By Wendy Wood-Prince
To recap from last month’s Wendy Worldwide, an epic adventure was had by 18 of my family members when we headed to the remote island of Fowl Cay, located in the Exuma chain in the Bahamas to celebrate my sister’s birthday. Birthdays come and birthdays go but sometimes you just have to whoop it up and celebrate the people you love.
Honestly. Wearing blue for dinner wasn’t planned.
After the first few days, the evening came when we had the big birthday party. It also happened to be the birthday of my daughter’s boyfriend, so we had a double celebration. The youngest generation did much of the decorations and we had two cakes, banana cake for my sister and chocolate cake for Bobby (the boyfriend). We toasted and laughed and sang happy birthday. After dinner, the staff, led by the multi-talented Wayland, started up karaoke and the party really started. It was a fun and memorable night.
SHARKS!!! My sister in law, Dara, calm as a cucumber.
Since we had all agreed that the civilized time to meet for each day’s activity was around 11:00, we did just that and met at the dock the next day for our coming adventure. Our little armada headed off into the jeweled waters to an island called Compass Cay. Compass Cay has a small marina full of yachts that stop for a rest and refuel. There is also a little snack bar that cooks up hot dogs and French fries and serves up cold beers and pink Radler’s, grapefruit beers that are the perfect refreshment on a hot sunny day. The Cay is most famous for its resident nurse sharks that swim lazily around the dock.
These sharks are generally so docile that people come from all around to swim amongst them and touch their sand papery skin as they glide lazily through the water. This can be a scary experience but once in the water it’s amazing to watch them through a snorkel and see their golden prehistoric eyes and their aquiline shapes up close. A truly amazing experience!
While the patriarch of the family braves the shark infested waters, his granddaughters stay safely on shore.
After we played with the sharks and had some beers, we walked over to the other side of the island to crescent beach, just a ten minute walk; this beach is something out of a dream. A long stretch of powdery sand and crystal turquoise water, there is rarely another soul found here. We swam in the waves and soaked in the unbelievable beauty of a truly gorgeous spot. The only way I was able to tear myself away was to make a silent promise that I would return.
The staff at Fowl Cay always makes you feel welcome, here are Grant, Ruby and Sandra.
The next few days became a blur of warm, emerald waters, a kaleidoscope of flora and fauna and totally unforgettable experiences. We swam and snorkeled in The Grotto, a giant cave inside what looks like a regular islet from the outside but is actually hollow inside and teaming with fish and corals. There are a few entrances into the Grotto, some very small, and you need a little courage to swim through one, but once you do the cave opens up into a giant cavern with sun rays shining down into the water illuminating the bright colors of reef fish swimming and darting below. It is a magical, hidden fantasy and very exciting to experience.
My daughter and me inside The Grotto.
On another amazing day, we pulled our boats up to the beach on an island called Big Major Cay, which is home to the famous swimming pigs. They even have their own Instagram account, @theswimmingpigs. As we pulled up, the pigs began to swim out to us and then hooked their hooves onto the sides of the boats looking for handouts.
Pig waiting a treat.
This beach has been visited so often by people feeding the pigs, that the pigs know that when a boat is coming, there are treats to be had. We cautiously gave them carrots and other tidbits that the staff at Fowl Cay had specially prepared for us to feed them. The pigs are cute but a little pushy and followed us around the beach begging for treats. It was a weird, funny, and very novel experience.
Photo courtesy of Loraine Riemer
The birthday bash begins.
With so much packed into every day, we were exhausted but happy at the end of each one. We enjoyed the food and company at dinner, compared stories and laughed and teased each other. It was a unique time where the three generations of my family, a very special cousin, and a few close friends got to spend precious time together.
One last group photo before heading back to reality.
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