We spent a couple nights at a terrible resort in Nassau called Atlantis. One couple told us they had sailed 100 miles out of their way just to avoid Nassau. And it was easy to see why. The island is ugly and incredibly industrial, everyone there trying to make a buck at the expense of everything from the Bahamian people, to the environment, to the animals. Nearly every inch of land is destroyed and the water is disgusting. A colorful film of gas permanently straddles the water and rides it out to sea. Monstrous ugly cruise ships lined the harbor entrance. People ran here and there bringing supplies. We weren’t on island time anymore.
But we were there. Bill had to fly out of Nassau and the winds were not good for us to sail there later in the week. So we felt we had to go early. We would actually leave the island before he had to fly out but that comes later.
We decided to make the best of it. We got free passes to the water-park for being in the slip so we went there the first day. The first ride we went on was had a lazy river through a tank of sharks. The sharks tank was thick with film so we only caught a glimpse of them as we floated through. Two little Bahamian kids stood in line behind me for one particular ride. When I got up to the from of the line and saw the drop I let them go in front of me They called me a wuss. I quickly threw my tube down and flew after them. I bumped into them on the ride and we laughed and rode down together. The boys rode the lazy river with me back to the start of the line to find Adam and Bill. The kids told me about all the best rides and stayed with me to make sure I got where I needed to go. One of them was skinny, with thick short dreads flying every which way out from his head. They wiggled when he got excited. The other was chubby and bald with the cutest round cheeks I have ever seen. They talked excitedly and vied for my attention, each telling me, in adorable Bahamian accents, that he was less afraid of the rides than his companion.
I found Adam and Bill and we went on every ride we could find. Like kids we ran up the stairs hitting people with our giant tubes.
It got a little cold so we sat in the hot-tub for a while and then went back to the boat and played cranium late into the night. We laughed and made fools of ourselves as we acted out clues or drew with our eyes closed or shaped things out of clay.
The next morning we went to the casino. Of course we could drink for free there. This is an incredibly smart tactic on the part of casinos and we stayed far longer then we should have. One of us would lose almost a thousand dollars that day. I shall not say whom. The lady bringing our drinks was named Winifred. She was well into her 70’s and had make-up so thick and eyelashes so fake she looked like a drag queen. A beautiful one. She told us about how she ended up there and about living on the island(which even she thought was garbage), as one eyelash flopped a little more loosely then the other. She had on a short skirt and dark black leggings. She shook her hips as she walked with her little round tray. She kept coming back to us. The boys wanted to keep gambling but I didn’t want to lose any more money so I went off by myself. 50 feet after I walked away from them, and exited the casino, I ran into a man pushing a cart with a bunch of nasty smelling buckets. I correctly deduced that he was feeding the aquarium animals. He patiently let me follow him around like a frenetic, slightly tipsy puppy. We fed the huge rays first. They came up to bite his toes as he hand fed them. We fed the fish in the big aquariums and then we fed the sharks. If the animals didn’t show obvious signs of captivity neurosis I would have really enjoyed it. Alas, it ended up being mostly just sad. The nice man asked if I was married and I made my way back to the boys.
We went to a bar we had heard of called Anthony’s off the resort. We immediately met two nice good-old-boys named David and Bruce. And then all five of us met a couple of cute older sisters and we all became one big amalgamate group. We drank and we talked and we laughed. At one point a Bahamian woman came up to David and asked if she could braid his long hair. She was being pushy and he caved right away. I didn’t like it one bit so I went with them around the corner. She wanted to braid his whole head. She and I fought and I allowed her to give him five braids. He stayed quiet, preferring to let me fight his battles for him. She had the braids done in less then two minutes. Then she started with the beads. I said no beads but she put them in anyway. When she was done she said, “50 dallas please.” and held out her hand.
“You are out of your damn mind,” I said. “That took you 3 minutes.”
“‘s 10 dallas a braid miss.” She said, poking her hand at his chest.
“You didn’t say anything about that before you started and I said no beads but you put them in anyway. David, let’s go.” I grabbed his arm and dragged him away.
“Please miss, 40 dallas den,” she begged. This made me feel bad.
“Jesus Christ. You can have 20,” I said. He looked at me. “Give her 20 and learn a good lesson from this.”
For the rest of the night he would thank me every five minutes for saving him hundreds of dollars.
I was tired and wanted to go. I didn’t want to make a scene so I whispered to Adam I was heading back and quietly slipped out. As is my way. Apparently David, who felt indebted to me, wanted to go after me once he realized I was gone. Adam laughed and said that anyone who tried to mess with me would be sorry and that I was surely already in bed sleeping. I love his trust in me as a strong capable woman.
About four in the morning I was woken up to Adam falling into the boat yelling “Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!”
“What’s going on?” I asked from deep inside the aft cabin. He huffed, wobbled and said, “Bill won’t come inside!”
“Let him sleep out there then, he’s not hurting anyone.” I said. He would not have this. He yelled Bill’s name until finally the poor drunk bastard got up and came in. He fell into the V-berth and was asleep as soon as he hit the pillow.
This isn’t my story to tell but it’s a good one, and was told to me at length, so I shall tell it. After I left that night, the boys ditched the group and pretended to be Germans. They would ask any cute girl they came across to take a picture of them with Adam’s camera. This was done in what I can only assume are horrifyingly bad German accents. Adam speaks a little German but Bill doesn’t speak one word of it. This was their plan to meet pretty ladies. They were called out by at least one German speaking person. The next morning, hiding thier bloodshot eyes from the sun behind dark glasses, they went searching for Bills backpack, which had been lost the night before. They ran into the people whom they had been partying with, who miraculously did have the backpack…
and had to pretend to be Germans.
I am truly sorry to have missed this!!
They were still pretty drunk that morning. And were both super angsty. The wind was going to be horrendous for sailing out of Nassau after that day and for about a week. Faced with another week in that horrible place Adam and I came up with a good plan for us but a terrible plan for poor Bill. We presented it to him and he was far more excited then he should have been. He wanted to get on the water again I think. We would sail to Spanish Wells that day and poor Bill would take a ferry back to Nassau the next day.
As we sailed away it became clear how drunk Bill still was. Adam and I went up front on the bow to relax after we got the sails up and balanced. We were heading straight for Spanish Wells and it was a lovely day for sailing. We relaxed and snuggled in the sun. Bill turned on music and stayed in the cockpit when we went up front. We heard him singing at us and looked back to him having a crazy solo dance party in the cockpit, singing at the top of his lungs while also brushing his teeth. For like 20 minutes! His energy was boundless that day and he made us laugh over and over again. He didn’t care if he ever got home, he told us again and again, he wanted to sail and stay forever anyway. His excitement was infectious and we ended up having a hell of a dance party/bad karaoke day on the water. We even got out the amp and mikes. At one point we all had weird objects that we were hitting against various parts of the boat in what had to be the worst drum session in the history of the world. As the sun set we recapped the adventure and all got misty eyed thinking about Bill being gone. There is no person who fits in better with our lives. There is no person who understands what we are doing and why we are doing it more then this beautiful man. We are always sorry to see him go. He is so much a part of the truly remarkable parts of this adventure. I can’t imagine him not being a part of it and I can’t imagine how hard it is for him to go back to the “real world.”
That night we anchored at Pimlico Cay. We dropped anchor under sail again and would pull up anchor under sail the next morning. We were gaining confidence everyday.
Right when we woke up, seriously, at like seven in the morning Adam jumped in the water and yelled for us to get in, saying it was the best snorkeling of his life. Bill and I, wiping the sleep from our eyes, looked at each other.
“Morning snorkel?” I asked, hoping he’d say no so I could also not go into such cold water at such an ungodly hour.
“Ugh,” he replied, as he held his coffee cup and stared at Adam getting smaller and smaller.
“Seriously, you guys have to get in here!” Adam demanded.
We, loving him enough, put on our snorkel gear, took deep breaths and jumped in. “FUUUUUCK!” I yelled as I entered the cold water. It had worked for jumping of the cliff… It did nothing to stave off the cold of that Bahamian February morning. It was invigorating…
If you like that sort of thing.
At one point we looked up and Adam was standing on the razor sharp rocks of the island. “What are you doing?” I yelled at him.
“There’s a barracuda chasing me!” he yelled back.
Adam is uncharacteristically terrified of barracudas. And barracudas are uncharacteristically fond of Adam. We laughed and we wrapped ourselves in the huge towels the boys never returned to the towel place at Atlantis and watched him throw rocks at the large menacing fish until it went away and he could swim back to us.
We had a blissful and slow sail into Spanish Wells. Our last for the time being. The morning was crisp and the wind and waves were perfect. We leaned comfortably to port. As we watched islands go slowly by on both sides.
We were all a little quieter then normal, a little more introspective and certainly,
we were sad.