blue ocean water surrounds small lighthouse on tiny island

Adventures of a Modern Pirate: October 2019

I prefer a pirate’s prerogative as the only way to travel, I thought upon learning Nassau was fast approaching. The memory I have flying in that seaplane exists even today, as I can recall the sensations I felt as a young teenager. 

My feet planted on the cabin floor with no seatbelts as I glanced out the window. My eyes scanning the turquoise ocean with the sky dotted in soft puffs of white clouds. My ears still hear the reverberation of the twin radial engines humming away as if gravity didn’t exist. The faint odor of sea salt, oil and Avgas gas was as comforting and ordinary as a rum and Coke. How I wish I were back there again! 

“Hang on back there!” Peter hollered. “We’re coming in!” 

I saw the flaps come down, and gradually, we descended. Eventually, we approached Nassau and came down in a salty splash. The windows along the fuselage disappeared underwater for a few seconds, giving the impression we were sinking. I felt as if I were back at Disney, riding the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride! To the inexperienced traveler, it would have been a harrowing feeling. To me, it was normalcy in the high seas. 

We floated along with the occasional wave flooding the window as boats and cruise ships lingered in the distance. It was exciting to see people waving at the large seaplane plowing through water. 

I stood in the doorway leading into the cockpit and watched as Peter worked the controls and the throttles. 

We made a gradual turn toward a ramp as Peter asked my uncle to pump the hydraulic arm that extended the landing gear. My uncle worked the lever and I heard a “clunk.” I knew the wheels were extending outward. 

When we approached the ramp, Peter gassed the throttles. The seaplane lunged forward with a thunderous roar and we bumped against the ramp, hesitated for a second, and suddenly, the engine overcame gravity. The plane taxied up the ramp and came to a stop at the terminal. Two men scurried over and placed wheel chocks against the tires. 

“Welcome to Nassau!” Peter hollered as the engine fell silent. “No, don’t move. Stay here and out of sight until we refuel.” 

“Got it,” my uncle and I replied. We knew we were technically not supposed to be there, so we made ourselves invisible as refueling began. 

Suddenly, four happy passengers climbed aboard, and the fun began! 

Gotta get back to my coconut concoctions . . .

This column is part of an ongoing story of tales from the past that continues each month. Read Josh’s previous columns here:

To read more about Josh’s new novel, click here!

Joshua MacLeod is a NSB local and a Florida native. He is the author of Savage Tango and Chasing Latitudes. He lives with his dogs, Durango, Higgins and Oscar.

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