In the Islands
Our first port of call was New Bight, on Cat Island. There was a low broken layer in the area, right around 2500 feet, with rain and low visibility below. The lowest we could get from Miami Center was 3000', so we made sure that we saw it by that point and could cancel IFR. The two SkyLanes came in first, followed by Pete and Doug in a 172, doing his patented downwind approach. The wind was definitely something to contend with, but nothing like we'd encounter later in the trip at Staniel Cay. We think Pete did the downwind approach just so he could get a look at the downed plane off the approach end of 27. We cleared customs in New Bight with no problems whatsoever, despite the rain. We didn't even need to bring our luggage into the customs building. The customs officer even asked Grant to carry some newspapers over to Hawk's Nest. The only problem is that, while New Bight is reported to have fuel, they didn't actually have any. That was a surprise to some on the trip. Luckily, Jim was flying a Skylane, which has plenty of fuel capacity, and was able to provide some assistance when needed, not once, but twice! Not that it was desperately needed, but we all wanted to be safe, rather than sorry.
From New Bight, most of us headed over to Hawk's Nest, just a little further south on the same island. One notable thing about the runway is the displaced threshold, which is substantial, and there solely to provide lateral separation from the buildings beside the runway. Unfortunately, Ken (and thus Tom and Diane), hadn't been given Hawk's Nest as the next port of call, and thus went directly to Staniel Cay. The rest of us made the short trip to Hawk's Nest. They had opened only about two days previously, after a six week hiatus, so we were just about the first guests of the season. There was one other couple there from Alabama celebrating their first anniversary.
Despite the rain we had on the island, we had a good time. Pete and Doug spent some time frolicking in the surf on the beach; Grant spent some time reading Bob Hoover's autobiography in the hammock; Leslie cautiously stuck her toes in the water while Grant was reading; Matt, Ben and Pam went bicycling toward the marina, where they toured one of the fishing boats and watched the sharks being fed. CJ, one of the managers, said that they watched a 100lb tiger shark being devoured by a 300lb tiger shark a little while ago.The trip continues...