Monday, 28 December 2015

Adventure on the High Seas


One of the advantages in being somewhere for an extended chunk of time -- five weeks, in the case of this trip to The Bahamas -- means you can have a great number of different adventures without feeling rushed. My niece's husband now runs his own boat charter service, but for awhile, he worked for Powerboat Adventures, and arranged for me to join their day-long trip to Allen's Cay and Ship Channel Cay.

Our first stop was Allen's Cay, where you could get off, pick up a long, thick skewer and a handful of grapes, and feed the endemic (and endangered) Bahamas iguanas: they are actually pretty tame, and know the sound of the approaching boat. Still, you need to use the skewer to feed them, and anyone with a brightly coloured pedicure was warned to dig their toes into the sand in case an iguana mistook a toe for a grape.

Feels like a wet suit

Then we headed off to their private island, Ship Channel Cay, for the rest of the program: it was a trip where you could do as much or as little as you wanted on the island. I was more interested in the drift snorkelling than feeding the baby Atlantic manta ray (Manta birostris). One kid got stung, but he'll have a story to tell for the rest of his life....

Ruddy Turnstone

And then there were the birds: a nice flock of non-breeding ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres) kept us company on the beach, and I saw several other species that I was unable to capture with the camera. Our lunch was a great whopping hot buffet: just what I wanted when I emerged from the water. It was a grey day, sadly, but at least they ran the trip: it had been cancelled the two previous days because of high winds and rain.

mmmm lunch #2

Humans and rays weren't the only creatures fed: here is a lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) devouring a vollyball-sized lump of fish guts and heads -- the same fresh fish filets we ate at the buffet, in fact.

After lunch, there was a demonstration of conch salad-making which I passed on: instead, I grabbed another Sands beer (although I wish they had had High Rock or my personal fave, Strong Back Stout) from the open bar, climbed up to the observation deck, pulled out my journal, and wrote until we were summoned to board the boat for our return trip to Nassau -- I was the last person on board. I could have spent a few days there: there was a trail up to the top of the "mountain" I would have liked to hike up, but my surf shoes weren't appropriate for that, and to be there without the others would have been the sort of break I needed to have had more of on this trip.

There's always next time, right?

Drift snorkling

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