Over Yonder, over the top… In the nicest possible way.

It’s Sunday morning and it’s been quite a while since I last posted.  Since Rob and Kandice arrived in Staniel Cay, we have spent time in the Exuma land and sea park, where there isn’t any cell coverage.  No cell, no posts.  Such as it is in the Bahamas.  And, I won’t even talk about how busy having them on board has kept us.  Alas, no posts.  Well, the wait is over… Here goes.

We are now back in Nassau to prepare for returning Pandora to the US and our home in CT.  Rob, Kandice and Brenda fly out of Nassau on Monday afternoon and my crew will arrive.   Details, details.

As my departure approaches, hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday,  I am focused on catching a good weather window for our run north.  Fingers crossed.   Chris Parker, the weather router we use, seems to think that the coming week will be good.  I hope that we will have some wind for sailing as we don’t carry enough fuel to make the run under power the entire way.  This is a sailboat, after all.

While I am very excited about being home in CT again, I must say that I am a bit sad that our visit to the Bahamas is nearing an end.  However, it’s safe to say that I am ready to leave.  It’s been fun but it will be very nice to be able to enjoy the simplicity of being in a “land home” where things are easier.  And, you can’t beat New England weather in the summer.  My excitement about being home is tempered by the fact that there will be a very long “honey do” list of chores as we reopen the house and make the improvements, painting etc. that are needed.  When we left home four months ago we just shut the door and left.  While one of our neighbors has been keeping an eye on things, nothing of note has been done except to have oil deliveries made to keep the heat on.

Speaking of heat, it’s been really hot and sticky here for about the last month.  When we first arrived, the evenings were cool but now that summer is approaching…  They say that the year round temperature here only varies by about ten degrees but let me tell you, there’s a big difference between the high 70s and the 80s.

Oh well, enough whining as it’s nice to be able to split our time between of home and Pandora.  Not too shabby.

Well, speaking of “not too shabby”, our visit to Over Yonder Cay, earlier in the week, was about as “polished” as is possible.  Dr. Bosarge, the owner of Over Yonder Cay has done an absolutely remarkable job of creating an “oasis” from a rugged Bahamas island into an amazing family compound with every imaginable luxury.

Where do I begin?  On Monday, after Rob and Kandice arrived, we made our way from Staniel Cay the short ten miles to Over Yonder and were greeted by a very attentive staff including Ethan, the islands’ Director of Operations, and let me tell you there are a massive number of “operations” on the island,  as well as several others who helped us with our lines to tie up Pandora.  Pandora looked positively diminutive tied up to a dock designed for 200’ yachts.   Here’s my “crew” posing at the “boathouse”.  I should mention that there is a ramp on the other side of this building where the seaplanes arrive to bring folks to the island.  After a bit of work getting fenders in place and all lines secured we stepped onto the dock and were greeted by Darcy, the island steward, with glasses of strawberry lemonade served on a lovely platter garnished by flowers from the island’s gardens.   Amazing…

When was the last time someone on a dock greeted you with a cool drink on a platter with flowers?  Me?  Never, unless you count Over Yonder.  And, I am not talking about one of your buddies tossing you a cool one from the next slip.  Believe me, it was different.  Very classy.

And, that was just the beginning of a remarkable visit to Over Yonder Cay.

Where do I begin?  If nothing beyond the “lemonade moment” happened the visit would already be amazing but that was indeed “just the beginning”.

As soon as we were settled, and thirst quenched, Ethan announced that he would be back to escort us on a tour of the island.  And Ethan knows every inch of the island as he oversaw the construction from the beginning.  Darcy announced that towels had been set out on beach chairs for us that we could use following the tour.  Looks pretty inviting, and all for us.However, before we boarded the golf carts they had been provided for the tour, we would be joining her for lunch at the beachside pavillion.  Lunch?  What next?

But first, the tour…

The island has amazing plantings and what’s even more remarkable is that the buildings and all the infrastructure to support them have only been in place for three years.  I understand that everything on the island was completed in about 18 months.   Dr. Bosarge loves classical piano and legend has it that as the island was being prepared for its “official “opening the staff was preparing the newly arrived Steinway grand piano as guests arrived.  Alas, all set, just in time and just perfect.

Everywhere you look there are lovely spots to sit. There’s even a 9 hole golf course that’s so tough it would frustrate a scratch golfer. The “greens” are artificial but look like real turf.  They decided that keeping up with grass in this arid climate was over the top.   And, no dirt paths here.   Paved paths everywhere.  Millions of pounds of pavers brought in and placed perfectly from one end of the island to the other, and back…All of the island buildings, and there are three major guest buildings, along with plenty of other buildings “behind the curtain” that keep everything running, are powered and cooled by electricity from three huge wind turbines along with acres of solar panels.   They even have enough power, and it’s “green” to produce 20,000+ gallons of water per day.  And don’t forget the housing and feeding of 30, full time employees.  No, some don’t live on the island and commute from nearby islands, but there is housing for plenty of help.   When the island was under construction there were 100 full time workers on the job.  Given the complexity of the systems that service the island, plenty of help is needed.  They have two professionals, at least, who are responsible for the “power plant” including the solar and wind as well as three massive standby generators.  However, beyond being tested weekly, I understand that these generators almost never run.  Recall that it’s nearly always windy and sunny here in the Bahamas. As an aside, the three wind generators that tower over everything on the island are monitored by a company off-island 24/7.  Really remarkable.   And, all that power, and there’s plenty, let me tell you, is stored in a huge battery room with hundreds of tons of gel batteries.   

The computers that run all of this look like the controls for a utility.  Now wait, it IS a utility.When we visited the room where the batteries and computers that power the island I have to say that it reminded me of a scene from Jurassic Park.  Alas, no velociraptors.  I’ll bet that Ethan had heard that comparison before.

How about millions of pounds of batteries.  And this was just one of four rows.  I hope that they last a long time.  Imagine replacing these?   And, a single “cell” weights hundreds of pounds.Our tour, and we did all of this on board our golf carts, with Ethan at the helm,  also included, remarkably, a look inside the main house with it’s commanding views.   It was clear that a very talented group had designed the siting of the homes and every other detail of the island.   I can’t imagine being able to keep a handle on so many details, and there are an amazing number, let me tell you.  The way that everything tied together in this “oasis” reminded me of a piece of fine machinery, like a fine watch.  And, a very expensive watch with a lot of moving parts. 

How’s this for a “grand entrance”, the approach to the main house.Dr. Bosarge also has a remarkable collection of art and antiquities and everywhere you look there is something new to admire.   I can’t imagine how he managed to acquire all of it to fill such a massive home, but he did.  He also collects antique cannons, armor and firearms and there’s plenty to choose from.

There are also architectual “details” everywhere.  How about these chairs?  I wonder if anyone actually sits in them.  I did.How about this antique cannon overlooking the harbor?   I understand that Dr. Bosarge is inclined to fire cannons from the deck of his yacht Marie when the mood srikes.  I’ll bet that he is “inclined” to fire one at sunset from time to time.  It would certainly get more attention than blowing the conch, such as we do on Pandora.  Alas, no cannon on board Pandora.

The main house is sited on the highest point of the island with 360 views.  Here’s little Pandora in the harbor. Off of the master suite, and a suite it is, is a beautiful infinity pool that looks to the east.  There’s even a massive urn that burns a gas flame in the evening. Imagine a sunrise here…How about the master bath?  Between that and the attached dressing room,  It was probably larger than the footprint of our entire house.And this beautiful spiral staircase that goes from the changing room three stories up to an observation platform.  Commanding views all around.  From here you can keep an eye on those frustrated golfers, each hole more diabolical than the last.  And, of course, a veiw of those fabulous wind generators turning and turning. What a view of the dining room or should I say “one of the dining rooms”.  I’ll bet that there have been some really nice parties here.  And you’d expect them to be very nice as the island is rented for a cool $75,000 per day, seven day minimum.  Of course…It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists and that we were invited to visit.  My only regret is that Dr. Bosarge wasn’t there for us to meet.  That would have been great fun.

As we were leaving it was hard to believe that we had only been with this wonderful group for 24 hours.  We all posed for a photo, the pooch Diesel too.And, as if that weren’t enough, we were presented with a beautiful cocktail table book of Marie, the 180’ sailing yacht that I had written about nearly a year ago.  And, on top of that, T shirts for all and an Over Yonder Cay sailing cap for me.

Oh yeah, I closed my post last June with a wish wondering if we were to visit Over Yonder, that perhaps we’d be offered a rum punch.  Yup… that too, after our tour of this magnificent island.

Want to visit?  Have $525,000 to spend on a week’s vacation?  Check out the island website.  It can all be yours.  Before you decide that’s too much, it does include flights to and from the island via seaplane.  But, if you have to ask how much it costs, like me, you can’t afford it.

What’s left?  Well, I must get our host’s address so I can send him a note of thanks for such a wonderful visit to Over Yonder.  I guess it’s my turn to offer him an “an adult beverage” of his choosing.  We’ll have to see about that.

And, last but not least, the post that started it all last June.  What’s next?  I guess I owe the good doctor a rum punch.  It would only be fair.  Not over the top?  I think not.




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