Blue Lagoon Island, also known by its official name Salt Cay, has been one of the Bahamas’ most enchanting features for centuries.
I recently discovered this completely secluded island paradise during a two-day vacation in Nassau and the experience was one I won’t soon forget.
The island is everything someone dreams of when envisioning a private tropical island –stunningly clear turquoise waters, a hidden lagoon, immaculate white sandy beaches, gorgeous local trees and vegetation, tropical birds and coral reefs that are home to thousands of native species of colorful fish.
After a brief and enjoyable boat ride from Paradise Island [near Nassau], I came ashore and was immediately greeted by members of the Meister family, Blue Lagoon Island’s proprietors. For the last 27 years they have overseen the island’s daily operations and are committed to preserving the traditions and standards for which it is renowned. The island is very well run with a friendly, dedicated and accommodating staff.
While there, I took part in three of the resort’s most popular programs: the Dolphin Encounter, Stingray Encounter and Segway Safari Tour. [There are also other programs, like Dolphin Swim, Sea Lion Encounter, Program Observers and “Trainer for the Day,” which provides a one-of- a-kind experience in which participants can learn what goes into being a professional dolphin and sea lion trainer.]
My hour-long Dolphin Encounter was an incredible experience. Rico, my knowledgeable and entertaining trainer, taught me about the natural history of dolphins, animal training techniques and ocean conservation. Cacique, the Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin I swam with, was friendly, gentle and fun. To be able to interact with such an intelligent and beautiful animal was just amazing and it was wonderful to see how well they are treated and how much respect they are given.
After a short dockside briefing where my stingray trainer Luke taught me about the natural history of the gentle Southern stingray, I stepped down onto a shallow platform and got to interact directly with one. It swam right over and as I ran my fingers along its smooth fins it ate right out of my hand.
Lastly, my one-hour Segway Safari Tour, led by my tour guide Ashton, took me around the entire island. I traveled to historic sites, learned about Bahamian island folklore, native foods and plants and the diverse marine life including dolphins, sea lions and stingrays. The tour culminated with a visit to McCutcheon’s Tower, a three-story tower equipped with a cannon that looks over the entire island. It was named after the island’s owner from 1916 to 1963, John T. McCutcheon, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who worked for the Chicago Tribune.
There is so much to do on the island. You can relax on the white sandy beach on beach chairs or in large double hammocks, partake in activities in the game area and play on the inflatable park. For an extra fee you can hit the water on paddle boats, kayaks, water bikes, jet skis and parasails or dive in with snorkeling equipment. The food is also great, with your choice of an Angus beef burger, cheeseburger, quarter-pound beef hot dog, chicken or veggie burger with a side of chips and fresh fruit. The beach bar offers traditional island drinks such as frozen pina coladas and daiquiris as well as a selection of local and imported beers, mixed drinks, water, sodas and Sky Juice, a Bahamian specialty.
It’s no surprise that Blue Lagoon Island regularly hosts weddings, family reunions, corporate parties and other group events; the scenery is like something out of a movie. Even though I only recently returned from my visit there, I’m already looking forward to going back.
For more information visit www.BahamasBlueLagoon.com and
www.DolphinEncounters.com or call toll free 1-866- 918-9932.