Since many of our guests would take umbrage at sharing their berth with a bicycle or kayak, all of this stuff needs to find a home somewhere else prior to the guests' arrival. So for the last few days we've been frantically searching out new locations for all our stuff. The suitcases go at the foot of our bed, the kayaks go on the foredeck, the bikes behind the granny bars at the base of the mast, and everything else gets stuffed -- and I do mean stuffed -- into the forward storage locker. When we're finally done stowing everything, I marvel at the uncluttered guest berth and smile as Meryl fluffs the pillows and puts a nice note and a piece of chocolate on the bed.
Now soaked in sweat, we take a quick shower and rush to catch the 3:00 pm ferry boat from Hope Town to Marsh Harbor, about six miles across the channel. Luckily there is a taxi waiting so we jump in and urge the driver (Paulette) to make haste to the airport since we're now running late. Paulette shows little concern and coyly points out the airplane circling overhead as we approach the airport. I forgot that small town airports are like that.
We jump out of the cab just as the plane taxis up and prepare for an hour-long wait as our friends clear Bahamian Customs. Trying to compose ourselves we peek into the customs hall (the size of a small living room) only to see our former neighbors, and long time friends Paul and Irene Ballew walk through the door. We quickly assume our "laid back in Paradise pose" and welcome them to the Abacos. For someone from Seattle I'm sure they are just happy it isn't raining.
|Paul and Irene land in Paradise.|
|Hope Town Inn and Marina.|
|Outdoor lunch in Hope Town is radically different than an outdoor lunch in Seattle in January.|
After a short walk down to the dock we introduced them to their new closet, err guest berth, for the next week. A tradition when guests arrive on a cruising sailboat is the giving of gifts, in this case six fan belts for the engine and genset, one Balmar electronic regulator, six cruising guides to the Windward/Leeward islands, and three large cans of WSU Cougar Gold cheese. Now Paul knows why I urged him to "pack light and leave a little extra room in your bag." It's not true that cruisers refer to arriving guests as "my parts delivery service."
Meryl prepared a great mixed salad and Paul and I experimented with blowing ourselves up as we tried to keep the BBQ lit in the 10-knot wind while cooking steaks. After a great dinner in the cockpit (the temp actually dropped down to 75 degrees) we retired to the saloon to get caught up on our lives, careers, kids, and especially, grand kids.
What a great evening with great friends.