Day 3 - Coco Cay
|Monday, July 26, 2021: We slept each night with the curtains open on the picture window, and today we woke up shortly before full sunrise to this view of NCL's private island, Great Stirrup Cay. Today was our 25th wedding anniversary, and we had a special day planned.
|Breakfast was at Giovanni's Table again, with pancakes for Debbie and an omelet for Tom.
|Happy Anniversary, Tom.
|Happy Anniversary, Debbie.
|Shortly after 8:00 AM, we headed to the elevators, ...
|... out to the gangway, ...
|... and on to a small tram that immediately drove us directly to the Coco Beach Club without waiting for any other passengers.
|Good morning, Coco Cay!
|The Junkanoo Dancers welcomed us again as we zoomed by.
|We caught a glimpse behind the scenes of the island, ...
|... as we headed to our destination. Here's the start of the winding paths that lead to Coco Beach Club.
|The first to welcome us was a series of geckos, including this tiny guy.
|Isn't he adorable?
|This one did push-ups while Debbie took his picture, politely asking in gecko-language for us to move along.
|The walk to the beach club is well manicured and the entrance is obscured by shrubbery.
|We weren't here just for the beach club, however. Upon arrival, we were escorted to ...
|... Coco Beach Club's floating cabana #10, which our cabana attendant, Tiffany, told us was one of the very best ones because of its privacy at the very end of the row of cabanas.
|We had this beauty to ourselves. All day.
|Tiffany gave us wristbands to allow us access to the beach club could not be removed once they were on. The wooden part would tighten, but could not be loosened. They were very comfortable to wear, and would need to be cut to be removed.
|On the sun deck, there were four recliners, a sun umbrella, and a cooler full of ice and bottled water. There was a water slide at one end, with the water provided by a bucket that you pour yourself. At the other end (behind us in this photo) was an overwater hammock.
|The sitting area had seating for six people, with a table containing lockable storage on one end and non-lockable storage on the other.
|There was a wet bar with a sink, a mini-fridge/bar, an outlet on the back counter, and plates and cutlery, oh my.
|A small room contained a shower and changing area. The fresh water shower was activated by a pull chain attached to the showerhead.
|It was open at the very top, letting in sunlight, but there was also a light if necessary. A mirror and a bench finished off the changing area end of the room.
|Behind the kitchen were floating rafts just like the ones we had enjoyed the day before.
|It had been less than 30 minutes since getting off the ship, and we were settled into our floating cabana with ice cold Diet Cokes. It was going to be a good day.
|We decided to take the rafts for a spin.
|There was a difference in style for boarding the rafts, with Debbie jumping into the ocean and then getting on the raft, and Tom going straight from the dock to the raft.
|The end result was the same: relaxing, floating bliss.
|The hammock was both comfortable to lay on, and it was useful for keeping our position on the rafts.
|After floating for a while, we headed to the bathrooms. The lifeguards on the walkways pointed out a stingray buried in the sand just off the dock. There had been a second one, but it left just before we walked up. You can still see the outline of where it was on the right side of the picture. The one still there on the left is missing its tail but you can easily see his spooky eyes.
|There were still very few people on the beach 90 minutes after being allowed on shore.
|There was a single bench and ashtray in front of the bathrooms that was designated as the smoking area.
|The bathroom was an air-conditioned trailer, ...
|... and was quite lovely. This is the women's side, of course, because Debbie photographs everything.
|On the way back from the bathroom, we say a barracuda floating in the shallows, ...
|... and another other ray returning. We were able to see her arrive and bury herself in the sand.
|Just before 10:00 AM, a brief but intense rain shower swept through. We put some of our gear in the lockable storage and the rest in the freshwater shower area to stay dry. It was very cool to experience, especially under our very own, very large roof.
|The rain was over in a few minutes. Our cabana attendents, Tiffany and Manvar, stopped by to see if anything needed to be done, and left two rain ponchos in these cute blue balls in case it rained again. They wouldn't be needed. The sun came back out and stayed out for the rest of the day.
|We decided it was time to snorkel the immediate area around our cabana. Here's Debbie demostrating the use of the water slide as a snorkeling water entry device.
|Score! Shortly after getting in the water, we saw one of the two nurse sharks that we had seen gliding over the sandbar near our cabana.
|The barracuda we saw earlier from the pier was still there, ...
|... as was the ray we saw come in and bury itself. Its eyes are at the top of this picture and its tail extends to the bottom.
|A school of needlenose swam by. They were everywhere.
|Hey! Didn't we see you guys yesterday?
|Tom went down to pick up a discarded beer can so he could throw it away. He's nice that way.
|There was a scrawled filefish hanging out by the ladder to our cabana.
|We watched several other fish drive away this flounder, otherwise we never would have known it was there. When it stopped swimming, it disappeared into its sandy surroundings.
|This might be the same nurse shark we saw before, or it might be the other one.
|There were lots of fish hanging out under the cabana.
|We weren't able to figure out what these cute little fish were, but there were quite a few of them hanging out underneath our floating cabana.
|Here's a cushion sea star that Tom dove down to photograph.
|After a refreshing freshwater shower, it was time for lunch. Tiffany brought us two bento boxes containing a variety of every appetizer on the menu. From the top left, going clockwise: hummus, crudite, cocktail sauce, shrimp cocktail, limes, cevice, baba ghanoush, pitas, and tzatziki. Everything was delicious.
|After our appetizers, we went for a stroll to explore the main beach club.
|Lots of greenery bordered the path.
|The walk-up bar was in front of the ...
|... infinity pool. We had every intention of spending time here, but our cabana was just too great to leave for longer than a few minutes.
|The restaurant was shaded, with hand-washing stations prior to entering the seating area.
|We headed back to our floating cabana, ...
|... stopping at an unoccupied landside cabanas.
|They are much like the previous day's cabanas at Chill Island, with seating and lockable storage, but with the addition of a mini-bar.
|As far as we could tell, there were only three floating cabanas occupied today. Ours it the one on the far right in this picture.
|There was a baby lemon shark patrolling the shallows under the pier.
|You can see where the name comes from. That color is distinctive.
|We applied more sunscreen for our afternoon activities.
|About an hour after appetizers, Tiffany brought our lunch: grilled Bahamian lobster and a Coco lobster sandwich. Both came with French fries. Delicious!
|Lunch finished, it was time to snorkel again. We started in the turtle grass ringing the sandbar to the right of our cabana.
|This upsidedown jellyfish was new to us.
|Debbie finally got a great picture of a Nassau grouper.
|There are two sea slugs hiding in the grass in this picture.
|This is either a queen conch or a milk conch but it was hard to tell.
|Another sea slug. Ewww.
|This is a West Indian sea egg.
|There were pretty shells decorating the sea floor in lots of places.
|Here's another upsidedown jelly. These things are so cool. We saw a third one later on in the shallow water by the beach.
|Next to the upsidedown jelly were stalks of sea grass with lots of tiny sea creatures in pretty shells clustered around the base.
|Tom dove down to get a close-up of a sea star.
|There was another one in closer to the cabana.
|Around the waterline of the floating cabana base were the tiniest crabs we've ever seen. The more you looked, the more you saw. This one in the center of the photo was probably an inch long.
|Out of the water, you could see the sea stars from above the surface. We never saw them move, but they weren't there in the morning, and then they were there in the afternoon. Sneaky.
|Around 2:00 PM, Tiffany brought dessert: chocolate chip cookies, Bahamian rum soaked cake, tropical fruit sorbet, and exotic fruit salad. Brownies were also an option but we hadn't enjoyed the ones we had the day before, so she omitted those. We had also asked her to bring two of the beach club's signature drink: Coco Cuvée. Everything was delicious.
|The sea birds thought that we could surely share. Sorry, Not-Dave.
|The birds were persistant, but Tom wasn't having any of it.
|Yeah. Tell your friends that this one is defended.
|We mentioned to Tiffany that we were celebrating our 25th anniversary today, and she brought two glasses of rosé champagne for us. Cheers!
|Manvar also wanted to come by to wish us a happy anniversary.
|He gave us a miniature Taj Mahal snow globe presented on a plate with a hibiscus blossom. How sweet.
|At low tide, there was only about a foot of water over the sandbar.
|We enjoyed one more relaxing float in the afternoon sun.
|After seven hours of sun-filled anniversary bliss, we rinsed off in the fresh-water shower, changed into dry clothes, paid our small bar bill, and said goodbye to Tiffany and Manvar.
|We boarded the tram outside the Beach Club, ...
|... passed the Oasis lagoon pool, ...
|... and went back to the ship to shower and cool off.
|Back in our wonderfully air-conditioned suite, we found a cheese plate for us to enjoy. Yum! Cheese! We decided to save it for the next day and put it in our refrigerator. Side note: our refrigerator had a small sign on it explaining that it wasn't a refrigerator - it was a cooler only. All that meant to us is that anything we put in it was never cold. Argh.
|Goodbye, Coco Cay! We will definitely miss you.
|Dinner started with crispy calamari for both of us, ...
|... duck à l'orange and seafood linguini Alfredo, ...
|... and ending with delicious Grand Marnier soufflés.
|After dinner, we went up on deck to give our cabin steward, Dwi, more time to clean our cabin. The soft focus is courtesy of condensation on the camera lens as a result of going from the cool air-conditioned interior of the ship to the humid exterior.
|We sailed out past the anchorage area where we had seen the cruise ships all day. We zoomed way in to catch a glimpse of each one. From north to south were: Carnival Conquest, ...
|... followed by its nearly-identical twin, Carnival Freedom, ...
|... Holland America Nieuw Statendam, ...
|... Celebrity Reflection, ...
|... and lastly Explorer of the Seas, with Mariner of the Seas hidden behind it.
|We referred to Tom's trusty Marine Traffic app to identify what we were seeing.
|Later on, we saw Odyssey of the Seas underway toward some other port.
|We received a hilarious anniversary video created by Jill's partner, Jared, featuring our favorite movies, including "That Thing You Do!," each of which were reworked slightly to feature us.
|Dwi had left tomorrow's Cruise Compass program and a bath towel bear for us.
|Here's the sunset of a perfect day. Happy 25th Anniversary!
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy