Bahamas Birthday Party

An impromptu celebration turns out to be the best kind.

At Home Afloat, birthday

Kids crowd around the beach party birthday cake.

"What are we going to do for Caitlin's birthday???"

It was more rhetorical than an actual question, but Green took it in stride. "We'll figure it out. Maybe meet up with some kids and they can all play on the beach or something."

Mind you, our daughter's 9th birthday was less than a week away, and we were the sole boat anchored in a lovely spot in the Bahamas' Exuma islands. Caitlin was getting a little nervous about what she was perceiving as a lack of birthday planning going on, and rightfully so.

Turns out, neither of us needed to worry -- here we are, a week later and last night, she had one of the coolest birthday parties ever. After nearly a week anchored off the busy-but-wonderful community of Black Point (a separate blog post entirely), we spent the weekend alone in quiet anchorages and enjoyed some great sailing and swimming before making our way to George Town, which now seems downright metropolitan compared to the rest of the Exumas. Say what you will about George Town and its sticky bottom (Chicken Harbor! Summer Camp!), I have yet to come across a place with as many cruising kids -- perfect for finding pals for my daughters, and a potential party.

We arrived in George Town last Monday after a beat to windward and promptly began our search for where the kids hang out, which didn't take long at all. And that brings us to today - a week later. Caitlin's already participated in two sleepovers and several beach and boat play times. Juliana too. It all culminated last night, on Caitlin's 9th birthday. We met up with several other cruising families at Flip Flop Beach on Stocking Island, which is pretty much made for beach parties -- there's a table and benches under a tiki hut and big fire pit too. Instead of a typical cruiser potluck, this turned into more of a feast -- a gumbo made with lobster caught that day, lots of chicken, hotdogs, and sausages on the grill, and cake, of course. The kids delighted in the fire and in romping down the beach, giving the adults time to hang out. Caitlin received some absolutely lovely homemade cards and gifts, which were totally unexpected, but completely appreciated.

On the dinghy ride home, I had a chance to take in the calm night and the sheer number of anchor lights in the harbor -- Caitlin described it as a galaxy -- and that we chose this life not just to experience cool new places, but also to connect with some other families who have chosen a life less ordinary. It blows my mind that all of the folks that celebrated Caitlin's big day with us last night were strangers to us just days before. But strangers no more.