Welcome to Sandals (By Guest Editor Peter Hoffheinz)
(So my Cousin Pete came to visit us while we arrived in Georgetown. We had an awesome 3 days and here is his blog….)
As a paranoid traveler it was calming to see my cousin wandering the streets of George Town with a Kalik Gold in his hand and an extra one for me. I hung out of the taxi’s window (a 1987 Astro Minivan with chrome hubcaps) and yelled “Paul!”, a quick family greeting and we were in the taxi heading for the Exuma Market. Now the Exuma Market is a wonderful place where one can procure all the comforts of the United States for eye popping prices. A can of Diamond Almonds…$12.99, ouch, no almonds on this trip. I was saving my money for something more important, Kalik Golds.
Off to the Floridian
Down the dingy dock, under the stone bridge and out of Lake Victoria, whisking our way to the Resort (a sailboat). The whole ride out, I kept asking Paul if he had remembered to turn the A/C on for me, no chance, no A/C this trip. Once aboard, I’m warming greeted by Lynn who has the entire front bunk prepared for my arrival. Fresh linens, two pillows, a clean bathroom, all in a spacious and very accommodating bunk. I unpack the loot I brought with me for Paul and Lynn. 3 forks, terabyte hard drive, bug spray, Britta filters, ointment, a bag of assorted Koozies from various weddings, bars, businesses, and birthday parties Katie and I have attended, and most importantly a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee. I was told coffee is important on a boat because it helps boast moral and for everything else, there is Kalik Gold.
After settling in, we moved the Floridian to more remote and less crowed waters across from Sand Dollar beach. We did a little diving on some small patches of reef and rocks in an effort to obtain some bait for evening fishing, and came upon the largest lobster I’ve ever seen. It was almost the size of our puggle (family dog). We nicknamed him Bob and moved on. Dinner that night was a batch of very delicious and hearty jumbaliya prepared by Lynn, who is a most excellent sailboat chef. Dinner, music, drinks, relaxing….ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Something big is on the line! Paul jumps and grabs the rob, yelling “This is big! Dingy! Dingy! Dingy!” he hops in the dingy, I jump in after, a quick set of 3 second instructions and the fight is on! We chase down and Paul reels in a monster Jack.
We release the jack and decide to call it a night.
Glasses of water, brush teeth, lights out.
Sound asleep on a sailboat, gently rocking with the water, I think of how my son falls back asleep on my shoulder when I rock him at night, a final happy thought before I’m asleep. As the night progresses, the wind picks up, the rain comes down, and out of no where KLACK! KLACK! KLACK! KLACK! I’m immediately awoke, WTF! We’re being boarded! Where’s my piece! I hop out of the bunk, grab a fork left on the table and poke my head up above deck only to find Paul messing with the anchor and putting the snub line on because of the wind from the storm. Wind was howling, the boat rocking, it was a hell of a night.
With sunlight comes a hope for a brighter and better day. We had made it through a rough night. Lynn prepared a good breakfast of eggs and bacon, everything a person needs for diving. But before we go diving, we head to sand dollar beach and find a Canuk trail to the ocean side of stocking island. Beautiful.
We observe some areas which look perfect for diving and spearfishing from the bluffs and head back to the Floridian to go get dinner. Game time. Gear ready, load dingy, and we’re off. We check a couple spots…odd…very odd. Perfect bottom and rocks for fish, but no fish. Keep moving. Finally we come upon a small patch reef and spot a good sized Nassau Grouper. He wasn’t alive long, although my shot with the sling did not seal the deal, I knew Paul was coming down right after me to seal the deal and deliver the death blow.
We decide to check on last spot on our way back to the Floridian and find a chunky reef with fire coral. Paul peeks into the water and comes back and says, “Huge Tiger Grouper”. We’re back in the water and the first thing I notice is the 5 foot barracuda and then see the giant Tiger Grouper swimming away from Paul as he chases the giant fish down. Paul’s shot takes a giant piece of the Grouper’s back off, but the shear size of this fish allows him to withstand the heavy blow and hole-up in the reef. Damn. Fish wins this time. Ol’Scarface the record breaking Tiger Grouper is still out there.
With fish in the boat and spirits still high, we back to the Floridian to prepare dinner and relax. Talking, music, Kalik Golds, but wait, where is the Rum? No shortage of Rum on the Floridian, Paul shows me the stash. Rum drinks all around. On the menu is fresh fried grouper and cheesey grits, a hearty meal for all.
The weather had finally calmed down that evening and we all fell asleep with full stomachs. With everyone sound asleep, the weather gods had a different plan. At about midnight and full on storm blew through. Wind howling, boat violently rocking, pouring rain, and wicked lightening. Anchor chaining banging. Paul was nervously glued to his iPad watching our course to make sure our anchored held because if it did not and these heavy west winds, we’d end up on Sand Dollar beach. The storm lasted about 2 hours and as fast as it came it left. Everyone slept pretty hard after the storm.
Up in the morning, we chat about how crazy the storm was and Paul heard over the radio that someone had clocked the wind at 42 knots. Whoa, that was heavy. I’m still a bit rattled from the night and so I pop a Kalik Gold for breakfast, not knowing I was about to create the phrase “Kalik Goooooold” for the next two days. We straighten up the boat, everything is good, nothing is lost, and get prepared to go diving again. The weather could not be any better. Gentle to no wind, calm water, good visibility.
We head out in the dingy and start diving, For some reason George Town has greet reef and bottom for spearfishing but just not a lot of fish. Spot after spot after spot, nothing. Finally we find a pair of Grouper and work on hunting them down. These G-Town grouper have survived to be the only fish on these reefs for a reason, they’re quick and have great holes. With no luck on those two fish, we decide to head back to the Floridian, but first we make a quick stop for our “Ace in the hole” Ol’Bob.
With summer crab in the cooler we arrive at the Floridian to find out it had rained while we were gone. No biggie, Lynn wipes down the inside we hang items for drying and start popping Kalik Goooooolds. Paul and I run on this tangent for about two hours just repeating the same phrase over and over, “I only drink Gold, where gold, love gold. Kalik Goooooold” Lynn was probably ready to throw us off the boat at this point and Paul and I joke about how good of a sport she is because Paul’s sister, Arden (another one of my favorite cousins) would go absolutely crazy at Paul and I for our Kalik Gooooooold stunt. We decide to head over to a beach bar called Chat n’ Chill. Friendly conversations and people, ice cold Kalik Golds, we even coax other people at the bar to drink Gooooooolds with us. After some cold ones and a few snacks, we head back to the Floridian and decide to move the boat across the bay to be closer to Peace and Plenty. We cook up the summer crab and eat delicious summer crab tacos. Mmmmm very good. After dinner we take the dingy over to Peace and Plenty for some live music and more Gooooolds.
Back aboard we’re all are exhausted and sleep well that night.
It’s now my final morning and I am composing this blog post as I drink the last Kalik Gold in the cooler. I’m sad to leave Paul, Lynn, Fox Trot 1 (my name for Foxy), and the Floridian, but I’m excited to get home to reunite with my loving wife and adorable son Pj. I will always remember my adventure aboard the Floridian and the fun which was had, and I will always drink a Kalik Gold with a smile on my face.