December 8, 2018 - This morning, Silver Spirit is anchored off the coast of Semana, Dominican Republic.
Today, we have booked an excursion with Silversea Shore Concierge: Caves and Mangroves by Kayak.
This is the first morning excursion we have taken on this cruise, so we were up early and, by 8:30am, boarding the local tender boat.
The boat ride to the national park takes about 40 minutes, most of which was across some pretty choppy seas. As we approach the shore, the waters calm significantly, and the tour guide shows us some of the unique limestone rock formations found here.
We can see brown pelicans and frigate birds nesting on some of the rocks. We approach a cave named Shark's Mouth, and you can see where the name comes from.
After a brief tour of the rocks and a few caves, we arrive at the dock where we will board the kayaks. Our large group was split into two smaller groups with half doing the kayak portion of the tour first, and the other half exploring the cave first. We put on our life vests, board our two-person kayak, and off we go to explore the mangroves.
The water is as smooth as glass once we enter the mangroves, making the kayaking much easier. Our local guide stops frequently to point out the flora and fauna of the mangroves.
The kayaking portion of the tour lasted about an hour and was one of the nicest kayak tours we have taken. After returning to the dock, we disembarked the kayaks, put on our shoes and sandals and were led up some stairs into a cave.
Our local guide for the cave portion of the tour, Edith, gave each of us a flashlight to use while we walk through the cave. She stopped periodically to point out interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as ancient carvings found in the cave.
There were some very interesting formations in the cave and some good photo opportunities.
We spent about 45 minutes exploring the cave before returning to the boat that would take us back to Silver Spirit. Our guides offered us some coconut bread and water or soft drinks to enjoy during the ride back. The guides were also willing to take photos of the guests, a nice touch.
The entire excursion took about four hours and was well worth the $99/pp cost. Once back on board Silver Spirit, we once again visited The Arts Cafe for lunch. This evening, we went to Venetian Lounge for the 6:30pm performance by Adam Westcott, flamenco/classical guitarist.
Mr. Westcott is very talented and everyone in attendance enjoyed his performance. It was a great show! After the show, Rickee and I decided to have a drink at Tor's Observation Lounge on Deck 11 forward. This is probably the most under-utilized space on the ship, which is a shame. This is a beautiful, quiet lounge with excellent bar service.
Tomorrow is another day at sea as Silver Spirit sails to Key West, Florida.