True-Life Adventures: Disney Cruise, Day 4a

Tuesday, October 1.

CASTAWAY CAY, part 1!!

As mentioned before, Disney owns a little island in the Bahamas and has Dis-nified it, set up shops and eateries and on. Yes, even the classic characters showed up for photo ops. And Jack Sparrow, but I was unable to meet him this time. But our dock was much better this time around. As for the rodent, I’m not in the picture. I’m just showing that, yes, the characters are out in 90+ degree heat.

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I’m not sure when my fellow travelers planned on leaving the ship, but it ended up being 10:15, because we needed to find something called a Waverunner by 11a.m. If you didn’t know what a Waverunner is before, that’s cool. I’ll assume that you’ve googled it by now.

A little background: long before the cruise, Sister told me about the excursion that she’d already purchased, and because Other Sister couldn’t join us, she spent a good fifteen minutes during our dinner to convince me to take Other Sister’s place on the Waverunner. Instead of, I don’t know, canceling my part in the excursion.

I learned that night that Sister shares my phobia of sharks and other bitey sea creatures like barricudas. She’s just more willing to confront it than I am. See, my phobia extends to “water I cannot see bottom of,” so I have a longer way to go. Because there are sharks and barricudas in it. Shut up. There are.

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of being on a cruise with such a phobia. It’s the nearness to the water that sets it off. If the Disney Wonder were the size of a dinghy, then I’d have lots of problems.

More things: due to my extremely low self-image, I am adamant about not showing my legs, so never during my adult life had I purchased a bathing suit. In fairness, I technically still didn’t, but I did take the plunge – pun intended. I guess – before the cruise, and purchased two pairs of men’s swimming trunks. This is because I could not find any women’s swimming trunks. They covered my thighs, if not the rest of my legs, so also for the first time in my adult life, I had to shave my legs. See, when you never show your legs to anyone but a doctor, there’s no need for shaving. Shut up. There isn’t.

As for the bathing suit top, that’s what T-shirts are for!

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Castaway Cay is a very lovely place worthy of many pictures, so there will be those. Getting to our excursion, though, was an adventure of its own as we encountered only new Disney employees cast members who’d never worked on the island before, and sent us back and forth many times with wrong directions. Also, CC has signs like this (not mine – copied from jbwolffiv / flickr):

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But luck was against us that day: we found the aquatic vehicles.

After thirty seconds of instruction, we climbed onto our aquatic steeds and started our engines. My vehicle immediately turned around to point back at the shore. The poor thing was trying to help me, but I didn’t listen and was determined to stay with the group.

Sister and Mom doubled up, with Sister driving. I was dead last in the convoy we’d formed, the goal being to follow the leader around the bay and out to… oh. Uh. The open ocean? Really? Any chance we can make our own path? Just putter slowly around a lagoon or something?

Shit.

I was going to quote from my journal, but here’s a summary: my phobia was not, by any stretch of the imagination, conquered. There was no part of my Waverunner adventure that I enjoyed. Not the rough seas (confirmed by one of our guides) causing my vehicle to rock wildly and send me off course more than once, not the sun laughing at my two coats of 100 spf sunscreen, not the sea water leaping into my eyes with abandon and blinding me for the entire return trip, and least of all, not that one big wave that caused the Waverunner’s steering bar to make violent contact with my face.

Yes, a large wake made me slam my face hard into the steering bar, then backwards just as hard (that’s called whiplash, kids). It’s a good thing I’m already visiting a chiropractor twice a month for my already terrible neck. For half a minute I was dazed enough that I gave serious thought to showing the “help” sign to the guide bringing up the rear, but for some reason tried to keep following Sister and Mom.

The group was headed back for the ship, anyway, so I just had to… ah, why are we going around the ship? What’s with–? Really? More loops around more bays? Okay, so now back to– Oh, sure, why not make yet another wide loop? Shore now? Wait… for real? We’re going back?? YES! YES YES YES YES YES!!

That was the one and only time that I really wanted to open up that baby and let it fly, if it meant getting back to shore faster.

Now for some photographic proof that this happened. These were at our one tour stop, which appeared to be two miles off shore, but as you can see, was clear, beautiful, and about waist deep. I stayed on because I knew that I’d never be able to climb back on from waist height.

Friend, looking good. Her lifejacket was only off because we were stopped. Mom and Sister were preparing to hop off.

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The trio, trying to convince me that the water’s fine.

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Me, minutes before tragedy struck. And that’s not white sand on the vehicle, but my legs.

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It turns out that I wasn’t the only casualty. Sister’s vehicle had something rough or sharp on its side – sharp enough to cut her thigh. Like, blood trailing down her leg cut. She needed a trip to the First Aid station for some bandaging. I decided that we would serve as living examples of the dangers of recreational sea vehicles. A warning to those who might follow in our… wake. Sorry.

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All right, now that the trauma that will haunt my days forever had ended, we were off to Sister’s CABANA. She had rented one of four adult cabanas available on the adult side of the island. In essence, the concierge service followed us to Castaway Cay. After more confused directions, we mostly walked to the next tram stop, rather than take a tram to that stop, and found the cabana check-in. From there we accidentally took somebody else’s cart and were driven to it. The cabanas offer protection from the sun, as you can see, and at bottom right is the mini fridge that already had drinks inside. Our fruit bowl had already been claimed by ants, though. No matter. My only concern was finding some way to change into dry clothes, because my time in the water was done for the forseeable future.

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The cabana offered something like a shower curtain, minus a shower, so I changed into the dry clothes that I’d brought and ditched my flip flops for shoes and socks. I’d never owned flip flops before, either. It turns out that they’re really uncomfortable. Who knew? Behold the horror of this combination!!!!

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YOU CAN’T UNSEE IT!!

My companions disagreed with my plan to stay dry and spent more time in the warm, beautiful Bahamas bay. Our Cabana Boy arrived at 1:30 to bring us to the island’s barbecue just in time for them to start putting away the equipment. Because eating on time is for losers.

I announced that I was done with Castaway Cay and would make my way back to the ship. Not without camera in hand, though. Here’s what I saw while making my way back:

That’s not our ship wildly off-course, but the Disney Dream, wandering around aimlessly until its turn came at port. And a view from our adults-only beach.

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Next: still Day 4, but PIRATE NIGHT!

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About herdthinner

Writer and artist who pays the bills with another job
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