It’s a Christmas Miracle – Day 4

We have a Christmas miracle and a Christmas Angel, Vern.  Vern found our luggage and will be getting it to us on Boxing day.  More on that later…

Our early morning wake up was to stormy weather, which  means coffee inside and food prep for a few days.

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Breakfast was a potato, veggie, egg scramble with a slice of Bahamian bread and guava jam.

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After our chores were completed for the morning, we headed out to the airport, leaving the rainy weather at the house, hoping for a Christmas miracle.

On our way there, the homeowner texted us Merry Christmas wishes and I explained our woes.  He helped us out and phoned the airport and told us to talk with Vern.  Once at the airport, Vern became our Christmas angel. She had a photo of our bag that was sitting all alone at Stella Maris airport on the island.  Somehow the tracking tags were removed and it couldn’t find us.  We hugged her (me multiple times) and yes I cried.  The airport where the bag was at was closed, but she  said she would retrieve it for us and bring it to Deadman’s airport on Boxing Day.  We love you Vern!

Yesterday when we were told, someone might have taken it and given the runaround, I told Mike just book us a ticket home asap.  As the words were spilling out I realized, I am home, where ever Mike is, is home, so flying back to CT would be pointless.  Glad he knew to ignore my request.

From the airport, we went to Ford’s beach for a little walk and some shelling.  On the way to the beach, the goat crew populated the road for a bit.

Ford’s beach is perhaps one of the best shelling beaches we have discovered here.  We arrived at high tide, so pickings were slim, but really we were on a high knowing we would be reunited with our clothes tomorrow, so we didn’t care.  The views here are just beautiful.

As we departed the clouds let loose and rain dumped.  At home we made our standard island lunch of peanut butter and guava jam on local bread.  We were able to go down to the gazebo for 10 minutes before the rain reached us.

And it rained and rained. This is a perfect napping house for rainy afternoons, so of course I did just that, while Mike read.  After the nap, I tried my hand at watercolors, I am not an artist by any means, but hey it was fun.

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While I was playing around, Mike went out and decorated the tree with lights.  Yes yesterday’s bag had all our decorations, so we are a bit behind in getting the lights up.

As he was finishing, a magical rainbow appeared oceanside.  It hovered over the water and was stunning.

The skies cleared and were finally able to go for a long beach walk.

Following our walk, it was appetizer time, island style.

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Time to have dinner after snacking, delicious grilled wahoo with the salads we made this morning.

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After our delicious we had our tree lighting ceremony, followed by yahtzee.

Thanks to our Christmas Angel, Vern we got our island groove back.

 

Naughty or Nice List? – Day 3

I believe one of us was put on Santa’s naughty list and the other one was put on his nice list.  You can fight amongst yourselves where to place us…

We woke up early, listening to the waves and asking the universe to deliver our luggage today.  Stormy rain clouds surrounded us, so we made coffee and ate our muffins we picked up yesterday, realizing the incoming morning flight would be delayed due to rain.

After breakfast we went to three markets to pick up items before stopping the airport to check on luggage status.  I love the view from the Hillside Store parking lot.

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On way home we stopped at the airport and told the morning flight was delayed, the bags were on the plane and to come back later.  We returned to the rental, dropped off the food and beer and returned to the airport.

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And we arrived at the airport to locked doors, yup we missed the incoming flight, but looking in the airport building our bags weren’t there.  What was the next logical thing to do? Go drink at Max’s Conch Bar.

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While sitting there a man struck up a conversation with us. We told our woeful story.  He told us he has a house here, a boat and heard his Bahama Air stories.  It was going well, until he started bashing educators about all the time we get off.  If I had the energy I would have said a few words to change his mind, but I didn’t.   As we left he did tell Mike he could borrow some of his clothes and gave us his card to call him, the redeemed him a bit in my eyes.

Back to the airport we returned and were told the bags would be on the afternoon flight.  The worker said she called and all bags were on the afternoon flight, if they didn’t come in the morning flight.  Guess what? Back to the house we went.  We had enough time to look outside, bake the crust for dessert and read a little.

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We returned to the airport, only to sit and wait for 45 minutes for the flight, it was delayed.  The flight arrived with only one of our bags.  One of our bags had the coffee and clothes and the other had chargers, snorkel masks, sweaters for our beers, santa hats and a camera.  The bag with electronics arrived, but not the other one.  The new story is it was on the morning flight and someone must have taken it, oh well, sorry nothing we can do was what we were told.  But stop by on Christmas for the morning flight, maybe….Stories are told, the run around is wearing us out.

It’s Christmas eve, 4 p.m. at this point, would any of the stores be open that had clothes? Trust me, we don’t have a big choice here. We stopped at one place, they had guys board shorts, I stood in the store and just started crying.  Feeling frustrated sucks.  The ladies were so kind, one even was concerned if I had underwear and she would give me her unopened pack of unides if I wanted, sure make me cry harder over your kindness.  The ladies directed us to the one clothes store on the island that would be open, so off we went.

We spent over $250 on three board shorts and 3 tee shirts for Mike. For me, one tee shirt, some undies, a bathing suit (only the top fits, forget the bottom) and one short.  So please forgive all future pictures on this trip, we will be in mismatched, ill fitting and in stunningly bright clothes.

Mike modeled one outfit on our first beach walk when we returned home.

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This was our first beach walk and we didn’t travel far, it was needed therapy to get our feet in the sand.

After our brief walk, I made dinner while Mike opened our one piece of luggage to see what was in it.  It provided a much-needed laugh, the beer sweaters for our beer arrived, so our beer has clothes but we don’t.

I made a yummy Christmas Eve risotto and we finished making our coconut bars for dessert for the week.

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After dinner, we organized our stuff and I wrote, nothing exciting.

What a day of running around and be given the run around.  Maybe if someone did take our luggage they will return it, maybe if it is hanging out in Nassau it will arrive tomorrow, life is full of maybes, so maybe it will all turn out ok.

But really one of us must be on the nice list and the other on the naughty list…

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Our Luggage Prefers Nassau – Day 2

We woke up on Staniel Cay and watched the sunrise with our tea.  I know, tea. Guess where our ground coffee was? In our luggage that wasn’t with us (note to self, carry some with us at all times).

We enjoyed a breakfast of Mal’s pancakes and then gathered our meager belongings to begin the process of leaving Staniel Cay.

Our first stop at 7:45 was the airport to see if our bags arrived.  Yes, they did, but our flight was to depart in an about an hour, so it wasn’t worth it to take them back to the house, shower, clean up and change.  We claimed our bags and re checked them in and ourselves in.  After that we went for a drive around the island, only taking a photo where the old Thunderball Club used to be.

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After a drive about, we returned to the airport to catch our flight back to Nassau with our luggage.  We left on time and arrived on time, the go slow not affecting us and there were no signs of it continuing today.

We checked into Southern Air with three hours to fill before we had to officially be in the waiting area.  We filled that time with standing in line for eats from Dunkin Donuts and then went to find a “quiet” spot to eat and write day 1 trip report.

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Around noon we moved over to our waiting area.  Chatted with some people about our travels.  One nice man told us his favorite high school teacher was his librarian.  He loved her and she made such a difference in his life.  We chatted for a bit longer and he randomly asked how long we have been married, we said 28 years and he said you are so happy together, glad we project that to people (and yes we are happy together).

Our flight was called and onto a co share larger plane we boarded.  The doors were closed and then the pilot opened them to get out and he removed luggage.  Our plane was overweight and random bags were removed.  Guess whose two bags were chosen to stay overnight in Nassau? Ding, Ding, Ding our bags.  At this point our luggage has spent more time in Nassau then we have.

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We waved to our friends on Staniel Cay as we flew over.

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20 minutes later we landed on Long Island and was greeted by Ernest who is helping out the homeowners of the rental house.  We discovered that our luggage might be on the next flight coming in, on Bahamas Air.  We decided to wait, but Ernest had other guests to bring to another house, so he called in a family member to bring us over to the house.  After waiting a bit, we asked whether our bags were on the flight coming in, we were told no, but they should be on the morning flight tomorrow.  Big sighhhh, not worth getting upset at, it happens.

We went to the house, with no stopping at stores because it is Sunday around 4 pm. and everything is closed.  We did pick up two muffins for breakfast at DD, just in case we didn’t have any breakfast foods at the house.  Well no need, fresh bread and guava jam, were waiting for us, we have breakfast food.  Also beer and wine were in stock.  Plus there is fresh wahoo in the freezer, caught last week. Life is good!

We arrived and went WHOA, what a rental house, it surpasses its listing on VRBO.  This house is amazing and I will eventually take photos of the inside.  The view from the upper deck is beautiful.

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Hunger had set in, off to Rowdy Boys Bar we went, after Mike reminding himself which side of the road he needs to drive on.  We had our usual here, a fresh grilled fish burger for me and a conch burger for Mike.  The fish was so fresh and filling.  We chatted with the owner, her brother lives on Staniel, so we traded a few stories about Staniel.

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While eating the homeowner texted us, saying his mother dropped some items off for us, to help us through the missing luggage crisis.  People have been so understanding, hopefully the airline will get us our luggage tomorrow.

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Once back at the rental, we showered and I wrote.  If no more blog reports appear this week, it is because our luggage has never found us, the luggage that has the power cord to this computer.

So our luggage prefers Nassau over the out islands it seems.  Hopefully it will resolve itself tomorrow. and the luggage will figure out life is better in the out islands. At least we are finally on Long Island!

Delays, Diversions and Departures – Day 1

Saturday the plan was fly DC to Nassau, catch a 2 p.m. flight to Long Island and be at our rental house by 3:30 p.m.  The plan didn’t happen, but a new plan was devised and that plan was achieved.

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Our flight from DC was delayed, the incoming plane was having mechanical issues so another plane was routed our way, which arrived later than original departure time.  We realized early on in the day that making the 2 p.m. flight was not going to happen.  I put a call out to island friends on FB looking for hotel and dinner suggestions in Nassau, knowing we would have to have spend the night and try to get out on Sunday to Long Island.  Friends responded with hotel and food suggestions.  We rebooked out Saturday flight to Sunday and booked a hotel room in Nassau.

When all of a sudden friends on Staniel told us of a 4:30 p.m. flight to Staniel with a returning flight to Nassau on Sunday morning, that would get us back to Nassau in time to catch the 2p.m. flight to Long Island.  Well the crazy kids that we are, we decided to book a flight to Staniel Cay for the night and stay with friends. Meanwhile…the homeowners of the Long Island rental, found us a 5 p.m. to Long Island and there was a chance we could get on that.  We had become excited to see our Staniel friends, so we remained with the Staniel plan.

Our flight left DC a bit later than expected and the 2 hour and 6 minute flight, took much longer, There was a flow control heading into the south airspace, we sat on the runaway for a bit in DC.  Then we entered Bahamian airspace and we had to wait to land, we were detoured over the Exuma Chain, circled a bit and finally landed at 2:40.

We didn’t deplane for another 15 minutes and had to clear Customs and Immigration before we could check in to our next flight, which by the way we had to be checked in by 3:15 p.m.  At 3:10 we made it to the check in counter and were told to immediately get to the gate.  I had to use the restroom and was told I had a few minutes.  While in the stall they called our flight, of course that happened.

Good thing I did get to use the bathroom, we sat on the 15 seater for over an hour.  We watched our luggage sit in a truck next to us.  Finally we got to move and as the door shut, we said to the co pilot, “ummm our luggage is still on the truck.” His reply, “no worries, it will come on the next plane.”  We shrugged knowing full well, the next plane was probably Sunday morning.  Planes were lined up everywhere waiting to take off, come to find out Bahamian air traffic controllers are striking and have created a go slow condition.

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We landed after sunset.  Our friends were waiting, but our luggage was not. Talking with Sam from Flamingo Air, she told us our luggage would arrive in the morning, and I said when we fly it out.  She was stunned we were only here for one night, but when I explained it was a chance to spend time with Terri & Mal, she understood.  We had our first Kalik of the trip and I marveled at the view from their home, a view I never tire of.

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We started with Mal’s smoked salmon to munch on while waiting for dinner of fresh caught cracked conch and crawfish, sweet potatoes and tomato onion salad.  It was a delicious meal and being with our friends felt like a homecoming.  After dinner, we admired the full moon and called it an early night.

So what? we were delayed, we created a diversion to Staniel Cay with the help of friends and departed Nassau for a great overnight trip.  There were some anxious moments, but we took it all in stride and realized why get upset, we were lucky enough to have a chance to see our friends!

And as for our luggage, stay turned for the adventures of day 2!

Day 8 – Always good to say when we come back…

It is our last full day here on island.  The time flew by perhaps because we were so busy and didn’t give ourselves a lot of down time to just sit on the porch and read. We repeatedly said when we come back we will do this and that. However this time we added well maybe we might spend a day sitting and reading next time, that was new to our sayings on the island.

We began with our last coffee at Dean’s.  We’ve really come to enjoy sipping our first cup at Dean’s in the morning.

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After Dean’s we went to the Souse Out  put on by the Ladies of the Friendship Center to grab some souse for dinner.  We picked up a mutton and chicken one.

We had to swing by the cottage to drop off the food and plan the day. While at the cottage we had a baby goat visitor, he stopped by, drank some water, cried a little and wandered home.

We mapped out our route, starting at  Hardings Beach in Salt Pond to hike around and see the amphitheater of the sea. It was a great area to explore.

We returned to the highway and  cruised our way down to Millerton School Beach. We had a quarter-mile hike in to get the beach. The trail was lined with cactus and bromeliads. We ate our lunch here, dodging the sand bees that were flying all over.

Today’s adventures had tuckered us out, so we headed back to go for one last dip in at Dean’s Blue Hole.  On our way back, we decided to follow the signs for J’annte Straw Creations.  I am so happy we did, her work was extraordinary. Her plait work was beautiful, even standing around a dead hog in the shed while looking at her work didn’t faze us.  I picked up a clutch, which I will never use as a clutch and two placemats.

We made it to Dean’s mid afternoon and the place was packed. We had about 15 people there, the most we have even seen on any Long Island Beach.  The current was very strong so we only waded out a bit and didn’t collect any sand dollars.

We didn’t stay long, headed home and started the painful task of packing. I had 17 sand dollars to take home, however we couldn’t fit all of them in a container, so I had to choose five to stay behind, that was a woeful task.

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Our vacation has ended, tomorrow we head home to cold (why hasn’t spring stuck in New England?) but I will carry in my heart all the amazing memories we created and know there are more to create when we return.

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Day 7 – Take That Road

Today was slow, today was about taking roads we haven’t traveled before, today was just about meandering about, today was finding the unexpected.

We woke to the sun rising, a big bright orange globe ascending up, ducking behind clouds.

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We made our coffee and just wandered over to the beach road to the beach that is left of our rental to enjoy our coffee. While there Mike spied a chair perched on the cliff and decided his coffee would be tastier if he sat there.

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After enjoying our first cup here, we returned to the cottage to have ricotta pancakes topped with locally made guava jam.

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We figured out our morning plan was  to take two roads to new places, we haven’t explored.  We made our standard peanut butter and guava sandwiches, packed our snorkeling gear and hit the road. First stop was Whymms Tropic of Cancer Beach.  This was just a quick stop, get out look at the beach, return to the car.

Up south we traveled on  the Queen’s highway to explore Grays Landing.  Our hope was we could snorkel out to the Blue Hole, however the current appeared strong and the water wasn’t as clear as we would have liked it.  It was a desolate area.

On our way back towards the cottage we noticed JC straw works was open, in we stopped.  I purchased  a small straw change purse.

We were starting to get hungry for our sandwiches so we popped over to Turnbull Beach to sit in the shade of the gazebos by the water and cemetery. Perfect place to lunch.

After lunch, we returned to the highway  to go down roads we haven’t explored on the south end of the island.  We read about more plantation ruins.  We found the road, but sadly the ruins were gated off and there was no path around to explore. We left and went down another road to a beautiful view of the Atlantic side, where our Christmas view will be.

The arrow in this photo is aimed at the gazebos we will have access to. I think next December’s blog installments will be pretty boring, we won’t be exploring as much because our behinds will be parked there.

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Our next adventure had us searching for Miley’s cave, down another road we hadn’t explored yet. We found it, but didn’t bring flashlights to really investigate, plus the cave was full of wasps and bees.  We didn’t want to get stung here on this island, medical help is limited so we were very cautious.

It was a little hot, our next plan was to  head over to Lochabar beach for a dip. However a road we hadn’t explored came up first, across from Department of Health Services. Down the road we went to explore. It appeared as if at some point this might have a been a planned development, paved roads, some lot lines we could see but I’m sure the hurricanes destroyed someone’s dreams of developing this area. We ended up across from Lochabar beach, on the other side of Clem’s Blue Hole.

Our exploration of roads taken to new places today, tired us out. We decided to skip Lochabar and head over to Dean’s for a float.  While floating there Mike found me another sand dollar and he discovered a beautiful orange starfish (that we released).

Today was about taking the roads we haven’t explored yet.  The beauty of this island is found in taking a road to a beach and discovering something unexpected and breathtaking.  Could we have planned a day like this? No way, it just happened all because we took that road…

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