Friends who had traveled to the Bahamas in the past recommended 2 boats we should keep an eye out for. One was Captain Suky on Shambala and the other was Captain Corbett and Robin on Cookie Monster. I followed Captain Suky on Facebook and must admit to being a fan girl! She owns Shambala Sailing Adventures and has a long list of sailing accomplishments. She’s the type of sailor I strive to become! If anyone is interested in learning to sail while engaging in an adventure, she’s the woman to talk to! Friends had shared that Robin and Corbett aboard Cookie Monster were experienced, adventuresome and fun-loving people that we needed to know! While I kept the names in mind, I knew with over 700 islands in the Bahamas chain that the chances of running into either of them was slim to none.

When Robert and I left Emerald Bay, our plan was to gradually work our way up the Exuma chain, visiting all the places we missed on the way down. We wanted to take time to explore and snorkel. After some exploring, we found a secluded anchorage in Williams Bay. We were invited to a bonfire on the beach and met other boats in the anchorage but in the morning, they were all gone, and we had the place to ourselves.

We set off to explore by land and found some beautiful trails. We explored by dinghy and found more interesting things to see on Lee Stocking Island. When we returned, we were excited to find more boats had arrived. As some came into the beach, I heard Suky’s name mentioned. “What?! She’s here??” I asked excitedly. Sure enough, here she comes, swimming into the beach after snorkeling a wall. I was so excited to finally meet her. Not only that, but I come to find out the person introducing us was none other than Robin, aboard Cookie Monster! We had hit the jackpot!

Other dinghies arrived and it turned out they had all been traveling together. They welcomed us into the fold with a game of Bocce Ball. (Truth be told, we plied them with good drinks and took pictures, so they’d let us hang out with them.) The personalities in the group are all different but they share a common love of the water and boating, excitement about nature and a sense of adventure. There are hikers, weavers, swimmers, snorkelers, hunters, fishermen, floaters, dancers, bakers, photographers, scientists, teachers…and they all share their knowledge and skills. Robin was (is) a teacher and she does an awesome job of making sure everyone is welcomed, accounted for and organizes adventures like a pro. It was quickly apparent that they knew things that weren’t in the guidebooks and shared their knowledge and experience freely. So far, we’ve been to islands that we didn’t know existed, visited some amazing beaches that are off the beaten path, learned about the research going on in the islands, snorkeled some of the best reefs I’ve ever seen, learned how the trails were made, learned how to play Bocce and best of all, had lots of fellowship and laughs while enjoying all the natural beauty around us.

Yes, we can make our own happiness. Robert and I would have been fine off on our own but this serendipitous encounter with this merry band of travelers has sure brightened our days and taught us so much. We are eternally grateful…

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