MY AMAZING ESCAPE TO BAHAMAS ON A PRIVATE PLANE!
Part I – SPANISH CAY and STANIEL CAY.
Waking up with the sun and lying in bed with my lover, running, riding my bike around NYC, happy times with my amazing friends, conversations in which you learn, nature, a beautiful repast with girlfriends, glorious food and happy tidings and energy, and zest, and writing. Those are the things I love in life. I like being adventurous, being in extraordinary spaces in nature, high in a tree or in the ocean, hanging out with my sisters, my chosen family, connecting with my soul to other humans, discovering new places. That’s why I will never pass on the opportunity to have an adventure. And this was- an Adventure! It happened unplanned and it happened fast. From the moment my friend Nicholas posted a message on FB that he was planning to escape to Bahamas the following weekend and was looking for a few people to fill his private plane to share the costs, to the moment we took off and started upon our itinerary-free journey, only one week had passed.
On a cold Thursday morning I had finished up my work as much as I could and packed my bags for an adventure that completely transformed my view on travel. I left my company for a few days with an intention to rest and spend time with my man and to once again discover, how much I love to travel without a plan.
We started off early and by noon were already up in the sky, headed to the first island where a group of friends was going to meet us at our destination. However, 85 knots an hour head winds and some military operation that forced us to re-route for a couple of hours, slowed down our progress and we ended up staying the night at Nicholas’ relatives home in Daytona Beach, in a fly-inn community (yes, you heard me right) in Florida, where we landed shortly after dark. Apparently there’s an entire community of people with planes (mostly retired pilots) that made a sweet home in Daytona Beach. You can land in their gated community and taxi your plane right into the hangar of the house you live in. Find it hard to believe? Look at the images below.
Hat – Albertus Swanepoel (its twin)
Pants – 7 For All Mankind (here they are!)
When traveling by private plane- pack lightly. This is what 4 of us had for the entire trip. Makes you re-think your priorities and whether you need that night face cream after all.
After waking up on Friday morning, we had breakfast at a local cafe overlooking the private runway, where average age of visitors was about 50. If I was a pilot, I’d seriously consider this as an option for my retirement days.
Two hours later we were in the Bahamas, on an island called Spanish Cay. Privately owned, it is a refuge for those who own boats and planes to travel, nothing commercial really goes here, like most islands we visited on this trip. Spanish Cay is run by a sweet couple, who used to manage Johny Depp’s island before this one and they are very chatty and welcoming. High season on Spanish Cay is May through September and during those months, the island brings inn about $1.5 million in revenue. Lodging costs about $250 per double room and an average cost for dinner is about $20 for a relatively basic meal. There isn’t much to do here, but rest and enjoy the ocean and maybe some occasional kite surfing. So, before the sun set, we were on our way to another island.
Waking up on Staniel Cay was amazing. We rented a two bedroom apartment for about $300 a night for the four of us. Beautiful view and access to a private beach, kitchen and two bathrooms were enough to satisfy four NY travelers and we mostly traveled by rented bikes and by foot. Food costs were about the same as in NY on Staniel Cay, so it’s not a budget place, but then again, this is not a budget kind of island. Most income comes from people traveling by private jets and yachts and is somewhat luxury oriented, so you get the point.
One of the most amazing moments Staniel Cay was petting wild nurse sharks after we had breakfast at a local yacht club. Wildlife flocks here to feed when local fishermen return from the morning trips and clean their catch by the peers. From a local man I found out that if you bang on the butcher table on top of the peer, sharks think that it’s feeding time and immediately gather from all over the place to feast on leftovers. It’s was amazing to see those dark shadows appear from the depths of the ocean, once he started banging with a wooden block left there for that purpose specifically. There were a few small and couple of 5 feet long sharks that came that morning and I got to finally pet a couple on their soft backs, that wrinkle softly when their body turns. A few skates also came to hang out, but I respectfully let them examine me, rather than the other way around.
Btw, breakfast a the Staniel Cay Yacht Club will cost you about $20-$30, with buffet table at $19 per person on the weekends. As I said before, this is not a cheap place.
And if you thought this was amazing, wait until you see my next post about the swimming island pigs and underwater cave that we visited later that day.
Psst, I am also making a video of this trip, that will hopefully come out next week here on the blog. So stay tuned.
to be continued….