Scuba Shack’s annual Memorial Day Weekend in Nassau, Bahamas with Stuart Cove’s Dive South Ocean and Orange Hill Beach Inn got off to a terrific start on May 25. Sunshine greeted the 24 divers lead by instructor Peter Katz, a treat considering the cold spring we had in Connecticut.
It didn’t take long to acclimate to the warm weather, the cool pool, and a few cold beers and everyone was on vacation. We followed the tried and true format of great days of diving followed by delightful dinners alfresco at some of Nassau’s premier restaurants.
Diving highlights included a few new wrecks, swim throughs at Tunnel Wall, Hole in the Head, and Eagle Ray Wall (Exuma), and a few Hollywood movie sets. Adrenalin rushes were provided by numerous shark encounters as well as a few eels and rays.
Fortunately, the lionfish population seems to have leveled off. They aren’t gone, but we didn’t count 40 at one dive site as happened in the past. Once again the off island adventure to Exuma was the hit of the trip. The crew; Clee J, Ryan, Allison, Phillip, and photographer Dom worked tirelessly to provide us with a truly incredible experience. They found the swim through we did last year as well as a different wreck for us to dive (complete with sharks, rays, and a turtle).
Once we hit Allen Cay, we took the lyrics of the Zac Brown Band’s song to heart and had our “toes in the water, our asses in the sand, nothing on our minds and cold beer in our hands”. Needless to say, our diving was over but the fun didn’t end. Kevin did his best as an iguana wrangler and assured us no animal was injured, but he did have a few scratches for his efforts. After fresh conch salad washed down with cold Kaliks, we reluctantly left the Exumas and had a smooth ride back to New Providence Island.
Our dining experiences included the incredible calamari at Café Matisse followed by an alleged Sean Connery (or his double) sighting in a corner of the garden. It was an unconfirmed sighting and may have been due to too much of the fine wine imbibed. A truly incredible experience was had at Luciano’s. The staff had us set up at three tables under a pergola on the water overlooking the Atlantis Resort. It was a beautiful night, warm with a gentle breeze, with terrific service and delicious food. After two of the tables decided to leave, the wait staff surprised our table with a spontaneous a cappella performance of a number of island tunes. Their performance was topped off with a rendition of the Dollar Dance which got us on our feet and dancing! A truly memorable night for all involved.
Our last night was the traditional Orange Hill barbeque followed by a party for our divers and the Stuart Cove dive staff. As usual, Judy and the Orange Hill kitchen out did themselves and the get together with our old and new friends from Stuart Cove’s was bitter sweet since we were leaving the next day and wouldn’t be diving with them for a while.
And what would a trip to Nassau be without a trip to the Crystal Palace Casino? Although none of us could claim success at the blackjack tables, “Roulette Red”, played in honor of Bobby G., came through for us and helped recoup our losses. Needless to say, another successful trip to Nassau.