Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Berry Islands to New Providence (West Bay), The Bahamas //
After jumping enough times in the crystal clear water of the Berry Islands (just couldn't get enough of it), we made our way to New Providence, specifically West Bay, as it would provide a good drop off location for our friend Paul. It would also help us avoid the hectic waters of Nassau, and give us a better departure point for the Exumas. The night before, Paul had been concocting a plan with Naomi, back in Miami, for her and the girls to fly over to Nassau and stay for the weekend (hard working parents deserve a break too!). And so, as the wheels of the plane back in Miami were in motion the morning of January 16, Paul, Tom, and I put our sails up and crossed through the north section of the Tongue of the Ocean towards New Providence. We left early, around 8:00am, and planned to arrive at West Bay sometime in the early afternoon. We had a pleasant sail through most of the morning and only ended up motor sailing for two hours just before reaching West Bay.
By the time we arrived, around 2:30pm, Naomi the girls were making their way over from Nassau to meet us at Clifford Heritage National Park, the "easiest" (not really, read on...) spot for us to disembark with the dinghy. We soon found out the only dinghy dock available had been completely damaged, most likely by a hurricane, but we still had plenty of beach area to land the dinghy on. Paul set off in the dinghy to pick everyone up, while Tom and I picked up the boat. With a breezy afternoon, they endured quite a wet ride back to the boat, yet for the little girls, it was all fun and games. Plenty of laughs later, they made it safely to Sparidae, no bags lost overboard, lifesavers still on.
We spent a couple of hours aboard, popped some beers (and juiceboxes) open along with some snacks and showed the girls around boat. Naomi's girls, Brielle and Sienna, are each 3 and 5 years old, and are very much independent, strong, and opinionated little women. They seemed to think the boat was too small for daddy to had travel so far in, and they definitely made it known Sparidae was not their kinda ride. Nevertheless, they certainly enjoyed climbing up and down the companion way, taking a bunch of selfies in the cockpit, and singing along to The Little Mermaid tunes.
After being made fun of our living standards by a pair of baby girls, we packed up and got ourselves to land for dinner. We sent the girls first so they could unload at the beach, and then Paul came to pick Tom and I. Once we were all beachside, the quest for getting the dinghy tied up to a very disheveled dock, with waves constantly breaking at the shore proved discouraging. After many unpleasant tries we decided to drag it and leave it beached. We had slight fears of having it getting stolen (it was very much a desolate area), but we were in a National Park -- at least it wasn’t Nassau, we thought.
It was now way past sunset and we had to hurry and figure out a ride to anywhere with a restaurant. Luckily, Naomi’s hotel offered car service, and so we patiently waited... And waited... We waited for a looong while, probably around an hour and a half. After a few calls to the hotel, and not until it was pitch black outside, a van finally showed up around 7:30pm, to 4 adults and 2 children on starving mode, standing by the side of the road. Luckily, the whole area we had arrived to was a sort of residence club, Lyford Cay Club, so we discovered some nearby options for dinner. We had quickly abandoned the idea of heading to Nassau as it had become so late. Once at Captain’s Table inside the premises of The Lyford Cay Club Marina (where we probably should have come into to avoid unnecessary stresses, even though our wallets would disagree) we enjoyed some much needed Kalik’s, conch fritters, and most importantly, chill time with friends. Can't put a price to that.
After dinner, we all headed back on the same hotel van. We payed the drivers a little extra to get Tom and I back to the beach. They looked at us a little confused wondering why we were going back to a desolate beach area, but once we explained we were going back to our sailboat, everything made sense. Once on our way, we were just praying that T.T. Sparidae was still ashore and not stolen. Luckily, there it was. The van shone the headlights onto it and waited for us to safely get on and going. With the waves still breaking strongly on the shore, we got splashed around plenty, and just before getting sucked into a nearby rocky bank, we were off and safely back to Sparidae. Dockless drop-off and a family reunited for a mini vacation in the Bahamas... mission accomplished.