On Sunday morning, our group of 14 and two other staff members from Island School prepared for our 3 day kayak excursion. I have only been in a kayak one other time, and I don’t really count it because although I was sitting in a kayak on the river, I was using a canoe paddle. Technically, this was my first time kayaking and I really did enjoy myself! We did a couple of skill practice moves, like getting into the kayak and then flipping ourselves over and doing a wet exit, and I had a good time with that. The packing was tougher than I thought it would be, I didn’t realize how small the little holes were to store everything in but somehow we managed to bring everything that we needed for the trip! The kayaking took a while on the way there because we were going against the wind, current, and waves, so we stopped for lunch along the way. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to a place where we wanted to set up camp. It was pretty windy so setting up the tents was a feat but I learned some cool tricks about how to stake a tent without a stake, and in the sand. Next time I go beach camping, I will apply that. We all split up into five groups before we left and planned our meals for dinner, so we got into those groups once we arrived and started making our fires. It was difficult for most of us to get our fire started, one group had no problem with it though. After all of the fires got started, the food never tasted so good. Myself, Nick, and Kelsey made pasta with red sauce and garlic bread the first night, and then quesadillas with dirty rice and peppers and onions the second night. The second night was my favorite, I felt like I was at a restaurant. The first night of sleep was a challenge for all of us, I know that I misjudged the softness of the sand as soon as I laid down the first time and I slammed my back down. After digging some holes for my hips when I laid on my side, I slept a bit better but rotating hurt a bit. But I slept, and thats all that matters. The second day, We woke up and I was surprised to find salt crusted over al of my paddle clothes…not that surprising to me anymore, it makes sense. After breakfast, we paddled out aways to a different spot and relaxed there for a while and had lunch. Then we swam to a blue hole (the swim was much longer than most of us expected, but it was a good workout!) and I thought it was extremely cool…and creepy. I had been swimming/snorkeling and watching the leader’s feet the whole time while looking down, and all of a sudden we swam over this really dark, long cave underwater and a big fish came swimming out of it. After everyone arrived, some people went free diving into it but I stayed at the surface. There was a giant ray circling around the hole, I haven’t seen one that big since I’ve been here! Eventually, I got tired of the waves and had to swim back to shore and then we all walked back soon after. Then we went back to our site and had an early dinner. We all sat around the bonfire and got to know each other, played some games. It was an excellent trip overall. Then this morning, we planned to leave fairly early so we could make it back in time for lunch at the Island School. We booked it back, especially since we were going with the waves and the current, and we made it back in just about 2 hours! Then we took some time and unpacked everything and cleaned all of the supplies, which was pretty tedious but it had to be done. I am sitting down now, and I still feel like I am going up and down in the water, so I will need to keep moving for a while before I sit down some more. Everyone is getting their laundry together and showering (which I cannot wait for) before we go out for dinner at Coco Plums again for our last night in Eleuthera!
I meant to finish this blog last night, but we came back from Coco Plums and the Linfield site wouldn’t work for me, so I am finishing it up now. It was a perfect way to end our stay here on this island, with Avion showing us how he gets his conch straight from the ocean, how he cuts up the conch, and then he made fresh conch salad right in front of us with tomatoes, green peppers, white and red onion, salt, oranges and limes, and then peppers picked straight off the plant. Delicious, and I was amazed with how quickly he cut everything up! Another nice thing about last night was the fact that we had some of our friends that we have met on the island join us, like Ron and Karen from Island School, Paulette from the Eleuthera Diabetes Association, Alex and Scotty, who came with us on the kayak trip, and Laura from Island School as well. And the owners of Coco Plums were a blast as well, just as nice as the first time we met them. After we finished eating, Music was put on and we had a mini dance party! There were some locals there too, and they would dance every now and then but it was mostly our group dancing, along with the two youngest daughters of Avion. They really knew how to dance! Then, it was one lady’s birthday who came from Nassau to celebrate it and the DJ was trying to get her to do a birthday dance but since she didn’t want to, she offered to buy drinks for everyone at Coco Plums! I took that opportunity to get a coconut water because I have been craving one the whole time I have been here but they have either been sold out or not in that store so it was exactly what I wanted. I am sad to be leaving this island because it is such a friendly place, and I know that will not always be the case when we get back to the states. I have truly enjoyed getting to know the people of Eleuthera, and I hope that I can come back for a visit again!