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Day 3---Off to the Exumas......Iguanas, Stingrays, and Sharks....Oh MY!!!
Day 3---Off to the Exumas......Iguanas, Stingrays, and Sharks....Oh MY!!!
That darn clock went off at 7:15 darn it
Okay, I did pay $200 for this side trip....so I might as well get up and get on with it.
Off to breakfast again, with custom omlet, sausage, loads of fruit and coffee. Who knows what we will have for lunch....so I wanted to make sure I was fueled well.
Along comes the bus again, and off we go again to Paradise Island to load up on the boat. Now this boat is not any ordinary boat.....It is a 1000HP inboard speed boat that carries 50 passengers and a crew of 4 . Did I tell you how hot some of these bahamian men are And we had four of them to cater to us for the entire day
We load up in the boat.....and I hook up with a couple from Fla and a female and her daughter from LA....and we decide if we are gonna die on this speed boat....we wanted to go first....so we go all the way into the front row of seats. Okay so coming out of the dock it felt pretty much like the pontoon boat, and we started out into the harbor....a little faster than the pontoon boat. About the time we hit those expensive homes, he opened the boat up....and we were hurtling at 45 miles an hour over the clear water of the caribbean. We had been warned to take off hats as they would blow off otherwise! We were served beverages....bottled water for me....after all it WAS only 9:15 in the morning . The breeze felt great, the water was calm, everyone was excited about the adventure that laid ahead of us.....so we enjoyed the ride.
All of a sudden..the water changed to this most spectacular color of aquamarine you have ever seen in your life, he slowed the boat down and we were headed for a small lagoon with an island in sight. This was Leaf Cay in the Exumas. The crew anchored the boat only two feet from shore, and we disembarked. We had been instructed that we were here to feed Iguanas. Now Iguanas have fairly poor eyesight....so feeding them gets a little tricky. We were given grapes and told to put then on the end of the stick. If one tried to hand feed the Iguanas, they would bite....and no one could feed them if they had on pink, red, purple or blue nail polish The Iguanas would think the toes were a grape and try to eat them. Many of us needed to cool off in that wonderful water.....so a nice short swim occurred. The captain told us we needed to get back on board, and we protested saying there couldn't be another site with water like this and we wanted to stay here. He assured us the next island would be even better. Better? How could that be? This looked and felt like Paradise. So back aboard we went and off for a short trip to the next step in the adventure.
We saw the buildings as we pulled up to Ship Channel Cay (again the Exumas) and as we were docking, dark shapes appeared in the water.....these were the stingrays and sharks we would be feeding We were told they were nurse sharks and lemon sharks, and both the stingrays and sharks had been conditioned to know that the big powerboat pulling up ment feeding time
We docked, got out of the boat and one of our guides explained the first thing we would do was feed the sting rays. He proceeded to cut up two badly bloated groupers, standing in knee deep water. We watched as the stingrays circled around him, rubbed up against him and checked us out also standing in knee deep water. He explained the rays wouldn't hurt us as long as we weren't aggressive. After he had the fish prepared, he showed us how to hold it between two fingers (the peace sign) and to place our hands on the sand in the water palm up. He had us line up knee deep in water touching each other so the rays couldn't go through us. They started parading down in front of us, and sucked the fish right out of our hands. We petted them, and they rubbed up against our legs.....what an amazing experience. They felt so soft, and actually liked being petted.
Now for the sharks, with a funny warning that if we saw our guides running, we should run too. They tied fish to the end of a line, had us don masks and snorkels and lay in the water, and we watched while the sharks came within two feet of us and fed. Now I have always been afraid of sharks in the water.....but it is amazing how that fear goes away when you can clearly see them approaching you. After being fed....they basically went back out into the deeper water and left us alone.
All this time, there were snacks set out, and it was an open bar.....I got courageous and drank a "powerboat adventure" which had vodka, rum, pineapple juice and grenadine in it. After a couple of those, it was time for snorkeling.
I had taken my own mask and snorkel, but got outfitted with fins and a floatation device. Our guides were in the front and back of us, and told us they would let us know if we needed to get out of the water. They yelled a couple of times....and we figured out it was mostly to play around with us. Amazingly, when the sharks got close to us, they grabbed onto the Shark's tale and pulled, and the sharks ended up swimming away. We noticed when a shark would approach us, just the action of the guides reaching out for them made them swim away. Is there such a thing as a trained shark? MMMM...makes one wonder.
We were told we would be snorkeling over fire coral and needed to make sure we didn 't touch it because the nearest hospital was 40 miles away, and available only by helicopter.....YIKES!
We went out in the water, and this was my first snorkeling experience. We had barely started going over the corals, when our guide yelled out "GO BACK, GO BACK". Now knowing we had been swiming with sharks only a short time before, we all immediately turned around and went back to shore. He explained that the current (which was actually very strong) was going the opposite way and taking us into dangerous territory. We came ashore among a bunch of rocks, and since flippers are almost impossible to walk in, I took mine off.....BIG MISTAKE.....cut my foot up on the rocks right on the ball of the foot. Once I got on sand, I looked down to see it was deep enough to be bleeding. He was taking us back up near the buildings, so we could re ride the current in a safe territory and in the opposite direction.....since I was bleeding and we were in shark waters, I sat out the next two trips. What was I to do.....mmmmmm....welllll.....there was that open bar I tried the Bahama beer called Kalik...which was very good. Meantime I waded and sat in the water which felt so good....and watched the group snorkel.
Shortly after snorkeling, lunch was ready, and we were fed grouper stew (delicious), hot dogs, grilled steak, pasta salads, garden salads and fruit and coconut bread (similar to corn bread but better). What a fantastic lunch!
After lunch, more swimming, and the group took a nature hike which I also decided to sit out because my foot was hurting pretty much by then.....guess I didn't drink enough alcohol to kill the pain.
About 3:00, I noticed that my skin on my arms, back and face felt really hot. I had been using sunscreen all day...45 spf on my face, and 15 on my back and arms. But the caribbean sun is a killer....and sunburned I got!
At 4 we got on-board again, and headed back to Paradise island, enjoying one last sight of that beautiful water before we hit open ocean for the ride home. What an amazing set of pictures I took, including ones under water since I had purchased a waterproof digital camera. I wish I could post more than one picture here.
Back at the hotel, I showered, and saw how burned I had gotten, cleaned out my foot, and found that the only shoes I could stand on my foot were my flip flops. Dressed in a sundress, I headed down to dinner, followed again by the evening entertainment of the band, the Shiek dancers again, and the fire limbo dancer that I had seen the nite before. After drinking only one daquiri, I was exhausted, and since I had another day trip planned for Sunday, turned in early without watching the limbo dancer.
Even though the trip was expensive, it was SO worth it, and in fact I would pay double to do the trip all over again.
6/22/2006 7:44 pm
I'm so envious of you! This all sounds so wonderful....well, except for the cut foot! Hope that feels better soon. |
6/23/2006 3:49 am
Any morning that starts with a breakfast like that has to be good! lol|
Sounds like you had some wonderful experiences you'll never forget...feeding and petting the rays, that would have been intense!