Mission AccomplishedBy Al Jacobs
Published: August/September 2014
In the search for Wi-Fi, pink sand, and cioppino in Eleuthera in the Bahamas, these boaters discover an extraordinary back story of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
More often than Teresa and I like to admit, our six-month season of Bahamian boating adventures pivoted on a search for free Wi-Fi. I know that sounds crazy, but when you've been cruising for several idyllic days on end and suddenly feel like you'd better check your email and reconnect with home, that feeling becomes an itch you've got to scratch.
This time, Teresa and I and Chalupa, our Chihuahua, were playing hopscotch through the pristine bays in the Bight of Eleuthera aboard our 34-foot Gemini cat Grace and dodging winter westerly weather that had a tendency to turn those anchorages into lee shores. Governor's Harbor was a disappointment, Wi-Fi-wise, but the next wide bay, Alabaster, promised better. There was an adjacent airport where, with my hacker's skills, I figured we might be able to pull in some stray Wi-Fi to check email. I mean, it had been a week! Armed with my trusty homemade cracker-can directional antenna and laptop, I soon picked up a signal. But it was from a small group of brightly colored buildings way down the bay, not the airport. Not to worry. I popped the laptop into a zippie, piled into the dink, and chased the signal. It led me straight to what appeared to be an outdoor café with patio umbrellas!
Not yet believing this vision before me, I beached the dink, walked up, and asked the waiter for a cold Kalik. One minute later, I was surfing the Net, free, drinking a beer so cold and good I still remember it, and reading the best Italian menu I'd seen since visiting New York. I'd stumbled onto CocoDiMama, easily the best Italian restaurant in the Bahamas, and an oasis in the middle of nowhere — quite literally. Now, I know there are some of you who think this is a yarn, so go ahead and Google it so I can get to the rest of the story. Meanwhile, I'll go fetch Grace, move her up to the beach closer to the Wi-Fi, and anchor her in the four feet of water she can handle with ease.
Island-hopping to Tuna Alley, by seaplane and boat
With a bit of prep and planning, you can get to the Bahamas even in a modest-sized boat
Johnny Coconut's desperate voyage, remembered in the Grenadines