Get to the point. Stick to the point. Welcome to Black Point.
It was hard to tell if it was warning or welcome, official township sign or graffiti, but the message on the crumbling cement seawall in the island's leeward bay was written in three-foot tall black spray paint
spreading out for hundreds of feet in either direction from the lone, long dock.
A few brightly painted, terraced vacation homes sat nestled in the sharp white cliffs and scrub, but there was not enough land there for it to ever become anything but desolate.
Under the oldest stand of coconut palms in the middle of the island was the township graveyard, and a small air strip was hidden on the far end's flatlands. By golf cart, one end was a few minutes from the other.
We arrived there after and because we had just come as close as anyone would care to being shipwrecked. Crossing the Yellow Banks from the main Bahamas islands to the Exumas, a crew mate must stand on the bow and point out the coral heads rising to within a few feet of the surface. As we navigated this way the seas built and minutes after making it through, the waves had built dramatically and it wasn't long before we took a wave that went over the bow of our 52-foot center console.
The 32-foot camera boat that had been shadowing the 52-footer since leaving Florida suddenly stopped and started drifting dangerously sideways into white-cap seas. Our captain called on the radio to ask what was happening. Their tuna tower had snapped loose and was starting to sag, slam, crumple and beat the boat beneath it like a hammer and leak slippery steering fluid onto the deck and main console below it.
The show's principal, our star, put a lifejacket on, climbed onto the wide teak gunwales of the 52-footer and dove into the sea, swimming through pelting rain and storm chop to assist the second boat's crew in attempts to tie down the tuna tower.
Its structure was failing, but it was still tethered to the lower console by electrical and hydraulic lines. If it slipped overboard it would not fall into the sea, it would hang in the water, roll the boat's hull and drag it down into the water.
Everything but actual gremlins crawled out of the sea and up the sides of our boats on that trip. And nothing ever made sense. We truly went from that stormy, deadly scene to the other side, Atlantic to Florida Straights, into Compass Cay, where one of the most picturesque and calm waters imaginable greeted us. Compass Cay in the Exumas is where you swim with nurse sharks amidst luxury yachts in water so clear and sand so white, the lagoons and bays reflect a bluish tint onto the bottoms of the low white puffy clouds.
Our first trip together as a crew had been to the the most remote, notoriously sketchy jungle on Earth, the Darian Gap, straddling the border of Colombia and Panama. But it was after our luxury trip to the Bahamas with the show's sponsor title owner with us that left a mark.
After securing the tower and making other minor repairs to the 32-footer, we found ourselves wandering what this meant for our production as we slowly motored towards the dock at the center of that message; Get to the point. Stick to the point. Welcome to Black Point.
This was not the Exumas you see on the postcards. And little did we know, our problems were just getting started.
The trip began three days before and bad omens started claiming victims as soon as we'd left the Miami skyline over the horizon.