SaintJoe H2O

Everything about the Bahamas was pretty much perfect. The weather, the people, the lifestyle, the water, the air, the night sky, and the people. Did I say people twice? Heck yes I did because the people truly were some of the coolest people ever.

They were some of the most down to earth and friendly people I have ever met. There was even a statue of a pair of hands shaking to really reinforce the fact that they were very friendly people.

The first day that we spent on the island I played some basketball with a few of the kids there and they were really cool with us playing with them and treated us as if we had known each other for years. (One kid, Randall, was pretty dang good at basketball).

Later on in the week when we stopped at Staniel Cay I got to experience just how great these people are. They are constantly smiling and just happy people, even when, to me, a spoiled white kid from the middle of America who has never kno

wn what it feels like to be in need, they didn't have a whole lot. This was an eye opening experience. We always hear about how having more money doesn't translate into happiness, but this was the first time I can remember experiencing that and feeling its impact.

Back on Andros on the final day we walked to a couple of the shops that were nearby and one of them wasn't open, but that didn't stop the little old Bahamian lady from walking across the street to open it up for us. The Bahamian people are probably some of my favorite people ever. 

I absolutely loved the weather and the water as well. I never knew there were so many different shades of blue that water could take the form of until this week.The color would turn from the deepest navy blue you can imagine to a a powder blue so light you would think it was about to fly away. 

The sky was absolutely beautiful as well. From sunrise to the setting of the moon. Nothing can beat the beauty of the sun sinking over the horizon of an ocean so vast that you can understand why the early explorers believed the earth was flat.

The stars and the moon were incredibly vivid in the darkness of the middle of the ocean. I already love looking at the moon, so on the night when there was a full moon I was especially excited because it felt like it was so close to us and huge. 

I had never been sailing before this week, but I had been kayaking plenty of times and since I loved kayaking I figured sailing would be pretty fun too...and boy was I right. The entire experience of the sailboat was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Everything from steering, to putting up the sail, to dropping the anchor it was all so much fun! I guess I'm just one of those nerds that loves being on top of the water, but sailing has to be one of my favorite things now. 

If anything could take away from the beauty of the experience on top of the water it could only be the experience in the water. It's one thing to study fish in pictures and see them on paper or on a screen, but the brightness of their color doesn't come close to their colors in person. They were so incredibly vivid that my mind was blown with the array of colors that painted their own color wheel underwater. 

There were so many different kinds of fish and they were fun to observe and being able to identify them was an awesome feeling. Some would travel in packs, some in pairs, and others, like the big mean looking barracuda I saw at Little Bell Island, would travel all by themselves.

Parrotfish were some of my favorites because they were just so goofy, with their colors and with their behavior as well. They would swim kind of sideways and peck at the ground trying to eat and it just looked funny to me. 

We saw tons of marine life at different locations; Starfish off the coast of Andros, upside down jellyfish in the mangroves, a flounder a little further off the coast of Andros, squirrelfish at the Coral Reef Sea Aquarium (close to Johnny Depps private island), bluehead wrasse at Thunderball Grotto, barracuda and stingrays at Little Bell, and sergeant majors absolutely everywhere. 

One of my favorite things I saw in the water was a little showdown between a lionfish and a blue crab. They were both feeding in the same section of the water and they kept creeping closer and closer to each other until they were right next to each other. The crab leaned back and raised it's claws menacingly until the lionfish backed off. It sounds pretty lame, but they are both intimidating in their own ways and it was cool to see them square off like that. 

Not only were the fish incredible, but the coral was too. I especially loved the coral at Thunderball Grotto on the backside because it was absolutely covered with tons of different kinds of coral. My favorite was the brain coral, because it really looked like a brain and it grew in a big ball. 

The entire experience was one of the greatest weeks ever and I really learned a lot being disconnected from the rest of the world and just living the island life. I learned that island time is a real thing, and that the Bahamian people are amazing. I developed a love of sailing and for snorkeling as well. 

I will absolutely never forget the beauty of the world that I experienced this week. 

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