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All the way from Brooklyn! Photo: Eric Zelermyer

On the dock in New York, we imagined we’d be overrun by visiting friends and family right about now. Who wouldn’t want to escape icy winter and come hang with us in tropical paradise? Sadly, it turns out that planning a rendezvous in the Exhumas (outside of George Town, that is) is tricky and pricy. Not wishing to put anyone out, we suspended our campaign for visitors this season.

Then, we got an email from our friend Eric. I’d just posted photos of the swimming pigs on Facebook, and his partner Thea was completely obsessed. Eric found mid-week seats on a tiny flight bound for Staniel Cay, and we carved out a nine day weather window to sail back up north from George Town in time to receive them.

I was a tad anxious about bringing additional bodies into our tiny ecosystem. But, thanks to the House Rules and Visitor Information document that I’d emailed in advance, Eric and Thea arrived game and ready to embrace the good, bad, and ugly of boat life.  If they were phased by the complete lack of privacy, our water-saving strategies, using a marine toilet, or our 9PM bedtime (known as “cruisers’ midnight”), they didn’t let on.

We had such a great time together. Brian and I enjoyed revisiting favorite anchorages from our first months in the Bahamas, as well as checking out a few places we’d missed the first time around. A couple of freakishly calm days gave us perfect conditions for snorkeling early in the week, then the wind picked up just the right amount for some easy sailing. In the evenings we enjoyed some fabulous sunsets and plenty of good meals, fortified with special wine and foodstuffs from home that Eric brought along in his duffel bag.

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Frozen arrival cocktails at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club

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Eric and Thea very generously agreed to bring us stuff that we haven’t been able to get in the Bahamas. They received dozens of packages at their apartment and amassed a strange collection of boat parts, baking supplies, snacks, towels, snorkel gear, guitar strings, and so much more.

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Getting the hang of four in the dinghy

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When we arrived at the pig beach, most of the pigs were missing. We walked around a bit and discovered piles of pigs asleep in the bushes. Perhaps they were taking the day off from entertaining tourists?

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(Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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Perfect calm (Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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Thea, posing with the breakfast inspired by this catchy tune  (Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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Running with Laura and Stan in Pipe Cay. It was a million degrees with no wind.

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Brian, me, Laura, Stan, post run (Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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At the top of the lookout tower that Laura and Stan built

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Laura and Stan hosted a really nice cocktail hour aboard the 60 foot fishing boat that they gut-renovated and converted into their floating dream home.

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Thea and Enzo

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Me, blowing the traditional conch horn at sunset aboard Laura D (Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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Snorkeling Pipe Cay

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Eric, holding the conch that Thea found just before it became fritters.

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Brian insisted that Eric eat the translucent, slimy conch penis. The locals call it Bahamian Viagra.(Photo: Eric Zelermyer)

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Thea, taking morning tea and wearing her snazzy cats in space leggings

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Revisiting Rachel’s Bubble Bath

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Eric and Brian added a new cairon to the collection at the top of the cliff

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Sunset on the deck of m/v Laura D

Eric and Thea, thank you for being your chill and flexible selves, you were the best boat guests we could ever hope to have. We miss you already!

Nightingale Tune has returned to George Town, where we’ve been enduring some uncomfortable days at anchor in extremely high winds. I’ve got a to-do list a mile long, preparations for a month of touring in places where we expect resources to be scarce, but right now the harbor is so choppy, we don’t feel safe hauling jerry cans and propane tanks in the dinghy. Last night we enjoyed a beautiful dinner with our friends Deb and Pete aboard s/v Delancey, anchored just off our bow. That 100 yard ride soaked us through coming home, so we’ll be waiting patiently for calmer seas before we venture any further. For now, I’ve got a pile of insurance forms to complete, a guitar (thanks to Bo!) to practice, and more meals to prepare and stow for the month ahead. Brian is pouring over charts and doing odd jobs around the boat. We’re both excited and anxious to get going with the next leg of our trip.