So in February last year, I asked David if a vacation could finally be had. We didn’t have a honeymoon, hadn’t had a vacation that didn’t include work (I’m thinking of our couple months as boat gypsies before we married) and well, it felt like we were working hard enough to deserve a nice getaway. Since neither of us are the tradtitional cruise types, we looked into the barefoot cruise lines, where they take you out on a sailboat, as we both enjoy sailing. (David likes the hands on, I like the riding along). Within a few days, I had booked the trip for December. December the previous year had taught us that there isn’t much car-hauling to be done during the holidays. So rather than be stuck out on the road, we took the time off and had a grand adventure.
We were in the least expensive of the towers (the original one, I believe) and this was our room. This was our view from the room. We left that sliding glass door open all the time we were in the room (including all night, as the temp never dropped below 68 in mid-December)
We were on the rougher side of the island (Paradise Island, aptly named) seawise, and the weather was a little dreary the first couple days, but the sun came out later and stayed and it was all good.
The first day there, I did their Ultimate Trainer for a Day program. I got to swim with dolphins, pet them, hug them, ask them to do tricks, feed them. I also got to go backstage on some of the other exhibits and feed sharks and stingrays, snorkel in one of their big tanks, and see a lot of interesting things. The guides they have there were amazing (Dylan made us laugh a lot). Because of when it was, it was just me and one other girl. She and I were of like minds, so we enjoyed sharing the experience a lot. We also had a photographer following us around, catching images like the one above. At the end of the day, I got a flash drive with 100 or so pics on it, chronicling my wonderful day.
The next day we did the water park experience. They have a slow river tubing experience, and one with some rapids. We chose the rapids, and did it twice. We both laughed a lot. We then made our way to the big drop waterslide. I chose no, but David went on it a few times, coming up grinning each time.
It drops underwater in a tube, and there are sharks swimming in the water there. David said it went too fast to see sharks. We then did the curvy waterslide in the same building there, and when you reach the underwater portion (after twirling through the dark with quick direction changes – I laughed soooo much!) you can see sharks. That’s a big shark next to David. We enjoyed this one so much we rode it a couple times. David came away saying he didn’t think he was a waterpark kinda guy, but he was wrong. He enjoyed it as much as I did.
The resort kept to its theme very well. All the little details were nautical. Lots of fish and seahorses and dolphins. Very colorful, as well.
After our days at Atlantis, we went to the boat, an old Clipper style sailboat, 125 ft long. On this voyage there were 15 passengers and 10 crew.
We got to be under sail. We got to help pull up the sails, which is quite the workout, yet fun. We motored some. Basically, we went island hopping down the Exumas. Each day had a new adventure. I got to see wild iguanas, feral yet friendly enough pigs, though very few birds. I saw most of my birds (including 3 lifers) on Paradise Island. Days on the boat were relaxing and peaceful. There was a fabulous group of people, and we all seemed to click. I can’t recall ever seeing David so relaxed and happy. It was a wondrous thing to see.
See the iguanas on the beach? They come running, hoping for food. The pigs, on the other hand, swim out, hoping for food. The cooks saved all the scraps for the pigs, so the pigs knew what they were doing.
We went snorkeling on the islands, as well as in a grotto. I got to go before the tide changed, so it was just like being in a huge aquarium. When I went back with David a few hours later, the tide had shifted, the water level was higher, there was a considerable current and most of the fish were gone. It was still amazing.
This is where the grotto is. It’s inside that big rock bowl. You have to swim through the coral (carefully! Coral bites!) but when you do, here’s what you see:
The fish swim right up. I like how I caught this one looking at me. I had a little underwater camera I had gotten free with points from our debit card. I was the only one with a digital underwater camera! Some folks (especially the younger men), had GoPro cameras, so they caught some fun video. One of those may be on my list of things I’d like before too long…although this camera has video as well.
Sadly, on this evening of the trip, I got food poisoning and spent the next couple days confined to our bunk. David took it easy and kept an eye on me. I lazed in bed with my ipad reading to me (yay Audible!) and when I felt I could, went on deck to enjoy the sun. If you’re going to get sick, there are few places that make it not so bad. This would be one of them. While I was incapacitated, David took the small sailboat out on his own and really enjoyed himself. At one point while he was out, I wandered up on deck and saw him quite a ways out. The captain smiled at me and said, “He’s not coming back.”
On Friday, I finally felt normal again, so got to enjoy the last beach outing. We swam to shore from the boat, over a shallow coral reef.
Since I had missed a couple days of water time, I put on a mask and just floated right at the line where the waves broke, puttering back and forth, mesmerized by the play of light in the water.
Most everyone else was up on the beach. There was talk of a bonfire later, but we all wore ourselves out before dark and stayed aboard. One of the crew members, Cassie, wanted to be a mermaid. David and I took her up on that, though David was the chief engineer. He and I create well together. She was very pleased with her mermaid tail.
And now some random pictures from our time out.
I adore the Blue out there. It soothes me deeply. I can sit and just stare at the water for hours and hours (and did!)
Me being pushed by a dolphin – his snout is on my foot. This was fun! Then it was time for the double dorsal fin pull, and that was less fun.
The dolphin on my right side (the one under water) was a youngster, and she did not pull her weight. The other girl got two teenage male dolphins pulling her, and she rose up out of the water like a queenly mermaid. I had mama and baby, with baby just playing, and I struggled with this. It was still cool, though difficult. I should’ve asked for a re-run. :)
I loved this fountain.
So, that was our time in the Bahamas. It was amazingly beautiful and relaxing. It was what vacations are supposed to be. I wish this for everyone at some point.