Most people know about the Bahamas, but fewer have heard of the Abaco Islands, a small archipelago just north of the main land. One December many years ago, my wife, Carrie and I visited these islands. Our dear friends were retired and living there on a sixty foot Sea Ray yacht. They invited us to come and stay with them. We enjoyed ourselves aboard this great boat, complete with two bedrooms and a large kitchen (galley) below. The weather forecast expected clear and sunny skies for the whole ten days of our stay.
My wife and I planned and prepared for this boating vacation by packing our luggage to its usual bulging limits. I remember weeks before the trip I was logging well over my usual forty hours of weekly work. I wanted nothing more than to leave my workload in good shape so as not to bother my vacation mind while I stood onboard a sunny boat with Caribbean breezes blowing through my hair.
Now right about this time I started experiencing severe acute pressure headaches while traveling by air. It turned up on several business trips, particularly when traveling to Florida for some odd reason. Later I would discuss this issue with my physician and learn that a simple cocktail of Loratadine and Ibuprofen would forever solve the dilemma. But for now I simply suffered. And on this particular trip, I really had it bad. By the time the plane touched wheels down, I was so clogged that I could not hear. My hearing was absent, non-existent, replaced with a hyper-sensitive screeching noise that would worsen when I bent over. By the time we had made entry into the airport, I managed to reduce the pressure by a small amount. It may have taken two hours of constant nose blowing and ear pulling before I had a sudden massive release of pressure restoring my hearing but leaving my head weary from the ordeal. The pressure, now gone was displaced with a massive, cranium splitting headache. Great way to kick off a boating holiday!
Off one plane and on to another. We boarded a small twelve seater putt-putt turbo prop plane that guided us directly to the Abaco Islands. After a short flight and taxi drive, we were standing in front of a large marina complete with very large, expensive yachts. One of them would be our home for the next ten days.
I remember trying to put the pain behind me when we arrived onboard Jan and Kerwin’s lovely Sea Ray. We were introduced to a tour of the boat and its many features. Our state room was cozy and more than compatible for us. We had our own bathroom too. My wife provided me with some aspirin for the headache and when we arrived on deck we were greeted with cocktails to kick off the vacation. The plan was to stay in the harbor the first night and get on our way the next morning. After a few cocktails and a rousing game of Mexican Train, I began to feel quite comfortable, actually a bit tired. The last few weeks of work had gotten the better of me and I had to excuse myself and turn in early. Better to be well rested for the days ahead.
Kerwin pulled anchor at six am and settled in behind the helm with a steaming cup of black coffee. Our first destination was the harbor at Hope Town. We would find an early lunch there. I recall floating into the no wake zone of the harbor because the simple back and forth motion of the boat had lured me into a gentle nap with my chin on my chest. Carrie awoke me to point out the wonderful red and white striped lighthouse. I found it to be beautiful, but not enough to pull out of this early morning nap. When we finally docked the boat and wandered down the pier to land, the four of us strolled through this quaint little boating village. Even though Jan and Kerwin were 25 years our senior, they made good progress walking up hill to the restaurant. I fell a bit behind in pace. While sitting at the table, Jan had commented on my sluggish behavior which I of course explained away the extra hours I had been working before the trip. A boating vacation in the Bahamas is a great way to let go of the day-to-day rat race and reconnect with a simpler life.
We enjoyed our lunch and boated most of the afternoon until we anchored in Turtle Harbor where we reloaded our cocktail glasses and setup another game of Mexican Train. Again, I fell tired and turned in early. I still had this terrible lingering headache from the day before. The next morning, I received aspirin from my wife and climbed aboard to take in the fresh sea air. The headache loitered into yet another day of my vacation. Sunny days with sunglasses to dull the pain. My wife gave me more aspirin after lunch and another dose right before dinner. I napped midday and missed out on some neat stuff my wife talked about when we went to bed that night.
I was quite surprised to awake the third day to my new friend, my headache. Why was this medicine not helping my cause, I could not ascertain. Jan shared her concerns with my wife about my state. Perhaps, she said, I might consider working less and not putting so much strain on my system. I found that I had to skip some lovely sunny deck time to grab some more nap time. This vacation was not turning out the way I had planned.
Day four began early with me standing in our stateroom bathroom staring into the mirror. I had become frustrated with this lingering headache and sleep state I found myself in. It was at that moment I overheard my wife in the other room release a heavy sigh. I walked into the stateroom to find her sitting on the bed already made, with her purse emptied of its contents. She was holding a large plastic bag with a large assortment of pills and vitamins. She had just discovered that she had in fact, not been providing me with any aspirin whatsoever, not even once. Rather, she had been stuffing me with sleeping pills for the last three days!
Needless to say, the vacation really picked up after that moment. Boy, I love the Abaco Islands!
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