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From New Providence Island

The Bahamas have seemed very exotic to me ever since my elder sister Lindsay returned from there as a bronzed, beautiful 18 year old (nearly half a century ago). Knowing that the diving is supposed to be good, I was delighted when Keir suggested a holiday here, and we had a delightful direct flight with BA on Saturday. Thanks to timely online checkin, we had two exit row seats with more legroom than Business Class, and after only 3 movies (Amelia Earhart, An education and Golden 39) we were in Nassau with only a short transfer to the resort.

Sandals is at Cable Beach, near Nassau on New Providence Island. It's an amazing mixture: the down side is the naff pseudo-classical statues and some cringe-worthy (but optional) entertainment, but there is also the stunning natural beauty of its beaches and private island. We also like the simplicity of all-inclusive: if you've finished eating, you need not hang around for the bill, there's no need to carry valuables and no reason not to have another drink.

Anyway, the diving is included! Fortunately I visited the dive shop on arrival and got a place on yesterday's shark dive, an event that runs only if enough experienced divers sign up for it. We were encircled by dozens of Caribbean reef sharks (harmless if treated with respect, but wild animals all the same) and had magical moments watching them at very close quarters. I'll try to update this with a photo: it being my first dive I wasn't carrying my own camera, but Ricardo, the dive photographer, was in action. The water is cold enough that I went into Nassau on the bus today and bought my first wet suit, which should make a big difference for the rest of the week. It was only $10 more expensive than the rental, and can be re-used on my next dive trip in cooler waters. Some women would rather have a mink coat, but I am delighted with this extremely comfortable garment.


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