Sandals Royal Bahamian A hot summer trip to the Caribbean (Aug 2023)

This was a trip that almost never happened. We have been going to Sandals resorts since we got married back in 1997. On our previous Sandals trip we earned another 'free' 7 day stay due to our returning guest status. Things had changed since our last 'free' trip, and we didn't read the fine print very carefully. It turns out we needed to book our trip within 1 year of receiving the award and take it within 2 years. Due to the pandemic, that time went by very quickly! We were informed of these deadlines (we missed the booking deadline) and they let us book the trip but we had to take it before September 2023. We had booked a trip to Curacao for May but due to some shenanigans by Jet Blue we ended up not going. Sandals was nice enough to rebook us (on the same day we were supposed to be there), but with the deadline looming we didn't have many choices of resorts, most were sold out for the time period. We were able to book Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas, and so off we went.

Leaving Boston, Mike snapped this phone picture of Hali enjoying first-class luxury. Hali bought a cool silicone doohickey to place over the lens and against the glass of the airplane so she could shoot out the window without those annoying reflections. On the right is that new tool in use! An infrared shot as we took off. Canon RP 24-240mm lens, 590nm.
Hali enjoying dinner on the pier our first night there (iPhone 13 Pro picture). We thought it was a bit breezy that night, but it seemed to get even windier on subsequent nights!

The resort was one of the smaller Sandals we've stayed at, but one of the draws was a offshore "private" island that we could take a water taxi to during the day. It was listed in many of online searches as one of the best places to snorkel so win-win. We even bought cool light units to use with our Gopro's for underwater photos.

All these photos were taken at the rear of the offshore island . The snorkeling wasn't any good because the seas were a bit turned up. But it was a beautiful and quiet place to relax. Clockwise from top left, Mike snapped a phone picture of the beautiful Hali on the beautiful beach. Next, Mike tried a GoPro 'selfie' of us (shield your eyes if old people in swim suits disturb you). On the bottom right, Mike used the GoPro again to get a shot of the beach chairs and palapa. Lastly, (bottom left) Mike used the phone to take a panorama of the beach (click the image to see the entire picture).
The resort had some unique features (to us). There was an old "tardis" style telephone booth festooned with artificial roses that was a wonderful prop for wedding photos (or even for us non-newly weds). The shot on the left was a phone picture taken by some nice person walking past. The booth also made a great subject for infrared -- as with Hali's image on the right (Canon RP with the 24-240mm lens, 560nm).
We went back to the pier restaurant on our second night, but it was very windy! Hang on to your menu! The left image was Mike's phone picture. The middle image was our first attempt at some sunset pictures after dinner (Nikon Z9, 24-70mm lens). And on the right we had to lean into the wind a bit, but managed to get a sunset image of both of us (Nikon Z9, 24-70mm lens).
Sunrises were warm even if they weren't always beautiful, Hali went out many mornings to watch the sunrise, she was never alone, there were always people up at that hour like the man on the left, who just wanted to take it in. The water also reflected the morning light beautifully and Hali continued exploring her latest photographic obsession - ICM. All photos with the Canon R6 and 24-240mm lens.
There was a fascinating display of clock art in the lobby of our building, and we simply had to photograph it! (Nikon Z9, 24-70mm).
They had food trucks at the resort. The dessert truck was obviously our favorite. Not only were the sweets great but they made a wonderful iced or hot cappuccino as well. And the people who worked there were just so nice! Both shots by Hali with the Canon R6 and the 24-240mm lens. The one on the left was taken mid day and the one on the right was taken very early in the morning just after Hali got done shooting the sunrise.

Remember Hurricane Dorian in 2019? It left a path of destruction through the Bahamas with winds up to 185mph tearing through the archipelago. Nassau and Sandals Royal Bahamian were part of that, and the resort had been closed for a while. They were still doing construction whilst we were there. The east building was still being renovated, and at the end of our trip they were starting reconstruction of the dock on the east side of the resort.

Two very different sunrises from the pier. In the photos, you can see how the dock was destroyed during the hurricane. Hali credit Canon R6 with the RF 24-240mm lens

After the sunrise shots Hali would often wander around the resort for a while and she always met up with the resort cats. Hali is really allergic to cats, but you wouldn't know that by the amount of time she spent with the kittens.

As has become the norm at all the resorts we have stayed at in recent years, cats are all over the place. The kittens are incredibly cute and provided plenty of photo ops for Hali, and most guests love them. Unfortunately, there isn't any attempt to neuter or spay them. All photos with the Canon R6 and the 24-240mm lens
Some more infrared images of the resort. On left - Kandoo was the breakfast restaurant and served lunch and dinner. On right - the garden area behind Kandoo had several bungalow-style rooms, a shuffleboard court, and a tennis/pickleball court. It also had some pretty areas, like this pergola that were fun to photograph. Both photos were taken by Hali with the full spectrum converted Canon RP and the 24-240mm lens.
Another really windy sunset image of the two of us (Nikon Z9 24-70mm lens).

Unusual for us we spent a lot of time by the pool. There wasn't enough beach for us to do our usual walks, and the Caribbean water was very rough due to storms that had come through. The resort was also dealing with the Sargasso Sea Grass that had come in and was covering the beach. I felt bad for the resort workers who were out there sweltering in the sun trying to remove thick layers of the grass from the beach.

A watersports worker tasked with raking up the seaweed that had washed up on the beach. Infrared image. Canon RP full spectrum conversion @590nm with the 24-240mm lens
On the upper left is a shot of Mike during a cloudy morning walk around the resort (phone picture). We bought new underwater lights and a second GoPro to take on the trip, but the weather didn't cooperate. There was a lot of wind and surf and the water wasn't very clear. It didn't stop us from going in to see what we could see, though! Both in water pictures taken with a GoPro. Bottom - Mike waiting in the shade for the water taxi to come take us back to the resort. iPhone 13 Pro

Did we mention it was hot. If we didn't let us just say It.Was.Hot! The ocean water was well into the 80's and the air temperature, even on the beach was in the 90's every day. We spent a lot of time at the pool, resting under an umbrella with many dips into the pool to swim some laps to get cool. There was almost always someone coming around to get drink orders and would bring us plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Hali with a tasty beverage. Mike and Hali taking turns resting on the side of the pool after a refreshing dip. Despite being under the umbrella and 50 SPF sunblock we got great tans (don't tell our dermatologists!) All photos taken with the iPhone 13 Pro.
More sunset shots! The images of us were taken with the Nikon Z9. The top right image was a phone picture, and the bottom left image was from a night walk around the resort (Nikon Z9).
The bathrooms in the entranceway to the French restaurants had these great murals on them, you couldn't mistake which was which.
The sunsets might not have been spectacular, but they were beautiful enough - and warm! The left image is a Phone pic that Mike had taken and the image on right was using the Nikon Z9.
Alas, all good things must end and we headed back home. The silicone lens hood came in handy as we flew over the beautiful waters of the Caribbean.

Still, it was a beautiful resort with many unique features. We had a good time, despite some weather issues, because we always have a good time together, especially surrounded by sea, sand, and eating good food!