Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caribbean Cruise - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - Day 1 - 12/18/2012

Overnight, we sailed to Half Moon Cay, our first stop on the cruise.  The Cay is on the island of Little San Salvador and is said to be near where Columbus landed in 1492.  A number of places in the Caribbean make this claim.  The island was formed by limestone and coral reefs and is featureless aside from the lagoon and the beaches.  There are no permanent residents on this island....just HA employees.

Holland America (HA) has leased a strip of land from The Bahamas and has set up a play ground for it's customers/passengers. They invested millions to create a small harbor for the ferry boats to off-load and re-load the ship's passengers.  The harbor is no where big enough for the cruise ship so you have to take the tender/ferry boats to the island.  Glass bottom boats, deep sea fishing vessels, and para-gliding boats also dock here.  The island has a few shops, bars, dining facilities, and all sorts of water sports and beach equipment and buildings.  Passengers purchase "shore excursions" like deep sea fishing, jet skying, horseback riding, etc. and HA provides the personnel and equipment to make the activity happen.....happy customers and HA makes money.  This island is all about sun and water fun.  The beach is beautiful and the water is clear.  If you are looking for history, culture, wildlife or scenic beauty, you are on the wrong island.

Before we got on the tender, we took a few photos in the Main Atrium of the ship.  It was nicely decorated for Christmas.

We took the Eco Lagoon Glass Bottom Boat tour while on the island....a real mistake.  You can see the boat docked by the jet skis.  The water was too shallow and there was far too little of interest at the bottom of the lagoon to look at so we won't bore you with many photos.

This is as exciting as it gets.  HA excursion are usually pretty good, but they got us on this one.

We motored by the Sting Ray petting area where you can get up close and personal with the sting rays.  I guess they love people.  Our tour guide said the "Lucy" the sting ray really likes to nibble on people.  That didn't cause us to sign up for the adventure.  Anyway, we didn't bring our swim suits with us since we are not beach people.

The water is beautiful.

A conch shell.  They are plentiful in the waters here.  They are a source of food for the locals.

The shopping plaza.

Yes, that is Sigrid on top of the building.

As I said, the beaches are great.

The Mother Ship.

A small chapel on the island.

One of the ferry boats moving people to and from the island and the Noordam.

A few sunset shots as we headed out for Grand Turk Island, our next stop.

Life is good.

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