Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monarch Day 3 - Coco Cay

The next morning I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I pulled on some clothes and slipped out of the cabin with my camera. We were headed west so I walked to the stern where the sun was just starting to rise over the ship’s wake. There were only a few other people around, quietly sharing the moment. It was so peaceful.

sunrise on Monarch of the Seas


When the sun was fully up, I went back to the cabin to wake Ron up. We had signed up for the 9:30 Jet Ski excursion so we needed to be on a tender by 8:30. We had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer, packed up the beach bag and got on the next tender to the island.
There were 3 other couples on our Jet Ski tour, but Ron and I were the only ones who had booked individual Jet Skis. All the other women were riding with their husbands. We had a 10-minute briefing on how to operate the Jet Skis and then our guide assigned us our positions in the group. Since Ron and I had our own skis and therefore had the least weight, we would be in positions 1 and 2. Hmmmm….. I was really hoping to be closer to the back since I didn’t think I wanted to go fast. I’d only been on a Jet Ski once before and only for about 2 minutes before I’d tipped it over and it wouldn’t restart. Our guide told us that he would go first and the assistant guide would tell us when we should each follow. He said that the water could get very shallow so be sure to stay in his wake. Then he took off and Ron took off after him. It was my turn next but as much as I tried to keep up, they were soon far, far ahead of me. I looked behind me but there was no one behind either! I was kind of scared! I’d expected us all to stay close together but now I couldn’t even see Ron’s wake to follow it. I just hung on to the handle bars and kept driving straight out, hoping I didn’t hit bottom. The water was so clear that I couldn’t tell how deep it was. Finally, I saw the guide coming back for me. Whew!

Eventually the whole group caught up and the guides shuffled our positions around so that the fastest would be in the front and the slowest in the back. I got moved to the #3 spot, to my relief. We rode out from Coco Cay towards Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, stopping at a couple of points along the way for the guide to tell us about the islands. In one spot there were huge starfish on the bottom. We also saw the lighthouse on Great Stirrup Cay, the second oldest lighthouse in the Bahamas. I started to relax a bit and enjoyed the spectacularly clear, blue water. It was gorgeous. On the last leg of the tour, the guide encouraged us to take our skis as fast as they would go, so I did, bouncing over the waves and trying not to fly off the seat. What an adrenaline rush!

jet ski tour

jet ski tour

jet ski tour

After a barbecue lunch (ribs, burgers, salad and macaroni and cheese), Ron and I relaxed on some lounge chairs near the water sports area. Just as I was dozing off for a nice catnap, there was a big commotion of seagulls. Even though there are signs all over saying “Don’t Feed the Birds”, someone had brought their lunch back to their lounge chair and left their half-empty plate on the chair. The seagulls were flying all over and fighting over the food. The bonehead (I mean, the inconsiderate individual) who’d brought the plate just said, “I didn’t think they’d eat ribs.” So much for my nap.

Don't Feed the Birds sign
Seriously...Don't do it!

Oh well, I was ready for some snorkeling anyway.  The main snorkeling sites were marked with buoys. Ron and I swam out to the first buoy where there were some sunken cannons. The water was a little silty but it was still a pretty cool site. We saw several different kinds of fish, including a grouper. Further out by the lifeguard stand was the sunken airplane. When we got near, we were surrounded by hundreds of yellow tail snapper and schools of grunt. It was amazing – like swimming in a fish bowl! I had on my reflecting anti-glare mask and the yellow tails were curious about seeing their reflection. If I stayed still, they would swim right up to my face and stare. A couple of them even bumped right into my mask. It was really funny.

snorkeling at Coco Cay

snorkeling at Coco Cay

It was a long swim back to shore so when we got to our lounge chairs, Ron was ready for some liquid refreshment. But all the bars were closed! I couldn’t believe it - it was already 3:30! It had been such a perfect day and I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet. But we packed up our stuff and headed to the tender station. On the ride back to the ship, someone got everyone on the top deck of the tender doing the wave.

on the tender
On the tender

That night we were sleepy and didn’t feel like giving our winnings back to the casino or going to the Quest show. We’d had a fun day with a lot of sun, some good exercise, and (in Ron’s case) a little too much beer. So after a quiet dinner (table for two), we went back to the cabin to fill out our departure paperwork and fall asleep to the rocking of the ship. We were on our way home.

Farewell, Monarch!  Welcome, Enchantment!

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