"Wow, What a Trip!"
Azure, silver, cobalt blue and gold, swirled and layered with a pearly opalescence. A gigantic neon sign of tropical water, stretching out of sight. We turned inland approaching Grand Bahama's Port of Entry at Freeport in the four-passenger twin engine Aztec. Our pilot passed around his clipboard with the required customs paperwork for each of us to fill out.
Name, date of birth, passport number, reason for visit were recorded as the cruise ships passed below us headed for the lovely harbor. Floating cities of white, gleaming in the sun. The Discovery, Sea Escape and Fantasy were already moored in the harbor.
I wondered if the ship passengers had also seen the mysterious band of white on the horizon some twenty miles out of port. A thin white strip, waving in the warm breeze like a ribbon, turned out to be the island beaches, stretching out of view both left and right.
Final approach and perfect landing. Taxi to customs past the pink and white 'wedding cake' terminal. Welcome to Grand Bahamas on airport signs everywhere. Charming Bahamian Customs Officers smiled as we entered and asked, "Is this your first trip to the Bahamas?"
Castwell and I said, "Yes," and were greeted with another big smile and a hearty, "Welcome!" Every piece of luggage, and the supplies for the lodge at Deep Water Cay were unloaded and carried into the customs building. Inspection of luggage and gear for five, plus the supplies took less than a half hour.
Groceries from the mainland take a hit on duty, but the locals told us later the duty on building supplies and cars was even high - sixty-eight percent for cars made from 1990 on. All part of the cost of independence from Great Britain.
Our adventure to the "Out Islands," as the locals call them, began with the idea we could use a real vacation. A transition from selling our day job to being self-unemployed. Bone fishing was the choice. After much searching and head-scratching the destination was chosen. What we wanted may not be everyone's choice, but the choice was made on the following criteria; the quality of the fishing (including the guides), the quality of the accommodations, and lastly the quality of the food. Some places were eliminated based on availability of fish at the time we wanted to go. More were unsuitable from either accommodation or food quality. The later also included water problems.
Flying southwest from Freeport over the dramatic seascape heightened our excitement for the fishing. Twenty minutes passed in a blink. We dropped to two hundred feet and flew over the lodge. One pass and a smooth landing on the three-quarter mile hard pan airstrip.
Doors opened, compartments in the wings and aft cabin were unlocked revealing the supplies for the lodge. A nine passenger electric cart appeared. The blue and white scalloped awning swinging as our hostess waved a greeting. Each guest was warmly greeted by name.
Baggage, fly rods, and supplies were loaded onto the only gas vehicle on the island - a well worn mini pickup truck. Our belongings were delivered to our cottage. The cottage is really a duplex, with a large airy room, bath, walk-in closet, sitting area and covered porch for each. A small refrigerator and coffee maker were nice added touches. Ceiling fan, louvered screened windows and air conditioning (which we never used) are standard in each cottage.
Yes, there was hot and cold running water. A real bath with shower, and monogrammed towels. Bed linens and matching spread, dust ruffles and sham covered pillows. Comfortable chairs for relaxing and even good reading material.
Our hostess knocked at our door and announced, "Cocktails at seven, dinner at eight. See you at the lodge," pointing toward the obviously new building.
To be continued next week