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Wait, that’s the wrong island

We were supposed to go to Bimini. We got Freeport instead.


Not that the beach at Pirates Cove was subpar. But Ginny was looking forward to returning to the Bahama island closest to Florida.


We first went to Bimini last September. The island doesn’t have a port for big ships so we had to ride a sea taxi to shore. From there, we took a bus to a resort that included an idyllic beach and two large swimming pools. Besides which, they fed us.


Ginny still tells anyone who will listen that we were “approached” by a small shark on the Bimini beach. It wasn’t really a threat but the swimmers took to the sand when the little guy swam around looking for food.


But, on this latest cruise, we were diverted to Freeport since the waters at Bimini were too choppy for our taxi boats. 


Our cruise was the first week of February and we went directly to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We had chosen to cruise in February to get away from the cold weather back home. Grand Turk turned out to be cloudy with a few drizzles here and there. So much for our planning.


The bus driver on our tour told us the climate is mostly dry all year but they do have a rainy season. Just our luck, we picked the rainy season.


Grand Turk shows its dryness with its lack of rainforest-type trees. The island, just seven miles long and a mile-and-a-half wide, looks to be lacking in wealth for the less than 5,000 inhabitants. 


But what the island appeared to be rich in were two domesticated species: Donkeys and dogs. Both varieties ran free all over the island. We were told the dogs are friendly since the people feed them. But, apparently, the dogs don’t like the donkeys. We saw one dog barking at a donkey, which took that to mean he was to leave the area.


We returned to the ship hoping for better weather and Bimini. Instead, we got rain and high winds. The night before we were to dock outside the island, the captain announced on the PA system that we were diverting to Freeport.


I quickly searched the ship’s website for another excursion to replace the one on Bimini. I found a bus trip across Grand Bahama to Pirates Cove.


Fortunately for us, the sky had cleared and our trip to Pirates Cove revealed a lively community much more prosperous than Grand Turk. The only downside appeared in a number of buildings that had been damaged by a recent hurricane.


The island made us feel at home with the Burger Kings, KFCs and other American icons. Our bus driver even said we could “have it your way.” But we declined to stop.


Pirates Cove has a typical tropical beach, with light-blue waters and fluffy sand. After relaxing for most of the time in my beach chair, I took a walk down the beach to where it morphed into rocks that were reason enough to turn back.


While at the beach, I got a phone call from a friend back home. I told him where I was and he informed me that he met his wife in Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas.


Incidentally, when you’re on a cruise ship, unless you purchase the Wifi package, you’re without cell phone and internet unless you can pick up a signal while on shore. Sometimes you can but more often you can’t.


Back on board our ship, Ginny and I tried to enjoy as much of the entertainment as possible. We would eat in the dining room every evening and then choose what shows to attend.


There was usually a standup comedian around 7 p.m. and sometimes a musical show in the theater at 7:30. Then we would try to catch the rock band at 8 or other music at various locations around the ship.


For those of you who have never cruised, a big ship is about three football fields long with 12 to 14 decks. The biggest problem for Ginny and me is finding our way to Deck 5 midship or Deck 3 aft. More often than not, we go in the wrong direction before recognizing our error.


But that’s another column. 


Meanwhile, we’re relegated to being landlubbers until the next cruise.


Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com.