Monday, July 6, 2015

Celebrating 20 Yrs... By Being "Stranded Naked"

Part 1: History Lesson
Fayetteville, AR....1992.  I met a beautiful girl named Stacey Hamilton 23 years ago ....and I thank God for her EVERYDAY.  We were married June 10, 1995 and after 5-6 yrs of wedded bliss we decided to start a family in 2001.  And at that time (and still 100% today) I had/ have a ridiculous addiction to shotguns, bass rods, rifles, duck decoys, lures, fine fly rods, boats, fresh ski tracks in powder and no particular order.  So when we got the news on Valentine's Day 2001 we were expecting our first child (Kate), my "Pre-baby Bucket List" got a little longer before Kate arrived.  Something I'd always wanted to do was cast flies to tailing bonefish.  I blame my good friend since college David Carroum along with Flip Pallot, Lefty Kreh & the late Jose Wejebe for this…..especially David!   This "Pre-Baby Bucket List" lead me to Abaco....and after a little logistical planning we arrived in June 2001 at The Banyan Beach Club for 5 days in Treasure Cay.  Still to this day Stacey and I talk about that beautiful beach.  No wonder it's consistently ranked in the top 10 globally!!  I fished w legendary guide Odonald McIntosh, landed several bonefish and added Abaco to the places I'd easily rank among the best. But on that trip we never ever left Treasure Cay to visit the Cays.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Wilma ruined Banyan (now Bahama Beach Club is the place to stay in Treasure Cay I guess) ......and life, jobs, parenting, responsibilities and everything else kept us away from Abaco for too too long.  We had many many ski trips, Mexican beach trips, old Florida family beach trips, Hawaii and even USVI/ BVI recently….even twice to Grand Bahama…..but we kept wanting to get back to Abaco.

Part 2: Research & Day 1-Travel Day---Saturday, June 27, 2015
June 27, 2015. When the alarm went off at 2:00am Dallas time.....needless to say I was already awake and looking forward to our trip like a kid at Christmas.  Bags had been 90% packed for 3 weeks ...and in keeping with my tradition we were traveling heavy with 3 of our 4 checked bags containing Stacey's …..errrr……I mean my tackle and rods!! We live in Frisco, TX and this Spring and Summer have been a literal washout with constant flooding storms....and it looked like our travel day would be no different.  I had anxiety as severe storms almost delayed our trip but thankfully we were wheels up and Miami bound at 5:10AM.  As the sun rose over the Gulf, I finally began to relax.
Anxiety about vacation? Yes. You see, I am a planner.  A LONG term planner… the annoyance of my wife.  I've been a financial planner for 20 years but I am equally as planning oriented when it comes to my family and our vacations.  For example, is it wrong to know you can book flights exactly 331 days in advance? Or wonder why a VRBO calendar doesn't accurately reflect 2017 vacancy? :-) So to be actually airborne with no weather delays and on schedule is a good thing to me!  I had started this vacation plan for our 20th Anniversary so long ago when Stacey answered "Abaco" as her anniversary destination wish that I'd had a ton of time to do research.

Enter several great resources:

1 - Vicki H Travellerspoint Blog,   Vicki is an amazing writer, photographer and humorist and is lucky enough to travel the world and share it with the rest of us.  You all should read every one of her entries on Abaco!  I found our Guana Cay cottage and great caretaker as well as several very good beaches, bars and restaurant ideas from her blog.

2- Steve Dodge Guide,  THE nautical person's #1 resource.  It has so much great info and is literally a MUST HAVE if you visit Abaco. Best $25 I've spent.

3 -, and all of it's crazy members!  Such a great supportive informative group. The info on this forum is incredible and in my opinion it's part of what keeps Abaco a little secret 175 mi off of the US shores.

4 - The Abaco king himself :-)  Again, another resource that goes back literally decades.

5- (aka Bobb and Patricia Henderson). When and only if you get to attend a Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Beach Party, you'll understand the sheer generosity and logistical magnitude of throwing a wild yet "PG to PG-13" totally FREE party in paradise. We befriended Patricia last year and sponsored a tiny tiny part of their party.  

6 - Greg Turton See #1 above.  Vicky H blog find again…….  A South Georgia family man and pilot who has 2 lovely homes on Guana and was kind and flexible enough to rent us his 3 bedroom modern home Grandview.  If you are looking for a beach house designed for a family....Greg is the man to talk to. 

7-Darvin Curry His website is a true statement. EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR GUANA CAY. He'd probably punch me in the arm then buy me a beer for saying this, but Darvin needs to be Mayor of Guana....or at least city manager!  The dude knows or has access to everything!  He's a realtor, caretaker, dock master, golf cart fleet owner and can get you just about anything you need in the middle of the night.

And most generous strangers I've ever met, Skip and Capt. Henry Sands ( Skip offered great feedback to me as a chaser of the saltwater fishes and Henry Sands was one of the most responsive and informative captains I've every fished with.  Without their help I would never have hooked up on half the fish we landed in Abaco.

Now back to Day 1....we were a party of 8: Robert, Stacey, Kate (13) and Preston (9) and our best friends from Frisco, The Cahill Family....Chris, Karin, Kelsi (13) and Connor (12).  So not only was I determined to research a great Abaco vacation for us, but also make it epic for our friends.

Miami was uneventful.  But compared to Miami terminal 20 years ago, you actually don't think you are going to get mugged. We met up with another big family who just happened to be from both Frisco and San Diego….our good friends and members of our gym who were also headed to Panoramic View House in Orchid Bay on Guana.  After a quick connection we touched down on time in Marsh at 10:45am.  On the flight over The Marls looked just as I left them back in '01 as we approached our landing in Marsh, but to see that new Marsh Harbour airport terminal with cold AC was a welcome site.  Sherilee, taxi #103 whisked us from the airport to Rainbow Rentals where we dropped bags and headed up the street to Curly Tails.  And people.......that's how at 11:45am on June 27, 2015 I officially shifted into "Island Mode".  Looking out over the docks in Marsh and seeing the moored boats while enjoying conch fritters and a Kalik is nothing short of therapeutic.

Next, Sherilee shuttled us to Bristol liquor and Maxwell's where Chris Cahill (a 29 year veteran senior leader with Target) almost fainted at the price of imported toilet paper, milk and Monster Energy name a few.  $750 in groceries later we were back at Rainbow Rentals loading 16 plus bags and about 350 lbs of food and drinks in our 26' twin vee cat w 2, 4 stroke Yamaha 150's, a T top w rod holders, outriggers for trolling, a stereo and a Garmin GPS.  As a boat owner, I love the sound of a Yamaha coming up on plane and after texting Darvin, we throttled up and started the 9 mile journey across the Sea of Abaco with island tunes on the boat stereo making 27 knots. 

Darvin had us pull up to the public dock in Guana settlement harbor and I thought he too was going to have a coronary event at the number of our bags and groceries. (I think he might have even said something smartass about how caretakers reap the rewards of leftovers....and that's when I knew we could be friends)  Darvin had 2 carts waiting plus his cart. The kids, Chris and I hustled the carts and load 1 of 2 to Grandview.....then load 2. I was sweating profusely. We moved the boat across to Darvin's dock at Guana Hideaways Marina, unpacked back at Grandview and were digging our toes into the sand on Grabbers sunset beach by 5:30pm.  

Stop here just a minute with me.  Seriously….What the HELL is in a Grabber or Nipper?  I think there is a touch of PCP or heroin or crank or absinthe or flubber or something in it!  I can handle cocktails with the best of them, but a 2am wake up, an all day hectic travel schedule and a few Grabbers from Ricky and I was seeing 3-4 suns setting and craving more conch fitters....and pizza....and dessert and maybe some 3am Taco Bell or Waffle House ....but I settled for fritters and pizza only and called it a night...… By God, there was fishing to do the next morning!!!

Day 2: Fishing and Sunday Funday @ Nippers (AKA Pig Roast)----Sunday, June 28, 2015
Go back with me a short 3 months ago to March 13th, 2015….Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, CO.


That's what I heard very loudly exactly 3 months ago.  Not good.  I had just completely torn my left ACL at Beaver Creek on the last day of skiing.

Surgery.  Long long rehab visits. Pain and discomfort and all the baggage of aging and realizing it!  It sucked and still sucks.

I distinctly remember telling my orthopedic doc (also a fisherman) I MUST be able to drive a boat and offshore fish by July 1.  He promised it would be ok.

Today was the day to find out if that new cadaver ACL alograft and many rehab gym hours would pay off! 

A 6am alarm, a cup of mud and 45 minutes later Chris and I were like 2 kids outside Wally World amusement park waiting for it to open…..when in reality we were waiting for Henry Sands of Backbreaker Charters at Orchid Bay.  Henry's first mate Paul arrived and we ripped out of the settlement harbor headed toward Bakers Bay/ N End Guana in Henry's 29' Phoenix.  We screamed past ultra manicured Bakers Bay multimillion dollar "shacks" and then between Gumelimi and Guana and were trolling in no time.  Cedar plugs, blue and white trollers, name it...the blackfin tuna had their days numbered.  The swell was 2-3' and there were storms and lightning to the south end of Guana.  Chris is my good luck charm having landed his first blue marlin in Kauai last June on his first real offshore trip ever.  We trolled and chatted and had a few "adult pops". We listened to tunes and messed around with the GoPro.  We trolled some more looking for feeding birds while telling each other fishing stories (read: lies).  Then BOOM, fish on! Fish on! Fish on! And again and again over and over! At 11:30am we had 13 blackfin and a 2 skipjack and were headed home!  Henry gave me a few pointers on trolling and bottom fishing and we arrived home smelling of success and beer and fish and sweat with enough tuna to feed all of Dallas Texas!  It was greatness!

The boys even came down and got to see the day's catch.

The girls were keeping an eye on the beautiful Guana beach and enjoying homemade painkillers (complete with fresh ground nutmeg), and we decided to walk to Nippers for a late lunch.  We had been warned of debauchery on Sunday's at Nippers so we all hustled 300 yards down the beach and parked ourselves in a great people watching location.  It was pretty tame, the food was great, the drinks were better and the view was outrageous!

After more beach time in front of Grandview and a grilled dinner of fresh tuna followed by more cocktails, we chalked up our first full day in paradise.

Day 3: DIY Tuna Fishing and "Daddy….What's That Funnel Cloud?"---June 29, 2015
One thing I like to do more than anything else is pass on my love of the outdoors to kids.  So I came fully prepared to Guana to rent a fishing boat, expecting to fail miserably and be happy with any tiny success.  But by gosh, I was going to get some use out of the 9 rods, 35# of tackle, a gaff and 3 GPS' I brought……I sooo overpacked it's not even funny.  Chris and I woke up Preston and Connor early and headed right back out to tuna fish.   I broke out what saltwater tackle I owned and armed only with the input from Abaco Forum contributors and Skip and Henry, we rigged up and trolled.  I knew it was a good sign when we saw flying fish and birds just off of Baker's Bay.  Connor caught 2 and Preston caught 1 blackfin tuna and I was more excited than anybody.  Seasickness eventually took ahold of Preston to the point he looked like a granny smith apple so we ran back inside……BUT WE HAD FRESH TUNA AGAIN and we were only out for about 90 minutes!!!!

The girls met us at the dock with snorkel sets, coolers and food and after we cleaned fish, we headed to the north end of Guana on Bakers Bay beach or as I like to call it now……"The House with the Massive Waterslide Beach".  

We snorkeled the reefs in the blistering sun but I kept looking southwest as the sky darkened.  I had recently downloaded an app that actually shows decent Abaco radar and a huge thunderstorm was building and headed towards us.  (App is just called "Storm" from Weather Underground---very very accurate---includes all of Abaco)  We were about to start a picnic lunch when I heard someone come over the VHF Ch 16 and say "Yeah…I think that waterspout is moving offshore".  Almost simultaneously, I looked down the beach and saw jet black clouds and what everyone in Texas knows is a funnel cloud.  And it was HUGE and moving towards us. Waterspout or tornado or whatever, it scared us to death and we pulled anchor as bolts of lightning cracked all around us.  I was getting worried and all I knew to do was get as far away as possible.

We ended up seeing a few boats in the lee of shell island so we joined them as rain started in sheets.  One of them said they were running home to GTC and I looked at the radar and thought……"Hey, Treasure Cay beach is pretty protected from this wind" so we followed them thru Don't Rock and made it to Coco's for lunch (read: drinks).  I was frazzled by that waterspout and the tons of lightning but a few beers calmed my nerves.  My idea of fun is not driving a 26' boat with 2, 20' graphite outriggers thru an electrical storm!

Our original plan that day was to visit the No Name pigs (we are Razorback fans after all!) so we motored there from Treasure and found the pigs to be calm and tame and in need of water and food.  A few pig pics later the rain came in sheets again and we fought wind and rain all the way home to Guana.

It had been a long long adrenaline filled scary day so we decided just to grill burgers and dogs and call it a great day because, as the wives said, "Hey---at least nobody died!  It must have been a good day!"

Day 4: Lagoon and Orchid Bay w Friends----Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Each day I tried to listen to the CruisersNet to get the forecast and read the radar.  Tuesday showed wind and rain and grey skies again.  Dang.  We already knew we had to be at Panoramic View House in Orchid Bay about 4:30pm to swim and eat dinner with friends so we decided to stay close to Guana.

Connor, Chris and I tried in vain to bottom fish that morning because my wife prefers snapper, grouper or Mahi over tuna, but all I could scare up were 3 small yellowtail snappers.  Yes, Stacey was thankful!

I had read several posts about the lagoon between Guana and Scotland Cays so we headed there.  Easily the best decision of the trip!  The wives and daughters loved it.  It is secret, quiet and isolated and if there are 10 people there, it's considered crowded.  I love to snorkel with Kate and although I think I got a fair degree of sea lice or some other burns from the turtle grass, we snorkeled for 2 hours finding tons of seas biscuits, small conchs, starfish and reef fish.

On the way back to Guana we had motor trouble w our starboard tilt / trim but a quick call to Tracey at Rainbow and they had somebody at the dock with hydraulic fluid patch it.

We headed to Orchid Bay to meet our friend Kelly Cappasola and her large extended family for dinner.  It was a blast. They were the most gracious hosts and that house is unreal!!! She's just moved to San Diego and we will miss her laughter and friendship dearly.

A few fireball shots thanks to Kelly's brother in law and I was looking for a bed to pass out in!  Day 4 in the books!!!

Day 5: Tahiti, Lubbers, Mermaid Reef and a Unique Grabbers Story---Wednesday, July 1
Skip had invited us to fish with him but he smartly called it off due to a giant thunderstorm covering Treasure, GTC and over our fishing spot.  So I scrambled to the Guana Grocery for a few things, ran an errand or two and rallied the troops to pack coolers, chairs and snorkels.  We were throttling up and headed toward Tahiti Beach at 9:45am.  Tahiti is stunning.  We parked our beach chairs toward Tilloo and tried to pickle our livers again while tunes played on the portable UE Boom speaker (trust me---invest in one of these)…. while the kids snorkeled.

It was about 11:30am and we were hungry for all the food we'd read about at Lubbers Landing and eager to meet Austin & Amy.  We motored across and found the place empty.  It was perfect!!!  Both Austin and Amy were working at the bar and we got to chat with them for almost an hour.  Their bar and restaurant is immaculate. I mean you could eat off of the floor!!! The bar is organized perfectly.  The drinks are strong and tasty and I'd kill a man for another island burger.  And…'s the first and only time I've ever seen a bar owner reach behind the bar and grab …… a chainsaw!!!  Austin has a great sense of humor.

Our plan was to hit the secret lagoon again but radar again showed bolts of 220V hitting around it.  So we detoured to Mermaid reef and snorkeled.  Understatement: Those fish get fed regularly.  They swarmed us.  The kids loved it!

We were ready to head home but detoured again and ended up at Grabbers.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

The boys had fun playing the ring game and throwing beanbags at the corn hole game.  No joke….but about 110 volts of electricity were running thru the Grabbers pool so it was off limits.

And as I was unloading the boat on Grabber's sunset beach, two well endowed inebriated ladies from Cleveland, Ohio and San Diego that were well into likely their 14th Grabber swam over and asked if I would go get their husbands from the bar.  I sheepishly said "um, sure" and as I jumped out to head ashore one handed me her bikini top and said……"I bet if you walk up to the bar and say 'AJ…..your wife wants you to bring this to her back at the beach' ….he will".  Well let's just say AJ and I got a good laugh and AJ earned a free Grabber from me when he walked back to the beach with her top…….and promptly threw her bikini top……in the branches of a palmetto tree!!  Touche!  (Betcha $100 AJ regretted that move) HAHAHAHA!

We did pizza at Grabbers and headed back to Grandview for a nightcap (or 3).  

Day 6: Fishing, The Lagoon (Again), Bahamian Hospitality and Meeting A Celebrity (LOL!)---Thursday, July 2, 2015
Chris, Connor, Preston and I were angry at the fish again so we trolled the Sea of Abaco early and anchored and chummed a little and produced a few more tiny yellowtail and a porgy.  Meh. Hohum.  On my own, I can catch snook, redfish, kingfish, specs, white bass, black bass, stripers, crappie, all kinds of catfish and even an occasional rainbow or brookie on a flyrod….but I can't seem to find decent grouper or snapper.  Oh well.

We were loaded with $400 of fuel ($5.98 credit/ gal @ Orchid Bay), coolers and food and all sorts of stuff by 11am back at Guana Hideaways Marina and headed back to the lagoon.  The girls demanded it and I wasn't one to complain.  It is gorgeous.  It was higher tide so getting in the lagoon with the boat was easier.  Kate and I snorkeled until we saw about a 4' barracuda and that was the end of that for her.  Note: 13 yr old girls can be "a bit" dramatic….just a bit, right?  

Back at the lagoon beach, I saw a small flats boat we'd seen earlier in the week.  The nicest Austrian-now-Bahamian couple (Peter and Gabby Norwood) from Leisure Lee and British/Irish-now-Bahamian Sarah and Richard (also from Leisure Lee) invited Connor and I to accompany them snorkeling on the Atlantic side of the reef.  IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE!!!  We saw every kind of reef fish, a massive ray, sea fans, elk horn and brain coral, and even a flamingo tongue snail!!!!  I'll be sure to post my GoPro videos when I edit them.  This crew knew how to turn lemons into….well Stoli-spiked lemonade because when we got stuck walking the the boat back to the south entrance of the lagoon, we passed the time drinking Kalik and shooting Stoli.  Crazy!! (PS---If anybody knows Peter Norwood, Gabby, Richard or Sarah---send me their contact info)

We got back to the lagoon to see a frat-party had broken out.  A bunch of Florida-based center consoles were rockin out and we felt obliged to join.  I have to admit, I have an eye for big center consoles like Hydra-Sports, Yellowfin, Contender and See-Vee…..I could stare at them all day.  Eventually, we quietly made our way to our boat and headed to Guana.

I needed to clean the fish we caught that morning so while everyone else shuttled stuff back to Grandview, Chris and I cleaned fish and swabbed the boat.  Out of the corner of my eye, a blue boat full of people pulled up alongside and began unloading almost as many bags as we brought on day 1.  I looked up from my fish cleaning and recognized an Abaco Forum and TravellersPoint blog celebrity:  Vicki H and husband Matt!!!  I hopped up on the dock smelling of fish and beer (apologies Matt & Vicki) and introduced myself to both Matt and Vicki and carried a few bags down the dock to their carts for them.  I thanked her profusely for all of her travel advice and Chris and I walked over to Grabbers as part of our almost daily post-boating double Grabber intake ritual.

We grilled tuna and snapper and had leftovers and lots of veggies and made preparations for the epicenter of our trip:  STRANDED NAKED CHEESEBURGER PARTY!!!

Day 7: STRANDED NAKED----Friday, July 3, 2015
Like most people when you hear the name you either laugh or blush.  I laughed.  Then I researched and viewed all the pics on Vicki H's travel blog and the website.  I got a wild hair and  emailed the organizers, Bobb and Patricia Henderson.  Eventually we decided to book our trip around it and fund a small sponsorship from my wife's new skincare business.   Over the pre-trip months we got to know Pat Henderson well via email and could tell how hard she and Bobb work to make this happen.  In addition, we knew both Bobb's parents health was declining and the party was in jeopardy.  I truly can't imagine planning this while caring for an elderly parent or two and dealing with hundreds of sponsors or partygoers.  So I want to be sure to personally thank Pat and Bobb for all they do.

We loaded up and pulled away from the Guana dock at 8:30am.  We were pulling into Fiddle Cay at 9:15am and after a snafu of anchoring, we were watching millions of dollars of fiberglass and outboards anchor up and party…….so here are my observations and thank yous:

1) Thanks to Patt and Bobb and all the volunteers---especially Mario in the burger cooking line
2) Thanks to the twin engine plane that buzzed the party at less than 200 ft scaring us to death
3) Thanks to the signage printer for Stacey's sponsor sign---IT LOOKED AWESOME!!!
4) Thanks to the massive party boat that squeezed in beside us and partied hard at 600 decibels.
5) Thanks to that same boat for handing me a splif when what I really wanted was a piece of KFC. (I handed the splif back----and they shared the chicken bucket)
6) Thanks to all the drone pilots---those pics are really cool
7) Thanks to Mr. Jimmy Buffett for the tunes -----now show up to the dang party next time!
8) Thanks to Darvin and his buddy Rob for entertaining us with some of their stories of growing up
9) Thanks to my son Preston for spotting Stacey's favorite Soggy Dollar hat in the water that blew off on the ride home!
10) Thanks to the weather Gods for making it a beautiful day
11) Lastly thanks to all the partygoers that I met.  So many nice people from across Abaco and the USA.

Here are my pics:

A late low tide meant we were stuck on the bottom until the water rose. And it actually allowed all that free Sands Light and free Fireball to dissipate before we arrived back at Guana before 6pm.  Whew!  Stranded Naked: CHECK!

Back in Guana we again did a double Grabber grab after squaring away the boat and actually met Greg Turton owner of Grandview and Seaside houses.  Great guy even if he did buzz us in his plane while we were at the lagoon one day!  HA! He's got us hooked to return for sure.  After that many drinks, I'm not even sure if I ate dinner of if I just passed out.  But I do remember preparing for fishing one last time.

Stranded Naked was the icing on the cake for Stacey's 20 years of putting up with me!

Day 8:  Eye of the Tiger (Shark), 'MURICA and A Perfect Sunset----Saturday, July 4, 2015
Dock lines thrown off and Chris, Connor and I headed south after buying some squid…... heading toward N Man O War Cut.  Just outside the cut we dropped lines in 45' of water and bang…..breakoff.  Then another breakoff!  Then nothing.  We moved to 100-150' water, then back to shallow.  Nothing then finally 4 small (and I mean small) strawberry grouper….we were fishing in the nursery.

Then I heard it…….

I actually like the sound of line peeling off a reel more than a Yamaha throttling up.  Connor had my old Penn Senator and 6' heavy boat rod and the 50# mono was flying off of it.  I grabbed the rod, Chris fired up the boat and the chase was on.  This fish was M-O-V-I-N-G!  Then it stopped.  I put on the fighting belt because whatever it was was having it's way with Connor and I.  I went to work gaining and losing line.  Finally after roughly 5 min we saw color....then I saw it......stripes and brown and the distinct oval body profile of a tiger shark.  Connor was filming and we went around and around the boat three times.  I would get it to about 3' under the surface then it would take off.  This went on and on for 15 minutes.  Finally I parked my knees on the side rail and just cranked the drag down.  The fourth time up to the surface was the last and we broke off a few inches above the 6/0 hook.  I thought Connor was going to explode he was so happy!!!  We fished until almost noon and headed in.  I was VERY happy with our success having never fished in Abaco unguided.

It was July 4 so we stripped the boat clean, met the girls on Guana beach and commenced to do "12 oz curls" until we felt like walking to Nippers. 

(I like to call this one God Bless the Stars and Stripes ;-)  )

(Coppertone baby?)

Nippers was hopping like a sun drenched tropical disco.  Technically it was crazier than the previous Sunday and just as good for people watching.  For example, clearly Karin loved watching a guy get over served and toss his cookies!  

The food and drinks were good and the girls tested the limits of our credit cards at the souvenir store.  We walked back and enjoyed a few more hours on the Guana beach before showering and heading to Sunsetter restaurant at Orchid Bay at sunset after taking family pics. It was rib night and we stuffed ourselves with ribs, peas n rice and mac and cheese.  But what was better was the sunset view.....

It was about 9pm and Nippers fireworks started at 10pm......give you one guess where we went? Grabbers karaoke.  I proved once again why I don't sing....even in church. And the kids performed Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.  It was really really fun!

One of the perks of Grandview is the roof deck.  We caught the fireworks and started packing....the worst part of any vacation.

Day 9: Of Boat Batteries and Planes, Trains and Automobiles----July 5, 2015
Awoke early.  Packed, paid Darvin for dock slip and golf carts.   Boat was loaded and know, it's all good until you crank the ignition and nothing happens......

Starboard battery was dead.  

It had been weak all week and now it was dead.  Darvin Curry saved our day.  That crazy man worked his ass off trying to jump the battery with me and he finally just loaned Rainbow his own personal boat battery.  We arrived back in Marsh, gassed up, paid Rainbow and jumped in with Sherilee.  She's the best!!!  

Wheels up to Miami at 11:30am and a long stressful customs experience in Miami got us to the gate with only a minute to spare headed home to DFW.  Landed at DFW at 4:00pm.

Abaco depression set in immediately.

Part 3: Summary
If you'd told me in June 1995 that I'd be celebrating our 20th Anniversary in Abaco Bahamas, I'd ask you if you were nuts.  I didn't even know where Abaco was much less how beautiful it was.  We loved our entire 2015 trip (minus the lightning and waterspout and boat issues) but all in all don't be surprised if we are back in the Abacos really really regularly.

Finally, I have to stop and think about why we went on this trip in the first place.  Simply because I'm lucky enough to have Stacey as my bride!  Here's to 20 plus more years making memories in Abaco and other beautiful places around the world.  I love you and Happy Anniversary!