Written by, Nicole Ricci
Our trip began in George Town located in the Exuma Island
chain in the Bahamas. After a long
series of flights, Tommy and I were happy to finally be in the Bahamas! We met up with Sara, Mike, Susy, Stacy, and
Mackenzie at our hotel, the Peace and Plenty.
Susy, Stacy, and Mackenzie were on the final leg of their trip, so it
was the perfect opportunity to have a joint celebration – a “last night in the
Bahamas” for them and a “first night in the Bahamas” for Tommy and I. Of course, rum punch, pina coladas, and some
authentic rake and scrape music/dancing were all a part of the celebration. Stacy and Mackenzie put the rest of us to
shame with their Rake and Scrape skills that they’d learned while in the
Bahamas! It was a fun night capped off
with a crazy thunder/lightning storm!
|Nicole & Tommy aboard the Tanqueray|
The following day was full of re-provisioning the boat and
setting a route. We were going to be
heading north out of George Town towards Staniel Cay where we’d catch our
return plane ride to the US 10 days later.
All the while, a tropical depression was brewing out on the water, so
our first goal was to find a secluded area that would provide some shelter from
the storm and set anchor. So, with
appropriately named “Dark and Stormy” cocktails in hand, we sailed to a small
bay a short distance from George Town to take shelter.
The storm actually did two good things for
us. 1) It enabled me to get my “sea
legs” … while I did not feel too good the first day or so with all the waves, I
think it helped to speed up my acclimationJ
. 2) We got to experience one of the craziest
thunder and lightning storms I’ve ever encountered! The lightning came in sheets that illuminated
the entire sky and the booming thunder that followed directly after was so loud
that at times it hurt my ears!
|Dinner time aboard the Tanqueray - Tommy & Nicole|
along with the fact that all of us (including Nellie and the Tanqueray) came
out unscathed made my first tropical storm on a boat a pretty cool
Over the next day and a half, we passed our time exploring
beaches between rain showers and playing cribbage (Sara and I dominated Mike
and Tommy!), and before we knew it, the conditions improved enough for us to
head north! Our goal was to get to
Barreterre on the northern tip of Great Exuma Island by Saturday to attend the
|Mike sailing downwind with his new bamboo whisker pole|
On our sail northward,
we filled our time cooking (Sara showing us how to cook up gourmet meals in
their galley … including fish fingers, homemade pizza, onion rings, blackened
fish, roasted chicken, and fish tacos – delicious!!), swimming/snorkeling,
cliff jumping, and, of course, sailing!
|Tommy with Spanish Mackrel (cero) catch|
The night before we made our final push into Barreterre, we
anchored up a mile or two from the main town.
After another delicious meal and a round or two of cribbage (Sara and I
still winning, of course) we retired so that we could get up early the next
morning to get into town. That night,
all of us were awoken by the deep bass beat of music that could only be coming
from some crazy party for the Regatta.
The next morning we all expressed some concern that they may be all
partied out due to the fact that the music had gone on into the wee hours of
the night. Never fear. After anchoring the boat and taking the dingy
into shore, we realized that they were already gearing up for round 2 ...
several people already having beers in hand as they prepared to watch the
A few things I learned from my
first Bahamian Regatta experience: 1) there is delicious Bahamian food served
(chicken, fish, peas and rice, corn, mac and cheese, etc), 2) they continually
rock the traditional rake and scrape music (which is awesome) at an ear
piercing level (which is not so great if you are standing near the speakers),
3) once the locals have had a few beers to loosen them up (read: sober them up
from the night before) they love to discuss the races with you, 4) if you are
an obvious foreigner/first time attendee, the local news channel will spot you
out and ask you for an interview (thus Tommy, Mike, Sara, and I were all
After a fun filled afternoon at the races, we
headed back to the Tanqueray to journey further north towards Staniel Cay.
As we ventured further north we filled our days with more
snorkeling, beach combing, and a beach fire complete with roasting sausages
over the open flames.
We also stopped
into civilization for a bit with a visit to Black Point for laundry, shopping,
and a delicious fish sandwich at Lorraine’s Café. After all the travelling we were happy to
arrive at Pipe Creek to spend a few days exploring before heading to Staniel
Cay for our flight back.
|Tommy and Mike attempting to bonefish at Pipe Creek|
Pipe creek is
one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been … water in 1000 shades of
turquoise encircled by islands and large sand bars that are fully exposed for
walking around on when the tide goes out.
It is so tranquil there. A short
time after our arrival, an impressive motor boat sped in at full speed and
docked up at one of the islands. We were
immediately intrigued, and it was just our luck that the following day Mike
speared his hand (sorry Mike!!) leaving us with a need for a power boat to get
him into Staniel Cay for stitches, etc.
As we approached the island, we were greeted by Hubert aka “Ubi” (as we
came to learn) and his thick
French accent. “Hello! How is the fishing! Would you like a beer?” We appreciated his friendliness and his
offering of beers, but at the moment we were concerned as to whether or not
Mike needed stitches. Upon realizing
Mike may have a serious cut, Humert ushered us onto his island where he
provided us with first aid supplies out of his arsenal (and by arsenal, I mean arsenal …
he even had a
defibrillator!). We soon determined
that Mike would likely be okay without stitches, so we were able to take Hubert
up on his offer of beers and conversation.
He had made the trip down with two friends/employees who were helping
him get his island prepped for all the summer activity as well as general
We made plans to return to
the island for a cocktail later on that evening once they were done with their
work. The island by night was as, if not
more, impressive than it was by day … the extensive boardwalks were all
illuminated by candles, and the main deck off of the main bungalow provided spectacular
views of Pipe Creek, which was illuminated by a three quarter moon that night. We had a wonderful evening full of drinks,
conversations, and the Spurs vs. Thunder playoff game. To illustrate how small the world is – it
turns out Hubert is friends with Mike’s family’s oldest friends!
To complete our trip, we had to visit the famous swimming
pigs of Big Major and go snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto right outside of
|Mike swimming at Thunderball Grotto|
|Tommy swimming in the cave with the fish|
Thunderball Grotto provided
the best snorkeling of the entire trip and perhaps the best I have ever
encountered. It is not often that you
can swim into a sea cave full of tropical fish of all colors and sizes.
|Nicole swimming into the hole|
There are some holes at the top of the cave
which helps the visibility… amazing!! We
capped off our final night with dinner and drinks at Staniel Cay. While we were sad to go back to reality in
Portland, we will always treasure the many memories from the trip.
|Nurse sharks under dock at Staniel Cay|
|One of the many beautiful Bahamian sunsets|
A million thank you’s to Mike and Sara for
the incredible trip! We already miss you
guys and look forward to seeing you back in the Northwest soon!!
|Mike & Sara out to dinner|