Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Christmas in The Abacos

Sailing into the azure blue Bahamian waters after the freezing cold Florida temperatures was a treat indeed.  We manoeuvred carefully through the waters leading up to Treasure Cay in the Abacos as the depths were little over (and occasionally ever so slightly under) our 1,90m draft.  

My parents rented a house called the Pink Paradise in Treasure Cay for two weeks from December 21st.  My brother and his family arrived on the 22nd and the 10 of us settled in for a wonderful holiday.  The house, of course, had ‘unlimited’ warm water, air conditioning, big beds and all of the other luxuries of home so we spoiled ourselves royally.  I tried to take at least one bath a day. 

For Christmas, we decorated the two palm trees in the living room.  Hanging stockings on a palm tree is a little complicated but we managed well.  On Christmas morning the kids eyes nearly popped out of their heads when they saw the full stockings and a huge pile of presents under the tree.  They spent the day ripping presents open and giggling and shrieking with glee. And we enjoyed every minute of it.  
Treasure Cay has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world according to the National Geographic. We managed to go to the beach every day to swim, collect shells and analyse the various sea creatures that we came across in the clear waters.  The temperature was in the mid-20s most of the time so pleasant but a little chilly.  On Booh’s birthday we rented a skiff and tootled at great speeds over to Great Guana Cay.  Just off the beach we saw two huge rays that stayed and shimmered close to us for a while.  The four kids all stripped off their clothes and splashed around in the water being adorable.  

Booh, Jenn, Seren and Rhys flew out on the 31st much to all of our dismay.  Very sad after such a good time together.  The rest of us spent New Year’s eve drinking champagne on the balcony and watching the fireworks.  The Treasure Cay community seems to be geared towards early-to-bedders as the fireworks were held at 8pm rather than at midnight.  This was great for us as the kids could enjoy them as well.  Seb and I and my parents brought in the New Year at midnight with a jolly toast. 

On January 1st we boarded the ferry for a short ride over to Green Turtle Cay.  Green Turtle Cay was holding its New Years day Junkanoo and the island was full of activity.  The streets were full of stands selling rib sticking Bahamian fare.  After a hearty lunch washed down with rum punch (juice for Emma and Macsen) we chose a spot along the road and waited for the parade.  Junkanoo is said to have started in the 18th century when West African chief, John Canoe, gave his slaves New Year’s day off to celebrate.  The slaves apparently went out into the streets to make music and dance.  The Junkanoo in Turtle Cay was a short but hugely vivid parade with big bright costumes and scraping, drumming, whistling music that wouldn’t let you sit still.  

My parents left on the 3rd and Emma sobbed on an off all morning. Very sad.  Seb and I were also feeling really down as we closed up the big empty house that had been filled with so much fun activity.  As we steered the Pjotter carefully out of Treasure Cay anchorage Emma and Macsen waved sadly and called “Goodbye Treasure Cay! Goodbye Pink Paradise! We love you!” 

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