Day five was our last full day on board the ship, so we spent most of the day OFF the ship :). Norwegian Cruise Lines “owns” a private beach on an island named Great Stirrup Cay. There’s no dock there, so they shuttled people back and forth using “tender” vessels. These were essentially like military landing craft with a WHOLE bunch of seats. They pushed right up onto the beach and dropped the front of the boat down for people to walk off.
We figured this would be a so-so day, so we didn’t have any great hopes. However, it turned out to be the best day of the trip. We had booked our last excursion for this island, a Waverunner tour. If you don’t know, a Waverunner is a Yamaha brand of jet-ski type vehicle.
We had to sit through a short safety video, and everyone (except those of us that are “football player” size) had to wear wetsuits for protection. The guy in the first photo is the owner of the business, and just started it this year with all new equipment. I predict he will do VERY well. The actual “tour” was basically just a ride around the island at decent speed. We had to maintain about 100’ distance between each of us, so I didn’t get very many photos during the trip. That, and the fact that the battery in the camera died shortly after the start of the tour.
The tour started out a little tame as people were getting used to the rides. They put us in order of experience, and since we didn’t have any, Polly and I were at the back. Unfortunately, the couple in front of us had NO guts, and for the first 10 minutes or so we had to just putz around behind them. Finally, one of the guides told Polly and me to go around them and catch up with the rest of the group. It started getting a lot more fun once we were able to open up the throttle (which unfortunately had governors on them to keep us below 40 MPH). The really fun part came in when we actually started hitting some decent waves at full speed and bouncing between them. It was so much fun I actually was laughing and yelling out loud!
We stopped midway on the trip and the guide popped off his ride and pulled up some conch shells and starfish from the ocean bed. The water was only about 6 feet deep at that point. In fact, the guide told us that the word Bahamas actually translates to something like “islands in shallow waters”. At certain times of the year and at low tide, you can actually walk between many of the hundreds of small islands.
When we got back, we were really sad the ride was over. So we did what any rich red-blooded American would do – we signed up for another tour! One of the couples that had gone on our first tour who had shared a ride also decided to take another one, this time on individual waverunners. The tours for the day were actually booked up, but they added a special one just for us. The four of us went and grabbed a quick bite to eat and came back for our second tour. They had added another couple to our impromptu schedule, so there were a total of six of us. Four of us were on individual waverunners, and the last couple shared the ride. Oh, and I replaced the battery in my camera…
If possible, this trip was even better. The wife from the other couple wasn’t sure if she wanted to solo it or not, but once she got going, she was a hellraiser. I was just following Polly, but the path was weaving a LOT more than the first trip. It turned out the guide was going pretty straight, but Mrs. Hellraiser was changing it up a lot, so the rest of us were actually following her path, and not the guide’s. 🙂 I didn’t realize this until the ride was over and we talked to her, however.
This time we took a stop and actually pulled up onto a beach, where the guide gave us a little history of the area, etc. There were conch shells all over the place. We were tempted to pick up a few, but the guide recommended we pick one up from a shop instead, as they’re cleaned and bleached out pretty well. If we took one from the beach it would smell our cabin up the rest of the trip. 🙁
I tried a little experiment with my camera and turned on the video mode – tucking it into my life vest so it pointed in front of me for awhile while I rode. Not the best quality, but not bad.
Having spent all our “excess” cash on the second ride, we really couldn’t justify a third. 🙁 So once this ride was over we all walked back to the beach and said our goodbyes. Polly and I then spent the rest of the afternoon snorkeling. But more on that in my next post.
Have Fun and Ride Safe,