It’s Suze’s Seven Days of Summer challenge!
Day 1. Write about your dream vacation, alternately write about your favorite past vacation….
One memorable and unexpected holiday was in January 2009 when I ended up in Nassau for five weeks, staying with an old school friend. I didn’t exactly plan to go there to start with…….
I was helping a random American couple I met via an yInternet site, who were looking for crew, to help them sail their yacht down the east coast of Florida on the ICW, (intercoastal waterway) then over to the Bahamas. They had a brand new yacht, which was lovely, but they were very inexperienced, especially the wife, who couldn’t even tie on a fender. As we were on the ICW which is virtually a canal with lots of bridges, of course we couldn’t use the sails until we got into open water in Miami. They never told me this beforehand.
They were so scared of making the crossing from Florida to the Bahamas, they listened to weather forecasts and only went when it was flat calm, so again, no sailing. When we got to Nassau they unexpectedly asked me to leave, as they said I wasn’t suitable! Grrrrr! They were a bit weird though….. So I left. Someone told me they just needed an extra person on board on the crossing to Bahamas for their insurance to be valid.
My old boarding school friend Melissa, that I have known for over 40 years, comes from Nassau, and she jumped to my rescue. She picked me up from the Marina, took me back to hers, let me stay in her guest house for as long as I wanted. As my flight back from Miami wasn’t for almost six weeks, she told me to make the most of it. She introduced me to her friends, took me to some lovely places, let me drive her car. She is an artist, and had to spend some time working, so I didn’t mind being left alone. To pay for my keep, I cleaned her house for her, I also did some work for a neighbour, painting exterior windows and balconies.
I was so grateful to her, even though unlike me she was a strict vegetarian, and sometimes I would have to sneak to Burger King when I was in town, to get my fill of meat protein… She is also passionately against animal cruelty, rescues all sorts of animal waifs and strays, and every night about 30 wild raccoons would come and feed in her garden!
On her birthday weekend in February, we took the ferry to Harbour Island for several days, a very exclusive Bahamas island, unbelievably beautiful. Another weekend we went out with some other friends who had a motor boat, to tiny Rose island. And we often went over the bridge to Paradise Island to the Atlantis Resort where we could walk round for free, and I gasped at the opulence and luxury of the hotel and beach, with one of the biggest aquariums in the northern hemisphere, a casino, and a dolphinarium and water park. One evening at sunset we met with three or four of her friends and about six dogs, and we had a picnic supper on the fabulous beach on Paradise Island.
If I’d paid to go on holiday to the Bahamas, I would never have had such a wonderful time as when I stayed with Melissa. I will always be grateful for such a wonderful experience, and I’m glad my disastrous sailing trip turned out like it did….