John Carlin’s Outdoors | Snorkeling Castaway Cay

There’s always a way to have an outdoor experience

Castaway Cay, Bahamas – What is the better day? A Caribbean cruise with all the food you can eat and people waiting on you hand and foot? Or fishing in a 20-foot row boat on a solitary river in Montana?

And while these are first-world choices, for me it’s Montana, where hopefully the fish are biting.

But it’s not like the cruise is a bad option. It’s just not the outdoor experience that seems to be what populates most of my vacation time.

Family Time on the Disney Wish

We booked a family cruise on the Disney Wish for January of 2024, and I must say that it was great. Everything was as advertised, and of course, the time with my grandkids was amazing.

We had booked a snorkeling excursion months in advance so I anticipated a bit of time on a reef near Nassau for my outdoor fix in the midst of this paradise. Alas, a fierce wind turned the normally calm water frothy, and we canceled the outing.

Resolved and content to attend variety shows and other on-ship activities, I suddenly found myself with a second snorkeling option.

Snorkeling Castaway Cay

One of our planned days was at Castaway Cay, a Disney-owned island, with a gorgeous beach, every manner of Tiki hut vendor, and yes, a place to rent a mask, fins and snorkel.

When packing for the trip, I included a GoPro to capture some of the underwater world during the now-canceled Nassau excursion. But I left it on the ship, not realizing the opportunity on Castaway Cay. So, I bought a cheap waterproof phone case for my iPhone at one of the Tiki huts and hoped to be able to find some wildlife before saltwater penetrated the case and turned this potential opportunity into disaster.

As it turns out the swimming area is all part of a 22-acre lagoon that Disney is carefully cultivating for snorkeling. They have populated the bottom with structure to attract fish, and more than a few relics from Disney movies, such as the submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Once I found all of this, I found lots of fish and even a few corals.

The phone case did not leak, but only about half of my video came out clearly. I’ll chalk that up to user error. Fortunately, the parts that did come out were better than I expected.

I hope you enjoy the story of my little excursion into the wilds of Castaway Cay.

About the Author

John Carlin co-anchors the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10.

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