by Chloé Foster
By day three, everyone was starting to feel the lack of sleep and constant running. Everyone met for breakfast at 7:30, and during breakfast Greg Rolle provided another pilot de-briefing to prepare us for the flight to Exuma. He presented an overview of the day’s activities, including flying to George Town, Exuma and plans for lunch. By 9:00 am we were back on the ferry on our way to the airport.
Since not all of the planes had fueled up since we left, a number of the planes made a pit stop in Marsh Harbor to fuel before the longer leg of the flight.
The flight from Abaco to Exuma was the longest flight yet and by the time we landed everyone was ready for lunch. We were met by Rhonda Ingraham and loaded onto buses for the short scenic ride to the Palm Bay Resort. The ocean looked like a magazine spread. You could hardly tell where the teal ocean met the cloudless blue sky. Everyone was already anticipating the cool ocean water after the hot flight.
Walking up to the Palm Bay Resort did not do the resort justice; it was not until you walked out the back of the resort and headed for the villa that you realized the true beauty of the location. The Resort faced east and the sun sent its reflection running over the motionless ocean. Everyone was pulled between the idea of lunch and the idea of a dip in the waters. We all dropped our stuff off and headed back to the bus so we could catch the ferries out to Stocking Island.
Pulling up to Stocking Island made you want to stay and never leave. It was a true Bahamas location, not a single person in the group wanted to leave when the time came to depart. We had lunch at Chat N’ Chill and everyone had the opportunity to watch the locals make Conch Salad, go snorkeling, and even feed and pet sting rays.
By 4:30 we were heading back to the resort where we had time before dinner to relax. A lot of people took naps or relaxed; others kicked back at the pool or relaxed on the beach.
Dinner was held at Splash (the resort bar and restaurant). The dinner was delicious and afterwards the Bahamas Tourist Office presented Bahamas Gateway FBO specialist certificates to everyone and Bahamas jackets to the Flying Ambassadors and special guests. We also had two individuals on the trip who were celebrating their birthday, and it was arranged for two cakes to be brought out for everyone to share.
After dinner it was time to get some rest for the next morning’s 9 am departure from Exuma back to Florida.
Overall the trip was beneficial and helpful. All those who attended learned something new and have wonderful stories to share and ideas to get more pilots flying to the Bahamas. With so many islands so close to Florida, it is an opportunity you don’t want to miss, because it is truly Better in the Bahamas!