I love my kids. They have grown to be wonderful adults, people with whom it is worth spending time. That is why it was a treat to have Maggie, Eland, and Ale--our Mexican foreign exchange student from ten years past--join us for nearly a week aboard WILD HAIR.
While they were here, the weather was Bahama-perfect. Warm, clear skies made possible a wide range of activities, including: sailing, snorkeling, beach sunbathing, hiking, sea shelling, diving for conch, spear-fishing, iguana feeding, and touring a remote inland river—an eco preserve—via our dinghy. We ate coconut and fresh-caught lobster. Sunsets were celebrated nightly with different rum drinks. Everyone got to experience an outdoor “swimsuit” shower on the boat’s transom.
In Nassau Harbor, we shopped at the native straw market, enjoyed fine dining, and watched Flamingos “march.” The kids brought DVDs and music from their homes for our nightly entertainment. Maggie and I were trounced by Dave and Ale in our family’s favorite card game: Schlutenglaggen.
As fellow sailors know, it’s tricky planning a successful sailing vacation for visitors. Our goal was to give the kids an experience of traveling by boat to exciting destinations. We wanted them to see for themselves the variety that the islands offer. So, there were early decisions to be made about the route and last-minute decisions based upon what was doable given the actual weather.
Planning meals for five was a challenge. Our stove is limited by two burners and an itty-bitty oven. Our pots and pans are sized for two eaters. Some visitors were voracious carnivores while others were conscientious vegetarians. With a little creativity, the meals were a hit and no one went hungry. The fare included: fresh “cracked” conch, Mexican Pasta Salad, hearty fish stew, and a “Pirate’s Eye” Toast and Egg breakfast.
To feel welcome on board, everyone needed their own space. Dave and I cleared several cupboards and gave each visitor their own cubbies and hooks for their stuff. Dave and I slept in the salon so the kids could spread out in their own private staterooms with en suite heads.
Finally, it was our duty to protect everyone’s safety and well-being. To this end, Dave and I unearthed our spare life jackets and reviewed with our new crew WILD HAIR’s man overboard drill. Anticipating potential medical discomforts, we stocked up on sunscreen and seasickness medications.
Unfortunately, Dave and I didn’t think of everything. Despite our best efforts, some of our guests experienced a day of mild seasickness, others got second-degree sunburns and uncomfortable allergy flare-ups. In retrospect, I wish I baked the French fries at a hotter temperature, and I wish I remembered to pull the chicken out of the freezer a day earlier.
All in all, it was a joyous time together. I suspect they will join us again for another satisfying adventure.