Anyway, here are some of the highlights, because pictures make this much easier:
Here is a shot taken inside the tour bus that met us at the airport. Notice what looks like a large armrest on the side of the right hand seats? They were actually folding seats that filled the aisle. Thankfully, we had no need of them. I shudder to think what trouble that would have been in an accident.
Oh, and the seats themselves were covered in clear plastic. They got pretty sweaty sitting on that afternoon.
Someone said a James Bond movie used this house with the pink wall surrounding it to film around. Maybe someone a little more into James Bond will recognize it?
Cruise ships in the distance.
Our first destination: Hotel Atlantis. Rumor has it it costs $500 to spend a night here. I don't doubt that after having been inside, although we didn't see what the rooms themselves looked like.
Nothing like a waterfall on the outside of your hotel!
Inside the main lobby. The kids were really impressed with this, although I couldn't get a decent picture of it due to the lighting. You'll have to be satisfied with this sketchy picture of one of the murals up on the walls surrounding the huge dome.
Okay, since clearly we weren't there to admire the expensive hotel, here is the first shot of why we came: Atlantis has a whole aquarium going on inside it. This was a walkway with tanks on either side and above us (which is what the picture is of) full of lobsters. It made me hungry.
Terrible picture, but these are Lionfish. They are poisonous, and a nuisance in Bahamian waters. Apparently, their flesh tastes good, however, so they are training Bahamian chefs to prepare them. It's tricky because not only do they have avoid being poisoned by them, they have to make sure their customers aren't, either. I haven't made up my mind as to whether I will try them or not.
This is a "one-man submarine" from Atlantis. There were a lot of things like this along our tour. What got me was how seriously our guide talked about them. Halfway through, I had to stop and decide whether she was telling the truth, she was that good. Hopefully, the kids don't think this stuff is real, haha.
We saw both Manta and Sting Rays, and this picture should give you a good idea of how large these suckers can get. Our tour guide told us they had one that outgrew their tank. Yikes...
Our tour guide also seemed to know which was male and female by looking at their underside as they swam past. Wyatt latched onto that and kept trying to figure it out for himself. Me? Yeah, I still have no clue.
Here is how they start out. These baby Sting Rays get their own area to grow before they are put in with the rest of the sea life.
We saw a lot of very large fish. I think this is a Barracuda, but I'm not positive.
We stopped at this long, low tank full of sea life we could touch. See that horseshoe crab in the bottom right? I remember finding those all over the shore when my family would go to Cape Cod every summer. We'd bring home empty shells, but this is the first time I've held one that was alive. Wyatt was freaked out about all it's legs and didn't want to touch it, but he was willing to handle this starfish. It's upside down because he didn't want to touch its feet.
After the tamer stuff, we got to see the predator tank. From underground. They built a tunnel that runs underneath it, and we got to stare at sharks as they swam overhead. Here Wyatt gets close to one of them.
There were a number of Sawsharks hanging out on the bottom of the tank. This one nicely decided to swim right over us after we had spent a few minutes staring at them. He looks like he has a face underneath him.
We spent some time topside, too. Here is a shot of the bridge that separates the swimming pool from the shark tank. How's that for vacation excitement?
We walked past this pool of sea turtles. The kids were counting and got up to nine before we had to hurry on so we'd have time for lunch. This was probably my favorite part.
We caught these two seagulls hanging out. I had to take a picture because I rarely see seagulls on Andros. These two also look different from the ones I remember growing up. They have black wings.
Finally, we were taken to Earth & Fire, a clay studio in the hotel. They sell various clay forms you can paint with ceramic paint. Depending on what you chose, you can cure it at home in your oven (which is what the kids did), or have it fired in their ovens to make a food-safe product. It's not cheap, so it was pretty nice that this was included as part of the tour.
Here, Wyatt wields a hair dryer to help set his paint enough to take his dolphin home.
To be continued...
To be continued...