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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 26.5423, -77.0638
We all woke up early, to the sound of the alarm and the Interstate – depressing for the full day of vacation, but we did want to make sure we arrived at the airport plenty of time before departure. I tried to verify our flight arrangements using the Internet before we left the hotel, but I kept getting the "Page Load Error" message. Given this, I thought it made sense to arrive at the airport two hours before departure. So, after a quick breakfast of yogurt, waffles, and fruit, we hit the road. Actually, we drove two exits down the Interstate until we found a Starbuck's – but, then, we hit the road with a sense of finality. The drive, I'm afraid, was very boring … just trees on each side of the road, with occasional glimpses of swampland beyond.
Paul dropped the girls and me at the curb and went to return the car. We waited in line at the counter … and had just been told, “I can't find a record of Paul Covey on the flight,” when Paul appeared. Confused, I said, “But yesterday, when I talked to Orbitz, they could only find Paul!” The agent
looked longer, then said, “I have his reservation, but he's not on the manifest.” We asked if he could be added … and the agent said, “I don't know. The flight is full.” Time for a deep breath. After a few more minutes, we were told we would need to wait for the Supervisor, who could reissue Paul's ticket and perhaps get him on the flight. So we waited. About 30 minutes later, the Supervisor appeared (it was her day off, but she was brought in to replace someone out sick). From her, we learned that Orbitz had only sent the taxes for Paul's ticket – so, although Bahamas Air had a record of his reservation, he had not been given a seat. The Supervisor for Bahamas Air was very helpful and managed to get Paul a seat on the plane for the flight out … but the only way he could be guaranteed a seat on the way back was if we were willing to accept a paper ticket instead of an electronic one. I have never lost a ticket yet, so we agreed to it. We were very glad we had arrived two hours early, to give Air
Bahamas time to rectify Orbitz's error.
After all that, it was nice that the flight to Marsh Harbour was very easy and on time … about 55 minutes total flight time. I am always fascinated flying over the marls, the very shallow seascape to the west of Great Abaco Island. The marls seem to have game trails passing through them at all strange angles. I'm sure it is due to tidal flow and action, but I like to imagine herds of manatees migrating across the vast plains of the marls.
Upon arriving, we were second through Immigration and Customs – I think the customs people were shocked by how little we were carrying. It seemed like most others had eskies of food to bring to their holiday cottages, not to mention fishing poles and tackle. Moorings had a representative available to meet us; we were placed into a taxi and delivered to the Conch Inn.
Our boat was not ready (we arrived around 2pm, and the boat is not due until 4pm), so, as we had one hour before the chart briefing, we decided to walk to the Supermarket to take care of the extra provisioning we planned. It was
a hot walk to the store – but a shorter distance than I remembered it. The grocery store was crowded (no surprise there), but we managed to find everything we needed – except good fresh fruit. We then took a cab to the bottle shop for other important provisions, then back to Moorings, arriving just in time for our chart briefing. The briefing was very thorough and the briefer amusing, even if we were periodically anxious for him to just move on. WE do have a long list of the places we want to see, but it looks like the weather will be good, and we should be able to get around Whale Cay this time.
At the conclusion of the briefing, Wild Cat was ready, so we loaded everything – luggage, provisions, ourselves – on board, took inventory of food and equipment, and plotted out a tentative itinerary. Another group, which was departing that day, handed us their cooler … which turned out to be full of beer and sodas (more than we could possibly drink, but we'll pass it along to some other mariners when we leave – it's only good “beer-karma”😉. Almost all of provisions ordered through Moorings
were there … except coffee! Kyla and Marin went to see if we could get our missing food items but were told we could not until the next morning.
Around this time, Mum and Pas arrived, looking tired but eager to spend a week on board. Lifting Mum on and off the boat is a bit of a challenge – it will be better when the tide comes up and the step is not as long. One thing we discovered that we do not like about Wild Cat: it has no inverter, so we can't plug in anything. We had hoped to use wireless at the anchorages, as we did last time, but it will not be possible. I guess the owners decided that they had to free us from civilization; very presumptuous of them. I wanted to call Keegan in Siberia and complain about the heat of the tropics. He might have been amused.
We enjoyed our first cocktail hour, watching the lovely sunset – very “red skies at night” – sailor's delight! We opted for dinner on shore and dined at Curly Tail's … delicious, and excellent service. Paul and I had the conch (ymmm). Pricey, but I guess that's
not surprising for the islands.
We were all so tired, after the long trip to get here then to get everything prepared for tomorrow's departure. Paul and I relaxed on the bow, watching the fireworks, set off at seemingly random intervals, whether from a nearby resort or for someone's private festival. It grew cool (relatively, of course), so we went below to read for a while, then fell asleep, listening to the music wafting across the marina from Curly Tail's. A perfect first night in the tropics.
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