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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Nippers, Nippers, Nippers"

Nearly every morning, we listen to a half hour broadcast on the VHF marine radio that is called “The Cruisers’ Net.”  It’s an interactive broadcast.  Cruisers are able to ask questions and contribute information on the Net.   It is also a forum for a bit of radio advertising about events on various islands.  Kinda like your local PBS station telling you about the school board meeting coming up, or fund-raising dinners for some charity.

Great Guana Cay, ocean side from Nippers
One of the ads we hear every morning starts like this, “Nippers, Nippers, Nippers” in a very cheerful crescendo.  Nippers (apparently you only need to say the name once) is a bar/restaurant/resort on Great Guana (goo-AH-nah) Cay.  We don’t attempt to check out each of the Cruisers’ Net places to visit, but we were planning on going to Guana Cay anyhow, and who would not be curious about Nippers, Nippers, Nippers?   Besides, for the last few weeks, we’d been hearing about the “Barefoot Man” event in relation to Nippers. I thought the Barefoot Man sounded like one of those quirky festivals like the “Rhubarb Festival” or the “Largest Ball of String in the World” festival.  Had to check that out.

We anchored well offshore at Guana Cay.  It was a lovely dinghy ride to shore for the three of us—two humans, one dog.  My first impression was ‘oh, how colorful!’  There was a bar/motel right on the beach called Grabbers with brightly colored “scarves” tied above the tables for shade.  There were several dinghies pulled up on shore and people aimlessly roaming around enjoying the day.  Idyllic!  I can aimlessly roam with the best of them.  Our plan was to come back later in the afternoon (without Jax) to participate in a Cruiser’s Potluck on the beach hosted by Grabber’s, which happens every Wednesday.  We wanted to meet some other cruisers.

Jax at Nippers, a calm and obedient customer
We walked around the island to get our bearings, including climbing the hill to where Nippers, Nippers, Nippers was perched high above the ocean.  Stunning location!  Wow!  Then we headed back to the beach to bring Jax to the sailboat and prepare for our evening’s potluck.

A few words about dinghy transportation…. Our dinghy is 10’ long with large rubber tubes filled with air and a hard bottom.  We have an 18 HP motor on the back which Carl usually operates when it’s the three of us.  There are two basic options to take a dinghy to shore.  1)  Find a dinghy dock (floating platform) or another elevated dock with a ladder.  The ladder is for those of us with two legs.  Jax jumps—sometimes amazingly high.  We pull up to the dock; I catch hold of the dock and tie off.  Jax jumps off, followed by me, then Carl.   
Jax prepares to jump down into the dinghy from dock

2) Pull the dinghy up onto a soft sand beach.   In option 2, I again, tell Jax to jump out first, then I climb out into the water and I pull the dinghy up onto the sand.  Carl tips the motor up so that it doesn’t dig into the sand, and then he gets out.   Returning to the dinghy, we just do everything in reverse.  Carl gets in, then me, then Jax if we’re leaving from a dock.  The only difference is that from a beach launch, Option 2, I have Jax hop in ahead of me, before the water gets too deep.
Preparing for picnic on the beach at Grabbers

So, Carl climbed in, Jax leapt in and then I pushed the dinghy away from the shore so that Carl could tip the engine back into the water.  You know that old TV show, “Starsky and Hutch?”  They had this slick way of sliding across the hood of the car to get in.  Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about when I turned my backside to the dinghy and jumped backward onto the side of the rubber tube, while holding the painter (line attached to the dinghy) in my left hand.  Yeah, it didn’t turn out the way I had pictured it in my head. 

From underneath the dinghy, now in deeper water, I came up sputtering and laughing and scrambled to get my footing.  Of course, the only things I had to hang onto were the painter now wrapped tightly around my left pinky finger and suddenly hurting like h***.   With my right hand, I was holding onto the dinghy tube which only succeeded in pulling it over top of me as I tried to get my feet under me.  I believe Carl’s exact words were, “Ardys, get in the boat.”  Oh, really?  You think that would be a good idea?  

View of Atlantic from Nippers, high above

After a few dunkings, I did get my feet under me.  Determined to get it right this time, but not yet ready to give up on TV from the 70’s, I squared myself off on the bow more carefully and jumped backward a bit more exuberantly this time.  I was onboard!  Of course, since the dinghy was wet, and now I was wet, too, the boarding was a bit more like a slippery seal sliding off a rock.  My bottom landed on the anchor locker behind the bow, my head landed on the cushioned seat and my legs.  Well, what could a pair of legs do with that degree of momentum leading them forward?  The offending limbs went straight up and over my head.  Jax had wisely moved aside for this escapade.  
Jax' assigned spot in the dinghy.  Stands on locker at bow.

I clambered to right myself in the dinghy and quickly scanned the shoreline.  Just how many people saw that, I wondered.  My eyes darted back and forth across the beach—I saw no one laughing, pointing, or otherwise reacting to this debacle.  Including Carl.  As the engine started up and the dinghy moved away from shore, there was nothing—no comment from the stern of the dinghy.   I couldn’t stand it of course.  “Well, that was quite a spectacle, huh?”  Carl responded, “What?”  Really?  He didn’t see that?  I said, “I don’t usually get in the dinghy like that.”  Turns out, he’d been fiddling with the motor.  Missed the whole second act of my performance.
Barefoot Man, aptly named

The potluck, by the way, resulted in meeting two cruising couples and they were planning on going to the “Barefoot Man” too, and said they would save us a seat.  Hmmmmm.  So apparently, we were going to be observers, not participants in this barefoot thing.  Fine with me.  Turns out, however, that the “Barefoot Man” is a man and he has a band that has been around in the Bahamas for quite some time.  We had seats in the shade, closest to the band.  The songs were bawdy and the crowd, mostly people of a certain generation (mine) were loud and raucous.  It was a hoot!  Nippers, Nippers, Nippers.  You gotta see it to believe it!
Hard to imagine a more enthusiastic crowd of middle-aged and seniors

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