Crossing to Palm Cay
After waiting out wind, swell and two thunderstorms we were excited to make our next jump to Palm Cay (a marina community on the opposite end of New Providence). The marina, situated on the coast south of Nassau’s city center, would only take just a few hours as it was only a 21 mile stretch.
We left West Bay with sunny skies and perfect wind conditions. The winds came from the north at 12-15 knots which made for a lovely beam reach as we headed east.
Kyle (now referred to as Cap) couldn’t help but swing down through the deep waters of the Tongue in hopes of landing a mahi, but we quickly got back on track—a special lunch date awaited us.
We began to encounter coral heads so I was sent forward to the bow to help with visual piloting.
Nearing our entrance to the marina, we stowed the sails, turned on the engines and worked our way up the channel and into our slip. Our lunch date (dear friends, Tom & Paula, from our marina back in Saint Augustine) greeted us upon arrival and assisted the dock master (who addressed every man involved as “Cap” and every woman as “Mom”) with bringing in our boat. We were all slightly confused!
Tom & Paula had started their Bahamas expedition right after we returned to Saint Augustine from a long trip to Missouri/Arkansas. On our return, we were able to see them in passing for a week or so, but we all had our list of last minute preparations, provisioning and projects. The morning of their departure we were able to wish them off, assist with lines and grab a quick photo. We were excited to be with them again for some quality time together!
The kids had been looking SO forward to seeing them. Nearly everyday they would point out a boat that was similar to Mrs. Paula’s and prior to setting off for each new destination Orli would ask, “Are Mrs. Paula and Tom going to be at this Bahama?” When we tried to explain our location, their trip and the vastness of the Bahamas, we would receive a disappointed sigh as Orli would express her desire to go to their Bahama.
They patiently waited until we arrived into the boat slip—then there was a chatterbox explosion of all their important kid-pirate tales.
We hadn’t stayed at a marina since Bimini. Indeed, we had learned to live on the hook (like real sailors), and had begun to prefer it. Cap is now at the point where he feels more comfortable, and safer, staying at anchor vs. maneuvering our boat into a slip. Palm Cay was an exciting exception. Aside from seeing our friends, we went ahead and took on water, did laundry, took real showers and used the complimentary car for grocery shopping.
Also, the marina conveniently boasted an ice cream shop and playground—we all partook!
MORE ON TOM & PAULA
We met the couple while working on our Mason 41 which was docked diagonal from their boat on the same pier in Saint Augustine. They took us under their wing in many ways and always inspired and encouraged us in our sailing endeavors!
Their amazing floating home, C Ghost (an Island Packet 420), was an inspiration in itself! Immaculate, and thoughtfully tricked out from bow to stern, was our example to strive toward.
Paula is to be credited for the Money Tree concept after the kids found a random penny beneath a vertical water pipe near our boat. It magically started producing coins of higher value as well as all sorts of other amazing treats! The handmade C Ghosts were my favorite. And so, though it was relocated to a pvc pipe after the Mason sold, it was forever referred to as the Money Tree.
In addition to the kid treats, Paula would find ways to treat Kyle and I—Everything from iced lemonades (with recurring refills) while we slaved on the Mason to early morning adult conversation served with hot coffee in their cockpit.
She shared tips on all things boats—like the importance of de-cardboarding, the art of boat organization, strategic meal-prep, freezer/refrigerator efficiency, pest management and more. We were able and glad to sample all of her delicious cooking!
Tom and Kyle had an instant bond. If possible, they would talk boat projects all day. They were able to come together with needed tools, spare parts and pieces over the course of time. Tom lined out the details of their route to the Bahamas and tried to prepare us for ours—all the while totally believing in our abilities. Only God knows how much time Tom (Paula too) spent writing out emails and sending links with wisdom, suggestions and advices!
We gained tech-savvy direction from Tom on all the IT-related details for successful boat life, cruising in general and the specific Bahamas tour (mail service, digital photo and document storage, movie ripping, app recommendations, online resources, boat electronics and more).
We also were able to help out with each other’s boats on several occasions. They would consistently check our boat, lines and even bail out our dinghy while we were out of town. Finally, we were able to attempt to return the favor during Hurricane Irma, while they were away for their daughter’s wedding.
There have been many encouragement sessions in which Paula has reassured me that I AM A GOOD MOM—and that she had seen kids surviving on “orange pop” and a lot less attention. Oh, and, how many times was I put at ease when her inner-doctor would come out and help me rationalize through kids licking dirty picnic tables and other phobias? I’ve lost count!
While far away from our families, Paula & Tom (along with the rest of our marina community), became a family to us.
Just like with any family, there are sad times as well. Our marina compadres have experienced some great losses over the last year.
BACK TO THE VISIT
It was so wonderful to be able to come together with some close friends along the way. After the ice cream and playground they invited us over to C Ghost. Tom put a movie on for the kids and we once again enjoyed having grown up conversation in their cockpit!
We were set to head out the next morning which came all too soon! Once our errands were complete (with assistance from Paula), Tom joined her at our pier and they helped us shove off. It was like a flip-flopped episode of déjà vu as they assisted with our lines and snapped some quick photos of our departure!