Monday, March 31, 2014

Time to Say Good Bye

Tomorrow at 0800 hours we are departing Hope Town to start our long journey to Baltimore. If the window holds out we could be in the U.S. by Thursday. If not, we will be waiting in the northern Abacos for better crossing conditions in a week or so.

It has been another wonderful winter here in the Bahamas and I still feel so lucky to spend this long time decompressing in such a beautiful place. This year we are especially lucky because of the brutally horrible winter up north. Hopefully that will just be a painful memory (for those who experienced it) when we actually arrive home. Strangely, it has been an unusually nice winter here…not nearly as many cold fronts and lots of sunny, breezy, pleasant days. Sorry, don’t mean to rub salt water into the wound.

This year was a little different from our past adventures...perhaps a little less adventurous. We didn’t move around much and opted to just spend most of our time chilling in Hope Town. Because of that, and maybe because this is our fourth year, I have not felt I had as much to blog about. The highlights were most definitely the visits with Lynn’s kids and Paul and Lee. The rest of our days were spent doing the usual Bahamas activities. So, I thought I would just post a selection of my favorite photos from this year that bring back great memories and I think capture the essence Bahamas mon...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What Happens in Hope Town Stays in Hope Town

At least that’s what I promised the Hershfeld siblings when they left last week.  We just barely survived the five-day visit with Traci, Kari, Jeff and Jami (in that birth order), which was as wild and crazy as expected.  We are so happy they made the effort to work out a time when they could all come together considering their conflicting work and family obligations…It really was a blast after which Lynn and I have been resting our bodies (and my liver) for the last week! Truly, it was a laugh a minute.

I think I should give you a bit of background on the Hershfeld kids. They are all within 5 years of each other and therefore went to school together with all the same friends. They were athletic and played sports like football, field hockey, lacrosse and baseball. The Hershfeld house was always open to kids dropping in and apparently where all the guys went to play basketball in the driveway late in the night. It was on a river and sounds like the kids basically lived at a camp during the summers. I love to listen to the stories of their earlier exploits, although I think Lynn tries to turn a deaf ear when they reminisce about their youth.  Like the time Traci took the houseboat for a joy ride…or, when Jeff snuck the rebuilt corvette out for a spin…or the day they all spread flour on the hallway floor and took turns sliding through it. They remain very close as adults and still love to laugh, tease each other and generally have a great time. They may have reverted a bit to their childhood for the week…and there was nothing held back. Nothing.

We started out in Marsh Harbour where we picked up the gang on Saturday afternoon and, after a lunch at Mangos, headed to Great Guana Cay. Everyone was really tired so we actually hit the sack at about 8 PM. Jeff commandeered the V-berth, Jami slept on the settee in the salon and Traci and Kari opted to sleep under the stars in the cockpit. I didn’t think that would be very comfortable, but they assured me it was and chose to sleep there for the remainder of the trip.
The next day was the true start to the “Shenanigans”. We headed to shore and started out at Grabbers for morning bloody mary’s. Then we headed to Nippers…the somewhat famous spot in the Abacos for causing afternoon debauchery followed by morning hangovers.  You can always pick out the post-Nippers crowd by the way they stagger down the dirt road. Well, I hate to admit that we were among those foolhardy sailors who had more than one “Nipper”.

Just before we made it back to the boat Traci accidentally fell out of the dingy. That is to say that Jami pushed her out. That was the start of an hour of hysterical swimming with swan dives and cannon balls off the bow. Then we all dried off and dried out while we headed to Hope Town in the late afternoon.       

The next day we went out to hunt for conch, an activity that seems to be a favorite with our various visitors. It entails dragging people by a rope behind the dingy as they troll for conch. If one is spotted the “troller” drops the line and dives down to retrieve it. After about an hour, Kari and I had found 5 legal-sized conch and Traci and Jami had found none. That may be because they really just preferred being pulled around to actually looking for dinner. They did finally find a few and cheered happily when they were declared keepers. We went home with eight conch but in the end we were too lazy (or grossed out) to kill and clean them so we donated the catch to another boat more willing to do the chore. That night we headed to Jacks Bar to play bingo, which they call Jacks. Unfortunately none of us won the pot, although Traci came closest and was disappointed to hear someone call out “JACKS!” when she was within one number.

Another day we rented golf carts and toured the island. We started out at Kari’s favorite spot, Tahiti Beach, after which we headed to Seabreeze…the first stop on our island pub crawl (with DGCDs of course… designated golf cart drivers). Along the way we saw a couple walking and asked them if they wanted a ride. They hopped on and we quickly discovered that she was the daughter of another cruising couple we know, so they joined in and called their Dad to meet us! We also bumped into our friend Chuck and he tagged along as well. After a stop at the Abaco Inn we decided it was time for lunch so we went to On Da Beach for really yummy grilled food. We then backtracked to Firefly, which was thankfully closed. So it was off to the Hope Town Harbour Lodge and a visit with Gary who makes the most excellent mango daiquiris.   Another hilarious Hershfeld day.

I don’t mean to make it sound like all we did was drink…it’s just that these were sort of standout events. Most of our time was perfectly sober and was filled with a variety of activities. There was definitely never a dull moment. We chartered a run-about and headed to snorkel and Little Harbour, we walked on the beach, lay in the sun, shopped, toured the Hopetown settlement, enjoyed morning coffee and cinnamon rolls, played cards, read books, hunted for sea glass (Jeff and Kari were hooked), rode in the dingy, climbed the light house, took pictures, watched a movie, chatted, teased, ate a few good dinners, went to munchies and the coffee house, went to bed early and woke up early, watched sunsets and sunrises, and basically laughed our way through the week.

Lynn and I have been in withdrawal since they left last Friday and back to keeping each other company. But, we have the memories of a fabulous week to keep us amused. I do hope they had as much fun as we did! 

Well, that’s as much as I can tell you. We have been sworn to secrecy on the remainder of the antics…I will just have to let the pictures tell a thousand words...