Finding The Beach
“I think this is it,” I said, looking down at Google Maps.
Our unfit rental car turned down the small gravel path as we prayed no other cars were hiding behind the bend. One car alone barely fit on the road, if that’s what you wanted to call it. The green trees had overgrown the path, bending toward the once-open space above us, creating an archway that led to the beach.
As we neared the end of the path, I watched in awe as the vibrant sea turtle-colored dome above me opened up, presenting the Caribbean blues. We had arrived at the Tropic of Cancer Beach. It got its clever name by intersecting no other than the Tropic of Cancer. I slipped the flip-flops back onto my bare feet and grabbed my beach towel, heading toward the walkway beneath the tiki hut.
A Necessary Surprise
Beneath the hut, in one of the most remote areas of the entire island, was no other than a full bar with snacks. This was an unexpected surprise that I could get behind. There were Piña Coladas, Bahama Mamas and Daiquiris galore. Though these all sounded magical underneath the beating sun, I was in the mood for a Bloody Mary.
“Hmmmm…” the bartender pondered, scanning her set up, “I think we are out of the mix, but I can just make it by hand. You still want it?” as if she thought I’d turn down an upgrade.
Sliding the drink across the counter, she said, “That’ll be $12.”
I knew the bar mirage was too good to be true. Handing over my last few dollar bills, I took the L and continued down the beach path, now fully equipped.
As my toes smushed into the first grains of sand, I let out a gasp. It was…..spectacular. I know the most cliche thing I could tell you about the beach is, “Oh, the water was so blue!” However, it would be a crime not to bring the topic up. Maybe all of those days playing sports as a kid finally cracked through the surface, or maybe I just needed some electrolytes, but the only words I could muster out were, “Wow. Looks like blue Gatorade.”
Swimming In The Tropic of Cancer Beach
The drinks didn’t last long in the heat. Or, maybe I was just thirsty. Either way, I needed to cool off in the shimmering electrolytes. I barreled into the clear blues, surprised that I didn’t see anything swimming by beneath the waves.
A big group of 40-something guys splashed in right behind me while their wives held down the fort of beach chairs on the shore. I picked up a floating football that missed a friend’s hands and threw it back to them.
“That was terrible! I need a redo!” I shouted as it wobbled back to Earth.
Laughing, they continued on playing Cherry Bomb.
I blinked as a flash of something shot by my legs. I knew that there must’ve been some aquatic life in here somewhere. However, I was hoping this was the friendly kind. I started walking further, when I caught another glimpse from the corner of my eye. Whatever it was, it was following me. Usually, in the wild, when something isn’t afraid of you, you should probably be afraid of it. I started sprinting back toward the shore as fast as I could through the heavy weight of the water. Apparently, I wasn’t fast enough. It was now full-on chasing me.
As others watched, confused, from afar, I tried to justify my actions, “There’s something here and it’s chasing me! What is it?!”
As I ran past another person, I heard a scream.
“It bit my toe! It bit my toe!”
I can’t tell you that I ever got down to the bottom of whatever species it was. However, I can tell you that it was an extremely curious some-sort-of-fish and we were able to make amends (Check out 0:44 second mark in The Bahamas video link above for proof).
A Rare Opportunity: The Redo
“Here’s your chance at a redo,” I heard someone shout behind me.
Turning around, I smiled as I spotted the football float by.
“Okay, okay! Go long!” I said jokingly.
“I AM long!” he replied, laughing at the enormous distance between us.
I gripped the lace edge, interlacing my fingers and pointed my other arm out front.
“Ready?!” I said, chucking the ball with all of my strength.
I watched as a perfect spiral spun through the clouds and back into the group of men. The crowd went wild [but not as wild as I did].
“Thanks for the redo!” I shouted back, proud of my redemption.
Where To Next?
We’d been in the sun for a few hours now and my crisp shoulders were ready for a break. Just five minutes down the road was a famous woman with an even more famous dessert. Mama, the owner of Mom’s Bakery, was best known for her homemade Rum Cake. As we pulled up, we noticed that there were just a few desserts left on her table. The islanders must’ve been hungry today.
With one rum cake and one coconut pastry, we went next-door to Santanna’s Bar N’ Grill to get a less expensive version of drinks with a view. I grabbed a local beer, then chose a picnic table on the water’s edge.
“Shark!” a kid shouted, pointing into the shallows.
Sure enough, as I followed his finger, I saw my first Bahamian shark. I wasn’t sure if it was a mere little nursing shark, or something less innocent, like the bull sharks I swam with in Fiji. However, I didn’t want to be the one to find this out for the crowd.
“You are two people, correct?” the waitress directed at me, pausing, and then continuing with, “Can these five join you?”
“Oh, sure!” I said, now understanding the question, “Plenty of room.”
Little did I know, this retired group of vacationers was about to bring the life back into our day.
A Chance Meeting To Remember
“So, when did you guys fly in?”
“We got here on Saturday, you?” I quizzed them.
“We just arrived yesterday, actually, so the only thing we’ve done is the pig roast.”
“Oh, yes! We were probably there at the same time,” I replied, intrigued.
“Well, I don’t know about that. We didn’t get in until about 5 o’ clock last night, so by the time we got there, there was no food left. It sucked.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to comfort her after that statement because she was right, that did suck. The pig was the main event. Even so, our conversation rambled on as we shared our Bahamas Itineraries and stories about other exotic places we’ve been fortunate enough to visit around the world. After they bought us a round of drinks, I realized it was getting pretty late, for island time, that is. The last gas station (of the three total) on the island closed at six and we were on our way to race the clock. The way our tank was looking, getting home without gas was not an option.
As the last few drips of Kalik rolled down my parched tongue, we knew it was time to leave our new friends before we had to beg them for a ride home. However, since we both planned on doing some island hopping the next morning, we opted for a see-you-later instead of a goodbye. I mean, there are over 365 islands that make up The Bahamas, but crazier things have happened…
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