Shortly after getting my license, Aubrey arrived. We were fully provisioned and eager to shove off for the Bahamas. The suggested procedure for a sailboat crossing the Gulf Steam, heading for Nassau, is to go at night, setting a course for the light house on Gun Cay (pronounced key) This was our target entry point for the Bahamas.
Just before dawn, Aubrey spotted the Gun Cay light, just off our port bow. We were all excited and a cold beer was definitely in order.
We sailed the Bahamas for about a week. One evening we stopped at a modest nightclub on the island of Bimini. It was almost deserted with only two other couples. One couple was doing the Twist. The large gentleman had subdued movements, but oh, what rhythm he had. It was Burl Ives!
We also visited Great Whale Cay, owned by Mariam Carstairs, an heiress to the Carstairs Liquor Empire. Ms. Carstairs invited us to have breakfast with her where she gave Aubrey an interview for one of his articles in The Washington Post.
She also told us that the natives (all her employees) were having a dance that evening and would enjoy it if we joined them. We did, and it was a pleasant evening.
The next day was Sunday, and we had been invited to join them at their short service in the chapel. Please, folks, excuse me for not describing here that lovely service. To tell it like it was, in my memory, I want to copy and paste directly from my book. Here, then is the way it was.
“After breakfast, and Aubrey’s interview, Ms. Carstairs took us over to the chapel. It was about ten. “I’ll pick you up about ten thirty or so,” she said, “and take you to the anchorage.”
The small, whitewashed chapel was dramatically perched at the top of a cliff, overlooking the deep-blue sea. What a fantastic setting.
We sang a couple of hymns, and then the preacher gave a short sermon, at the end of which, he mentioned the visitors to the island. “Thank You, Almighty God,” he said, “for bringing new friends to our little island. We are so happy to have met these yachtsmen and we humbly pray for their guidance and safe passage over the sea.”
His happy congregation all turned to look at us, and with broad smiles, chorused a rousing “Amen!” It was a very stirring moment for the three of us. For me, blinking several times to clear my vision, it was on a par with the day Marie and I took vows to become husband and wife.