Friday, August 20, 2010

Bahama Mama!

Yes, that’s what the children have officially dubbed me, to their great delight (I don’t think they know it’s a fruity rum drink…mmm, rum drink…where was I?) Oh, yes: we pulled into the very aptly named Half Moon Cay (shaped like a…well, you get the idea) at 9 a.m. and caught a “tender boat” (fancy nautical term for: small motorboat) to the mainland. I’d like to say the first thing we noticed was the absolutely stunning beach—but that would be a lie. In reality, the oppressive Wall of Heat was what immediately struck us (literally). Hot enough to toast tourists, I tell ya (at breakfast time! Sheesh! By afternoon I think it must be called “Bahamian Broil”.)  THEN we spied the powder-white sand and crystal-clear water of the Caribbean Beach. Toes visible through the seawater? Check. Little fishies swimming around your ankles in the shallows? Check. Warm, gentle waves lapping at your body? Check. Aaah…

But we couldn’t linger just yet, as we had signed up for a Close Encounter with Stingrays. After donning snorkel gear and water shoes, we ventured out into the shallow Stingray Cove, where 3-to-4 foot rays glided around and under us in the extremely salty pool. They gracefully flapped through the water, fearlessly brushing us with their feathery-soft wings once in a while. It was so, so COOL! Before we left, we each got to hold a small (deceased, thank goodness!) squid and let a stingray suck it out of our hands under the watchful eyes of the trainer. Up close and personal with Nature, just how we like it! Later, we took a Historic Nature Walk with a native Bahamian guide who fed us tidbits about the island and the local flora and fauna. What did we take away from this? Island natives brew tea out of MANY different trees! Also, the Bahamas is comprised of 700 islands, 26 of which are inhabited…and in school, you have to learn ALL of their names! Finally, there is a tree whose pods, when eaten, cause one to…ahem…become very flatulent. Bahamian children have been known to eat these at recess, thus getting themselves dismissed from class (what can I say? our guide told us she has four boys, herself!)

Then while the Sons of Poseidon splashed in the sea, I took my own “artsy walk”, just me and my camera. I strolled around the C-shaped cove to the extreme far end of the beach, until I encountered a sign that warned, “Proceeding beyond this point is dangerous and prohibited.” That’s me, I just have to keep right on going until the beach runs out (sounds like a rejected Kenny Chesney song idea, doesn’t it?) But all of a sudden, the midafternoon sun caught up with us, and we were desperate for a shower…and air-conditioning.  So long, Half-Moon Cay, we enjoyed ourselves immensely!

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