The day before last, I had a day off in Nassau, a criminally over-developed island habitually besieged by sun-burned cruise ship passengers and bored Miamians fresh off of gambling junkets. Not surprisingly, it is not my top pick for a vacation destination, but when in Rome, or some such cliché… In other words, I had no choice but to make the best of it.
My generic chain hotel had hand written signs at the activity desks offering a snorkeling/ lunch/ booze cruise for $60. I like snorkeling, have a habit of eating lunch when time permits and am loathe to turn down an open bar, so this was among the easier decisions I had made this week.
The passengers on board were a mixture of spring breakers, Midwestern cruise folks and assorted singles, such as myself, Ekaterina, the Brazilian girl on a beach destination tour of the Caribbean and Alex, the Kenyan banking whiz on a last lost weekend before taking a new job in New York.
We anchored in a still cove and those that were snorkeling grabbed their gear and jumped in. The spot was pretty uninspiring with a very small handful of dull-colored corals and a few standard issue fish lazily nibbling on the food the ship’s crew was optimistically dumping overboard in an effort to lure them near. We were given forty-five minutes in the water, but most of us were back on board collecting our box lunches and sipping Bahama Mamas well before the time was up.
Stop #2 on Atoll Island for a little beach time was similarly meh. We strolled up and down the thin strip of sand, some people sunbathing, some jet skiing, others snapping photos, all of us waiting for the call to re-board. I lucked out under the special attention of the ship’s dj, Slick Rick, who took me down an unmarked trail that led to a pretty view of the neighboring islands.
Things didn’t pick up until we left the beach. That’s when all the chairs were cleared from the top deck, the drinks became noticeably stronger and Slick Rick turned the music up to eleven. This outing was meant to be a party cruise with all the other stops added to pad the itinerary, but what they did well, they did well indeed. With minimal prodding from the staff, all the passengers were soon up and dancing. The cliques melted away and a drunken spirit of good-will and inclusiveness pervaded the group. Even the unfortunate bar-back whose dentiture gave him an uncanny resemblance to a barracuda was getting humped on by a pair of inebriated college girls.
A dream day? Hardly, but after a winter enduring what felt like nonstop rain, snow and sleet, there were certainly worse ways of spending the day than boogieing down under a cloudless sky, tropical drink in hand, while breathing in the warm Caribbean air.