We were determined to make the 40 Nm trip across to Nassau before the arrivals of Bill, Melissa and Amelia Christmas afternoon and Kim and the boys later that evening. But, the weather was just not cooperating. The original plan was to have everyone camp on the boat for the first night before moving some sleepers off to the timeshare on 26 December for the week. Just in case we didn’t make it, the reservation was changed to a Christmas arrival.
Early Christmas morning, we watched as Titas, the massive water barge began clearing it’s berth. A quick call to the master confirmed that we could follow him out the channel into the choppy seas. That was a slow process as the tanker began to build momentum and knock down the waves that were on the bow. After about an hour, we decided that the safest ride for us was directly astern at about 50-75 yards. And, it was here that we settled in for a rocky seven hour trip. It looks like the rules we made for crossing the Gulf Stream were to be ignored once again.
We arrived Hurricane Hole on Paradise Island just in time to meet the first arrivals at the timeshare. Bill and Melissa gave us a great Christmas surprise in announcing that "Amelia would soon be a big sister…“ Kim, Alex and Paul came in from Manchester after dark and even had the energy to take in the Boxing Day “Junkanoo” around midnight. This is a Mardi Gras-like festival that originated with slaves, but today is uniquely Bahamian. Elaborate costumes, huge troupes and loud music all provided a wonderful welcome to the islands.
We quickly settled into a routine of Atlantis waterworks during the day followed by dinners at the condo. Early bedtime for the youngest grand daughter and the old grandparents became the order of the day. The others, partied and slept in. Jean had loaded a weeks worth of dinners into the boat freezer and the condo was well stocked with all the gear. In between meals were individual options.
Calls were made regularly to Wende and Lee to see how the twins were faring and those calls were answered with very tired voices. They were to have been a part of the gathering before we knew of the arrival of Beckett and Dylan. We now tried to convince them that it was cold and rainy in Nassau but they knew otherwise. Paul spent some of his time finishing up college essays and entry forms. Alex walked into town most days and got the true flavor of big city life in the Bahamas. Kim appreciated the quality time she could spend with her boys here in this laid back atmosphere before they all returned to college and their hectic lives….not to mention the snow.
Jean could usually be found in an inner tube floating down the “lazy river” or vying for equal time with Amelia. Her Papa is quite smitten with her so Jean had to be extra persuasive. Melissa and Bill took long walks with Amelia in her stroller. We all enjoyed our times in the inner-tubes, slides and rapids. The night before the Calhouns left, we took a walk to “The One and Only” for a sunset happy hour. This is where Casino Royale was filmed. All in all, it has been a wonderful Christmas vacation! The weather for the whole time was warm and breezy. We look forward to a time when all the kids and grands can be together, again. Kim and the boys departed just before year end and the rest headed home on New Year's day. Nany and Papa will stay and recuperate for another day.