The offshore reef that surrounds almost the whole island is the main factor in creating this paradise of beaches and lagoons (and keeps the sharks out!) So a wellness week wouldn’t be complete without watersports and this morning I was up early for a very special kind – swimming with Dolphins- in their natural environment of the open water- not a pool. We met at 7am at the hotels boathouse and headed off to Black River Bay. Not long after we arrived, schools of dolphins glided past, some jumping and spinning in the air around us, not worried about the attention they were generating. Popping on our snorkels, we jumped in the water, waiting for a flash of silver to pass… We are told to just ‘swim, swim, swim’ to keep up with them, me trying to remember my best open water swimming technique ….and at one point I was completely surrounded by dolphins! I’ve done quite a bit of scuba diving in the past and am an advanced open water PADI diver. But it’s been a few years since I last dived, so once we returned from the dolphin swim and had breakfast, I took a quick refresher session in the pool, under the instruction of Emanuele Senatore from the hotel’s dive school. We then headed back out to a dive sight called ‘Aquarium’ and spent 35 minutes spotting Carpe, Halfmoon Butterfly fish, Yellowfin Goldfish, Black Spotted Puffers, and Vagabond butterfly’s, swimming amongst coral. In the afternoon, we have a session with leading aromatherapist, Shirley Page who designs the LUX Spa products, which are all geared towards purity; high grade, organic ingredients, so no pesticides that can penetrate the seed and cause skin irritation. Shirley gives us a demonstration of her products. ‘Oils can affect our mental state,’ she says, ‘ as well as our body and skin. Essential oils are the only substance that can pass down the hair shaft to the blood stream, so we can use them as mood enhancers, to help us decide how we feel.
After a ‘jet lag massage’ ( we are allowed a massage as day as part of the programme) we had dinner devised by the hotels chef and tweaked by Eve; pan fried scallops with noodles and greens, green papaya salad with peanut and dry shrimp, various stir fry and curry dishes followed by banana ice cream- made from just banana…and I head of for my first early night in what feels like years- wanting to be fresh for our hike to a beautiful secluded waterfall in the Black River National Park.