Much as I enjoyed each day up to this one, Treasure Reef ranks as one of the highlights of my life!
The ship had docked sometime in the night, so we were breakfasting at 7:30, dressed for snorkeling. Well, we had regular shoes and cover-ups on. And we hadn’t put on our goggles yet…
Instead of getting on a bus, as we expected, the tour guide led us across the quay and around a little tourist trap of shops [CTC*] Cleverly [mostly because we were older than the rest of the crowd] we were at the end of the line and so we got to sit on the netting of the catamaran, right up front. I found that I could lie facedown and see right to the bottom of the ocean, about 50’ down.
As I watched, transfixed, I could see luminous rectangles of bright yellow, outlined with green reflections of the waves, on the white sand below. Gradually, dark, rather ominous-looking patches appeared. I suddenly realized these were coral reefs jutting up from the ocean floor. Lifting my head slightly, I could see [literally] hundreds of large flying fish fleeing before us. They took us for a large voracious predator. I had seen these fish from the casino deck and was entranced, but close-up, I could see that they used their tails to take off from the water, keeping their “wing” fins spread wide. Then they could get another lift using their tails to propel them from a rising wave. Dipping their tails into the wave and turning it sharply to the side took them off in another direction to escape.
Meanwhile, the tour guides were dancing with the passengers stranded on the boat deck, whilst most on the bow nets were watching the show. About 6 of us were open-mouthed with astonishment at the FISH dancing. Chacun à son gôut… **
Although the tour had implied we’d be under sail part of the time, we rode the “iron genoa”*** the whole way. Just as well, as it took an hour there and an hour back, leaving us a scant hour in the water.
The crew doled out equipment and told us how to use it. They were concerned with my insistence on using my swim goggles—they were issuing masks that covered eyes and nose—but understood when I told them they were corrective lenses. It was a bit difficult, as water kept slamming up my nose; I had a nose clip, but the pressure of diving was too much for it. So I held my nose much of the time.
I had practiced all summer in a friend’s pool so I was comfortable with the new-fangled snorkels that Ron had bought us. They have a one-way valve at the bottom which allows you to blow out water from both ends of the snorkel. Ron had also provided us each with a one-time use underwater camera. We took quite a few photos, but nothing compares with the real deal!
We were directed to swim over to a buoy marking the reef, but we got separated anyway and only hooked up toward the end of the swim, but in time to take silly photos of each other taking each other’s photo.
There were hundred of fish, swimming in schools: yellow ones with silver stripes; black with electric blue line and a dorsal fin the whole length of their back; large fish with rainbows; tiny electric blues darting and turning; moon jellies which were easy to avoid; medium sized bright white fish in sizable schools; purple fan corals moving languidly in the current; brain corals looking just like brains; and pike looking just like pike ought to.
I tried several times to dive but kick all I might, I could not get far below the surface. Only 1 guy I saw could do it. I wondered if there was more salt in the ocean around the islands, making me more buoyant. Fat as I am, I typically sink like a log.
Returning to the boat was “too soon”, and yet, I could feel fatigue setting in. It was cold enough that muscles threatened to cramp. This time, there were more people out on the net, but mostly to sun themselves and snooze. I stayed glued face down on the net.
Back on the cruise ship, we showered and ate lunch before making our way to “our” deck chairs [in the shade]. The ship departed about 3 pm and we watched an approaching thunderstorm. We watched the docks and harbor of Freeport as we left: busy docks full of freight containers and swarming trucks being loaded with the containers by “n” shaped cranes; a large, apparently abandoned sugar mill / factory; a lonely beach nearby. By 4:30, as we headed north, we could still see land on the horizon.
Passing thoughts on the cruise scene. There is more than one cruise going on, on any ship. Among them: the shopping cruise, the gambling cruise; the cabin cruise; the fry-in-the-sun cruise; the family cruise; the eat everything that isn’t nailed down cruise; the spend a fortune in the spa cruise; and the booze cruise. Ron and I went on the ‘sailing from the cooling autumn back into summer’, ‘sit alone on the windy deck’, ‘in the shade’ cruise.
Our last evening was spent having escargot for dinner, then listening to Brian Scott. And lastly, we dozed off, serenaded by the boom-boom-boom of the revue show. We were resigned to this in our cheap cabin, but the expensive cabins next to us cannot have been happy—unless they were all drunk and watching the show.
N4 37 Freeport, Bahamas edition
 for photos, visit
* cheap tourist crap
** to each his own
*** a genoa is a large triangular fore-sail used in light winds. An “iron genoa” is a motor