Our son (Tim), daughter-in-law (Carrie), 6 year old granddaughter (Caylin) and 3 year old grandson (Gavin) came to visit us from 11 – 17 April. I was a bit concerned that if the weather didn’t cooperate it might be difficult to get them out into the Exumas and to the Atlantis Resort Marina – the Bahamas answer to Disneyland – in six days. To be honest, the weather was some of the best we have seen all winter. It was a bit blustery the day before the family arrived, but from then on the weather was just about perfect.
The day after they got here, we were off to Shroud Cay. We arrived about 3PM and shortly after that, Tim and the grandkids were in the water swimming off the swim platform. Carrie is the official family photographer and took a bunch of pictures. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves – even though they were accompanied most of the time by a juvenile nurse shark. Tim and Grandpa kept an eye on the shark and decided not to let the kids know. We were afraid they might get a bit panicky. In the event, everything worked out very well and everyone had a blast.
You may recall from last year that Shroud Cay is a set of islands that have what seem to be “rivers” running from the Exuma Sound on one side to the Exuma Bank on the other. Actually, they are just channels connecting the two bodies of water. They are 40-50 wide in most places and while the channels can get very shallow at low tide, they are generally about 10 feet deep. While I continue to think they are very, very cool, the little ones were less than impressed. They just wanted to get to the beach I had promised them was on the other side of the “river.” Eventually we did make it to the beach where both of the kids spend most of their time looking for shells.
Although they weren’t enamored of the river ride, both Gavin and Caylin fell in love with a beach that was inside a lagoon on the Bank side of the island. The water was so clear, the sand so fine and the slope so gradual that the kids could freely walk 50 feet or more into the lagoon before the water was up to their waist. They liked it so much that, although we were only at Shroud for two days, they kids insisted on returning several times.
After Shroud, we were off to Highbourne Cay. Tim and Carrie went ashore and to visit the (very) little store and the marina facilities while the rest of us anchored off the island and rested. Later that evening, though, Caylin insisted on one last beach trip so she and her dad could look for shells. Speaking of shells, I forgot to mention that both Caylin and Gavin turned into very good conch shell blowers! I have seen grown men (and women) fail in the specialized art of blowing the shell, but with a little instruction from Grandma and Grandpa, they turned into serious blowers!
On Tuesday we left Highbourne and headed for Nassau. We had reservations at the Atlantis Resort and Marina on Paradise Island for the last two nights the family was visiting. Atlantis is kind of the Bahamas answer to Disneyland. (Okay, for you purists, I realize fully that there is nothing quite like the Disney parks. However, the entertainment at Atlantis, the wonderful water parks, the several different beaches and the very cool underwater exhibits make Atlantis a wonderful place to visit -- for three and six year old children AND for sixty something grandparents.
Now the Atlantis Marina is a bit pricey at $4 per foot per night. On the other hand, all six of us could get into any part of the resort. If you aren’t staying at the marina or in one of their many overpriced rooms, you have to pay $100+ to use the facilities. Moreover, I won some money at the casino that defrayed some of the expenses J. Did I say casino? Yes I did! As some of you know I enjoy an occasional game of chance – especially when it is called “21.” And yes, I did win a few bucks. I probably only paid for one of the two nights we spent at the marina. But hey! Every little bit counts!!
I almost forgot to mention that, at my request, Tim brought us a device called a Rogue Wave. He also did most of the installation. Rogue Wave is a WIFI antenna and router combination that increases the distance – by several times – from which we can receive a WIFI signal. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always be in contact – some of the transmitters are quite a distance from the area where when anchor, but it does mean we will have a better chance of getting a signal. We also get a stronger signal than we used to get.
The kids departed on Thursday and we are planning to leave Nassau as soon as a weather window opens. We have three day trip in front of us. On the first day we will cross about 40 miles of deep (a couple thousand feet), serious ocean and will spend the night at an anchorage at Chub Cay. The second day will be very different. It will be across a part of the Bahama Bank and will be about twenty feet deep at the deepest and about five feet deep at the shallowest. That night we will spend at a marina in Bimini. The third day we will get up very early as we have about a hundred (statute) mile trip across the Gulf Stream. That night we should be at Old Port Cove Marina at North Palm Beach.
It has been fun, but it is time for us to get back home. We have both repairs and improvements we want to make to the boat, we need to do some personal maintenance (among other things, I need to get a decent haircut), Ann needs to get back to being a Facebook regular and making her wildlife counts. Plus, we both need a serious Big Mac! We’ll let you know how all this works out … stay tuned.
ANN’S NOTES: Ok…it is late and I need to get my part of the blog written so we can send it on the way tomorrow…as normal…I am pressed for time…
I will have to say I had a wonderful time when the “little ones” came to visit” We were vey well prepared with all the snacks they liked..the list being sent by Carrie. I really do love spending time with my family no matter the age. The time really did just fly by
Caylin is 6 years old…she will be 7 on the 26 of May…I am sure she would want all of our followers to know that. Now her father is a swim couch and have been for a long time and Tim is also a strong swimmer and scuba diver. That did not prepare me to watch my little Caylin depart the dinghy and swim to the boat. I must say I was very impressed and proud….granted she had one a life vest…our rules…as grandparents we want to keep the grandchildren we have…never the less…she swam to the boat and it was a fair distance to swim for someone her age and ability. Well done Lady bug..
Gavin…was also a little super hero fish. He mostly like the land portion of the trip. He is such a beach guy.. I was not present ..but I have pictures of him doing “sand angles”. Now…as you know he did NOT get that gene from me. I tolerate the sand and enjoy the feel of it in between my toes…but to lay down and actually move around in it…NAY…not going to happen.
The scene from ‘Here to Internity” will also not happen..
The sum it all up..everyone had a great time and I am ready to head back to the USA.
We left the VA/MD in October…went across in December and Now it is time to come HOME!!!
See you very soon..