057a.jpg9316351439_f7723fe8f4.jpg

But then these guys showed up again.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Nippers.............. the thongs come out again.

9319123678_edb052a9be.jpg

Let's just say there was a lot of patriotic enthusiasm that day.

large_collage3.jpglarge_collage4.jpg

Things really took a turn when this huge group of guys showed up with a bunch of scantily clad girls and started buying TRAYS of Nippers and passing them out to everyone. TRAYS, people. TRAYS OF FREE NIPPERS.

9316334619_2dd2f0038c.jpg

Sweet funky moses.

Apparently, Lindsay Lohan is not the only person spending her fortune on booze and hot pants.

When the 3rd tray of drinks showed up, we knew it was time to get out of there before someone needed a stomach pump. We headed to Grabbers to bring things down a notch.

Steel Daddy was playing and the sun was putting on a dazzling display.

Matt and John did a little paddle boarding and we snacked on some ribs and pizza.

9316333389_47af2c813c.jpg9319121308_26dc9c01a0.jpg9319117764_c83838f885.jpg9316329939_4abab15e1f.jpg9316329401_b163348e22.jpg9316328859_1d59894330.jpg

We headed back to Nippers to catch the fireworks with Harrison.

9319113630_32e75efffd.jpg9316325659_8fa38c412a.jpg

Day Seven:

The guys got up really early the next morning to go fishing. The sky was exceptionally gorgeous that morning.

large_edit-pano-2.jpg
9319108248_a5ed446dfc.jpg9316320471_4ba6bfb3fb.jpg9319106088_2f21d367f9.jpg9316317655_6a72036b9b.jpg9319104310_a18c616d3c.jpg9319103582_84313377d6.jpg

The sea had been rough all week. And Matt and John had more than their share of those free Nippers the day before. Even a Grabbers pizza couldn't cure a free Nipper hangover.

They looked a little green.

Rough seas, the smell of bait, and a slight hangover did not sound like a good combination to me. They were just asking to get sick. They were both a little worried. "Should we take some Dramamine?" I heard John ask Matt as they headed out.

The feeling of seasickness starts as a distressful lurching in the stomach. Then there is that slight dizziness that comes when you get a nose full of boat fumes wafting through the air. You then find yourself making a heroic effort to force your stomach contents to remain in their rightful place, only to end up leaning over the railing, hoping no one will notice, as you hurl to the sea.

It happens to the best of us and I was pretty sure it was going to happen to one of them before the morning was over.

Poor John. Apparently, he was the one that the vomit fairy paid a visit to that day.

There is no good way to vomit politely on a fishing boat when you are a guest. I am guessing that he first went through a stage of denial. If you've ever been there, you know. That's when you start to feel a little green, but you look at your fishing companions and say, "Wow. I feel really good. Don't you? It's refreshing out here. I love the smell of that bait."

Denial is a bad idea when you are a guest on a boat and you know you are getting seasick. Why? Because what you should be doing is immediately moving into position. The only thing worse than vomiting in front of the other guys on a deep sea fishing trip is vomiting on the other guys on a deep sea fishing trip.

Hopefully, he was smart enough to vomit with, not into, the wind. Releasing your breakfast is bad enough. You don't want it to blow back on you so that you not only get to experience it a second time, but a third.

Despite the fact that he was probably gray and was no doubt wobbling around the boat in a manner that made the other guys wonder if he was about to die, John did what any man would do when seasick on a deep sea fishing trip.

He stopped. He barfed. Then he fished.

A little vomit never stopped a man from fishing. It takes a real man to haul in two giant tuna while tossing his cookies over the side of the boat.

While the guys fished (and vomited), Kelley and I slept in. Then we took a run into town to visit Bear, the dog king of Guana, and to do some shopping at Gone Conchin', a great place to lighten your wallet if it's too heavy for the trip home.

9319149212_86b25c834a.jpg9316356681_e80e192a1a.jpg9316361749_d4ca6654e8.jpg9319102948_d1e42c5c1d.jpg9316276819_dabe4837a3.jpg

When the boys returned, we packed up the boat and headed to Man-O-War.

9319102370_63985593bc.jpg9319101860_ca53b86a0c.jpg9319101354_6d98200845.jpg9319096428_952e24b009.jpg9319095958_e36fdc12fe.jpg9316307977_cc7a45fc4f.jpg9319094908_790e560e45.jpg

We pulled the boat into the shallow beach that sits at the narrowest point on the island.

It was amazing. The island is barely the width of the road, with the sea on one side and the ocean on the other.

9316305575_26803ae992.jpg9316303187_9c24bcd1b0.jpg9316298855_ed37defdb9.jpg
large_edit-pano-3.jpg

Since it was our last day, we had made a picnic lunch of all the food we had leftover. It reminded me of Sunday nights when I was a kid. We ate all the leftovers from the week and called it "FFY Night." This meant "fend for yourself." There was never enough of any one thing to make a meal, so you ended up with a little bit of this and a little bit of that until you had enough to call it a meal.

A bbq rib, half a sandwich, a bite of potato salad, a handful of Doritos, an orange slice, and three Fig Newtons.

With that view, it could have been chateaubriand and creme brulee and it couldn't have tasted any better.

After lunch, we headed into the harbor to visit the sail shop.

9316295901_68b3e0168b.jpg9316295289_08eaa94433.jpg9319081880_dbd1b12610.jpg9319081266_788d6107e7.jpg9319080606_bca477ff58.jpg9319079376_71171021dc.jpg

We hadn't gotten 3 steps from the boat when a little golf cart pulled up with a white haired lady and a box full of still warm cinnamon rolls.

Miss Lola!

I greedily handed over my $7 and clutched my still warm rolls like a prize. I think at one point I was stroking the bag and whispering, "my precious...." but I can't be sure.

I can tell you that the rolls got eaten before I remembered to take a picture of them.

Yes. They are that good.

9316291621_6019b189ed.jpg

We enjoyed picturesque Man-O-War before calling it a day and heading back to Guana.

9319077516_c6ab3f7b2d.jpg9316289617_bae5db32aa.jpg9316289081_a9e652f980.jpg9316288505_a0f23bd8a9.jpg9316287875_fae017c32a.jpg9316287177_c6256a7936.jpg9319073694_af02a2494f.jpg

For our final dinner, we decided to try the reopened restaurant at Orchid Bay. The first thing we noticed was that it had a spectacular sunset view.

9319068904_58464f8905.jpg9319068264_0e84f917f4.jpg

The Greek salad was fresh and the lobster was incredibly tender.

9316280379_0e2a9b29a2.jpg9319067044_f43606e103.jpg

We wrapped it up with a final Grabber as the lights of the sailboats bobbled about in the harbor.

9319066486_b5c032bf63.jpg

Day Eight:

9319065718_2af3fa108f.jpg9316277891_04d92d6d5d.jpg9316277377_cc579ca3af.jpg

It had been a full week of overdo. I had eaten enough sugar to put a diabetic into a coma and had more fried food than can be found at the Texas State Fair. I hadn't gotten enough sleep, my rear end had boat sores, and my calves were sore from one too many bad dance moves. I was dehydrated, exhausted, and my pedicure was badly chipped. I probably needed a liver transplant.

Don't worry. I promise to run five miles as soon as I finish typing this paragraph and eat nothing but fruits and vegetables for the next 10 days.

After all, I'm headed back to Abaco in a few weeks.

I gotta' get ready.

9319060944_bb3215450c.jpg

9316273281_6062092472.jpg

Posted by vicki_h 07:41 Archived in Bahamas Tagged beach island tropical bahamas abaco guana_cay Comments (7)

(Entries 36 - 40 of 63) Previous « Page .. 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 .. » Next