You step off the plane after a quick flight, and the warm tropical air hugs your body as if to welcome you home. As usual, you are fast-tracked through the airport, and in less than 15 minutes find yourself pulling up to the guard house at The Strand, where you’re greeted by the familiar face of the head security officer on property.
He smiles at you: “Welcome back! I see you brought the whole family with you this time.”
You park in front of your private villa, anticipating the view as you head inside. It doesn’t disappoint, though you’ve seen it countless times. The bright turquoise water shimmers over the Caicos Banks as far as you can see. Like a switch, you start to feel the stress of the last few months melt away.
Your children push by you in their excitement to change into their beach wear and see if any of your neighbors’ kids are on property. You knew the kids would make new friends here—what surprised you was the new friends that you made. The kids might not know it, but you are just as excited as they are.
You open the fridge to find the staff have stocked it with all your favorite foods and drinks. As you head out the door, your husband reminds you that you have a massage scheduled by the pool in an hour. You assure him you won’t forget as he hones in on his humidor and checks the properties app to see if anyone is fishing in the morning. It’s nice to see him so relaxed.
You wake up with the sunrise. The blackout blinds in your room keep it dark, but you know the first glimmer of sunlight is reaching over the edge of the Atlantic to greet you once you step out on your deck. Your wife is still sleeping after a late night catching up with the neighbors over wine. The smell of coffee mixes with the cool salty breeze blowing in from the ocean, and you look out toward the rising sun. It’s early but you have plans this morning: You and a few of the other Club members are going bonefishing in some of the flats only a few minutes away. You’ve never been before, but based on the others’ excitement, you know you’re in for something special. The Strand has a way of introducing you to new things every time you return.
You hear a tap at your front door—it’s the neighbor picking you up on his golf cart to take you to the marina at the rear of the property where the boat captain is waiting.
“Morning! Ready to burn some reels out?” You have no idea what he is talking about, but you smile and reply with a “Yes sir!” One of your favorite things about The Strand is you know that everyone will be taken care of. You go fishing with your friends while your wife is having brunch with hers. The kids, for the brief moments you see them in between them running from one friend’s house to another or playing on the beach, are in Heaven, so you don’t have to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. Plus, this afternoon the whole family is going to take the Club boat out for a sunset cruise.
The fishing guide gives you a breakdown on fly fishing. It’s complicated, but he is patient and within a few minutes you’re starting to get the hang of it. That’s when the first fish bites…
You wake up to find your husband has already left for his fishing trip. It feels good to be out of the city—the whole family is reconnecting with nature. The kids come down the stairs and burst into your living room. They are going to the kids’ Club where the current Artist-In-Residence is teaching them about the coral reefs then taking everyone on a snorkel trip to see if they can find the animals and corals they’ve learned about. If only they would get this excited for school!
After they leave for the Club, you walk down to the restaurant and pick a table right at the edge of the beach in the shade of a large coconut palm. Your friends come join you, and you tease each other about the conversations you had the night before over one too many bottles of wine. You and the girls also are going to head out on the water, but fishing isn’t in the plans. You’re taking one of the Club boats around to another nearby bay to have lunch at the local beachfront restaurant Omar’s, then cruising the coast looking at the miles of beautiful shoreline and swimming at every little private cay you find.
You get back to The Strand around 3pm to find your husband, who you hear before you see, down at the Beach Club regaling his friends and anyone else who will listen about the small whale he caught on a fly rod earlier that morning. He shows you a photo, and the whale turns out to be a 17-inch bonefish, which is apparently huge. You congratulate him on his success and ask if he has seen the children. He motions down to the beach, where you see them on a sailboat in the sand, learning from one of the beach attendants how to sail. You sit down next to your husband and watch the kids learn the different parts of the small 16-foot racing Hobie before putting on their life jackets and heading out into the bay with the instructor. They zip back and forth across the bay, squealing with excitement. You smile and take your husband’s hand in yours.
Learning to sail the day before while Mom and Dad did whatever it is that Moms and Dads do was a blast. Caught up in the excitement, you signed yourself up for a sailing race around the bay against other Club members and guests and you’re now regretting it as the 12pm start time creeps closer. Your Dad walks into the living room and sees the worry on your face.
“Big race today, right?” You look at him and grimace. “I don’t know what I was thinking, Dad. I only learned to sail yesterday!” He smiles. “Then you were the last one in the race to have a professional lesson. Sounds like you have a leg up to me! Remember this is just for fun anyway, kid. Let’s go grab some coffee down by the restaurant and strategize your imminent victory.”
Mom is with your brother on the beach already, and you wave down to them from the restaurant. You notice that being home at The Strand always brings your family together. Everyone is happy and relaxed, no one argues. Just then, your brother comes running up to your table from the beach. “Ready to lose, sucker?” You sigh—there are some things even paradise can’t change.
The horn sounds off and the sails drop. You have a slow start but still take off at the center of the pack of five other boats. Back on the beach, your brother is jumping up and down with excitement. You hear Dad shouting while your mom watches, smiling and glancing with some embarrassment at your father who is pumping his fist and making sounds like a howler monkey.
The spray off the bow of the boat hits your face and you taste the salt. There is only one boat in front of you and you’re gaining quickly. The captain of the lead vessels is larger than you by a lot, so you hope your lighter vessel will catch up. You tighten your sail and feel a pontoon lift into the air. You lean out to balance the vessel and hear the roaring of the crowd (mostly your Dad) in the background as you approach the finish line. First race, first win—you’re hooked now.
Your flight’s at noon, but you don’t need to get to the airport until 11 since you checked in online and will be fast-tracked on your way out. Leaving is always hard. This summer, you think you’ll do a whole month with the family here. You bought at The Strand because of its undeniable beauty: The architecture, the amenities, the beach. You now know that you will keep your place here because of the people, the energy, the service, and the privacy. There are few real estate purchases that can be as impactful on the life of your kids and your family as being a member of The Strands Owners Club has been. The caretaker and his wife come by your home to hug you goodbye. You join your friends down by the restaurant for one last brunch before you are driven to the airport. You look at your wife and kids. “Back to the real world, guys.” Everyone looks glum. “How about we come back next month? I mean, we do own the place.” Everyone cheers and you can’t help but smile. Inside, you’re cheering, too.