Thursday, April 12, 2012

Water Cay Lodge Before the Hurricanes 2004

In 2004, Grand Bahama Island was devastated by series of hurricanes. The original Water Cay Lodge was heavily damaged at the time. When the hurricanes hit, the lodge was being upgraded. Asa result of the damage, the lodge was not to reopen for many years. What follows, was one night out of many spent trying to get Water Cay Lodge operational pre- hurricanes. I thought it gives a good glimpse into the history of a lodge many of us today love to visit.

     It was pitch dark and dead calm. A sliver of a silver moon struggled to penetrate a thin sheet of clouds. I could just make out the stocky silhouette of Iram, an Olympic sprinter, who was poling us across a shallow spot on the bar. As Iram leaned into the pole, the motor continued to idle quietly. We could not see the other skiff, but we could hear their voices and occasionally see a quick flash as their flashlight's beam briefly pierced this inky Bahamian night. How I came to be perched on this mound of luggage and four flat screen TV's in the dark is a classic story of Bahamian bureaucracy and island time. 
     We had burned our afternoon waiting for the chariots we were now poling to clear customs in Freeport. Because the port authority officials had an interest in another bonefish lodge on the island, our departure had been delayed until the evening had caught up with us. We had gotten to the ramp on the north end of the island just as it was getting dark and the tide was approaching low. We launched towards Water Cay by feel and by flashlight. It was slowing going in the skinny water. We were  to be delayed even more when we discovered one of the boats had had a drain plug removed by the bureaucrat and his cronies. We used one of my dirty T-shirts from my luggage to plug the hole. It worked and we arrived at Water Cay just in time to wolf down a can of Del Monte fruit cocktail before the clock struck midnight.
SSH Journal 
Spring 2004

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