So 2018 is bringing big changes to our lives! If you’ve followed us on Facebook, you’re already familiar with these, but for those of you who only follow the blog, we’ve moved to the Bahamas!
I guess this requires a little bit of a backstory….
Back in October of this year, Darcie got an unexpected call from a recruiter with a very intriguing opportunity to interview for the position of club controller for a private membership club on a little island called Great Guana Cay (pronounced “key” like in the Florida Keys). After a couple of phone conversations, they asked that both she and I fly out so that she could interview in person, and we could both get a feel for the type of lifestyle that we’d be expected to have. Over Halloween weekend, we snuck out of town and took a four day weekend to come out and tour the island. We definitely got a chance to experience the challenges of island life when the little inter-island airline promptly lost Darcie’s luggage, which meant that she had to spend the first day of interviews in the same clothes she’d been traveling in for the past 36 hours!
She must have made a decent impression because she got an offer a month later right before Thanksgiving. With a start date of January 6th, that meant we had just over a month to plan to pack up both of our houses and figure out how to move us, two dogs, one cat and a bunch of stuff (mostly water sport toys and a few clothes!) across the country and over 150 miles of ocean. Oh yeah, and we got engaged somewhere in there as well!
We’d received advice from her new boss to be minimal and take as little as possible. The Bahamas charge crazy import taxes for everything you bring in so we really tried to knock it down. But, we wanted our bikes to get around, my paddle board and kayak to play with, our SCUBA gear for exploring the reefs, and most importantly, my home-brew gear to make beer with actual flavor! And, she needed work clothes…for me its just shorts and t-shirts. Turns out that getting all that gear plus three animals on a commercial flight is stupid expensive! We also didn’t want to put her 12 year old black lab in cargo on an airplane in the middle of winter, which meant we had to find other alternatives. Turns out there are a ton of little charter airlines that will do flights on demand for not all that much money, and you can bring anything you want in the cabin for the short 150 mile flight. Well, once we heard about that we were sold! We ended up renting the biggest SUV that Budget could supply, filled the entire back seat plus the roof rack with gear, loaded the animals into the back seat and headed off on nearly a 2000 mile road trip from Denver to Ft. Lauderdale.
Once we got to Ft. Lauderdale it was a mad dash of vet appointments, last minute packing and of course a day of exploring the local brewery scene. Finally it was time to head to the airport, and find out if everything would fit into the plane that turned out to be a lot smaller that we’d expected. Luckily the loaders were masters at Tetris, and somehow fit everything inside, leaving me sitting up front next to the pilot, and Darcie in the seat right behind me with two large dogs basically on her lap. We both thought that my dog, Moe, was going to have a heart attack when he watched the ground disappear beneath us!
Luckily the dogs eventually settled down and we had a pretty uneventful flight. The pilot let me take the controls for a half hour or so of the flight and I had fun doing a few S turns and banks. Made me miss flying a bit…perhaps I’ll have to look into a seaplane rating while I’m down here…hmmm…
Anyway, we eventually landed in the Marsh Harbour airport and completely overwhelmed the poor customs agent with all the stuff we brought. Eventually she just gave up and told us to write down a value of everything we brought and she’d charge us the lowest duty on that amount. We picked a number that made it feel like she was able to get a decent amount of revenue for them and was a lot cheaper for us than we feared!
One 30 minute ferry ride brought us to Great Guana Cay, and then about a dozen trips in a golf cart got all of our stuff to our new cottage. We were delighted to find that our home (named “Sea Escape”) is in a prime area of the island with the Atlantic ocean about 50 feet away from the front door, and the Sea of Abaco about 500 feet in the other direction. It’s a lovely two bedroom two bath house although the 2nd bedroom has quickly turned into gear storage.
Since our arrival, Darcie has started her job, and I’ve busied myself setting up the house, unpacking all the gear and doing the initial food shopping. The weather has been a little on the stormy side with a lot of rain and wind punctuated by the absolutely beautiful days that we’re going to get a lot more of over the next few months. We’re just having to remind ourselves that this is January, and it’s still better than freezing our butts off back home! We’re also getting used to frequent power and internet outages. It’s not a big deal at the moment, but we’ve been warned that in the summer time it’s going to be hot without A/C. Luckily the house seems to be pretty well designed for natural ventilation, and we’ve got a small gas powered generator to keep the refrigerator cold. I’ll want to get a gas or charcoal grill for cooking without power, but that’s something any man needs in his arsenal anyway!
The best thing we’ve discovered in our short time here is that the humidity and warm air (compared to Colorado) is like a fountain of youth for Darcie’s 12 year old black lab. Back in Denver he walked like an old man…hardly able to do a 4 or 5 block walk and limping just about everywhere. Within a week he’s discovered that trying to chase waves on the beach is the best thing ever! I’d call it pretty close to losing his mind crazy about chasing them. He’s actually running for the first time since I’ve known him and the goofy grin that Darcie remembers from his youth has returned with a vengeance! My guy, Moe, is loving it as well. He’s always been an active mountain dog, but I’m pretty sure that in his mind, this is WAY better!
We’ll be exploring both our island and the nearby islands over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further updates. We both plan on 2018 being a lot more active on the blog than 2017 was!