Sailing Honeymoon in the Bahamas
I took my honeymoon with my husband long before we were married. Little did I know, I would meet him in St. Thomas in 2004 and sail the Caribbean on his 32 foot Bristol for over 6 years, working and playing in between.
We met so many cruisers (people living on sailboats and traveling the world) along the way, most of them retired and nearing 70. One couple that sticks in my mind was from New Zealand. Ken and I initially met them at the dinghy dock bar on Culebra, a tiny island in the Spanish Virgin Islands. They were about to complete the last leg of their 5 year circumnavigation. We started chatting, and come to find out this whole “sailing” venture was just something they were doing on the side. “Climbing mountains is really our thing.” We were intrigued.
We bumped into them again in the Dominican Republic. They invited us on board their boat for dinner that night–freshly caught Mahi was on the menu! After cleaning up our boat and taking a nap, we headed over for an evening of stories and good company.
They told us they were about to set sail for the east coast of America, where they would put their boat up for sale and fly home to New Zealand. They were in high spirits not only because they had almost met their goal, but they were about to embark onto the Bahamas, their most highly anticipated stop in all of the world.
By boat or plane, the Bahamas are an easy reach for most Americans. I always knew the Bahamas were special. I mean, after all, we had spent over 3 months sailing through them on our own boat. But somehow, the reality check from our new friends gave me a greater appreciation for this little gem in our own backyard.
Ken and I sailed through the Acklins, Long Island, the Exumas, Cat Island, Eleuthera, the Berry Islands, Bimini, and finally over to Miami.
The Acklins were my first and favorite Bahamian island, population 500. When Ken and I walked through the tiny town, we passed a one room school house. You would have thought an elephant walked by their door. The teacher stopped class at once and all of the children were free to go outside to greet us. A sea of tiny hands reached up to my head for a touch of my golden blonde hair–a sight they rarely, if ever, had seen.
In Eleuthera, our border collie, Jake, jumped into a game of street ball with a group of local kids-a stick, a tennis ball, 10 kids, and a dog fetching every hit. It brought tears of joy to our eyes to see these kids cheer Jake on as he scrambled for the ball and took it back to the pitcher, only to retreat back to shortstop in preparation for the next batter. Ken and I looked on from the bar with ice cold beers in hand, smiling.
With the freedom of our own sailboat, we were able to explore islands that the cruise ships never touched, much like renting your own charter yacht. We were invited into homes for dinners. We tasted homemade conch chowder and spicy conch salad. We made friends that we would keep for years to come, all the while contemplating our next honeymoon adventure. I mean, who’s to say you can only have one?