We had sold the Deer Valley home and furniture, put the things we valued in long term storage, and moved aboard a Nordhavn 47 trawler named Dragonfly. After spending May – September in New England and Maine, we were heading south like everyone else. Tied up in a marina along the C & D Canal (connecting Chesapeake and Delaware bays), Susan took little Coco for a walk and was chatted up by a guy on a Huge powerboat named Coping. Ray played the 20 questions game, and when Susan said we didn’t have specific plans for where to spend the winter, he made the very compelling argument to skip Florida and head to the Abacos and spend the winter at the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club. It sounded very fancy, but we later learned that it was organized by a bunch of drunks, I mean boaters (but you knew that) who thought it would be fun to create a boating club in the Bahamas for cruisers. They knew the Queen wouldn’t bless the club, so they made former University of Texas football coaching legend Darrell Royal an honorary member, and named the Club after him. The rest is history, though it is surprising how many yacht clubs offer reciprocal privileges when you mention that you’re a member of a Royal club.
And so this is how we came to spend three winters in the Abacos, followed by spring cruising in the Exumas. If you’ve never been, this area is famous among boaters, first and foremost for the water. Clear, clear, and more clear, with unbelievable shades of blue, green and everything in between.