It’s not every day that you get to enjoy the luxury of a private Caribbean island—complete with wild boat ride, feeding stingrays and snorkeling with sharks.
Upon return from our retreat, I placed two calls. One to my chiropractor, the other to my shrink…but it was the best day of my year.
We docked at the cruise ship port in Nassau early due to bad weather the previous day and lined up with the rest of the sheep to disembark. While everyone in the flock is disoriented and scrambling to find something to do, we are cool, calm and collected as we stroll passed the chaos.
After a short trip through town, we are out of the madness and boarding a power boat. Dwayne, one of three members of the powerboat crew, greets us with a grin that reads “I dare you to sit in the front.” I gamble and take a seat 3 spots from the bow.
Things start out slow until we hit open water and Dwayne lets it rip. We instantly go from 10 miles per hour to what feels like 100 miles per hour. The boat slams into the waves and we bounce like jockeys in the final stretch of the Kentucky Derby. Screams, laughter, excitement and potential loss of virginity are all caught on Patricia’s GoPro. I somehow manage to turn my head through the wind and glance back toward the once giant cruise ship that now looks like a tiny piece of Lego.
After about 30 minutes, my back starts reminding me I am no longer in my teens. Lucky for me, we take a short break on a remote island to have a quick dip in the brightest blue water and feed frozen grapes to wild iguanas. While the latter is less impressive to me (as a resident of Florida this is part of our day to day), I appreciate the break.
As we approach our final destination, the crew blasts the theme song of Mission Impossible, which is the perfect backdrop to the scene that includes at least 10 sharks circling our boat. We disembark to utopia where I met my best friend for the day, Mark, the man standing behind our open bar. I really didn’t want to cross “private island with an open bar” off my bucket list so I decide to qualify it by adding “with 25 of my closest friends”. So it’s still there.
Now on to the entertainment: Dwayne jumps into the shark-infested water with bait. Our jaws (no pun intended) drop as we stand in complete silence thus confirming most of us could never do voiceovers for Discovery Channel. That is with the exception of Alex. In the name of one thousand likes on Facebook, he steps up, grabs the rope and gives the shark the best 3 second fight of his life before quickly turning the reigns back over to the expert.
Eventually the sharks swim away and are replaced with much friendlier stingrays. After the sharks, these guys seemed incredibly trustworthy, even with their slimy skin and intact barbs. Later we are informed that the island is available for a private overnight stay so we retreat from the beach and head over to the two-bedroom villa. With 26 of us and only a couple of beds, the conniving stares around the room take a page from Lord of the Flies. We decide to remain civil, knowing that one day we will come back in smaller groups.
We take five and enjoy a delicious BBQ buffet. Afterwards, we are asked to live the adventure with a little bit of snorkeling. Wait, are we really about to swim in shark infested waters? We walk up the beach to swim with the current, so the required exercise is very limited. Perfect after a few drinks but don’t try this at home.
We arrive back to the beach where the crew is preparing fresh conch salad with live conch directly from the ocean. After our tough work out, we deserve it and it is absolutely delicious.
We spend our last few moments together on our private island once again in silence. This time it is not out of fear but because we are trying to stay in this moment forever.
We are probably the only people who got back on a luxury cruise feeling depressed. In fact, since that day, it takes a lot to impress us. We still sit around reminiscing about the best day of our year and like characters from LOST, we try to figure out not how, but when we can get back to the Island.