I’m cheating this week. I’m using the one and only trip report I ever wrote as my blog. We went on the “Eco Tour” at Castaway Cay in May of 2004. To this day I remain traumatized. Consider this my tribute to Earth Day:
Disney Cruise Line described the Eco Tour excursion as follows: “Get to know Castaway Cay like a native! A knowledgeable guide will take you on a fascinating eco adventure via a personal watercraft as you learn about the area’s abundant marine life, unique ecology and storied history.”
Sounds good! I’ve been on the Water Mice/Sprites at Disney World, no problem. There’s a guide, Mickey gives it a thumbs up, we should do this.
There we were. Me (as in the one who had the bright idea to do this tour), my husband and our daughter and we’re ready to go. The sun is shining, it’s a perfect day at Castaway Cay and it’s time for our Eco Tour.
First, we get our life jackets and then we get instructions. Wait, what does the fist in the air mean again? Slashing motion across the neck means stop? Are you sure that we’re not in the middle of a Charlie Brown cartoon where he’s giving stage directions?
I think I remember all of the instructions, and now it’s time to get on our “personal watercraft.” We get in the water and are told that you climb on from the back. Okay, the stupid thing is in waist deep water and they expect a chubby, middle aged lady to hop on. I decide to use the very professional lift the knee and crawl on method, praying that no one with a camera is behind me.
I did it, I’m on. Put the safety strap around my wrist, check. Don’t get within 50 feet of the watercraft in front of me, check. Don’t start until I’m told, check. Just press this little button, put one finger on the throttle and OMIGOD, WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO!! I’m going to get whiplash, I’m going to fall off, I hate this and everyone ahead of me is becoming a tiny speck on the horizon as they zoom off.
Yikes, they’re going around the front of the ship. Yikes, there are people behind me, I must catch up. Yikes, there goes my visor. Fat chance I’m going to stop to get it. Yikes, I don’t like this; I don’t like this at all.
When we reached an open area, the people behind me finally had a chance to pass by. Being that it was a Disney excursion, no one made any gestures in my direction; at least I don’t think that they did. I was too busy praying to all of the saints and my ancestors to actually look around.
Luckily, there’s a guide at both the front and the rear. Byron, the guide in the back and now my new best friend, takes me under his wing and encourages me to catch up with the rest of the group. I make it to the other side of the Magic and in front of Castaway Cay. Everyone has stopped and the guide tells us something about the trees. I wish I could remember what he said, but I was too busy looking for an amphibious taxi to drive up and get me out of this. The odds weren’t good.
Oh yippee, we’re going to explore some more. Push the button, 50 feet, finger on throttle; they can’t possibly hear what I’m saying over the sound of the engines. I hope no one can read lips. I really hate this.
Next, we stop at a sand bar about a mile and a half out. Up until now, I thought that I was going to fall off and sink 100 fathoms down. (I don’t know what a fathom is, but it sounds nautical and deep.) Considering that I have a life jacket on, this is unlikely, but panic does this to me.
We get off the “personal watercraft” and walk on the sandbar. The guide asks us what we think the sand is made of and tells us to scoop up a handful and sniff it. You know this is the part that he enjoys most, it’s fish poop. Great, I have a handful of poop, I’m a mile and a half out, and I have to get on the dreaded Jet Ski again. There’s one bright spot, the water in that area is only 4 to 12 feet deep. If I go flying off, maybe I can walk back.
Climb back on from the rear, threaten husband with death if he takes a picture, 50 feet, finger on throttle, hey, where are they going now? Swell, they’re going all around the cove next to the ship to get a close up look at those trees. Byron (my new best buddy), knows that if I follow the others I’ll be spending the night at his house since it will take me 8 hours to accomplish this. We take the short cut and head back around the ship to the shore.
I did it! I pry my hands off of the controls, hop off (from the rear) and practically walk on the water for the 8 feet between me and the beach. I would have kissed the sandy shore but I know better. Can’t fool me, its fish poop.
Truthfully, most everyone loved it. Some, like me, were surprised at how fast we went, but I was the only one who made a vow to always eat my vegetables and brush and floss if I got back to shore in one piece.
If you go on this tour, be prepared for speed. These are jet skis. You can’t go rocketing off on your own, but you will definitely move and learn something about trees and fish poop. After all, it is an “eco” tour.
Category: Disney Cruise Line