Turtle Cruise with Silver Moon…the most memorable day in Barbados
Has it already been a month? It is hard to believe how fast the time passes but it was this time last month that I was living it up on a blissful Barbados getaway with 5 other women! That in itself, was memorable, as I had never done a girls getaway like this before, and I have to say…I hope to do it again.
We scouted out the various options for swimming with turtles. There were more than enough choices to go through. Silver Moon Catamarans turtle cruise came highly recommended by both Trip Advisor and the information centre at our resort. While we were in a party mode, none of us really relished the idea of spending the day on a crowded party boat. We were on a mission: we wanted to swim with the turtles! And swimming with turtles is exactly what we got!!!
We could hardly contain our excitement as the van picked us up to take us to the catamaran. We quickly saw that this tour operator was first class…from the moment they helped us onto the boat, the crew was ready to spoil us! We quickly got the formalities out of the way and set sail on our catamaran for a turtle cruise.
I can talk about all of the cliches of the Caribbean, the perfect turquoise waters, the wind in your hair as you set sail along the pristine coast….after all, they are all true, but somehow, being there was too good to be true….the water IS that perfect, and the wind really is in your hair. We were drunk on the excitement of it all.
Right away, different personalities started to come out. Some of us went straight to the front to sun on the trampoline (net in the bow area – very popular with sun seekers!), others set about to introduce themselves to the two other guests onboard, and I set out, camera in hand, to try and capture that which always mesmerizes me – the water.
Our crew was fantastic. They took time to introduce themselves to each of us as we scattered across the boat. It was more like we were friends on their boat rather than a bunch of tourists on a turtle cruise. Our first stop was at a man made reef – a ship had been sunk here to create the reef. It was a chance for our group to get into the water and checkout the marine life. With the water so clear, it was easy to see up to 20- 30 feet below to the sea bed. The reef was alive and full of colour. One of the things I love about snorkeling is how, under the water, everything is so peaceful. It really is a whole new world. The fish glided past us as we floated along. Luckily, with such a small group (8 of us in total plus our guide), there was little thrashing about as we were able to spread out and explore. I have learned in the past not to get too close to others – flippers in the face are never a good thing! Not such a problem when you are in a small group.
We were ready to move on as a larger group arrived. I can’t imagine it is like that when 20+ people are involved – no wonder tourist snorkeling has been likened to a mosh pit!
The next stop was the main event: Turtles! With a bag of turtle lunch sitting on ice, it was time for action. We were in the water and swimming in no time. While we had our fins for snorkeling, I didn’t realize until later, that we could only use our masks with the turtles to protect them from being kicked and injured by the fins of over excited tourists (such as myself!!!).
They are magnificent. Slowly, first one, then another…big prehistoric looking turtles started swimming our way. They knew the routine….go to the guy with the lunch – fish bits. Completely unperturbed by the group of us as we tried to get as close as possible, the turtles just kept swimming around rather nonchalantly, at times bumping into us. At one stage, I felt like I was surfing a turtle as he swam right under me and started to rise towards the surface. It was exhilarating. I was becoming swarmed by turtles! Word of warning – watch your fingers…we weren’t allowed to feet the turtles ourselves as there is the risk they mistake your fingers for lunch.
Once again, the advantage of being such a small group shone through. We had so much time in the water and we were all able to get right into the mix with plenty of turtle time to go around. A few smaller turtles even made their way over to our little turtle party. It was amazing to spend so much time in the water with these guys. They are so cool, and rather majestic at the same time. I would love to come back during hatching season…although truth be told…I wouldn’t want to disturb the turtles in their fight for life. (Apparently only 1 in 100 actually make it! Nature can be so cruel.)
We were just getting out of the water when, once again, the crowded boat arrived. Watching so many heads bobbing as we sailed away…I wonder if any of them got to surf a turtle??
We set anchor further up the coast and relaxed over lunch. I could not believe the spread they lay out before us! We had a couple vegetarians in our group and they were more than pleasantly surprised. The variety of fresh salads was beyond impressive. My favourite – the beet and potato salad.
The guys told us to make ourselves at home, and did we ever! It wasn’t long before we were jumping off the boat. I feel a little sorry for the other guests on board as we jumped off the side of the catamaran, squealing and screaming like when we were little kids. Talk about letting go of inhibitions – most of us were wearing bikinis!!! Needless to say, we had a brilliant day out on the water. The guys on the crew made us feel better than right at home. After all – if home was like this, I am afraid to say, my travel days would be over – I would never leave!
But, alas…all good things must come to an end. With one last jump in the water, we packed up and set sail for home. To ease our return to Bridgetown, we wound down the day with Pina Coladas in fancy glasses. While we thought this to be the cherry on top, we discovered more luxuries were yet to come! Treated as princesses, aromatherapy infused facecloths were passed around so that we could freshen up.
Silver Moon tout themselves as offering luxurious catamaran cruises and they were not wrong. It was 5 star all the way. Needless to say, at the end of the week, the most memorable day in Barbados was by far our day cruising and swimming with the turtles! Thanks to Silver Moon and our crew (Elvis, Dexter and Marlo) for making a day we won’t soon forget!