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Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 8

It was a helluva ride.

Day Eight Itinerary: Lee Stocking Island to Stocking Island (30 miles)

It was our last day. Matt and I decided to spend the morning watching the sun come up on the other side of Lee Stocking Island.

A quick dingy ride and a very short hike up a hill put you on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sunrise with the waves crashing into the rocks below was magnificient.

Moments like that are why you spend a week on a boat, even though you know it won’t be easy. You don’t get moments like those every day.

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We took a quick dingy ride before heading back to the boat. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure those 3 dogs look “bad.” I think one of them is actually SMILING.

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When we got back to the boat, I made pineapple pancakes with maple syrup that Syd had brought all the way from Canada.

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Then it was time to make the long trip, back through the cut, onto the open ocean, and 30 miles back to Stocking Island.

The weather was looking a little ominous, but it was far enough behind us that our passage was clear. We all settled in for our last ride.

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When we arrived at Stocking Island, it was lunch time. We celebrated our return to Great Exuma with frozen banana daiquiris with a spiced rum floater.

Yay! We had made it back intact! And we were all still friends!

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John, Teresa, Matt and I wanted to dingy over to the Chat N Chill for lunch. Keith and Sydney looked at the sky and said, “You’re crazy,” and stayed on the boat.

Either the rest of us aren’t very smart or we had simply gotten used to being rained on at least once a day.

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While the rain held off, we had a great time with fresh hot burgers, ribs, and cold drinks.

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And then the rain came.

I always get amused on travel forums when the inevitable question pops up, “The forecast shows rain every day while I am there. What can I do?”
First, IT RAINS EVERY DAY IN THE ISLANDS. EVERY. DAY. That is something you should just go ahead and assume. It’s right up there with the sun rising and setting.

Second, why do we care if it’s raining if we are IN THE OCEAN? We are going to get wet anyway. Wasn’t that the plan when we jumped into the water? If we are already wet, why do we care if we get wetter? Are you worried your clothes will get wet? It’s a SWIMSUIT PEOPLE.

And what happened to those days when we were little kids and we BEGGED to go outside and play in the rain?

So, when it rains when you are on vacation you have two choices: 1) Sit inside and complain about it to all of your friends on Facebook, or 2) EMBRACE THE RAIN.

We embraced the rain.

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We swam in the ocean. We tried to walk a line strung up between two trees. We found a tire swing. We danced. We played volleyball (badly). We gave the rain the middle finger.

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We finally made our waterlogged way back to Island Girl. Because the weather was not stellar and because we needed to refuel the boat before turning her in the next morning, we all decided to make our way back across Elizabeth Harbor and spend our last night docked at the Exuma Yacht Club.

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Besides, the Yacht Club was supposed to have a fancy restaurant. Despite the fact that the Yacht Club seemed to be more about cement block walls and old kayaks than gleaming mahogany and billiard tables, we were hopeful.

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The Yacht Club had a nice bar. That was promising.

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The Yacht Club had beautiful décor. The furnishings were nice, the lighting dim, the aesthetics top notch.

Unfortunately, that is where the awesomeness ended.

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It’s important to note that I can eat anything. I mean it. I can eat god awful tasteless food if that’s all I have. I can eat food that’s been undercooked, overcooked, or badly cooked. I can eat food that has gone well beyond its expiration date.

Once, at work, I dropped my vege burger on the kitchen floor. The kitchen floor at work. The one that gets mopped once every 17 months. I picked it up, rinsed it under the sink, and ate it.

When I say I can eat anything, I mean it.

I could not eat that food.

Worst. Meal. Ever.

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My dinner plate included a lobster tail that was so tough and dry I could not physically chew it, mashed potatoes that looked like potato soup, and sautéed vegetables that were so limp and tasteless that they weren’t worth the effort it took to swallow them.

How do you ruin lobster?

Sorry Yacht Club. You need to spend less time on décor and more time on food prep.

And the worst part wasn’t the taste. It was the all-night-bathroom-party that Matt and John had once we got back. As for me, I would have welcomed anything that expedited the exit of that meal from my body. Instead, I lay in bed all night feeling like a searing-red-hot brick was sitting in my stomach. I was pretty sure that my body was completely incapable of digesting that unchewable lobster and was simply going to have to pass it through whole.

That brought us to our final morning and return home tired, nauseous, lugging suitcases filled with wet, smelly clothes, and anticipating the 6 hour flight home IF we didn’t get delayed by weather.

Yeah. We were ready to go home.

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Admittedly, the week hadn’t been all fun and games and we’d endured a few challenges. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

I have already been asked, “Would you do it again?” and “Are you glad you went?”

Maybe there were a few tense moments, tears were shed, a few body parts got banged up, some things got messy, and we had to work a little, but it was completely worth it to be rocking gently to sleep to the sounds of the waves and the smell of the salty air each night. To wake up each morning to hot coffee made in a stainless steel percolator on a gas stove that I had to light by hand. To see the most magnificent sunrise each day over the beautiful water of the sea, the boat rocking gently back and forth, my friends around me. To spend each day cruising along, watching the color of the water change from absolutely incredible to simply impossible. To enjoy the remote cays that you can only see by boat and to meet the sweet and generous people that live there, to enjoy their fresh baked bread, to watch their children laugh and play at the water’s edge. To spend the entire day with friends that you love and who love you, even when you call them an a$$hole and throw a chart book at their head. To experience something you can only experience on a boat, on the water, surrounded by friends.

I’m not one to listen to country music, but I was outnumbered on the boat and got to listen to more country music in 7 days than I have listened to since puberty, but I remember the lyrics of one song I heard on that boat sinking in on a day when everything was a pile of miserable crap one minute and we were in heaven on a cloud the next:

Bad times make the good times better…..it’s a helluva ride…..it’s a helluva life.

Yeah. That pretty well sums it up.

Would I do it again? Of course I would.

It was a helluva ride.

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Posted by vicki_h 07:09 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay blackpoint lee_stocking_island stocking_island Comments (7)

Home is where the Anchor Is…Sailing the Exumas Day 7

Rum Punched.

Day Seven Itinerary: Blackpoint Settlement to Lee Stocking Island (30 miles)

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The next morning, we woke up in a bit of a Happier-Hour-Rum-Punch stupor.

Vicki: “Where is my other shoe?”

Matt: “I don’t know. Have you seen my phone?”

Teresa: “What the hell is wrong with my hair?”

Vicki: “We decided to wash it in the sink at Scorpio’s, with hand soap, remember?”

John: “Is this frosting in my nose?”

Matt: “Seriously. Has anyone seen my phone?”

Vicki: “My head hurts.”

We found Matt’s iPhone at the bottom of the ocean under the public dock and we all swore we’d never drink 2-for-1 rum punches again.

At least not until the next time someone offers us 2-for-1 rum punch.

We had to leave early because we had a long sail ahead of us. It was about 30 miles from Blackpoint to Lee Stocking Island. I made egg sandwiches so we could eat on the go.

Every time I used the oven, I had to turn on the gas flow, light a match, and stick my head inside. Somehow, I just think they could come up with a better design.

Once I had managed to toast 12 pieces of bread (one piece at a time, one side at a time, since the broiler was only about 4 inches square) and cook the eggs without blowing up my head, we set off.

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We had a pleasant and uneventful sail. The morning weather was great and we enjoyed the constantly changing color of the water along the way.

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We arrived at Lee Stocking Island around noon and found a beautiful beach anchorage.

We set up the boat bar and I made champagne punch. Then I whipped up some pizzas for lunch (toasting the pizza crusts. One. At. A. Time.).

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Matt and I took the dingy over to a pretty beach that we had passed on the way to our anchorage. As we neared it, the sky started to turn dark.

We got the dingy anchored just as the sky opened up. It POURED.

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Why is it that, even though you are in a swimsuit, on a beach, in the ocean, getting wet when it rains seems like an unacceptable option? It's a lot like why a dog gets mad when you blow in its face, but it loves to stick its head out the car window.

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When the rain stopped, we headed back for Island Girl. When we got there, the rest of the group wanted to take the dingy over to the beach at which we were anchored and explore. We all headed that way. Just as we got there, the sky literally opened up and dumped all of its contents on us. Everything. Like all the rain intended for at least 3 countries for the next four weeks dumped right on top of us.

What we didn’t think about at the time was that it was also dumping on the boat, which was currently unattended, meaning there was no one to go around and close the hatches.

Congratulations! Wet beds for everyone! Yay!

Seriously, I don't think we would know what to do on this trip without our daily afternoon disaster. It had come to be expected.

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We looked like a laundry boat again. My bed was soaked. We had to dry the entire kitchen with towels. John smashed his toe on an open hatch and was bleeding. I had developed some kind of rash. Matt’s iPhone was dead. Sydney had killed her Kindle. Teresa’s foot was still purple. Keith still had that black eye. We all had random bruises, moldy clothes, smelly bathrooms, and sand in our sheets.

It didn’t matter. Our spirits were high. We were on Island Girl and we were having a great time.

We had a sunset party with wine and fruit and cheese. We turned up the music.

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For dinner, we had a smoked pork butt that I had carted all the way from TN, baked beans, something “like” cole slaw made with the random ingredients we found in the Exuma Market, and deviled eggs.

For dessert, we made s’mores on the grill (which Matt discovered was never broken…the guys just hadn’t turned on the propane….d’oh!).

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Posted by vicki_h 05:47 Archived in Bahamas Tagged island tropical bahamas exumas george_town staniel_cay great_exuma little_farmers_cay blackpoint lee_stocking_island Comments (2)

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