Bahama Mama! Part 3

Nassau, Bahamas was our final stop in the Caribbean. This island can be a hit or miss, depending on what you get yourself into. It is best to have a plan for the day and to avoid going into the inner city once you get on the island since there are many vendors that can be aggressive when you get off the ship, or lead you in the wrong direction for extra money. Luckily for us, my mom had a day planned that I could have never imagined would have been as unbelievably fun as it was.

At 10am we got off the boat and walked over to Starbucks (yes, they have Starbucks on this island and it is magical) to get a quick coffee before our excursion.

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Paparazzi photos of us getting off the ship. (My mom took this. We are in no way famous.)

From there, we walked to this rock wall where a row of small six-passenger boats were lined up. A resident of the island named Derrick came over, spoke to my mom who had booked the excursion with him, and had us board his boat that just fit my whole family. He drove the boat through the neighborhoods of the island, passing houses owned by Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan. He also drove us through Atlantis, where we saw yachts that are bigger than my house. (#goals)

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Erin and I on the boat while we drove through Atlantis!

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Look closely at all the birds on the dock!

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Someone let me know when this goes on the market!

After this tour, he drove the boat out past most of civilization and into what seemed like the middle of nowhere. It was windy, the water was choppy, there were no other people around us, and I was a little nervous. I thought we were just driving to another part of the island, but then stopped the boat in the middle of the ocean to anchor it. I was freaking out. (Was this where we were going to die? I don’t know this person. He seems nice…but…are we okay? Mom? MOM?) He came around to where we sat and took out a giant pack of snorkeling equipment. Now I was freaking out for different reasons. I had never been snorkeling before, let alone in the middle of the Caribbean sea. What if a shark eats me? What if I drift too far away from the boat? What if I inhale the water and choke? Everyone jumped in before me except my mom. She was just as nervous as I was. But we jumped in together and I cannot tell you how happy I am that I decided to go for it. The water was so warm and when I looked at what was under water with me my jaw dropped. If you go to Google Images and type in “underwater Caribbean sea,” the photos that come up are what I literally saw with my own eyes. Schools of fish surrounded me and swam through the coral reef that sat just below my feet. Baby jellyfish floated on by without bothering me in the slightest, and bonus, there were no sharks to be found! It wasn’t long before I was swimming as far down as I could to be right up against the coral reef with the fish. I never wanted to leave this area. But after 45 minutes or so we were getting tired so we got back on the boat and continued on with our trip.

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Attempt one at a family selfie in the middle of the ocean. We forgot mom.

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Attempt two at a family selfie in the middle of the ocean. The wind blew.

At this point Erin and I thought we were goddesses of the sea. We sat with our legs hanging off the side and our hair blowing in the breeze. We sailed by all of civilization to this uninhabited island. As we approached it I kept thinking “imagine if we stopped here and got off? we’d have this island completely to ourselves.” Well, guess what. That is exactly what happened. Derrick parked our boat in the shallow, completely clear water. When we got off, the water only went up to our knees. He told us to go have fun exploring the island.

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We had this island all to ourselves. Let me repeat that last part. ALL TO OURSELVES.

My heart was so full of happiness, I could not wrap my head around the fact that my family had a literal island to ourselves. We laid in the sand, played in the water, and did some hard core exploring.

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Quick! Girls, stand awkwardly and try to look like models! Guys, do a thumbs up!

I went off on my own for a few minutes to look at what the brush of the island was like. Once I got onto shore, I looked down and could not believe my eyes. There were piles and piles of these beautiful pink and orange conch shells all over the sand. My family ran over to me and we picked up thirteen of them! Every single one was so unique and beautiful. Derrick let us take each and every one of them back on the boat after we ran over to him with stars in our eyes like we had just seen the most magical thing to ever exist! When Erin and I got on we looked at my mom and told her “this is the best day of our lives.” We carefully placed our beautiful treasures in the center of the boat and got back to being the goddesses we had proclaimed ourselves to be.

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Can you believe that these are sitting in my bedroom right now?

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Oh hey guys, didn’t see you there. I was busy cleaning my conch shell because I am Ariel.

Derrick did not let the day end there. He took us on a tour of the rest of the nearby islands. This included a drive through the place where Gilligan’s Island was filmed.

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There it is! Gilligan’s Island was filmed right here!

We sailed by a mini shark bay.

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A real life shark! This was the only one that wanted to come out from behind the rocks. I was fine with that. Wasn’t in the mood to be bait that day.

And we acted like we were doing photoshoots as we drove through the cliffs and back to the sea.

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Catch us in the Bahamas 2017 December issue.

Nothing will ever top the experiences that took place on that day.

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….That night, however, reality hit. Erin and I seemed to be so distracted by the glorious day we were having that we completely forgot to apply sunscreen. Guys. Take a look at a nearby bottle of ketchup, or any lobsters that may or may not be chillin’ out in your home. That is how red we were, especially little Irish Courtney!

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You could roast marshmallows on our chests.

I do not know who I thought I was not putting on sunscreen, but karma came back to bite me and it bit HARD. I could not even move, and I am going to be honest with you, I do not even remember what I did that night because I am pretty sure I laid passed out in my bed under as many blankets I could find because I was so sick from the sun. The only proof I have that I made it out alive that night is this video I took of sunset from the boat deck.

Are we recognizing a theme here, folks? A “do as I say, not as I do” theme, maybe? Honestly, the sunburn was tough. I regret not applying sunscreen. If I come down with some sort of skin disease later in my life, I’ll know then that this was the day that did me in. But I’ll know that I had a damn good time doing it.

 

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