I’m home, after a week of being on the Bahamian seas aboard what is called a clipper ship. Dorothy and I flew to Nassau where we boarded the Liberty Clipper along with her crew of nine and 13 other anxious passengers. The next morning we set sail from Nassau for the high seas on our 125 foot clipper. We were housed in our tiny cabin in the foremost section of the ship. The room was so small that we had to take turns getting out of the bunk beds and the bathroom served as both a shower and toilet, which proved to be interesting. Several times I accidentally turned the shower on watering myself down. But we did not board the Liberty for a luxury cruise in the Bahamas, we boarded her for a trip into the past, for an authentic journey on a real sailing clipper, and that is what we got!
Captaining our ship was, kid you not, Captain Noah. He was a true man of the sea and the enjoyment he displayed as the sails unfurled and the ship lurched forward in the crystal clear Bahamian waters made it clear that he was truly in his own heaven. His excitement was infectious and we lowly landlubbers all gathered to lift the huge sails whenever he asked. As we headed out of our harbor, our starboard view was filled with the decadent monstrosity, Atlantis, on Paradise Island, which represented everything we 15 passengers and crew were trying to escape. Slowly, as we cleared the harbor under motor power, the towering monument, a pinnacle of American vacations, drifted out of sight, and the beauty of the sea unfolded before us. There are no words that adequately describe the beauty of the island waters. The aqua blue water is so clear that the bottom seemed within reach and the ever-changing sand lines were as clearly visible as the lines on my hand. The gentle wind caressed us as we raised the sails and began what for many of us was our maiden voyage on a tall ship.
Along with the enjoyment of sailing across the seas, there were many other things to do and see. The amazing cave in which we snorkeled was filled with fish of every imaginable color and size. They seemed to enjoy coming up and looking into our mask, eerie. The iguana island was inhabited with thousands and thousands of these funny looking lizards from a few inches to over a foot long. They were anxious to see us because it is a custom to feed these strange-looking creatures. One of the many hikes Dorothy and I took was a short hike across the island from the mild Bahamian sea to the angry Atlantic ocean in little more than a couple hundred yards. Many times we swam in the pristine waters often heading out to open waters until we felt the currents pulling us seaward, at which time we headed back in. Of course everyone gathered for meal time. The meals were fantastic and there was always more food than we could eat! We had steak, shrimp, pork chops ( I noticed one of the pigs was missing from pig island…just kidding) and one evening we even had lobster tails!
The days that followed were filled with wonder and amazement as we visited many small, uninhabited islands and explored their many secrets. As we walked these old island trails it was impossible not to wonder who had been here before and where the treasure was hidden, but the treasure was not hidden, it was all around us in the rocks, the trees, the water, the blue sky and the wonderful clean air that filled our lungs. There are no words that can explain the feeling of standing on a desolate beach with the sand in your toes and the water lapping the shore along with the gentle warm breeze tossing your hair about. I am sure that I was on a trip that many folks spend their life dreaming of and never take the time to actually do. The feeling that I was given a gift from some higher power seems to be the only explanation I can come to grips with. According to Captain Noah, there are about ten of these clippers of varying sizes working up and down the east coast, one of which he plans to own someday. It struck me that when they are gone, the history of these magnificent ships will be lost forever. This will truly be a loss for all of us.
These cute guys were on what I will call “Pig Island”. They were dropped off years ago and flourished, with a little help from curious passers-by who kept them supplied with plenty of food.
I hope I inspire some of you to write this on your bucket list! It was an incredible trip and something that will be with me for a long time.
Aye captain, let’s head out to sea! You can learn more about this at libertyclipper.com.