Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cruise Control: Day 5

Our 5th day on the cruise brought us to port in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas, and home of the world-famous Atlantis resort. I only mention it because it was all I knew about Nassau prior to my going there. I've seen it featured on ESPN's late night broadcasts of "World's Strongest Man" competitions, and also heard recently that the Miss Universe pageant was hosted there, just the week before we were in Nassau.

Oddly enough, we never actually went over to check out the resort. We ate breakfast and then headed down to the pier to wait for our "Catamaran Sail and Reef Snorkel" excursion to get started. Once we'd been rounded up with the rest of the group, we hiked over through part of town to where the Catamaran was docked and started "sailing" out to the reef. I use quotes because on the way out to the reef we were just going by motor. Which was still fun, just not quite sailing. Anyway, it was a fun ride out, once we got comfortable with the boat and with relaxing on the netted area suspended over the water.

Friends & Atlantis
Atlantis resort in the background

Me on the net
I included this photo only because if you look close you can see the bruise on my right arm where I got stung at Grand Turk.

I'm on a boat, son!
I'm on a boat!

On the catamaran
I'm (also) on a boat!

Upon arriving at the reef we were issued snorkel gear and released into the water to check things out. About that same time, they started feeding the local fish, so that worked pretty good to get a lot of them swimming toward the boat. And there were lots of fish. Fish with fancy colors and a variety of sizes, though mostly relatively small.

My mask didn't fit quite as well as the one I'd had the day before, and the life jackets they gave us to use didn't have a strap that went through my legs, so it was a little more in the way than the ones we'd used previously also. So the snorkeling was a little trickier and I got a mouthful of ocean water a couple times. That said, it was still very fun swimming around out there and watching the fish. Once we were all out swimming, it got pretty tough to find any of the others in our group. I started swimming toward a bald guy several times that I thought was Eric, only to discover that it wasn't him.

I don't remember exactly how much time we spent snorkeling, probably 45 minutes or so. Then we got back on board the catamaran, returned our gear and began the trip back to port. This time, they did get the sails out and we really did sail on our way back. Felt about the same as when the motor was on, but not quite as noisy. They also gave us some snacks (chips) and drinks (punch or water or rum punch for those who wanted it). We enjoyed our relaxed trip back to port.

Have some juice!
Eric with some "punch"

The sails

Sailing back

Cruise Ships in Port
All the cruise ships in port. Our is the 3rd from the left with the big blue thing on top.

Upon leaving the boat, we were all ready for some food, and someone said they'd seen a Burger King during our walk through town to the boat, so we headed out in search of that. It was strangely comforting to know that Burger King is pretty much the same in the Bahamas as it is in America (I know, the Bahamas are right next to America). Except that the bathroom was out of paper towels. Okay, maybe that's the same as American Burger King.

After lunch, we headed over to a big flea market type building in search of cheap souvenirs. This was a big metal warehouse tightly packed with rows of people selling T-shirts, hats, jewelry, handbags, cigars, toys, and other similar stuff. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't take a photo of this place, but I guess at the time it didn't seem that noteworthy.

The funniest part to me is that anything you saw for sale in one place, you could find for sale at least 4 or 5 other times as you walked through. Made for fun negotiating, as you could ask each vendor their price and get a feel for what would be the best price you could get. Every thing was "for you: special price, half off". Who knows what the original price was. :) I ended up buying a necklace, a T-shirt, and a beach towel that looks like the Bahamanian flag. The first vendor I asked about the towel gave me an initial price of $20, which I passed on. Then I saw another one, and decided to ask again. Brandon asked me before I went over there how much I'd be willing to pay and I said, "$10". Then I asked the lady selling it how much it cost and she said "$10". I felt like I probably should have negotiated for a better price, since she started at $10, but since that was already what I felt like I'd be willing to pay, I decided to skip the haggling and just take it.

After we'd finished shopping, we decided to head back to the boat. We were all pretty worn out at this point. After getting cleaned up, we went up to the deck to relax. After a bit of that, I headed down to check out another trivia game which turned out to be a "Name the person in this picture" game, but of people from the black and white era of film. Needless to say I didn't win that one. Around 5 there was a meeting to discuss the debarkation process for that evening and the next morning. Then it was off to our last dinner.

Atlantis Resort
Picture of Atlantis taken from on board the ship

It was a little sad to realize that this would be the last night I'd be enjoying our delicious cruise dinners, with warm chocolate melting cakes. Eric and Brandon managed to order steaks again as they'd done every night (sometimes along with another entree). As it was Colleen's birthday the next morning, we had our wait staff sing her happy birthday and they put a candle in some baked alaska for her to blow out.

Last night of steak
Da bringing Eric his last steak :(

Happy Birthday Olean!
Happy Birthday, Olean!

After dinner, we finished packing our bags and set them out to be picked up by the porters. Then we went up to the deck and watched "The Express" on the big movie screen, then headed down to bed.


Liz said...

Jake, I have really enjoyed the pictures with the narrative. Thanks for sharing.

Colette said...

Sounds like you are having so much fun! Also, you are looking very good these days!