Friday, March 21, 2014

What I Did On My Winter Vacation: My Personal Bests of the Bahamas

Now that we are only ONE DAY from leaving the Bahamas—and excited about it!—I can let go of the anxiety, set aside the hard work, and reflect on the highlights of our visit to approximately 21 islands (it’s hard to keep track) since December. As the breakdowns, injuries, and no-see-ums fade in memory, the pleasiant memories--of interesting people, special activities, and beautiful places--will undoubtedly grow. Below are some of my favorites.
Nature as art: the water colors at Warderick Wells.

White sand, warm water, and the lively social scene at Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island, made more vivid by the company of Pope, Henry, John, and Carole and her friends.

Highbourne Cay: gorgeous swimming beach, graceful ray under the dock, and friendly motor-cruisers at the marina.

Swimming in beautiful, calm, sandy Gillam Bay on Green Turtle Cay; at secluded Pirates Beach on Staniel Cay; and in the gloriously clear and warm mangrove river on Shroud Cay, shown below (“swimming in place” against the powerful current there).

The tiny pink market on Staniel Cay—my favorite grocery. Run by friendly Eleanor and featuring her delicious coconut bread. (No photo; however, Eleanor may visit us in DC this summer when she attends her god-daughter's graduation from GWU.)

Conch stew at Taste and Sea on Staniel Cay. Cracked conch at Ruth’s shack on Potters Cay, shown below, shared with Henry and John. Deviations from my vegetarian diet that were worth every tender, savory bite. 
Pomegranate, sopadilla, and guava fruits picked fresh off the trees and given to me by Ren and his daughter, residents of Little Farmers Cay.

Fresh lettuce salad at restaurants in Marsh Harbor and Highbourne Cay. (Not grown in the Bahamas,  probably; a very welcome treat!) Kale and cilantro freshly picked by Leslie, resident of Manjack Cay, in her garden.

Dancing to energetic Abaco musicians at Green Turtle Club and Pineapples tiki bar (Kevin, shown below), and being introduced to the Bahamas-centric ballads of Barefoot Man.

Having my folding bike on board for touring Harbour Island, Staniel Cay, Green Turtle Cay, and others, and for running errands. Shown below on Pinder's Ferry to Eleuthera.

Cruisers met at marinas, on docks, in bars, or at anchorages because they pulled up to our boat in their dinghies just to say hello. Bruce and Gayleen (below), Judy and Dave (below), David and Sherl, Gabe and Gail, Vic and Gigi, Connie, Steve, George, Hans and Shirley, Pierre and Liza, Bill and Carmen, Bill and Alicia, and many more. (Some of whom can be credited with convincing me to keep going instead of flying home…)

Spending five months in close quarters with Pope, nearly 24 hours a day, sometimes enjoying life and sometimes coping with disasters. Despite a few disagreements, overall a positive start to my retirement.

The glorious joy of reaching West End, 53 miles from Florida, and knowing only one day of travel separates us from the USA!



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