Vacations are built around what matters most to you. For myself it is being close to water, connecting with locals, and exploring what nature has to offer. My curiosity took me to the beautiful Cays of the Bahamas with a group of 10 friends. With an adventurous 8 days ahead of us, we braced ourselves for the unknown and daydreamed about all the shades of blue.
We began our adventure in the Bahamian capital of Nassau where we sailed from Palm Cay Marina to our first location, Leaf Cay, where we met some fast and friendly creatures. The iguanas were big fans of grapes! We then sailed to Danger Cay to check off a bucket list item, swimming with Caribbean reef sharks! Their robust, streamlined bodies was a sight to see. The mix of mystery and adrenaline was a virtuous blend while swimming alongside them.
Snorkeling and More..
Approximately 12 nautical miles away in the sand banks of Norman Cay laid our next adventure. When I heard I could snorkel above Pablo Escobar’s sunken drug plane, I knew I had to. The plane was only 10 feet down allowing us to swim by and through the eroded skeleton. The plane is now home to and extraordinary array of colorful reefs and marine life.
The Exumas Sand Bar at Pipe Creek is one of the finest of the Bahamas, a favorite of many photographers. We strategically timed this adventure as the low tides disappear at night. We woke up early to experience the narrow shallow channels. During exploration of the sandbars, I witnessed a rare sight, a spotted eagle ray.
While at Soldier Cay, I swam with nearly 50 different species of fish. Bread was my motivator for keeping the marine life close. The most fascinating part of the aquarium was its ecosystem and the ability to house so many species, prevent erosion, and provide protection.
Swimming with Sharks
We made a stop to swim with the Nurse sharks at Compass Cay. While very intimidating, these predators are not aggressive towards humans but rather curious. So curious, that they would swim on top of the deck to get closer to us. This species helped us as new snorkelers as they presented little to no threat to us.
Green Cay excursion
Green Cay was one of my favorite places to snorkel. The sea grass ocean floor made for a beautiful site, but the real view were the sea turtles. The gentle creatures swam peacefully snacking on the grass around us with remora sucker fish attached to their shells. The remora oval disks cleaned the turtles shell while the sea turtle provided them protection. A beautiful synergetic relationship.
We met the famous swimming pigs at Pigs Beach. While not native to the island, it is said that they were left by sailors who planned to come back and feast on them. The pigs ranged from piglets to 400-pound giants. While friendly, the giants were very persistent on being fed.
The second load of adrenaline exposed itself when we went free diving north of Rose Island where the drop was more than 200ft. The puzzling part was the inability to see past 30 feet. While the ocean is often peaceful it is also a strong force of nature that one can fall victim to. It is safe to say, I came out with more diving experience and respect for the ocean.
Tons To Do…
One can’t go wrong with the Bahamas, the wide range of activities exceeded my expectations. My advice to anyone who can travel is to take the trip, as the ability will not always be there.
As an avid traveler I often get asked what the best part of my trips are, besides the knowledge I get to bring home it is the human connections that make them so memorable.
Take the trip.
Written By: Melissa Mireles