Saturday, March 15, 2014

Carnival Victory AGAIN: CoCo Cay (Little Stirrup Cay) Part 1

Friday February 7: 7-5

Let me first clear up what some people may find confusing: Why does this island go by two names? Little Stirrup Cay is the name that appears on their itineraries. However, they rent this private island from Royal Caribbean. RCI calls this island CoCo Cay. It appears they rent this island occasionally through out the winter season to Carnival and possibly other lines on days when it is not needed.

The island is gorgeous, the water is amazing and its "wildlife" can be entertaining. This was our first time at a cruise line private island and we LOVE the private island life. We were up early again this port day and were greeted with another beautiful sunrise. As with most or all private islands, there isn't a normal dock so you take a small tender boat to shore. They got started rather early this morning, with a tender dedicated to the crew & materials needed to take onshore along with a passenger tender.

                                                  A MSC ship was in port at the private island next to CoCo Cay

We also had never taken a tender boat on any of our previous stops so I was interested in the process. Since we had purchased FTTF we were able to for go the lines and be directed to the front. We didn't need to use that feature since there were so few people getting off so early. Later in the day, if you do not have FTTF, you would go and get a numbered tender ticket which let you know what tender you would be going on. They had you wait in the Caribbean lounge until your number was called. I am sure this is a tedious process and am glad we didn't need to go through this.

                                           The tender in the back was the crew only tender taking supplies on shore.

The tender ride was only about 15 minutes or so and then we were off for our first taste of a Bahamian private island. We walked along to the right as we were headed to Barefoot Beach. I did my research and heard that this was the place to be. It was further than most people wanted to walk and therefore a lot more serene that the first beach you come to. There were bars here and there that we passed along the way as well as some lively roosters, chickens and chicks and an iguana hanging out in a tree.

Walking past a bar and some lovely hammocks in the shade, we finally made it to our destination. Let me tell you, the view from Barefoot Beach is AMAZING. I have never seen anything like it. The water here was in low tide so there were people walking hundreds of yards out (I would soon join them.) The many palm trees here made it a perfect shady spot on the beach and the quietness of it all added to the paradise.

I followed the "trail" out about 200 yards to what looked to be deeper water. Once out there, the deeper part was actually just a lot of sea grass that made it look deep and dark. The water here varied, never going higher than mid thigh on me and it was the perfect temperature. Here I explored, finding a couple of conchs, sea snails and some sea urchins. There were plenty of types of fish swimming here and there and many people found star fish. There were some barracudas off to the side and the snorklers & kayaks close by saw some sharks! I later was able to swim with a small ray right off shore.

                                                                  People walking out along the shallow trail

Another conch I found along the way

                                                                                                Sea Urchin

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