Apparently there was a “situation” in the Nassau airport the day we arrived. Bobby G. recognized Mike Sorrentino, of “Jersey Shore” fame and introduced him to Jessica Katz, who was suitably unimpressed. Other than that, monsoons greeted the intrepid Scuba Shack divers, lead by staff instructor Peter Katz, upon their arrival in Nassau for the annual Memorial Day Trip.
However, when life deals you lemons, you make lemonade. With that in mind, the group proceeded to Compass Point for a delightful three hour lunch. The rain did not dampen our spirits, and the spirits imbibed, managed to elevate our mood. Fortunately, the rains diminished and our diving began on Thursday in earnest. Since the winds were rather vigorous that first day, Captain Clee J decided to take us around to the leeward side of the island where we found virtually flat, calm water. We were able to dive Lampton and Tunnel walls as well as Goulden Cay.
Our divemasters Teri and Charlotte came up with a few twists, one of which was a “swim” drift dive. We were enjoying ourselves so much that the staff decided to anchor the boat in a quiet cove and have their zodiac bring out our lunches for a picnic on the water. What had the potential of being an uncomfortable dive day became a wonderful adventure. I was impressed by the creativity and flexiblilty of Stuart Cove’s dive staff to ensure our comfort, safety and enjoyment.
Fortunately, the weather continued to improve at a rapid rate and the rest of the trip was sunshine, clear skies and calm water. This seemed to be the year of the turtle, with numerous sightings during a number of the dives. Our newest diver, Anja, was instantly spoiled on her first dive as a certified diver, when she encountered sharks, a turtle, eels, lobsters, and crabs all waiting as if to greet her. Without a doubt, the Exuma off island excursion was the highlight of the dive trip. Two great dives through cavern-like swim throughs followed by an idyllic picnic on a deserted island beach brought to life the Jimmy Buffett/Tommy Bahama lifestyle we have all grown to appreciate.
But the fun was not limited to the diving. Our dining experiences at Capriccio’s and Luciano’s were terrific, including the vocal renditions of Mark our waiter at Luciano’s. However, by far, our dinner at Café Matisse was the most memorable. Since the weather threatened, the staff set us in a private dining room and provided us with impeccable service. The wine flowed, the food was savored, and the company well enjoyed. Even though we were warned by Mr. Moderation (good old Billy), we seemed to have set a new record for our group’s tab. Suffice it to say, our wait staff was more than happy with the outcome of the evening.
Our last evening on the Island was our annual barbeque at Orange Hill followed by a get together with members of the Stuart Cove dive staff in the OH bar. This year the celebration continued with an impromptu invitation to a birthday party for one of the dive staff at Compass Point. And so the trip ended where it began, on the outdoor patio of Compass Point with old and new friends all vowing to return next year for another Scuba Shack island adventure.