Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Encounter Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Encounter

Blue Lagoon Island

Blue Lagoon Island is one of the most popular destinations in Bahamas. Besides the breathtakingly clear turquoise waters including a hidden lagoon, hundreds of native coconut palm trees, pristine white sandy beaches, lush natural vegetation, tropical birds and coral reefs teeming with native species of fish, Bahamas' Blue Lagoon Island is also home to Dolphin Encounters. Prior to 1979, this island was frequented by royalty and many other public figures. Numerous European Earls, Counts, Dukes and Duchesses were guests. They were joined by American luminaries of the period such as Drew Pearson, authors John Dos Passos, James Thurber, Arthur Crock, Archibald MacLeish and Kenneth Roberts.
Blue Lagoon Island, also known by its official name Salt Cay (find  the reason below), is located just three miles from Nassau. Although Blue Lagoon Island is in very close proximity to Nassau and Paradise Island, it is completely secluded allowing all who visit a true opportunity to relax in a tranquil natural environment right on the beach in the Bahamas. The island has remained virtually untouched maintaining its lush natural beauty. It now provides secluded beaches for visitors and natural habitats for eighteen Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and six California Sea Lions at Dolphin Encounters. At Dolphin Encounters, visitors have the once in a lifetime opportunity to play with dolphins before marveling at their spectacular leaps and bows and meet amazing sea lions. Tourists also can get an up-close and personal view of the gentle marine mammals, if they choose to participate as a Program Observer. The Programs provide a fun interactive orientation, briefly covering the natural history of the marine mammals and they can learn animal training techniques, ocean conservation and Watchable Wildlife Guidelines.
This beautiful island is private (is owned by a local family), but is open to all who wants to experience Bahamian beauty and adventure. One of the most striking and photo-worthy structures is the tower at the entrance of the lagoon. It was once a wooden tower but has been replaced by a sturdier concrete building from which one can enjoy a stunning view of the lagoon, the island and surrounding ocean. Another local attraction is the John McCutcheon’s rock collection which features souvenirs from each place he visited. There can be found a brick from the Great Wall of China, rocks from Napoleon’s grave, a rock from the Ming Tomb and rocks from scores of other places around the world. The sightseeing tour continues with the Main House with its cottages. These one-room bungalows, which still exist today, housed most of the guests who visited the island over the years. Located on the south side of the island, the Custom Houseis a must-see. It was for decades the main entrance onto the island.

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The Beginning
Prior to the late 19th century the island's lagoon was a salt marsh, that is why its official name Salt Cay. Pirates and privateers used the island to cull salt from the lagoon to preserve their food and as a rest stop while they waited for permission to enter Nassau Harbour. In 1875, a Brit named Charles King-Harmon, bought Blue Lagoon island from the British Crown. After 11 years, he sold it to a Bahamian named Sir Augustus John Adderley. After another 6 years, Adderley sold the beautiful island to two Americans who wanted to cultivate corn and vegetables there, their effort failed and in 1902 they sold it to Abraham Van Winkle. Van Winkle transformed the island into a paradise; he dredged out the salt marsh, blasted a cut into the lagoon from the sea, planted 5,000 palm trees, built over a mile of meandering concrete paths and imported a zoo of monkeys, peacocks, turkeys, pheasants, parrots and iguanas to populate the paradise garden.In 1916 Van Winkle sold the Blue Lagoon Island to John T. McCutcheon. The McCutcheon family owned the island for 63 years. During this period of time, the McCutcheon family reveled in Salt Cay, hosting European royalty and American luminaries, finding simple adventures in the lack of electricity, the vagaries of weather and in what the tide brought that day. Because it was too expensive to maintain the island, in 1979, it was sold to L.A. Meister, the current owner, who together with his family also own and operate Dolphin Encounters. To this day Blue Lagoon is owned and operated by a local family committed to preserving the traditions and secluded beaches that made it famous in the Bahamas and beyond.
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