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September 25, 2002
The Exuma Excursion continues with a nature hike, where our host points out some space junk, a couple of old buildings, and some nice panoramic scenery. Unless you enjoy walking barefoot on a variety of rough surfaces, wear some sandals or water-friendly footgear. The hike is not too rigorous, but you will wade through knee-high water and climb some steps surrounded by shrubbery.
The powerboat then takes you to Leaf Cay, one of the Allan's Cay Islands. This little piece of land is the home to some Bahamian rock iguanas, some growing to a length of three feet or so. You can swim ashore (the boat does not dock on Leaf Cay) and feed grapes to the iguanas using twigs and sticks so that they do not bite your fingers. The return powerboat ride gets you back to Paradise Island around 5PM. If you are lucky, you may spot a dolphin along the way.
Island World Adventures ain't cheap, costing $160 per person (as of September 2002). The trip is comparable to an excursion I took around Cairns, Australia in November 2001, but that was under $100. Still, if you want a fun splurge, the Island World Exuma Excursion is a good way to spend a fun day in the sun. My tour was rained out the first day, but my excursions expert at Club Med was able to book me for the next day. It is recommended that you book at least one day in advance so you do not miss out.
From journal Bill in the Bahamas - NASSAU and PARADISE ISLAND
Once you are docked at Saddleback Cay (about 40 miles from Nassau), you will meet the hosts, a couple which are basically caretakers of this cay. This is basically a stripped down version of Gilligan's Island, but in a good way. There is a nice beach where you can relax or walk about, or you can take a look at the interesting selection of critters (geckos, hermit crabs) and pests (mosquitoes, bring a good repellent!). The powerboat then pulls out to a reef area for some snorkeling. The captain is careful to mention areas that are safer than others, as he does not want divers to stray too far from the boat.
Lunch is served back on the island, with a decent buffet of salad, pasta, chicken, fish, veggies, fruit and cookies. You can get beverages like juices, water, Kalik beer or a mean rum punch. Sit at one of the wooden benches under thatched roof canopies and swap travel stories with your new mates. You are advised to save the chicken bones and other leftovers so that you can feed them to the sharks, barracudas and seagulls. Get into the water and you can feed stingrays, or just let them sideswipe your legs with their smooth bodies (quite a sensation!).
(Continued in Part 2)
March 8, 2001
From journal Nassau, Bahamas