Put into Tropical time-out
Next on our overnight list was Tilloo Cay. Holly said it was a must, so a must it was. We anchored on Tilloo Bank for an incredible afternoon of sand-dollar hunting and beach walking. But before long, the squalls came arumblin' again. We were too exposed, and we hustled off the bank just in time. The anemometer hit 40 before it stopped working, and as we motored headlong into it, hand steering through the steep chop, I was sure I was scaring the dickens out of the kids. But down below in the forward leeward cabin, they were pressed up against the window and screaming with delight.
Back to Lubbers Quarters we ran, happy to be afloat.
At this point, I still hadn't found my ideal secluded Abaco anchorage, so I was hesitant to hang my last night in Hope Town's jam-packed harbor, but after squall dodging and anchor watching for so many days, it simply made sense. After a beautiful and quiet light-air morning sail, it made even more sense when we pulled in to picturesque Hope Town and stumbled upon the upscale Abaco Beach Resort. Its front door is steps away from the public dinghy dock, and its back door-technically, wooden steps coming up from the beach-looks out high over the Atlantic. Empty beaches do stretch for miles.
We beached, snorkeled, and pooled that place all day long, and the conch fritters-the first thing we didn't have to cook all week-were heavenly. It was nice, but I sure was glad I was on the good ship Island Time. My resort had sails.
At this point, I also felt that while the trip hadn't been quite what I'd envisioned, it was nevertheless an absolute success: The warring parties grew to understand personal space and learned to entertain themselves with sailing, swimming, books, shells, games, and even the sharing of Legos.
We never did download that movie.
But the ultimate reward, for me at least, came as we made one last snorkel stop at Mermaid's Reef, just outside of Marsh Harbour. The reef was moderately healthy, but it presented to us the greatest variety of fish thus far: ballyhoo, tangs, pufferfish, gobies, and rays. My son, Tim, had by now finally learned to use his snorkel. And as we glided along hand in hand, as I'd done with Amelia a few days earlier, I could feel in his grip his excitement and awe.
Dave Reed is the editor of Sailing World.