When you see a beauty through someone else’s eyes, when you witness the delight others have in discovering places you love, and when you introduce someone to a brand new experience, you are rewarded with a pleasure at least equal to theirs. When the people you are with are dear to you, it is even better. Our time with John’s sister, Kathy, and her husband, Steve, was indescribable to all of us; we are all still reliving our adventure together and it will be remembered by all of us forever.
We stayed in Hope Town until March 23rd, enjoying the town and the beaches and awaiting the time Kathy and Steve would arrive. Finally we left and traveled about 20 miles to Man-O-War Cay where we tied up to a mooring. The plan was to stay for a couple of days before going to Marsh Harbour, where we would provision and ready the boat for our guests’ arrival. Marsh Harbour, however, was very busy and we had not been able to make a reservation for a dock the following week, so we were a little concerned about how we would get Kathy and Steve aboard. As always we lived by our motto, “we will figure it out”. Soon after tying up to the mooring in Man-O-War, John called Marsh Harbour again and was told that we could have a dock if we went there right away, but we could not have one if we got there the following day. This is the Bahamas, after all. So, we quickly pulled in the lines after our two-hour stay, and motored the few miles to Mangos Marina in Marsh Harbour.
Because we had a lot of extra time on the island, we rented a car and went touring. Surprisingly, there really wasn’t much to see, and in reviewing my images, I find that I didn’t take a single picture there before our guests flew in. Marsh Harbour does, however, have a large grocery store that compares to those in the United States, so this was a huge benefit when provisioning for more people on board. Shopping, however, is best done on a Thursday, as Wednesday is the day the produce comes in by boat. We were told that everything good would be gone by Sunday, so Thursday was shopping day. This was perfect as Kathy and Steve were flying in on Friday, March 29th.
Finally the big day came and the fun began. We left Marsh Harbour Saturday morning and went back to Treasure Cay so we could show off the beautiful beach there. Kathy and I stayed longer on the beach than the guys did, and we loved having time to chat and catch up. It had been way too long since we had time together, and there was so much to talk about.
Sunday, March 31st, led us to the nearby Mermaid Reef. We had heard that the reef was a wonderful place to snorkel, easy, calm, and loaded with fish. This was the first time Kathy and Steve had snorkeled, so it sounded like the perfect place to introduce them to one of my favorite activities in the islands. Both a bit apprehensive before jumping in the water, it didn’t take long until everyone was swimming like a pro. We swam from the boat to the nearby reef, and before long, we saw the unbelievable show. Fish at Mermaid Reef are very used to people, and they are quite sure you are there to feed them and play with them. They swim right up to you in huge swarms, cuddling up as though you are their best friends. At times it was a bit overwhelming, but we loved seeing all of the many species and colors of these beautiful creatures. Snorkeling turned out to be a big hit, especially with Steve, who was willing to go back as soon as possible.
After our swimming adventure, we headed to the anchorage at Marsh Harbour. There is plenty of room in this harbor, and it’s a fun place to spend an afternoon and evening. In the afternoon, we put the dinghy, Tangent, in the water and took a ride around the area to look for sting rays in a shallow bay. We didn’t see too many, but it was still a nice way to spend some time before the every day happy hour that takes place aboard. Before dinner we watched a beautiful sunset, and enjoyed another great day together.
Because we had so much fun the day before, we went back to Mermaid Cay to snorkel again, this time with bread and crackers for the thankful fish, before we moved AfterMath to Hope Town. John and I really loved that little spot on Elbow Cay, and we couldn’t wait to take Kathy and Steve with us. Happily, they loved it as much as we did. During our stay there, we all went up to the top of the lighthouse, we took Tangent to town and walked around enjoying the sights and beauty of the Bahamas, and, of course, made a stop at the beach. We also went to Vernon’s store, a tiny grocery that is famous for homemade bread and Key Lime pies. Vernon is all business, not very chatty, and he only allows you to enter through one door and leave through the other, but he sure gets a line of customers when 2 PM comes and he has fresh pies ready to sell. Vernon is also the Methodist minister on the island and will perform weddings for $350. We all got a kick out of wondering how drab his sermons must be and what his weddings must be like, as he wasn’t overly friendly when we met him. The bread and the Key Lime pie, however, were put to good use aboard AfterMath.
April 3rd came much too quickly, as it was the day our family had to depart. Our original plan was to take them back to Marsh Harbour on the boat, but the wind was kicking up and expected to do so for a couple of days, so we sadly sent them on their way aboard one of the ferries that make the trip far more quickly than we were able. We were so sorry to see them go; we would have loved to have them stay longer and to be able to show them more of these beautiful islands. We truly loved having them aboard AfterMath.
Hope Town was our home for a couple more days while we waited out weather before leaving for Lanyard Cay. There we anchored for a night so that we could enter our next destination, Little Harbour, at high tide. Little Harbour is a beautiful spot with an interesting history. In 1951 Randolph Johnson and his family discovered the almost circular, white sand bay while sailing in their boat, The Langosta, and they decided to stay. They lived in their boat and in a cave while they built a thatched home and they started a bronze foundry there; after that, the family never left. His son, Pete Johnson, started his pub, which is a popular beach bar for those lucky enough to find one of the very few moorings in the harbor, for those who arrive in smaller boats and tie up at Pete’s dock, or for those who manage to find the pub by land. The only road that passes through Little Harbour is a sand one, right along the beach. Delicious fresh fish is served under a hut that is covered in t-shirts from those who visit, and a few steps up a path leads visitors to the Atlantic Ocean. Pete continues his father’s work at the bronze foundry, making beautiful sculptures that sell for incredibly high prices. Needless to say, we didn’t buy any of the artwork, but we did enjoy a trip through his gallery. I spent many hours over the few days we were in Little Harbour in my float tied to the back of AfterMath, watching the boats, the people, and especially the turtles swim by.
The Bahamas have been treating us well, and we have a little more exploration to do before we return to the states. We have decided that we will spend the summer in Brunswick, GA while we prep AfterMath for sale. Brunswick Landing Marina is a well-protected location for hurricane season that has lots of activity and lots of people to meet. We will be able to still do trips to the surrounding islands there and to Savannah and, of course, the best part is we will be able to see our children and grandchildren again. For a little longer, though, we will float around these crystal clear waters, visit small settlements, enjoy perfect beaches, and live our life fully one day at a time. There is so much to do, so much to see in this world, and really, so little time to do it. The only way to live is to live life fully, one day at a time.