Night Time is Always the Best Time

Saturday April 13, 2013


I have to say that besides the sharks, I think Double Breasted Cay is absolutely perfect.  It’s beautiful, it’s calm, and for the most part, secluded.  Our first night here we were joined by a single-hander, a very nice Frenchman who caught too many lobsters and brought us one of his extras.  Don’t hate me, but I’ve been eating so much lobster lately that I stuck it in the fridge to save for another day.  Then our next night here, our previous anchor buddy from Flamingo Cay came in and dropped hook here as well.  It never felt overcrowded though, I think all the radio chatter was just between Rode Trip and ourselves, and even though we could see that there were other boats in the anchorage with us, we never crossed paths unless we intentionally wanted to.  Which led to one very fun bonfire by ourselves on the beach one night, and drinking a traditional French liqueur with some new friends on Ba’nan the next night.

After scouting out the beach with Stephanie we made plans to come back the next night and burn more garbage, even though I don’t know how we had enough piled up already for another fire.  I just grabbed the whole bag and threw it in the dinghy without really thinking twice of what was in it.  Once on shore the four of us separated into two groups collecting wood and dragging it back to the fire pit.  This ‘deserted’ island still must have been frequented enough that they used almost all the available wood around so we had to walk through the bushes to grab any sticks and roots we could.  Making trip after trip, we were finally satisfied and quickly got the blaze going while we opened cold beers.  The garbage bags went on top, and it was as soon as the plastic melted away that I remembered the two fog horns I had removed from the previous trash we burned were tossed into this one.  Brian was in there right away with a stick to edge them out of the flames and we were safe.  That was until we were commenting on a friend that had a battery shoot out of a fire and onto her leg, causing a massive infection for a few months.  Matt turns to me and asks, “Did you take the batteries out of the trash before we left?”  “There’s batteries in there?” I replied, and all looking at each other, we quickly ran about 30 feet back to seek shelter.

For a good 20 minutes we had to hang back until we heard three distinct pops meaning that all the batteries had exploded and it was safe to go back.  Back at the fire we somehow got on the topic of school, popularity, and bullies where we found out that while Matt and Stephanie ran in the popular crowds, Brian and I had our fair share of being picked on.  Laughing and swapping stories, I was almost in tears from laughing so hard while I admitted to everyone that back in junior high I happened to be a little more shy and awkward than I am today.  Back then, my only two friends were scheduled for different lunch periods than me and I was stuck sitting by myself at an eight person table everyday.  Oh yes, it gets worse.  If any other kids in my lunch period were caught acting up, the teachers punishment would be to send them at a table to sit by themselves and think about what they did.  Except, my lunch period always seemed to be pretty crowded and there were usually no open tables to spare which left them with only one other option, putting them with me.  So although the teachers probably didn’t think of it in this light, all the students thought of their punishment as, you guessed it, sitting with me.  Doesn’t do a lot for a thirteen year old’s self esteem.  At least I can laugh about it now, and admit that even if I had the chance I wouldn’t go back and change anything since it made me into the person I am today.  Always rooting for the underdog.  Plus, after telling that story to Matt, he said that all I have to do if I ever want sympathy from him is bring up that story again.  I think I could use that to my advantage…

The next night was, surprise surprise, a fish dinner again with Brian and Stephanie.  We shared the guys’s catch for the day while eating on Rode Trip so Brian could show off his cooking skills.  We had cracked conch once more and fried fish.  I was almost getting to the point that I was sick of having fish for dinner every night but this meal completely changed my mind.  After dinner the guys got a little rambunctious when Brian showed Matt how he could scale the mast without any kind of ropes or seat.  He spent a few minutes swinging around the spreaders before coming back down to give Matt his chance.  Stephanie and I just kind of looked at each other as if to say “Boys….”.   Maybe we just knew that we couldn’t climb up like them and were saving ourselves for the spinnaker jumps that they were supposed to set up for us to try sometime.

When all the dishes were cleared we got ready to make our way over to Ba’nan for sundowners.  We had honestly spent the whole day discussing if or what we should bring with us since there’s always that awkward moment where someone invites you to their boat for drinks and you don’t know if you’re supposed to show up with your own or if you think they want to supply it for you.  I asked Matt over and over again how it was worded, “Why don’t you come to my boat tonight around sunset to have a beer”.  To me this meant, “You’re my guest, I invited you to my boat, I am playing host, I would like to give you a beer”.  To Matt it meant, “I invited you to my boat, but I never specifically said I would give you one of my beers.  Make sure to bring your own drinks”.  In the end we decided that we’d go over with an open drink started and if they wanted to offer us more we would accept it.  After running out of fuel on the 1/4 mile ride over from Rode Trip to Ba’nan, an always classy move when you’re going to meet new people, we tied off to their stern and climbed aboard with our drinks.  They took one look and us and with surprise and disappointment said “Oh, …. you brought your own drinks”.  I shot Matt a quick ‘I told you so’ glance.

After we quickly finished what was in our glasses in order to make room what they wanted to offer us though, the rest of the night went great.  We were introduced to a French liqueur called Pastis, normally diluted with water, and as soon as I brought it to my lips I knew exactly what it reminded me of; Absinthe.  Again, black licorice is not my favorite, but how many times do you get to sit on a French built boat with French people drinking a French liqueur?  When in almost France….   In the midst of all the ‘Frenchness’ going on though, they had a nice little snack spread on the table that I’m not sure, but I think they were trying to make very American.  It was saltines, Pringles, Planter’s Peanuts, and Vienna sausages (America’s Favorite!).  The language barrier didn’t stop us from having great conversations about cruising, and I was even able to pick up a few words here and there, asking for more eau with my Pastis.  We found out that the owner and his wife spent six months of the year cruising and the other six months back at their home in Nice.  There were two friends visiting them, both architects from Paris.  We talked through multiple glasses of Pastis and until all the Pringles and Peanuts were gone.  They made France sound like a very enticing place and now I’m determined to get over there sometime, on Serendipity or by plane.  We stayed until close to midnight and until I was getting too giggly to keep the conversation going much longer.  We tossed off the lines to the dinghy and I yelled out ‘Au revoir’, hopeful that we’d get the chance to meet again.

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