Sunday, January 28, 2007

OK, I'm Back.

So to pick up where I left off;

Allowing the Gough family to unwind I poured some very nice champagne for Mom, Dad and the two eldest daughters (16 Logan & 19 Morgan), while the son (14-Connor) and youngest daughter (10 Kendal) sipped sodas as we made our way through Nassau and back to Atlantis Resort and Marina. If they're chartering the boat they are obviously wealthy, but it was apparent that it was "new money" as opposed to "old Money". They were down to earth and a pleasure to work for. Michael just loves boats, so he was happy. Nancy was happy since we had things to keep the kids occupied. The kids were pretty shy for the first half of the week, but by the end had really opened up and wanted us to all come up to Long Island and hang with their friends.

We did all the usual stuff and it's been so long ago now that I really don't have the enthusiasm to go into detail. Roughly, we started in Nassau and headed down through the Exumas and toured Waderick Wells, Samson Cay, Staniel Cay, and Highborn Cay. We toured the Atlantis Aquarium, fed the pigs and the iguanas. Took the boys fishing. Played on the waverunner and snorkeled. During the first snorkel trip I learned that their oldest, Morgan, can walk on water!! Well, more like skip on water, like a skipping rock. We were jumping in for a drift snorkel and no sooner was she wet then she was climbing back into the boat. In fact I don't know if she was even in the water long enough to get wet! A few days later though she did much better when we got them into ThunderBall Cave for another snorkel and fish feed.

With the exception of the aggravation caused by a constant battery battle in the tender it was a very succesful trip. We were a little concerned in the beginning that the quiet areas we were to visit wouldn't keep the kids entertained, but in the end they really all had a great time. Even for New Year's when we were on Highborn Cay whose total population amounts to little more than the guests in the marina, we all enjoyed a pot luck party hosted by the marina complete with DJ and Junkinoo band(a musical local custom akin to Mardi gras street music). We contributed a couple of things to the spread, but the highlight was Chef Fran's chocolate fondu fountain. And before turning in I enjoyed a nice quiet early morning new year's swim without a soul stirring. All in all, according to the guests it was their best family vacation yet. And the tears shed as they departed confirmed their sincerety.

No rest for the weary. Actually we weren't that weary because the family was pretty easy to take care of. The evenings ended fairly early and it's always nice when you don't have to pull all nighters. But minutes after tucking them back into the limo we were pulling away from the dock to return home. Our Stew, Elizabeth stayed behind for another gig so on the way back the watches fell almost entirely on Pierre and I. But we made it home safe and sound even though I did get a little too close for comfort to the Northwest Channel marker. Lessoned learned. Don't count too heavily on the GPS. It's a great tool, but can't replace good old sight navigation.

So we got back and were looking forward to a little time off, but it wasn't to be. One day off and then we thru a Birthday party for Michael's girl, T.C.. Halfway thru the party we got a confirmation for a day charter down in Miami the next day. So around 3 am we said goodbye to the last pary guest and headed south via the Intercoastal. Luckily the two stews we had could stay on for the charter and one of them was a chef also so everything was in place. We arrived down at Sunset Harbour just as the dock master was arriving for the day, tied up and went down for a couple hours of rest. A bit later we were up to clean up the boat and get the provisioning done in time for their noon arrival. It was a large group of Kazikstanis, no relation to Borat;)

They had kids and it was a little bit like chasing tornadoes all day, but they were nice and it wasn't so bad, notwithstanding our exhaustion. So we finished that up and headed back to Lauderdale. Saturday I was enjoying some time off, but wasn't too stoked about the inquiry for another Miami day charter on Monday. As it turns out I didn't have to worry about the charter on Monday because at 10 pm Saturday night I got a call from Pierre saying they wanted to do the charter tomorrow. Oh, sh#t!! I quickly got into gear preparing the boat for imminent departure and awaited Pierre and the stew before casting off the lines and once again heading south, this time to Star Island.

We didn't have time to get a chef so the broker ponied up his girlfriend for the job. We were still putting away the provisions and washing the salt off of the boat when the guests arrived. Another group of Russians, but much smaller group this time, only six guests. No kids and two gorgeous Russian Babes complete with their endearing cute accents. Sorry I don't have any pics of the g-strings:( A nice group, but really not much to comment on except again, the girls. Did someone say Russian Bride?

So rather than risk falling asleep at the wheel, we docked again at Sunset Harbour and headed back north the following day. Pierre flew off to L.A. to meet another Internet honey. I held the fort down while he was away and decided to hold onto the accrued paid days off. Possibly to head with Captain Dennis on a weekend Bahama trip or two. I would love to experience what it's like to cruise at 30 knots and do the trip in 5 hours instead of 16 hours. But alas it wasn't to be. After Pierre got back and we looked at our upcoming schedule it was decided that if I was gonna get my days off it would have to be now. Use it or loose it. So I scrambled to to see what I could find. It came down to San Diego or New Orleans. I figured I might rent a car in S.D. and cross down into Baja Mexico for a short surf safari. In the end though New Orleans was just a lot simpler and that's where I headed.

So I'll fill you all in on that next time......