In the morning, Matt and Malachi swim again while Joshua and I kayak to a nearby beach. We leave at 10:30 am and anchor off of Norman Cay at noon. There is another, larger plane wreck here that I want to snorkel. We go over in the dinghy but I’m the only one who snorkels. It’s a fairly large plane and I keep wondering if a shark has taken up residence within. The wrecks are disconcerting. People likely died here and now the only inhabitants are finned ones who nonchalantly swim
in and out of the windows. We leave at 1 pm and anchor at our destination, Allan’s Cay, at 4 pm. The only inhabitants of this beautiful island are iguanas. While anchoring, we see at least 5 of them on the beach. Matt and Malachi swim over; Joshua and I kayak over with a bag of grapes and wood skewers (we’ve heard they can be ill-mannered and may bite). We show up on the beach and at least 20 of them tramp out to greet us. We hold out grapes on the ends of the skewers. They race forward to grab them and then run away, watching from a distance to see if there will be more. The shy ones lose out to their more courageous brethren. Joshua, the tender-hearted animal lover, takes pity and throws some grapes to those on the sidelines.
This is our last night in the Exumas. There is so much splendor here. Even from outer space. An astronaut on the space station said, “The beauty of the Bahamas is surreal; every blue that exists.” This is true. If your soul craves solitude, sea, sand and silence, the Exumas are a place you must visit.
On Saturday, we head to Nassau and, from there, will go to subsequent launching points to reach the States. The winds are too light to just sail so we motor sail the whole way. We can see the outline of Nassau, the largest city in the Bahamas, in the distance. I’m already missing the Exumas. It’s an easy trip over The Banks, the hundreds of miles of relatively shallow water on the west side of the Bahama Islands. We intended to stay at Atlantis for two nights but it’s booked tonight so we land at Nassau Harbor Club Marina. I tell Matt it’s for the best because we are right across from the best grocery store in Nassau and
we can do laundry and clean the boat without paying the exorbitant Atlantis Marina prices. The place is dirty and a bit of a dump but an easy place from which to do errands. We first go out for an early dinner to celebrate our arrival on Nassau and then go check the grocery store. Although everything is the standard 40% higher than the US, it’s a great store and I’m in heaven to be able to buy almost anything we want. We bring up our laundry at 5 pm but there isn’t an open washer until 8 pm. At 9:15 pm Matt and I walk up to get it out
of the dryers. He’s exhausted because he didn’t sleep much last night. The laundry is only half dry. The office sold us enough tokens for two loads and we have no more. We go up and down the docks to see if anyone has extra tokens. No one does. We drag our wet laundry back to the boat, resigned to finishing it in the morning when the marina office re-opens. This is the part of boat life I will not miss at all. Sigh.
In the morning we finish the laundry, clean the whole boat, and do our last provisioning before reaching the States. We motor across the channel to Atlantis Marina on Paradise Island. After calling the marina on the VHF, we idle outside the channel for 30 minutes, waiting to be allowed in. The
marina is full of huge mega-yachts, the 50 million dollar kind. Matt is positive there is a hidden video camera and they assess your boat’s luxe appeal before you come in, and assign your slip accordingly. We are assigned to the furthest dock away from these floating mansions – around so many corners we are not even visible to the tourists who walk the docks admiring them. It is an opulent and ridiculously expensive marina, as it should be given that it’s Atlantis. A place for these wealthy owners to see and be seen. At night, all of the mega-yachts are fully illuminated (the better to see the grandeur within from without).
Deck tables are set with linen tablecloths, candles, silver and crystal. Uniformed crew stand at attention (behind bars, beside tables), even if there is no one on board. Of course, there’s no one actually eating (that would ruin the aesthetic). In the morning, we have the VHF on and hear other boats calling the marina with requests. One asks about the possibility of a floral arranger. I’m sure that, in this game of one-upsmanship, all of the other yachts are adding “get flower arrangements” to their crews’ task list. I tell Matt that it would be fun to call the marina and
ask about the possibility of obtaining an ice sculpture. In the likeness of our boat. With tiny images of our family on deck. All listening will assume we are one of the mega-yachts. I guarantee that a day later there will be at least one yacht with an over-the-top ice sculpture. We are not even a pee-wee team in this league.