How the Others Live
28 March 2011
We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to have the means to enjoy the lifestyle we have achieved. We are not wealthy by any stretch but we do things which are usually the purview of the wealthy or the adventuresome. We consider ourselves in the latter category.....
So we're anchored off of Highbourne Cay which affords protection against the strong easterly winds which are predicted for about two days. In our vicinity are numerous boats; most cruising sailboats like us but there are also several mega yachts including one just behind us called "Wheels". This majestic vessel (we find out later it's something like 160 feet long, four decks and a crew of 8) anchors just behind us not long after we arrive. We are pleased to be here because is affords good protection from winds and seas but there are also numerous crescent beaches including one directly in front of us. We've started to call these small, secluded beaches, "Chopin's Beach" as he loves to get off the boat and poke around his new found acreage of kitty litter. We usually take our kindles, some music and a beer or two and spend the late afternoon enjoying the sun sliding down the sky as it seems to do.
Well, we tarry today but in the meantime, we note that the crew of "Wheels" are frantically setting up toys and accoutrements for their passengers on what we had intended to be Chopin's private domain. We are spellbound by their frantic setting up of beach umbrellas, tables, beach toys and they actually rake the beach to remove any detritus. They then take their several beach craft back to the mother ship and bring the guests over to the beach for a late afternoon of sustenance and merriment. I tell Judy she should still take Chopin over; we have as much right to this beach as they but she's a bit timid.
There is a large inflatable slowly zigzagging unobtrusively along the shore, watching over the merriment ashore but also watching that no one approaches the beach. My curiosity gets the best of me and I hop into my dinghy and approach this crew member. I have to probe to get information from him but on my suggestion that I think the name of the boat Wheels, connotes someone involved in the automotive industry he confirms that the owner is the guy who owns Hendrick Motorsports, a prominent NASCAR team owner and owner of numerous car dealership. When I ask if the owners are on board he tells me that it is currently under charter. I ask him if they are famous given his careful vigilance and he hints to think of a major restaurant chain. I ask him various questions and while crew of these mega yachts have to be discrete, he tells me that the crew of 8 on this boat I really not adequate to meet the needs of running this yacht and satisfying the whims and needs of the guests - poor them! Anyway, we watch this spectacle from the comfort of the cockpit of Sea Sharp and marvel that we're enjoying exactly the same ambiance that these ultra rich folks are and perhaps to some extent have a closer connection to this beauty. While we would love to have a larger boat, we are not envious of their ostentations lifestyle.
We head into the marina the next day for some very expensive provisions as our last chance to get things probably before we get back to the US. Wheels has moved from our anchorage to this exclusive marina. We get food, fuel water, etc and head back to Sea Sharp. In the meantime, the crew of Wheels is frantically setting up for another afternoon on "Chopin's Beach". This time, in addition to the chairs and umbrellas, there is a tend, several seadoos and numerous other beach toys. They display a banner "Coulter's Beach Resort"; so again my curiosity is piqued and I do a search on my Kindle internet for Coulter, Restaurant Chain and turn up that the charterers are the owners of Lonestar Restaurants and other brands and the former owner of numerous Pizza Hut franchises. But, alas, the guests don't show up so the hapless crew have to dismantle all of the set up and motor it back to the mother ship. Before they leave, I ferry Judy and Chopin to his beach and the crew confirm that the owners have had a change of plan and the party is off. They don't seem too put off and this is probability the order of the day to adapt to the whims and vagaries of the ultra rich. Chopin is glad they're gone and he can regain his domain.