Half Moon Cay, or, San Salvador, was the second destination on our tour of the Bahamas. At 9:00 AM, the announcement was made that you could begin disembarking for the island. At nine o’clock, I was in the Coconut Lounge eating breakfast and looking out on the turquoise waters. We agreed the day before to meet our friends at 10 AM to go to the beach together. My sister seemed to be enjoying the room service as much as I was enjoying my view during breakfast!
The word “Bahamas” is derived from Spanish “bar a mar” and means shallow water or shallow sea. Half Moon Cay was a great example of this. Because the water was so shallow The Fascination had to anchor away from shore and passengers had to be transferred from ship to shore on a tender boat.
“Wa’ your step! Mine your head!” (watch your step – mind your head) the staff called as we walked out on the gangway. This contraption acted as a bridge from one boat to the other. The only thing that actually kept it in place were huge screws (and I mean, like, the size of a Coke can) that sunk down into holes in the side of the tender. If that didn’t make you shudder, walking over it did! Because the smaller craft rocked with the waves more than The Fascination, the gangway moved with it, this caused the amount of room between your head and the doorframe to change in seconds. Thus, the incessant warning from the crew, “Wa’ your step! Mine your head!”
Finally across, we found a place to stand and grip the rail as we stomached the ten minute boat ride to shore. Once the vessel was in motion the rising and falling with the waves was not nearly as bad as when it was held against the side of the cruise ship receiving passengers. It was actually fun!
Once on shore, we followed the mass of people to the beach. There, flip flops were abandoned and toes sank into the white sand. Lines of lounges stretched in rows along that end of the beach. Many folks were already in the water and walking along the shore and soon we joined them. Well, we didn’t get in the water…but our feet splashed in the waves as the cool water slapped against our ankles. The wet sand felt like cake batter on our toes. They say you can walk the whole way around the island. (Next time we go – we are definitely doing that!) For our first experience, we were content to walk around a little and lay in the sun…or the shade. 😉 I haven’t been to many beaches before, but I could tell that this one had its own unique features. As we walked along the shore you could see the fish swim right up to the edge of the crystal clear water. One family had taken a little box of cereal from the ship and was feeding them! The thing that surprised me the most was the chickens…I had never expected chickens to be walking the beach with everybody else! They mostly kept to themselves, scratching around in the sand. They weren’t afraid of people and it was very common for one to randomly come clucking underneath your lounge chair, out the other side and on to the next one! They didn’t bother anyone but I sure found them entertaining. Chickens on a beach! Who knew? Anyway, with The Fascination anchored off in the distance bobbing on the topaz waters and the waves gently lapping on the sand, Half Moon Cay was a perfect place to relax!
In the early afternoon we left the island and had a late lunch on the ship. The Omelet bar I had breakfast at on the first day turned into a Mongolian Grill in the afternoons. (BTW, it was delicious!) The rest of the day we spent onboard enjoying the comforts of the cruise liner. Though there was probably much more exciting activities going on but I was quite pleased to enjoy the view from on deck. (I loved being on deck and looked for any excuse to go hang out there!)
The Whisnants sang that afternoon in the Puttin’ on the Ritz lounge. I couldn’t be more pleased with my third row seat! Like I’ve mentioned in another post, the programs were short, but I like to think we had the best of the best in those sets! When Jeff, Susan, Aaron and Austin came on stage they kicked off with one of their new songs, He Can Move that Stone. Susan went on to introduce her solo, I’ll Pray for You by reminding the crowd, “I can’t fix your problems and I can’t fix our problems…but we can pray.” Be Not Afraid came next and then Austin sang a tune called Make Heaven My Home. Everyone was featured at least once in this set and it was Ethan’s turn next. He stepped up on stage and spoke to the audience saying, “I know this isn’t the right time or place…but is it alright if I sang a Christmas song?” The crowd approved with a quick applause and then he sang Strange Way to Save the World. With just Austin backing him on the acoustic guitar Ethan’s voice filled the lounge with clear crisp notes. (It was my first time to see him sing this one and I loved the way he delivered the lyrics!) The thoughtful mood that had settled over the crowd during Ethan’s solo continued when Susan invited the audience to join them in an acapella chorus of Oh, How I Love Jesus. A request for Even in the Valley God is Good and King Jesus closed their time at the Ritz.
I love Larry Brown’s preaching! He’s so practical and to the point! Though I was sad that our seating schedule for dinner didn’t allow us to hear Phil Hoskins speak, it was good to hear Pastor Brown again. This time he had us turn to Philippians 4:1 – “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” He began by giving us a definition of the phrase “stand fast” and it simply means this: You may move a little bit, but you won’t move out of your position or purpose. So standing strong was once again the theme of his message. He asked this question: What does He expect you to do, in order to stand? Here were his answers…
- Refuse to be out of fellowship with anybody. Especially our brethren. (Don’t be bitter or unforgiving!)
- Repent when you fail to do #1! When God speaks to you, don’t “cover it up” and pretend like it’s not a big deal. If you do, you’ll get cold.
- Rejoice in God when you can’t rejoice in your circumstances. “How do you do that?” you ask. Pastor Brown’s answer…on purpose!
- Request what you need and wait.
From the very front of the ship we made our way to the back and surprisingly found a front row seat by the pool stage! The next artist to come on was The Mark Trammell Quartet and it was too cute to hear little Tessa call out “Daaad!” from the audience after they had completed their sound check. Uncle Adam may have been holding her towards the back but she could still spot her Daddy on stage! The Mark Trammell Quartet began their set with Leave Your Sorrows and one of Mark’s favorite older songs, How Long Has It Been. “Here’s a new song that has been on radio this past year and you have enjoyed it,” said Mark, and then began his solo, Way Past Ready. He mentioned that some cruisers were causing a fuss because he didn’t “properly introduce” everyone the other night and so he would try and do that. LOL Wedding Music and Don’t Stop Running followed. After a word about that last song being a new one, Mark went on to talk about their two closing ballads, Too Much to Gain to Lose and It’s Almost Over.
By this time it was getting late, but not too late to call it a night. There was still some singing going on in the Palace, but if you just wanted to hang out, there were plenty of places to do so! We chose the alcove right by the casino, *cough,* I mean, product tables! LOL Okay, so maybe we had some ice cream too… 🙂