Last summer, I was working endlessly towards reaching my goals at Miss America. This summer, I am busy celebrating life: AKA Bahamas trip to a beautiful island called Treasure Cay. A true paradise in the Atlantic Ocean, these islands are made up of crystal clear waters, an unlimited supply of fish and lobsters, coral reefs, plenty of alcohol and cracked conch, etc. Going into this trip not knowing much about the Bahamas, (aside from the fact that it was the start of lobster season- woo!) I was pleasantly surprised to say the least! Continue on for a glimpse into a week in paradise….
I don’t know how many of you have ever flown to the Bahamas, but wow, the planes are tiny! BahamasAir and Silver Airlines are basically the only two options, unless flying private. Both of which are made up of planes that have about 10 rows in them. The benefit of BahamasAirà free checked bag, yassss. But be prepared to feel every bump of turbulence throughout the trip! Luckily, the flight to Treasure Cay is only about 45 minutes in length. But also know, the Bahamians are completely on their own time schedule and are not the most trustworthy. I was warned in advance not to put anything of value into my checked luggage. Thankfully, nothing appeared to be taken out of my bag, but that wasn’t the case for the guy I was traveling with. He had packed three shafts/ pole spears in a PVC tube and checked them (these are tools used for spearing lobsters- we will get into that soon). The PVC tube supposedly never made it to the Bahamas. Two days into our trip, the PVC tube showed up at our doorstep, which had been run over, cracked, and all of the shafts/ spear poles had been stolen… a wonderful welcome by the Bahamians.
WHERE DID WE STAY?
The Cottages. There are very few developments on this island, so all you have to know is they are called the Cottages. This development is built on the most beautiful private beach, with ten identical houses all facing two large pools in the middle. These 3bed x 2bath houses are all individually owned and decorated to perfection; running about $1500 for 4 nights. The beach is beautiful, the marina is only a quick golf cart ride away, the fishing is wonderful, the owners are pleasant, and most importantly, the biggest attractions (Nippers/ Grabbers, Hope Town shopping, No Name Cay with piggies) are super close! Two things I 100% recommend if visiting this island:
Without a golf cart, you will be walking miles to get to the marina, grocery store, liquor store, etc. And
you need a boat to travel to all the fun places I listed above. Without a boat, there are still options, such the ferry, but be ready to spend some serious money and be on someone else’s time schedule. The ferry’s are just little 30 (ish) ft boats that charge you about $50/person for a 5 minute boat ride round trip. Crazy! But worth it if it is your only option.
THE ATTRACTIONS: LET THE FUN BEGIN
Now that I have mentioned Nippers and Grabbers multiple times, I’ll go ahead and explain… If you are near Great Guana Cay on a Sunday, these two bars are a MUST! In all honesty, they are just two mediocre bars… BUT they are located on the most beautiful beaches, they are painted bright colors, they include multiple pools within the outdoor bars, they have incredible frozen drinks, and an overall killer ambiance. Hundreds of people pull up their boats, park on the beach, and head on up to party! Nippers should definitely be your first stop, but afterwards, head on over to Grabbers for even more fun! And on Sunday’s, Nippers has an incredible pig roast where you can eat some delicious, endless Bahamian food. Don’t forget to purchase your Nippers and Grabbers shirts!
Secondly, I must talk about this crazy thing called lobster shooting? Lobster catching? (Not entirely sure what to call it because I have never seen such a thing…) August 1st kicks off lobster season, or should I say ‘buggin.’ The oceans are suddenly filled with boats bright and early on August 1st, with, what appears to be, snorkelers surrounding these boats. But in reality, they are not snorkeling to see pretty fish and coral, they are on a mad hunt to find lobsters hiding among the coral on the ocean floor. Using long shafts/ pole spears, with slings attacked to one end, the hunters (which I definitely became one of) dive down to the bottom while holding their breath, poke around in holes among the coral, and anxiously await the appearance of lobsters to come scurrying out. As soon as a nice sized one appears, the pole and sling are pulled tight and aimed at the body of the lobster, then released and shot directly through the ‘bug.’ Boom, dinner. Such a crazy little concept of hunting that I had never even knew was a thing! Now I must mention that the limit per boat is only 10 lobsters… (Not sure who actually follows this rule because it seems like most boats were packinggggg some dang lobster). This rule really came into play when we were out diving and came across a piece of a wooden crate on the ocean floor that was home to 60+ lobsters. It was quite the sight to see when one diver moved the wood slightly, only to see a swarm of lobsters scurrying in every direction. SO COOL. So do you stick to the rule and only take 10 of them total? Personally, I do not want to end up in Bahamian jail… So needless to say, we ate lobster lie it was our job over the next couple of days. Lobster on the grill, lobster mac n’ cheese, lobster and eggs, lobster fajitis… you name it, we probably ate it. And we had a killer time hunting it.
On another note, I also learned about some incredible sports: free diving and spear fishing. Being a scuba diving fanatic, the word ‘diving’ always gets my attention. However, free diving differs in the sense that you have no tank. You literally hold your breath and dive down as deep as you desire… just like when you are shooting lobsters. Unlike scuba diving, where you descend and ascend very slowly, with free diving you are moving very fast. This got me wondering, how safe is this sport? How long can the human body last off of one breath before blacking out? Yes, the risk of nitrogen poisoning is eliminated because you are not breathing out of a tank, but there must be other risks, right? Stay tuned for a blog post specifically about free diving and the effects on the human body. As for spear fishing, this sport takes free diving to an entire new level. To spear fish, one must free dive fairly deep with a spear fishing pole in hand (some pretty neat pieces of equipment). The diver/ fisher reaches an optimal depth, sits and waits for a massive fish to swim by (all while holding breath), and if they are lucky enough to see a fish, they shoot it underwater using the spear fishing pole! I am just learning about this sport, but if you have never heard of it I highly recommend watching a few YouTube videos. It just might blow your mind! Being that I am dating a mad spear fisherman, stay tuned for blog posts about spearfishing trips!
So has anyone here see those cute little piggy pictures people take at the Bahamas and plaster all over social media? If you have no idea what I am talking about, Google ‘Piggyville on No Name Cay’ and you will see what I mean. There are literally hundreds of wild pigs running around this island that will even jump in the ocean and swim with you! It is wild. Originally, I had no desire to pick up the piglets… until Kasey (a girl on my trip) starts grabbing them and snapping pictures with them like they are totally harmless little dudes! Not going to lie, I was suddenly determined to get a cute pic with one of those piggys. No matter how many times people warned me that A. They are nasty/ dirty creatures, and B. The mother hogs WILL attack you and CHARGE you if you touch their baby piglets… ehhhhhhhhh Kasey did it, I got this. How hard could it really be to catch a little wild pig anyways? And so, my (slightly tipsy) journey to capture a pig began. I decided to search for the smallest ones I could find, that were away from their moms… check, found one. I then creeped up on the thing as it was drinking from a water spout and slowly but surely LOUNGED out to grab it. Not only did I miss the dang pig, (as it sprinted away right out of my hands), it started squealing like nothing I had heard before! To make matters worse, a man behind me started yelling at me “DO NOT TOUCH THE PIGS! THEY BITE!” Darn. Take two… I would have to think this through quite a bit more… I suddenly saw a child down the beach with a loft of bread- Yes. So I worked my charm on this poor child, used bread as bait, and finally started making some progress. 3-10 attempts later, there was a group forming behind me, watching and giggling at my efforts. I was determined. Finally, my moment of glory occurred! It’s honestly sort of a blur- adrenaline maybe? Determination? Who knows. But I caught the pig! I got a cute picture! AND I didn’t get charged/ bitten/ killed at sea in the process! I would say, solid day on No Name Cay. Totally recommend this spot. Just ignore the * Danger: Pigs Bite * signs.
Overall, Treasure Cay was an incredible place to visit… I may even want to live there one day. The sun was hot, the ocean was crystal clear and warm, the lobsters were abundant, the reefs were beautiful, and the atmosphere was amazing. There were very few things about this place not to love! The weather did get a little crazy on us some days, raining heavily for about an hour on three separate days. This was not a hug deal, except for the fact that every time it stormed, the power went out for a few hours. Apparently, this is completely normal to experience anywhere throughout the Bahamas (just something to be aware of in case you ever choose to plan a trip). In addition, you must be aware of your surroundings and of the Bahamians. Do not be too quick to trust them, they might just decide to steal your fishing gear! Other than that, I have no complaints about this beautiful place. I highly recommend a trip to Treasure Cay.