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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Paradise Next Door
Bahamas Cruise
2011
Paradise Bridge
~ Paradise Bridge ~
Death in Paradise
The Spirit of Serendipity
Two decades deep into the 21st century and the internet, our most economical means of immediate communication, was still unstable in many areas of the world. We'd been unable to make a solid connection before leaving Great Harbour Cay, the last place where Wi-Fi was even possible. So it'd been close to two weeks since any extended updates about our whereabouts could be shared with our families back in the U.S. and we were anxious to ease their minds.

Early on the morning of our first full day in Nassau, Don hauled our big, high-powered antenna up the mast and accessed a weak, unsecured internet signal. He immediately logged onto Facebook, the easiest place for us to quickly circulate an update to all our family and friends.

The same urgent appeal was written on the wall of everyone in our circle. "CALL HOME!"

Don quickly searched for the cause behind these disconcerting broadcasts, and soon found the answer buried under three days worth of posts.

Green Parrot's Dinghy Dock
~ Green Parrot's Dinghy Dock ~

"My dad died" he gasped just as our tenuous internet connection was irretrievably severed.

For a brief moment, we both sat stupefied. Don's dad Roger was still quite young at 63 and although he had recently had some health issues, we'd departed on our journey believing that he was well on the road to full recovery. The bonds between Don and Roger were very strong – a rare example of a father-son relationship grown into close friendship. For me, Roger echoed so many of the characteristics that I cherished in Don; he possessed the same playful wit, the same inquisitive mind, the same compassionate nature, and the same unreserved love. I adored him all the more for multiplying these beloved aspects in my world.

Serendipity Appears as a Familiar Face at the Green Parrot
Driven by a need to know when, how, and what now, we raced to shore to find solid internet access. An obvious heading was the Green Parrot, the only place with which we'd become acquainted thus far. Unfortunately, they weren't yet open and though the morning staff didn't mind us sitting on their deck, their Wi-Fi wasn't running. As strangers in an unfamiliar place with question upon question praying on our minds, we were on the verge of feeling completely overwhelmed. Then several serendipitous events occurred that made this awful experience a bit less difficult to bear.
Don Walking the Beach
~ Don Walking the Beach ~

It all began with a familiar face – our comrades from the previous evening were tying their tender to the Green Parrot's dock and upon seeing us, came directly over to say hello. I explained the cause of our grief struck demeanor, and the need to get a good internet connection. They immediately directed us to a nearby Starbucks (where else?), then offered up some viable options for returning to the states, berthing Re Metau, and providing for Neptune.

We motored back to the east side, where the coffee house fulfilled our first priority of contacting family, and getting answers to our most pressing questions. Scheduling the funeral was held off until we'd been reached, so arranging flights to Ohio to attend the services became our next focus. Our limited savings sadly added to our worry, and budgeting for last minute travel weighed heavily on our minds.

Serendipity Takes Care of Flight Costs
Believing our least expensive option would be flying north from within the states, a 24 hour sail straight through to Miami was the most feasible port. But we'd have to factor in the cost of fuel to motor sail at our maximum speed to make this deadline, as well as paying for a mooring in one of the most expensive metropolises in the country. Additionally, Don and I both feared retreating back to the U.S. in Re Metau would likely draw a premature conclusion to our cruise.

Completely heedless to the fact that we were currently at the Bahamas' most aggressively marketed vacation destination, I distractedly checked direct flights from Nassau. Sure enough, departures to the U.S were not just frequent, but tickets were significantly cheaper than what was being offered domestically. Basically, this sad news had reached us at the right place and our cruising kitty would be somewhat spared in this tragedy.

Serendipity Makes Accommodations for the Whole Crew
With travel arrangements handled, our next concern was for our actual kitty, Neptune. Though cats are somewhat low maintenance creatures, I'd anticipated we might be absent far too long to leave him to his own devices. Adding to that concern was the fact that, for the first time since becoming a part of our crew, the First Mate had brought stowaways onboard in the form of fleas. This was a contingency so unlikely I'd not equipped our med-kit for it, and the poor creature had been itching so vigorously that I was glad we'd reached a district where veterinarians that could prescribe relief were accessible. And now we'd need to investigate boarding options as well.
Re Metau with Atlantis Backdrop
~ Re Metau with Atlantis Backdrop ~

Once again, serendipity stepped in. During the 'Visitors Appreciation' banquet we'd attended on Great Harbour Cay, only one tenant, Lauren made an effort to befriend us, extending a warm welcome to her island, and including us in conversation. A petite, affable young woman with a bright, genial smile, she revealed that she was a kindred spirit who'd years before, also lived aboard and cruised on a 41' sailboat.

Days and distance passed and then Lauren stepped into that Nassau Starbucks, on that fateful day…carrying her dog…on her way to her vet! She immediately approached us and upon sharing in our disquiet, performed an incredible random act of kindness. She called her D.V.M. on her cell, scheduled a flea treatment delivery, and arranged for Neptune's care in our absence. By 10 AM we'd but one more concern to resolve – the safety of our floating home.

Serendipity Offers A Kind Hand from Nassau Harbour View Marina
At anchor, Re Metau would be at too much risk for theft, weather, dragging; the disastrous possibilities were endless. Dockage in Nassau was copious, but oh so costly – yet another expense that would severely tax us. We returned to the Nassau Harbour View Marina where we'd tied up our tender, and figured we might as well inquire about a slip.

The owner's young son was the dock master for the day, and he offered us a dock whose annual lease was paid yet vacant since the renters boat was gone until May. He gave an extraordinary, all inclusive deal of $1 per foot – a mere $33 per day! We'd expected something in the range of $150 a day plus utilities. He even lent us an electrical adapter with his gracious offer, and refused payment until we'd concluded the use of the slip – the kindness and generosity we received from this young lad was overwhelming.

Serendipity stepped in, took care of our material worries so that we could better cope with our loss and turn our thoughts toward remembering and honoring the life of Roger. Knowing his love of adventure, and his pride in his son's courage to pursue his aspirations, I'd come to believe that serendipity was really Roger's spirit stepping in and helping us to stay on our cruising path and continue following our dreams.

Roger Lee Reynolds ~ December 10th, 1947 – — 9thApr —
~ Roger Lee Reynolds ~ December 10th, 1947 – — 9thApr — ~