Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bahama Mamas

Every year my family flees to the Bahamas for a long weekend. I'm not talking about the mega resorts with chipper staff waiting on your every need.

Our Bahamas is the one the locals experience. The one untouched by the wands of a thousand businessmen.

Since we really embraced island life, we don't have pictures of a lot of things that happened. I'll breeze over those parts.

On the morning of departure we loaded up the boat with bags of clothes, cooking supplies, dive gear, fishing poles, and a startling amount of first aid equipment. Then we headed to the sea.

Crossing from our part of Florida to the island of our choosing in the Bahamas meant we were looking at a seven hour boat trip.

Sometimes it's a brutal crossing. The boat bangs against the waves and the sun is unforgiving and the water splashes onto the boat and soaks you.

This was not one of those times.

We landed at our new home in the late afternoon and soaked up our personal oasis.

We stayed at a lovely little property called Twin Palms, complete with a dock, barbecues, a beach volleyball court, and a put-put course to keep us busy.

Naturally, we got in the golf carts and left all that behind to explore the island.

We bumped and bounced through the overgrown island greenery, popping out now and then at a beach or a bay or some other surprisingly delightful little spot.

We found ourselves a good dinner and headed home to get some rest. We arrived just as the sun was setting though, and the lure of a sunset dip in the sea was irresistible.

We explored the waters while my sister snapped pictures of the sunset. We chased colorful reef fish, dove for starfish and poked at sea urchins as the sun merged with the sea.

The dangers of dark water (we had spotted a shark) soon yanked us from the warm embrace of the ocean. Instead, we sat on our stairway to the sea and savored the last wonderful bit of the evening light.

We tromped back to the house to clean up and head to bed, keen to rise early and do what really mattered. That, as my brother would so eloquently put, would be to "slay some fish".

Instead, that next day we mostly just picked up a lot of starfish (and then put them back).

Our fishing luck wasn't great. Luckily, no ego was bruised too badly once our friends came back from their own trip and said they had no luck either.

We spent our days out on the boat, each with a task. Someone would drive the boat, someone would spot for reef, someone would get in the water with a spear, someone would be setting up the spears, someone would cast out the fishing rods, etc.

We stayed busy and had fun despite our lack of payoff.

Since we weren't able to feed ourselves most nights, we headed to town.

It's a little seaside town with a one way street that runs a loop around the city. You have water on one side, town on the other.

We hung out at Sundowners a lot, a grimy old dive bar with christmas lights and giant fans blowing and picnic tables painted turquoise, yellow, and black for the Bahamian flag.

The signature drinks of the spot were the Smash and the Sundowner. They're a classic example of the fruity island drink that we've all had but can't remember the name of. Goombay Smash? Lazy Lizard? Bahama Mama? Rum Runner? - take your pick!

All that aside, Sundowners was the perfect spot for fruity drinks and a whole lot of laughs.

So in love with the night, the boys were hard pressed to find a reason worthy of making us leave. It was only the promise of a visit to the pig island the next day that rounded us back to our rooms for a night of rest before another early morning.

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