This morning the Burnetts said goodbye to Greg’s sister Jeni and her family. As their watertaxi pulled away from Harbour Island, Mel realized that the Hopkins family were the last overnight guests they would ever host on Marvin, and she almost lost it. The Burnetts are now less than three weeks away from pulling up to a dock in the USA, putting Marvin up for sale, finding a job and a non-floating home, and being mistaken for normal people. Well, maybe not that last part.
Hearing a faintly ticking clock in the distance hasn’t stopped them from having fun, though. With our guests, we spent a day exploring Spanish Wells and Russell Island with golf carts, eating at The Shipyard and The Sandbar, swimming at our own private beach, and discussing the possible origins of the fascinating phonetic features of the local accent. Our guests got to witness the Burnett family go wild with excitement as we explored the beautifully stocked Food Fair and exclaimed with joy that prices were typically only twice as expensive as those in the US. Hooray! We also visited a great gift shop at the golf cart rental office (where Mel bought earrings made from lionfish spines – oh yeah baby!)
We then moved the boat from our mooring in Spanish Wells up to a beautiful anchorage just north of Gun Point and had a full-on Water Day, with kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming to a pristine beach. It was just for a few seconds, but Jeni got to swim with dolphins! Greg then spent a couple of hours in the dinghy mapping The Devil’s Backbone, a reef system that complicates the passage from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island. You can get a local guide through it, but Bandit (a nice enough guy) quoted us $120. Mel suspects Bandit did not pick his own nickname.
In the end, our dinghy sonar showed us that there were only a few tight spots near the end where we would have to follow our map closely, and so we braved it ourselves. The devil apparently has only a mild case of lumbar stenosis. We didn’t have the best conditions, leaving at mid-tide in the early afternoon on an overcast and rainy day, but at least the wind was from the right direction. Mel felt silly standing at the front looking for “reefs” when everything just looked like fuzzy blue-green-brown spots anyway until you were right on top of things, as the channel through the backbone is actually pretty deep. However, she sure must’ve looked cool to the people on the poweryacht that passed them, with Bandit’s boat in tow and the man himself at the helm with his eyes glued to his own GPS. “Aha, suckers!” she shouted gleefully to the presumed millionaires aboard, “We’re saving $120! The dinghy sonar just paid for itself!” She’s pretty sure they all ordered an extra martini to drown their shame.
Not ready yet for the bustle of yacht-packed Harbour Island, we anchored off of Man Island along with our new friends Tom and Mary Ellen from SV Big Mac. We explored the Man Island “caves” with our dinghy with kayak in tow and spent some time walking along a beach that was being set up for a large group of people aboard a giant boat/mini cruise ship called Who Cares. Okay, there is a joke there somewhere, but it’s late and Mel can’t find it.
We then put the sails up for a swift close reach down to Harbor Island in 22 kt winds, and our guests got to hear the beautiful sound of a boat cutting through the water with its engines off. We anchored off of Valentine’s and then did more golf cart explorations, including a trip to the famous Pink Sand Beach. The seas were up and we all played in the crashing waves, combing the beach not for glass, but for famous people. We came up empty-handed, but at least Mel’s thumb is not spurting blood this time.
The next day, a protein-packed breakfast at Arthur’s Bakery was followed by a taxi tour of Eleuthera, with trips to the Hatchet Bay Cave, the Queen’s Baths, and the Glass Window Bridge. Then it was back to the boat to experiment on Hailey to see if we could get a twenty-year old to like scotch or champagne. Nope.
The Burnetts had a fantastic time with friends and family in Eleuthera and it was great to reconnect in paradise. No time to rest, though — now we are Abacos-bound! Tic-Tic!