LEWISTON — Lewiston School Superintendent Bill Webster was back at his desk Wednesday after he and his wife, Molly, took a three-month ride to the Bahamas in their small boat, Salty Paws.

After some controversy when the Lewiston School Committee approved Webster’s vacation, they left Maine in October and sailed down the Atlantic coast as far south as Miami.

After taking in a variety of wildlife parks, people and islands reachable only by boat, they proceeded to the Bahamas.

One of their stops was Blackbeard Island, a barrier island that is a national wildlife park, and Cumberland Island, where wild horses roam. Another was Sapelo Island in Georgia, a community founded by former slaves and home of a people who identify themselves as Geeches.

“The best part is we had a tremendous history lesson,” Webster said Wednesday. There’s plenty of evidence of the Civil War. To see and meet people in communities founded by descendants of slaves was fascinating, he said.

Sailing to the Bahamas was unforgettable, Webster said, describing crystal-clear, turquoise-colored water, wild preserves and beautiful beaches. There they saw a modern ghost town, a development on a canal with deserted hotels and houses that didn’t sell.

“It was a complete failure,” he said.

There was some trouble in paradise, though.

When leaving the Bahamas, they experienced life-and-death drama while trying to cross an inlet. A strong wind created 8- to 10-foot waves. And it would soon be dark.

“We had to figure out what to do,” Webster said. “We were 50 miles from anywhere. We had 40 miles worth of gas.”

They put on life jackets, closed all doors on the boat and followed two larger boats into the waves. Their boat went airborne more than once.

“It was pretty scary,” Webster said.

Once back on the East Coast, they left their boat at Hilton Head, South Carolina, and returned to Maine, arriving in the early hours Wednesday.

Webster spent the day going through mail, emails, meeting with staff and working on the 2017-18 budget while sharing the adventure.

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