Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 16 "Paddling Back In Time"

Janet & Don Beasley
Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives. We began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak
Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 16: "Paddling Back in Time"

Castaway Cay Beach

While going through our photos, we stumbled upon a kayaking adventure we had taken in 2009 while on a #Disney Cruise and wanted to share the moment with you. It was a lot of fun, and is a really fun trip for beginners and up. 

We began our journey by hiking to the beach where the kayaks were. It was a beautiful hike on Disney's private island, #CastawayCay , and when we arrived at the kayaks we couldn't believe how far we had actually gone by foot. It didn't seem as far as it looked; the ship was an amazing site to see over the water and island.

The hike was not only beautiful, but also educational. We learned some neat nuggets about the island and all it had to offer. 

Looking Back at the Ship from the Kayak Beach
In 1983, while still known as Gorda Cay, the island and its pristine beaches were used to film portions of the 1984 classic Splash starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, and the 2003 action - adventure - fantasy Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl starring the popular Johnny Depp.

The Flying Dutchman at Castaway Cay
It's always fun to walk where the "stars" have walked, and experience the same places they have had the privilege of seeing. 

Ready for Action!

In 1783 Gorda Cay became a settlement.An airstrip on the island became a stop for bootleggers in the 1930's, and sadly later on by drug runners. But along came Disney in 1996 to save the day, and Gorda Cay was purchased and renamed Castaway Cay.

Starfish Under Water
There's some other cool facts about modern day Castaway Cay. Did you know that it took 18 months and $25 million to get it looking like it does today and allow Disney's cruise ships to safely dock at the island? And that's not all. There is a post office on Castaway Cay that visitors can use to send "snail mail" letters back home. The letters will arrive with exclusive, Disney Cruise Line Bahamian postage and a Castaway Cay postmark.

Sand Dollar
Another cool fact about the island is that is has 3 beaches: the family beach, the Cabana beach, and a beach reserved for adults only complete with massage services...yes, you can get a relaxing massage while overlooking the beautiful, tranquil waters of the Caribbean.

If snorkeling is your game you'll be thrilled to know that there are two retired 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine-ride vehicles in the snorkeling area. And those are the only artifacts that have been known to be spotted on the island. The Flying Dutchman pirate ship from the film series stood as though appearing to have run-aground until November of 2010. 

There is a crew of around 145 who live on Castaway Cay that includes boat captains, landscaping professionals, and maintenance personnel to name a few. These people receive their supplies from the ships when they dock. And the drinking water is desalinated using reverse osmosis water processors.

When we reached the kayaks the view was nothing shy of amazing! We couldn't wait to get paddling over the top of the crystal clear Caribbean water.

We loaded up what few items we had brought with us: bottled water, sunscreen, sun glasses, and extra shirts in case the sun got too intense.

Don and Janet Beasley in the Bahamas
on Castaway Cay
It was our first experience in using "sit on top" models of kayaks. This kind of kayak is perfect for fishing, or for beginners just getting the hang of the sport. Many recreational (or occasional) kayak lovers prefer to use the "sit on top" models all of the time. It's really a matter of use and preference. For us, we enjoyed our time in the "sit on tops," but were happy to return to our "sit in" style kayaks back home. 

Once we launched and began cruising across the crystal clear water's top, we were greeted by such incredible sea life. We saw sting rays, star fish, fish, and plants. We couldn't believe how the time flew by. It's always a thrill to kayak in new realms of the world. We can't wait until retirement so we can travel a bit more with the kayaks and see what this incredible planet has to offer, in addition to starting our private kayak tours, "From the Nose of A Kayak."
Janet in the Clear Water of the Caribbean
Don at the Shoreline on the Kayak Adventure

The "long" walk back seemed even shorter than when we were hiking to the beach, probably because we were both so excited and sharing with each other all of the goodness the adventure had to offer. We couldn't wait to share the fun with our family back on the cruise ship.

Once we arrived back on the ship we relaxed for a few hours by the pool, then headed to our cabin to prepare for the evening's agenda including a fabulous dinner and a show. 

We have to admit, a walk around the deck of a Disney Cruise Line ship in the moonlight, after a late dinner, is just as awesome as kayaking the Bahamas.  


Kayak Tip of the Week: When participating in a guided tour always stay alert and listen to what the guide is saying. In addition to the guidelines (which you need to follow) you'll be surprised at how much you will learn about the area. And don't be afraid to ask your guide questions. They love to share their knowledge!

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)