LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

The amazing people you meet while cruising.

I cannot even begin to list out all of the amazing folks we have met in our month or so of cruising. They’ve made this little adventure of ours so special in one way or another. Truly.

Our time in Great Harbour Cay was no exception. We met a few new friends and had what seriously might go down in the record books as one of the best.days.ever!!!

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Golf carts. Power boats. Stingrays. Island tours. Tiger sharks. Conch salad. Starfish alley. Bridget Bardot’s cottage. Rum punch. And all packed into one super-spectacular-fun-filled day.

I’m not even joking.

This day was straight-out-of-the-movies. Better really. I couldn’t have scripted a crazier or more perfect day. One we wouldn’t have experienced if it weren’t for the folks we met here on the island.

Technically, our day-o-awesome started the night before, when Jereme and I decided to venture up the beach a ways to a boutique hotel and restaurant, Carriearl’s.

We learned about Carriearl’s after chatting with Gonzi, the owner of the beach house we had parked our sailboat directly in front of. Again, the people you meet, right? We have Oliver to thank for our chance meeting with Gonzi, since Oliver made a beeline for Gonzi’s dog Cookie our first night dinghying to his beach.

While Cookie and Oliver were living it up on the beach, Gonzi told us all about the island and mentioned that we should check out Carrieearl’s. So, of course we did.

Carriearl’s is the cutest boutique hotel run by English couple, Marty and Angie.

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We enjoyed a few drinks at the bar along with a homemade pizza and chatted it up with the owners.

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By the end of the night we had a fresh baked loaf of bread in hand…again compliments of the awesome people we’ve had the opportunity to meet.

Before we left the restaurant, a party of four popped in and sat down right behind us at the bar. Since we were the only people still in the restaurant, we were soon chatting it up with these folks and telling them all about our newfound cruising life — they particularly loved our hilarious stories about loosing the dinghy and Jereme falling out of the dinghy and drowning his iPhone. What’s not to love, right?

As we were getting ready to call it a night, our new friend John mentioned that he was taking the others out to Stingray City the next day and would love to have us join in on the fun. We had just read about this new Stingray City in the Berry’s, but didn’t know a whole lot about it or what it would cost to partake in the fun. Turns out, our new friend John owns Stingray City and Goat Cay, the island next to Stingray City.

The next morning, our new friends picked us up on a golf cart — I can’t think of a better mode of island transportation!

We drove the golf cart around the island, hitting up a liquor store first for provisions. You definitely need liquid provisions when you are about to have the kind of day we were. ;))

Next, we drove over to John’s son’s house, which is basically base camp for the stingray tours…and where the team preps all the boats, snorkel gear, employees, etc. for each day’s cruise ship visitors. We joined John, his son David, and their two other friends (along with the regular employees) and jumped on one of their tour boats for the ride out to Goat Cay/Stingray City. I tend to forget how much faster you can get places on a power boat. We were there in less than 15 minutes!

It just so happened that today was one of only two days during the month that no cruise ships were in town, so we had stingray city all to ourselves! Lucky us!

During our boat ride out to the stingrays, we drove down “starfish alley” where we spotted more than 50 huge red starfish! I had not seen one of these yet in the Bahamas, so it was pretty awesome to see them literally everywhere!

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Once we arrived at Stingray City, we were briefed by David on how to safely interact with the stingrays….basically the do’s and don’ts of stingray encounters.

We learned more about a stingray’s use of those dreaded barbs and how you cannot actually get stung by a stingray’s tail. Rather, stingrays use the relatively small barb located towards the end of their tail as a defense mechanism. They don’t go around willy nilly hitting just anything with that barb. As long as you aren’t trying to squash them with your feet or biting a chunk out of their side (like say, a shark would), chances are you aren’t going to get stung. Good to know!

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Right now there are about 50 stingrays here in this area. They have been brought here by David and his team over the past year and are being “trained” (via regular feedings) to interact with people.

We all got the chance to snorkel with the stingrays.

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And even hold a few friendly rays!

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^^That’s what I call my trying-to-smile-but-really-freaking-out-inside-face.^^

After an hour or two at stingray city, we jumped back on the boat and headed over to Great Stirrup Cay…which happens to be Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island.

On the way, we spotted an 8-foot Tiger shark in the shallow water. Pretty crazy!!!

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We all thought it was just a reef shark, but then noticed the tell-tale stripes on its tail. I sure wouldn’t want to hop in and swim around that guy.

We met up with one of Norweginan’s GM’s at Great Stirrup Cay, who invited us jump aboard his jurrassic park style golf cart and gave us a behind-the-scenes style tour of the island. But not before he filled the cart with two cases of Budweiser on ice. Since no cruise ships were here it was pretty interesting to get a feel for all the island has to offer without anyone really around.

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After touring the island, we hopped back on the boat and headed in to Great Harbour Cay. But not before we snagged a few conch shells on the ride back. John and David weren’t going to let us leave without teaching us how to properly crack, clean, and prepare conch!

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And what a lesson it was. David gave us the rundown on exactly where to crack the conch, sever the muscle with a knife, and how then to pull the conch out of the shell. He then had Jereme crack open a few of the conch for practice. Jereme got the hang of it in no time at all! I see a few conch dinners in our future!

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David then drove us over to John’s house on the island, which happens to be Bridget Bardot’s old beach cottage! We enjoyed some fresh conch salad from the conch we cleaned and prepped, along with a few glasses of their equally delicious rum punch.

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to our new friends who were catching a 5 o’clock flight back to Nassau.

Our awesome day ended with a slightly tipsy dinghy ride back to the boat where we (ahem Jereme) may or may not have fallen down and broken two of our wood companionway stairs. ;)) I blame the rum punch, but I’m not letting that detract from our awesome day. The stairs are still broken by the way. But that’s okay because I broke our wood companionway door just yesterday.

Jereme has a lot of wood work in his near future.

This will seriously go down in the books as one of our best days ever. The end. :)))))))

Kristi ManganMay 6, 2014 - 3:43 am

:))))) Seriously these pictures and this story is awesome. I am so happy for you guys and this once-in-a-lifetime adventure you are experiencing! Love the pics… my faves are the ones of Kim with the starfish and Kim with the stingray…. LOVE! Have fun, be safe, and keep the pics coming! Love you! :))))))

Kim SmithMay 6, 2014 - 2:14 pm

WOW, what an awesome day and the photos are amazing!!! We’ve been living vicariously through you guys and can’t wait to go to the Bahamas (next year, hopefully!). Can’t wait to see what you post next!

Safe cruising :)

Kim & Randy
M/V Blue Turtle

JessieMay 6, 2014 - 11:27 pm

What an amazing time the two of you are clearly having — it looks MAGICAL there! Your photos continue to be amazing. I’d love to read a post about your camera gear, editing software, etc. I read your post on photography tips, but even more detail would be great. Cheers! ~Jessie s/v The Red Thread

Skelton CrewMay 12, 2014 - 2:54 pm

Pure awesomeness! What a day! ~Jackie

TOMMay 15, 2014 - 2:08 am

Your adventures (that are just getting started) are truly amazing! Each picture and caption is better than the last. You’ve inspired us to take the kids and attempt some sort of trip in the Bahamas. If we could have one day with a fraction of the memories you have so artfully illustrated, it would be worth it! Everybody loves the pigs! – Tom at PPMD

AmandaMay 16, 2014 - 1:59 am

Looks amazing!! You’re pics are stunning as always!!!

[…] to pick a 1st runner up (because really, we’ve had TONS of awesome experiences), it would be >>our one amazing day<< swimming with stingrays, touring Little Stirrup Cay, and finding/cracking/eating fresh […]

[…] “The Amazing People You Meet While Cruising!” – Yup, still pretty much one of our best days ever! We seriously do meet the nicest, most […]