Swimming Pigs, New Year Dreams and Off to the Races. Read on to find out what's going into this Special Chest.
We reached Staniel Cay and settled in with the (world famous swimming) Pigs.
The hordes of tourists coming to feed them every minute of every hour of every day are always fun to watch, and we timed our arrival at Pig Beach in between them. We offered up some fantastically healthy green chunks of cabbage, and this is what they did.
Upturned nose and all, they swam back ashore, leaving the stray chunks of green to follow them back. And then we literally laughed out loud as they reached the sand, shook themselves off, and ran (no really, have you ever see a pig run
?), their short legs and fat bellies propelling them towards the better offerings of bread bits handed out of plastic bags by the people on the beach.
A fellow cruiser stopped by and asked us if we were participating in the Annual New Years Day Cruising Regatta. I didn't even have to look at Dave to feel his smile at the Idea of Racing, but we both kind of talked ourselves out of it. The winds were high, we were feeling the squally blahs, and the gremlins onboard frustrating the joy out of us. Frustration was mounting, and our patience levels was going to the... pigs.
New Years festivities in Staniel Cay were numerous and the winds to head ashore were nonsensical. So we opted to stay onboard, enjoying a lovely meal, falling asleep a little too early and waking up to watch the fireworks erupting in the sky. Celebrating our accomplishments and marvelling at our Dream of a Life.
Trying to dinghy to Staniel Cay had us soaked to the bone as we walked towards the Pink Store and Blue Store to top up with some provisions. Except that we'd forgotten what non-boat arrival days were like as we negotiated for the last 5 eggs held by the Blue Store. Giggled at our luck in finding an (almost expired) Half&Half and refused to pay $7 for the last loaf of whole wheat bread laying on the shelf. Vegetables? Forget it. Although the large tub of Mango Yogurt was a nice bonus.
On our way back to the dinghy, our path had us fortuitously passing by the Regatta Race table, a gentle nudge by The Universe perhaps, as the kind lady asked us if we were racing as she offered us a (free
) Rum Punch.
There were no Ratings (first across the finish lines wins First Place), and the $30 entrance fee accorded us a free meal each at the Awards Banquet, and every boat participating receives a gift bag. There might've been something in that Rum Punch that had us signing on the dotted line.
The day of the race had the winds blowing 22-26 knots. Onboard with us were Allan and Bev (SV Dagny), a couple we met very briefly in Ft Lauderdale. Within moments we learned they had serious backgrounds in racing, and both Allan and Dave were quick to assess the strategies, and place Banyan
into the best starting spot just as the start gun went off.
leapt across the start line and "never looked back". Well truth be told, Dave tried to look over his shoulder, and got told "eyes ahead, just steer the boat!".
What a team!! First leg to Windward, second leg across the bay which had us steer clear of the "a little less wind" zone just south of the point, and then strategically let out some more jib on the third leg where the wind was behind us, only to furl it back in as we went back to windward, all with winds gusting to 30-32. There was no time to think and two laps around, barely an hour and a half later and we were coming up to the last mark.
"It's not over till the fat lady sings, but sure looks like Banyan
has it" announced the Race Committee boat just seconds before we tacked across the finish line, to horns blazing and high fives, coming in First. We were speechless and ecstatic and thrilled beyond belief.
That afternoon we headed ashore for the awards banquet. An artistic grab bag full of wonderful goodies
which we shared with our racing mates, a delicious dinner prepared by the Bahamians, a fun time and a first place prize of... a very large Trophy,
which at TWO FEET TALL, now sits under our salon table, as we desperately try to find a home for it.
But best of all was when they asked Dave to pick the name of the grand prize lottery draw winner: a week in a resort in Montana (awesomely offered up by an anonymous donor). What fun!!
A special thanks to our teammates, without whom this would not have been as much fun as it was!
Welcome 2017. We look forward to spending time with you. We're looking forward to filling those 365 blank pages, one at a time, with memories. We know there will be gremlins. We know there will be winds. And we know there will be pigs upturning their noses at our offerings. But somehow in all that, there will be friends to meet, memories to be made, and all of it cherished with laughter and love. And that is what is going into the Chest. Notes written as they happen, from Moments of our Life, tucked away and forgotten perhaps, and then all of it to be opened and read 365 days from now.
Who knows how much fun that will be? We just know it'll be fun trying.