Saturday, December 25, 2010

From Nassau to Andros Island

So now that I have been legitimately HOME from my travel-filled winter break, I can finally write about my amazing experience in the Bahamas. For those of you that didn't know why I was going to the Bahamas, I went for a 2 week study abroad program through OU and it also counts as my Tier III class! Seeing as how my major is marine biology, I felt like this trip would be very relevant and helpful for me...and it's been SO much more than that. What I really wanted to do was keep a journal and write down each day what happened and what I thought about it, but let's face it...I was in the Bahamas and writing stuff down on paper was the last thing I wanted to do.

Monday, November 29--Day 1: Arrival in Nassau
The entire group consisted of 12 girls, 12 guys, our professor Art Trese and the lovely couple Maron & Char. We arrived in Nassau around 2 PM and it was a beautiful 82 degrees! One of the first things I remember about our arrival was the Bahamaian band that was playing in the airport while we were waiting to go through customs...I've seen a lot of things in an airport, but that was definitely a first! Our group then split into two smaller groups with one staying on a boat with our friends Larry, Mark and Molly and the other group staying in the Wyndham Hotel & Resort in Nassau. I was one of the four girls along with four guys that volunteered to stay on the boat that night while the remaining people went to the hotel for the night. We left the airport with Larry to head to the dock where Mark and Molly were. Let's just say it was a VERY interesting drive.

First off, I had no idea that they drove on the left side of the road (the Bahamas used to be a British Colony) and there were some cars that had the driver's seat on the right side and some with it on the left...that was slightly confusing. Also, the traffic there is INSANE...this city has a population of nearly 300,000 people in just 80 square miles. There were a ton of people walking around and wouldn't even bother looking when crossing the street (I may be guilty of doing the same thing on Court Street, but I'd like to think that it's a bit different). We came across a local while sitting in traffic and he had crazy looking eyes and definitely had to be blind in at least one of them and we couldn't understand a word he was saying but he kept rambling on about something but it gave me an idea of what this place was like. Larry kept telling us Nassau how dangerous Nassau can be. The only impression I ever had of Nassau before arriving was that it housed the beautiful Atlantis resort and I just assumed the entire city followed suit. Boy was I wrong.

About an hour or so of traffic we arrived to the dock where our boat, Deja Vu, was waiting. Here are some pictures:

This was our boat. NOT. But I thought it was beautiful enough to deserve a picture. Moving on...

This ain't no Hocking

Atlantis be creepin'

The pool right by the dock!

The inside of the boat...verrryy narrow but I loved it so!

The couch/bed/table/magic...seriously this had the potential to be turned into a rocket that could fly to the moooon!

The exterior of Deja Vu! What a beauty :)

The rest of the evening was followed with drinks and dinner at an extravagant restaurant known as the Green extravagant that they used the most expensive chalk to write the name of the restaurant on a piece of cardboard. Yeah Green Parrot, you keep it classy! After dinner we all raided the liquor store at the Wyndham resort and had a fun night of never have I ever, sliding down the slide that may or may have not been closed and soaking up all Nassau had to offer.

Tuesday, November 30--Day 2: Atlantis & Bahamas National Park
Next on the Bahamas agenda was to tour the Atlantis aquarium which I LOVED. I unfortunately didn't get a tour of the entire resort (pretty sure that would have taken an entire day itself), but I was pleased regardless. Cue the pictures...

Taken from the Atlantis bridge--connects New Providence to Paradise Island

I spy an aquarium!

One of my favorite pictures. This is a spotted eagle ray--the exact species that killed Steve Irwin :(

While I never actually saw coral this colorful where we snorkeled, I did see fish this colorful

Heellloooo, Atlantis!

There's nothing I love more than walking underneath some sharks...but seriously I do love it.

Following the tour of the aquarium, we walked around to all the crazy expensive shops but fortunately came across some samples of rum cake. DELICIOUS. Depending on who made it, you may have been lucky enough to get an entire shot of it in one bite. While roaming in the streets of Atlantis (not a real one, silly) I bought an entire $2.50 postcard that was mailed the following day...and was received while I was in New Orleans...nice timing, Bahamas. Lunch followed shopping and then we had a tour at one of Bahamas National Parks. This is the part of the trip where my camera started having minor strokes so I didn't get very many pictures in but it was very interesting and we got a lot of information about both native and invasive (not native) plants of the Bahamas! After that tour we headed back to the boat while the rest headed to the hotel. A few of people (myself included) that stayed on the boat the night before wanted a chance to stay at the hotel mostly because we wanted a really good shower and night of sleep before our rustic experience in Andros, but also because the people on the boat would be sailing over to Andros Island which was supposed to take 6 hours (it ended up being around 10) while the people in the hotel would take a ferry--only 2 hours. So we did a little switcharoo and had some people from the hotel go on the boat in place of us. The night was pretty chill and some of us just went to the casino in the hotel and did some gambling and then just headed to bed. Here are some pictures from the balcony of the pool area and ocean:

Pool! Oh and that slide we went on that wasn't open...

Wednesday, December 1--Day 3: Arrival to Andros Island
The ferry from Nassau to Andros was scheduled to leave at 8 am so we had to bust our butts to be in the hotel lobby by 7 am. Thank god for that Starbucks. I was quite skeptical about this ferry ride because all I kept hearing was how sick everyone got on it last year, so I was popping Dramamine like it was going out of style. Luckily for us it was a VERY calm day and we had a fantastically smooth 2 1/2 hour ride to Andros. Here are a few pictures of our arrival:

Needless to say, I was already in love with this place. Our final stop was just a half hour drive away to the Forfar Field Station! We arrived to the station around 11 am and had lunch at noon. Everyday breakfast is at 8 am, lunch is at noon and dinner is at 6 pm in the lodge.

Here's the outside of the lodge which housed the kitchen and dining, lounge area where we hung out, computer room to check emails, classroom, and even a room with a ping pong table!

The beach (with a nice shot of Mullet the dog taking a pee break) that we woke up to every morning and lived on for 13 days :)

This was one of my favorite things at the station. The pole listed schools and organizations that have visited or still do and either the zip code or how many miles away it was from Andros.


Our beautiful cabin! There were four cabins for us--one with 8 girls (not me, thank god), one with 8 guys, one with four girls (me!) and one with four guys.

The rest of the day was spent lying on the beach and then we did a bit of snorkeling and jumped off a 15 foot tall bridge! My love for this place continued to grow...

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