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Atlantis 2010

Rick Archer's Note:  Of all the places we have seen on our many cruise trips, Atlantis is Top Three.  I now have a second story about Atlantis for you to visit: Atlantis 2012

Rick and Marla Visit Atlantis

Story Written by Rick Archer, October 2010
Date of Visit: September 8, 2010

For this story, I could probably just add the pictures and stop there. 

I could simply say, "It was great, worth the wait" and then post the pictures. 

That said, I hope you won't mind if I share some of my experiences of this beautiful resort.

I had never heard of the Atlantis Resort until Marla brought it to my attention when she scheduled our 2010 Bahamas Cruise. 

The moment I saw the promotional pictures, I was hooked.  Wow!  I definitely wanted to see this place.  The resort looked like something from Las Vegas transplanted to the Bahamas with one big difference.  Thanks to its desert locale, the one thing Vegas could use more of is "water".  Not a problem in the Bahamas.  It was the presence of beautiful water everywhere that first caught my eye.  Waterfalls, lagoons, fast-moving streams, plus the ocean nearby.

Incredible.  Atlantis seemed to be the most beautiful water world I had ever seen. So much beauty!   Besides the water, the hotels were stunning to look at as well.  Such architecture!  I was also drawn to the lush tropical gardening. 

I shook my head with gleeful anticipation.  I could definitely enjoy taking a long walk through this tropical paradise.  So much to look at!  There was no doubt what I wanted to do when our cruise ship visited Nassau. 

The word "Paradise" describes a world of ideal beauty.  I have to say that the places I have seen named "Paradise" failed to live up to my expectations.

Atlantis, on the other hand, seemed ready to live up to the hype. Unless the pictures were painting a false picture, Atlantis was closer to my imaginary vision of the Garden of Eden or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon than anything else I had seen so far in my life. I had to see this place for myself!

Let me state that I discovered the pictures indeed did not lie.  Atlantis came pretty close to meeting my criteria for "Paradise" on Earth.

Someone with a touch of genius designed this place so perfectly that it is a perfect replica of natural beauty.  I think it is vaguely sacrilegious to say this, but the beauty of the man-made waterfalls, lagoon and streams rivaled the expertise of the Great Creator above. 

We Almost Didn't Go

One day before the trip, Marla came up to me with a long face as I sat doing a crossword puzzle at home.  I asked her what was wrong.  Marla said the tickets for a day visit were $130 a person. 

Holy smokes!  I frowned.  The cost of this place was exorbitant! 

It was one thing to spring for a high-priced ticket back when I had a job, but this no-income retirement stuff has a crippling effect on a person's willingness to splurge.  My first instinct was to buy a tee-shirt and say to heck with it. 

Then I took another look at those pictures and reconsidered.  Hmm. 

An idea crossed my mind.  Yes, this place was undeniably expensive.  But then I took yet another look at the pictures.  Besides the beauty, I realized just how curious I was about the water rides.  I simply could not get the image of that fascinating Mayan Temple and its huge waterslide out of my mind.

The Mayan Temple slide reminded me of something from my past.  I thought about it for a few seconds, then I recalled a waterslide at the long gone but not completely forgotten Waterworld here in Houston.  That waterslide had mesmerized me for several years.

Back when my daughter Sam was in grade school, she visited Waterworld with her friends a couple times a year.  Since these were the days before Sam could drive, I would accompany her.  Supervision was pretty easy; the lifeguard kept a close eye.  This allowed me to sit back in the lounge chair and relax.  One day, I noticed a huge slide tucked in the back corner of the park.  From the safety of my lounge chair, I studied that slide carefully.

The first time I saw the steep slide, I just said to myself, "No way."  But on each return visit, my eyes were drawn back to that slide.  Finally I had to admit it.  I wanted to try that slide.  It didn't seem to require a lot of skill.  All it required was the ability to climb to the top and jump.  Climbing I could do.  It was the jumping part that gave me trouble. 

Each visit I would stare at that ride and try to get my courage up.  I stared at that waterslide for four trips in a row without making a move. It took me that long to screw my courage up.

After four trips over a three year period, on the fifth trip I decided it was time.  I had been chewing myself out for avoiding that ride.  My cowardice was taking its toll on my self-esteem.  No more chickening out.  This was my day to make the long fateful climb to the top of that Waterworld slide. 

As I climbed the staircase, I was all by myself.  It was late in the day, so a lot of kids had left the park.  I had waited till my daughter was pre-occupied elsewhere in case I got cold feet.  No life guard, no kids, no daughter, just the man and the challenge.   There was no one to laugh at me if I changed my mind (and I was definitely considering slinking back down to the ground). 

Just staring at the earth far below scared the willies out of me. 

However, I had determined over the course of the previous four visits that everyone who slid down the darn thing had survived... including lots of kids about 8 years old.  There was no logical reason to believe I would be the first not to survive... although some part of me was convinced I was a goner.

I took a deep breath and jumped.  So off into space I plunged. I was completely alone.  There was no life guard to note my demise if I perished. 

Sonofagun, my butt immediately left the surface of the slide!  My body wasn't touching anything!  I was terrified.  I was convinced I had done something wrong and my body had somehow left the protective pocket of the water chute.  I must have fallen over the edge!

I screamed bloody murder.  I was hurtling straight down to my doom!

Somewhere about halfway down, my butt was thrilled to settle back into comforting contact with the slide.  An instant later I made a triumphant entry into the water pool below complete with a huge splash of water. 

A big smile crossed my face.  I had lived to fight another day.

Don't tell anyone, but the loss of Astroworld and Waterworld still stings.  Houston doesn't have a whole lot of fun places to visit as it is, so losing those two parks was a real blow.  To this day, I still wonder what on earth they were thinking.  To this day, that space just lies empty.  What was the point of killing the parks?  They didn't even warn us or give us a chance to save the parks.  I would have gone a few extra times a year or paid more.  What a shame. 

I think missing Waterworld so much was the deciding factor in my Atlantis decision.  I said to Marla, "Well, look at it this way.  If the price tag scares us off, what is it going to do to a family with four kids?  How are they ever going to afford this place?  With us visiting on a weekday with school in session, at that price I bet the place is deserted!  Maybe we will have the place to ourselves!"

And you know what?  I was right.  We did have the whole place to ourselves.  I never waited more than a couple minutes for a ride all day.  

This place was just what I had hoped for... and much much more.  Even at a price as steep as the waterslides, Atlantis exceeded my expectations.

Mike and Joyce, Jack and Jo, Marla and Rick after a tough day on the Lazy River

This is a picture of the amazing Mayan Temple and the Challenger waterslide.
The Mayan Temple holds four different slides including the world famous
"Leap of Faith".  We will get to the "Leap of Faith" later.

This is not the original slide at Houston's Waterworld, but it is very similar.
If you have no previous experience with this ride and you are dumb enough to
look down,  I guarantee you will gulp with fear.  It is basically a free fall!

I took this picture from the top of the Mayan Temple.
The bizarre structure in the distance is called the Tower of Power. 

The Tower of Power is a recent addition to Atlantis.  It houses 4 very unique waterslides of its own.  One of them even sends you hurtling in the dark. 

By the way, can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the background?  This picture makes it crystal clear just how beautiful and magical this waterpark is. 

The Lazy River doesn't look too crowded, does it?  Sure enough, we had the place to ourselves.  If you look, you will see the Lazy River actually had a current. That Lazy River was fun. I could have stayed in there all day long!

What more could we ask for?  Atlantis is truly a Paradise on Earth.


According to Wikipedia, Atlantis is a resort and water park located on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  Nassau, capital of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence Island. Paradise Island is located offshore about a mile from Nassau.  The two islands are connected by two modern bridges, one for cars coming and one for cars leaving.

Paradise Island first opened as the Trump Plaza back in the Eighties with a size about one-third of today's scale.  Unfortunately, the venture failed and closed down in the mid-Nineties. 

The existing resort was bought by South African hotel magnate Sol Kerzner.  After a giant facelift, it reopened in 1998.  This time it was a success.  Seeing all the unused space on the island, Kerzner decided to expand.  In 2003, the resort changed its name to Atlantis when the Royal Towers were built,
adopting the theme of the mythical Lost Continent of Atlantis in the process.


The ancient civilization of Atlantis in its watery grave.

This is a drawing of the modern day Atlantis Waterpark.  It is so beautiful that I find it equal to the fantasy drawings of the ancient Atlantis.  This place is stunning. 

Edgar Cayce & The Lost Continent of Atlantis

In 370 BC, Greek philosopher Plato recounted the legendary tale of Atlantis, the lost civilization.

He described how a mysterious continent had existed more than 10,000 years earlier.  He said it was located near the Straits of Gibraltar at the tip of Spain.  In Plato's account, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon (approximately 9600 BC).

Then suddenly after a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".

Described as a highly evolved society, the great civilization apparently met the end of its rule over Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa when natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes destroyed the continent.  Ancient lore says Atlantis sank below the seas never to be seen again. 

As we all know, the Lost Continent of Atlantis gave our Atlantic Ocean its name. Unfortunately, its existence has never been confirmed scientifically.

On a personal note, back when I was in college I studied extensively the story of Edgar Cayce, the mysterious "Sleeping Prophet" of Virginia Beach.

Sometimes referred to as the "American Nostradamus", Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was able to go into a trance and diagnose all sorts of medical problems for people who came to him for help. 

After Cayce returned from the trance, he generally did not remember what he had said during the reading. The 'unconscious mind', according to Cayce, has access to information which the conscious mind does not.

Whatever his source, Cayce's readings were remarkably helpful to many ill people.  Not only were his suggestions on how to heal the problems unusually accurate and often contrary to accepted medical wisdom, it was very surprising to hear this man often speak in advanced medical terms during his trance.  After all, Cayce had no formal education whatsoever. 

Over his lifetime, Cayce gave approximately 21,000 readings. Unfortunately, the first 8,000 readings from his early career are lost.  However, in 1923, they began to transcribe everything Cayce said while he was asleep.

Almost immediately, Cayce dropped a bombshell.  During a reading in 1923, Edgar Cayce first mentioned the existence of Atlantis.

Curious, people began to ask Cayce direct questions about Atlantis in later readings.  Cayce went on to suggest that it was originally a continent-sized region extending from the Azores to the Bahamas right smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cayce described Atlantis as a highly evolved civilization which had ships and aircraft powered by a mysterious energy crystal.  This crystal was part of a highly destructive "death ray".  I found it interesting that the Cayce readings spoke of the existence of the advanced technology in Atlantis.  His account of the final days of Atlantis seemed to eerily parallel our own struggle to avoid destroying our planet with a nuclear holocaust.

Cayce said when the island was destroyed, its refugees fled to ancient Egypt as well as pre-Columbian America. This was his explanation for the similarities between the Yucatan pyramids and the Egyptian pyramids.  Cayce said the pyramids were built using Atlantean technology.  Pretty interesting, huh?

Cayce also predicted the future discovery of an Atlantean "Hall of Records" between the Sphinx and the Nile with a connecting entrance under the right, front paw of the Sphinx in Egypt.  From what I gather, this Hall of Records remains undiscovered.

Edgar Cayce said that the Atlantean society was divided into two long-lived political factions—a "good" faction called the "Sons of the Law of One" and an "evil" faction called the "Sons of Belial."

Cayce added that many people alive today are the reincarnations of Atlantean souls.  These people must now face similar temptations as before. It is said Atlantis suffered three major destructions, one of which was the deluge. According to the readings, a major source of turmoil was the Sons of Belial's desire to exploit the Things, sub-humans with animal appendages and low intelligence, and the movements to protect and evolve them by the Sons of the Law of One. The final destruction was caused by the over-charging of the crystal which caused a massive explosion.

Perhaps the most fascinating feature of Cayce's readings was his prediction that parts of Atlantis would rise in 1968 or 1969.  I remember being pretty excited about this because 1969 was the exact time that I was reading about his story. 

Cayce said the rising would occur near Bimini Island in the western part of the Bahamas.  In case you are curious, Bimini Island is 137 miles northwest of Nassau and 53 miles due east of Miami.

Alas, I never saw anything in the newspapers about any sightings of Atlantis.  Over time I forgot about it and got on with my life.   However, 40 years later, for the purposes of this story, I took another look.  Apparently there may be some interesting developments. 

I read in Wikipedia that Bimini Road, a submerged rock formation of large rectangular stones just off North Bimini Island in the Bahamas, was claimed in 2009 by Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley to be evidence of the lost civilization.  However I did not find much corroborating evidence.

I also read that the nearby Bermuda Triangle has one corner located in Bimini.  The speculation is that perhaps the rumored "Death Ray" of Atlantis is somehow responsible for all of the unusual magnetic anomalies in the area. So, as you see, even after 2,500 years, the legend of Atlantis lives on.

I am not going to lie to you.  I love this stuff.  I love the occult and I love mysticism.  I love alien abductions, I love UFO stories, I love Area 51, I love the Bermuda Triangle, I love Roswell, I love Nostradamus, I love the X-Files, and I still think Cayce's ideas on reincarnation make a heck of a lot more sense than the Judeo-Christian concept of one shot to get it right. 

So when you give me a story that ties Atlantis to the Temple of Chitzen Itza in Mexico to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids in Egypt and then to the Bermuda Triangle for good measure, I am absolutely riveted.

That said, I don't have a lick of proof that any of this stuff is any more than someone's imagination.  All I am saying is that I find it fascinating.  Therefore, let's be clear I am not writing this stuff with the intention of convincing someone it is real.  Until I see Atlantis rise from the sea with my own eyes, I will retain a healthy amount of skepticism as to Cayce's claims.

By the way, during my Bahamas Trip, one man made me laugh.  He pointed out that Atlantis had indeed risen in the Bahamas. I bit. "Really!? Where!?"

"Cayce got it right after all.  He must have seen this resort being built in his dreams.  You're standing on Atlantis, Rick."  Ha ha ha.

But you know what?  The more I thought about it, the modern Atlantis I saw before my very eyes was just as amazing as any structure I would ever see in a science fiction movie.  For example, at first I thought the temple in the picture on the left was a fantasy picture from ancient Atlantis.  Then I grinned when I saw the tubes floating down the lazy river.  The amazing Mayan Temple recreation here at Atlantis is so grand and so realistic that it is just as impressive as the real Chitzen Itza pyramid over in Mexico.

So maybe my buddy has a point.  Atlantis has indeed risen again.

Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 11:35 PM
Subject: The photo of the master plan of Atlantis

Hi Rick!

Please insert my name near the photo on your website.

We produced this scale model & would like to have credits.
It is copyrighted so if you could, please include my name.


Melvin Denny Ako


The Modern Atlantis

From the 1980s through the 1990s, the Paradise Island Resort was owned by two resort companies with memorable names behind them. It was first owned by Donald Trump (Trump Resorts), then Merv Griffin (Resorts International).  Both companies tried unsuccessfully to turn the resort and the island into a premier gambling location.  By the early 1990s, the resort had become a shadow of its former self both physically and financially, filing for bankruptcy in 1993.

By the 1990s, Sol Kerzner had built a successful resort business in South Africa. Kerzner was the owner and builder of Sun City, one of the world's largest casino resorts to date. In 1993, Kerzner created Sun International Hotels Ltd. so he could buy Paradise Island from Resorts International.

In 1994, Sun International paid $125 million for three hotels, a golf course and a small airline with an airport. He also gained acres of undeveloped land with the deal.   By the time Kerzner bought the resort, it had lost significant market share. Now it was time for rebuilding and expansion.

Elaborate plans were made to rebuild and expand the resort into a major Vegas-style attraction.  In the process, the Paradise Island Casino and Resort was renamed to Atlantis.

This effort would take three phases and 12 years to complete.

Phase I -  The Paradise Beach Hotel was the oldest building at Atlantis.  It was renamed the Beach Tower.  The former Britannia Beach Hotel was renamed the Coral Towers.  Besides remodeling these existing structures, a water park was added.  The upgrades to the hotels and the addition of the water park cost $100 million to build. Several main attractions were added including raft rides, water slides, outdoor aquariums and live sharks. This alone increased the occupancy rate at the resort by 16 percent.

(Rick's Note: There are now TWO water parks at Atlantis.  You can see the original water park in the picture on the right between the Beach Tower and Coral Tower.  We did not have time to visit the original water park. Plus maybe I should admit I didn't even know it was there!)

Phase II - By 1994, Phase II of Atlantis in the Bahamas was already under construction. It would cost $500 million because it involved new development around one of the old Paradise hotels. Phase II marked the addition of the 1,200-room Royal Towers hotel, which opened in 1998.

The Royal Towers included a six-story lobby called the "Hall of Waters" as well as a 50,000 square-foot casino.

The most famous and most expensive room of the resort is the Bridge Suite which is part of the Royal Towers Bridge. This bridge connects the two towers.  The bridge has one very special suite that sells for $25,000 per night with a four night minimum.  In 2003, the Bridge Suite was the most expensive suite in the world.  As of 2009, it is still up there at Number 3. 

In addition, the Coral Towers and Beach Towers were refurbished to match the theme of the Royal Towers which were built to serve as the centerpiece of Atlantis.

Phase III - The final expansion doubled the size of the park.  This phase included the Cove Atlantis which opened in March 2007.  The Cove is a 600-unit luxury hotel that caters to high-end clients.

Another tower, the 497-room Reef Atlantis, opened in December 2007. The Reef, the newest building at Atlantis to date, consists of condominium hotel residences. The different Reef Hotel residences are set up as studio, one bedroom and two bedroom suites.

Nearby Harborside Resort consists of 392 villas and features a harbor-front restaurant, pool area including a children's pool with water fountains, a fitness facility, a sundry store, and all-day shuttle service to Atlantis.

Dolphin Cay is the latest addition to Atlantis Paradise Island.  This lake is an 11-acre residence for dolphins. Visitors can meet and interact with the dolphins while at the resort. These dolphins came from Gulfport, Mississippi, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home.

With the recent hotels built over the last couple of years, Atlantis has added to its value considerably. Atlantis is now included in the exclusive list of the most expensive hotels in the world.

Rick's Note:  The picture above is a 2010 rendition of Atlantis.  See how radically different it looks than the 2005 picture below. 

Below you can see what already existed in 2005. Notice the land being cleared.  The additions doubled the size of Atlantis.  (One easy way to compare the two pictures is to use "The Cove" as a reference point).

This is the image being used in 2010 if you visit the Bahamas using Google Earth.  When I write stories about a location, I enjoy taking a second look using Google Earth.  This time I did a real double take.  Where's the Mayan Temple?  Where's the Reef Hotel and Cove Hotel?  Then I noticed it says "Imagery Date September 7, 2005".  This picture is five years old! 

I was very surprised to discover the current image being used for the Bahamas dates all the way back to 2005!   I had always assumed that Google Earth stayed more up to date.  However, rather than be grumpy about it, I appreciated the opportunity given to offer this before and after comparison.

Rick's Update:  It is now 2012 and Google Earth has a recent posting from 2011.  Only one problem: there is a heavy cloud cover over the resort. Darn!



The Atlantis Aquaventure

The unprecedented 141-acre waterscape known as Aquaventure is the centerpiece of Atlantis' recent billion-dollar development. This 2007 addition helped position Atlantis as one of the largest water-themed attractions in the world(Rick's Note: there is a twin water park in Dubai).

The Aquaventure waterscape is laid out in front of the Cove Atlantis luxury hotel.  It contains over 20 million gallons of water, 20 swimming areas and 11 separate pools including 3 kiddie pools.

This non-stop water experience consists of thrilling water slides, a mile-long river ride with high intensity rapids and wave surges, and never-before-seen special effects that add an extreme level of excitement to the overall experience, delivering a sensory journey unlike any other.

Aquaventure adds several first-of-its-kind special effects and technology to its water slides and river rides, bringing them together in a lush, tropical environment that is both immersive and interconnected.

Once guests are situated in their inner tubes, they are propelled along by water "escalators", waves, water surges and master blaster technology.

Unlike traditional water slides that require the participant to leave the water and climb back to the start, at Aquaventure guests never have to leave the water as they are propelled back up the slide tower via water conveyors.

The Power Tower

As you glide along the Lazy River, you have the option to float into the Power Tower (see picture to right).  I can assure you the Power Tower offers some of the most unusual tube rides you can ever imagine.  The Power Tower uses jets of water to speed up your trip down the slides and tubes. 

These water surges also to push you up inclines as you sit in your tube. The Atlantis calls this "master blaster" technology. This was a first for me.  I had never imagined sliding UP a water slide or backwards either.  It is pretty awesome. 

The 120-foot tall Power Tower delivers four completely different exhilarating slidesAre you brave enough to take on "The Abyss"?  This 200-foot body-slide sends you plunging 50-feet into an alligator lagoon!  The Abyss makes you leave your tube behind.  You go down the chute on your backside.  The slide propels you into total darkness.  Very disorienting!  In the dark, your body is taken through all sorts of unanticipated twists and turns. Fun!   The most agonizing part of this slide is watching people in front you shoot down the dark, circular tube. After disappearing out of sight, the rider in front of you usually screams the entire way down until you hear a muffled splash. This is arguably the most exciting ride in Atlantis -- the equivalent of a true vertical drop that packs a lot of punch for 14 seconds.

If you're not ready for the "Abyss", then try "The Falls". The Falls drops riders down almost 60 feet before the water currents pull you back through spiraling slides, then dropping you into a current of water. Dark tunnels reduce riders' ability to see what's coming next, adding to the thrill.

In particular, the fourth ride,
"The Surge", departs from the top of the Power Tower.  It is unusually long and operates like a waterslide-version of roller coaster twists and turns and giant spills.  This is quite a ride.

As you can see, the Power Tower is pretty tall.  Conveyor belts literally lift you high into the top of the Tower.  You never have to leave your tube (although if you wish you can ditch your tube and hand-carry it to the top to save time).  At the top, you have your choice of four different slides. 

I only discovered the Power Tower late in the day. Big mistake. Due to time limitations, I didn't get to try all four rides.  I did notice one of the rides somehow makes your tube go backwards and upwards. Then it slingshots your tube forward at a phenomenal speed into the water chute. It was weird enough seeing a tube go backwards and upwards, but seeing the tube get jet-propelled forward was quite an eye-opener!  Wow!

For the less adventurous try the Current, aka the Lazy River (see picture at right).  This is not your ordinary "Lazy River", but rather a Lazy River on Steroids.  It has 4-foot waves in places!  It pushes your inner tube  on a mile-long journey that winds its way through lush, tropical foliage.  I have never seen a Lazy River move so fast before!  I could have stayed there all day.

By the way, I will be writing more about the Current later in my article as well as more about the Mayan Temple.   For now I think you get the idea - the Aquaventure is a state of the art water park that is easily one of the finest facilities of its kind in the entire world. 

If you look at the Tower of Power (#4), you will see "The Surge", one of the four twisting water slides coming out the back.  Looks like a giant intestine!

The Lazy River is a mile long.  It took me over an hour just to complete one loop!

And you know what I did when I finished?  I got right back in to do it again.  I suppose the biggest drawback to the Lazy River Ride is the distinct possibility that you might never stop riding it.  I think they could put a Senior citizen like me in a tube, come back in two hours and I would be totally content.  If it weren't for hunger, I would have stayed in my tube all day.

Atlantis is much too vast to visit in just one day.  Nassau is to the left of this picture.  The first thing you see is the Harborside Resort.  I haven't said much about Harborside Resort, but this is a yacht marina complete with million dollar homes.  The bus from the cruise ship drops you off at the front door of the casino (#17).

To get to the large Atlantis complex, first you take a ten-minute walk through the impressive casino complete with stunning sculptures.  Obviously the intention is to lure you to the gaming tables.  I am not a gambler, so I was immune to the diversion.  However I could see other people with eyes bulging as they passed the gaming tables.

During the walk, I enjoyed the panoramic view of the stunning Paradise Lagoon displayed through the Casino windows.  Look for the purple #14.  That is where the Casino allows you to enter the Gardens.

As you enter the Gardens, there is the vast Paradise Lagoon (#24) on your right.  On your left, there are beautiful waterfalls with shimmering pools of water complete with thick tropical foliage. 

When you see my pictures, you might agree that this resort is a stunning recreation of Nature's work in its finest.  It is amazing the beauty that man can create using imported rock, transplanted trees and water pumps.

Let's have a photographic tour of the Gardens.

The pictures in this section were taken at the Gardens in front of the Royal Towers.  The Gardens greet you the moment you leave the Casino (#14).
Wherever you look, there are waterfalls. Plus there are fast-moving streams that empty into lovely water ponds complete with sting rays.  The tropical foliage is so thick you can't see the next area ahead.  Without the walkways, you are truly lost in a tropical rain forest.  This stunning panorama must be beautiful to see from the Royal Tower rooms above.

The Bridge Suite connects the Royal Towers.  It is one of the most expensive hotel suites in the world, costing approximately $25,000 USD a night... minimum 4 nights.  No, Marla and I didn't stay there.  Maybe next time.

The physical beauty of Atlantis was overwhelming

Thanks to photography, I think it is pretty easy to make my point about the beauty

There are waterfalls everywhere you go and lovely pools of water.

Yes, those dark spots are sting rays.

Marla and Jo Wilson passing a garden of crotons.

The grounds were in perfect condition

The one thing to always keep in mind is that everything you see - waterfalls, grottos, pool, rock formations, rivers - is MAN MADE. 

I don't know what the Garden of Eden looked like, but I have never seen landscape prettier than Atlantis.  This place has my best man-made "Garden of Eden" vote.


Let's have a photographic tour of Paradise Lagoon.

All of these pictures give you a look at the Paradise Lagoon from different angles.  I made a complete circle and took pictures from each spot.  I am not positive, but I have to believe the Lagoon was also man-made.  If you study the picture above, Paradise Lagoon connects to the Atlantic Ocean on the right. That conveniently allows fresh seawater into the Lagoon.  Are there fish in there? Yes.  Paradise Lagoon is basically one big 7 acre saltwater fish pond with thousands of tropical fish.  Snorkeling is a real treat here except for the days when the sharks come to visit.  Nah.  Just kidding.  I have to believe there is a hidden net somewhere that allows water to pass, but not fish.

This is the canal that connects the Paradise Lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean.

That is the Casino with a beautiful view overlooking the Lagoon.  However, this particular area seemed barren.  If I had to pick out one small flaw in the Grand Design, I would have foliage and rocks for that waterfall to descend to.  It is the only "unnatural look" I found in the entire park.  A touch of green would help soften that dark corner considerably.

That is the South Beach on the left and the North Beach on the right.
The Atlantic Ocean is hiding just 100 yards past that green bridge.  If you look carefully, you can see the Atlantic Ocean peeking at you behind the palm trees just above the right of the bridge.  Look for the dark blue btw the trees.

I realize I have already made this point several times,
but I never could get over how soft and "natural" everything looked.

Another point I have previously made is how uncrowded the park was this day.

Right behind that ridge is the Atlantic Ocean.  And yet miraculously there are three waterfalls emptying into this section of the Lagoon.  It looks natural, but obviously water pipes and water pumps are helping to create the magical illusion of "Nature at Work"

There is so much beauty that you begin to feel like you are in a Lost World.  Everywhere the eye can see there is something fascinating to behold.

This lovely pool of water is emptying to become a small waterfall. 
Looks natural, right?  But like everything else, it is man-made

I wish I had the ability to take a picture that could do justice to this amazing vista.
Paradise Lagoon has beauty in every direction you look.

If all the swimming pools, the Lagoon, and the Lazy River aren't good enough,
there is always the Atlantic Ocean.  Finally something awesome that isn't man-made!

This is called "Atlantis Beach".  That is the Coral Towers in the background.
The Paradise Lagoon is only about 100 yards to the right of this picture.



Now let's take a photographic tour of the Lazy River!

Marla and I shared the day with Jack and Jo Myers as well as Michael and Joyce Peters.  We dropped our stuff off in a lounge chair section somewhere around the Green #2.  Most people rented lockers, but with six people, we simply took turns babysitting "The Stuff" which included backpacks, cameras, large purses, etc. 

The picture above is a bit deceiving.  It looks like everything is open in a giant grassy plain.  Wrong.  There was thick foliage that turned this entire area into a large maze.   If it wasn't for the various tall hotels that served as easy landmarks, I could have easily gotten lost all day long. 

The one thing this picture cannot accurately give is a sense of "scale".  That Lazy River Loop is over a mile long.  One loop can take over an hour to complete!  Back here at home in the Heights, I run a mile every day around the neighborhood.  Half a mile is five blocks long.  Five blocks is a long, long way.  And this river is twice that.

By the way, do you see the split in the river near the Green #5?  That little bypass is not a shortcut.  That section is where three of the slides from the Power Tower come to an end.  The slides drop you into the the Bypass which then takes you back to the Lazy River.  As you circle past the Power Tower, you have the choice to either stay on the Lazy River or to go visit the Power Tower.  The Power Tower will physically take both you and your tube up to the top on a conveyor belt.  It is all very unusual and very interesting.

Here is a look at Atlantis from a new angle.  To give some perspective, always use "The Cove" to get oriented.

The Beach Tower and Coral Towers are the oldest part.  The Paradise Lagoon is in the middle.  All that area between the Royal Towers and the Cove Atlantis is the water park. 

The water park is an immense layout with unparalleled beauty.  What I liked best about the Lazy River is that it connected all the various swimming pools together.  There were no conventional "sides" to any swimming pool or any metal ladders to help you climb out of the pool.  Instead each pool gradually tapered down to the Lazy River.  In many places, all you had to do was walk into the Lazy River.

The overall effect was an illusion that these weren't swimming pools at all, but rather just shallow parts of the river itself.  I loved it.  Even though the entire area was 'man-made', the swimming pools seemed like water pools created by waterfalls and small streams.   


We are looking due north.  The Cove is on the upper right.  In this picture, I count five different "wading areas" that connect to the river.   Notice how the Lazy River merges with each swimming pool area.  Notice how there are no obvious "sides" to any swimming pool.  The ability to "blend" the swimming/wading areas into the Lazy River is extremely tasteful. 

Here we are looking south.  The Mayan Temple is at the top and that is a wing of the Royal Towers just to the right of the Temple. As you can see on the left, the lounge chair area tapers directly into the swimming area.  All you have to do is get up from your chair, pick up a tube, and walk through the wading area into the deeper water which is the Lazy River. 

There are no obvious sides to the swimming pool.  The wading area simply gets progressively deeper until it becomes the Lazy River.  Obviously concrete was used to create this area, but it all looks so natural.  This rock formation makes the Lazy River look like a sleepy stream you might see in the Grand Canyon.

This picture gives a perfect example of the integration between the lounge chairs, the wading area, and the Lazy River itself.  By the way, do you see any lifeguards?   The lifeguards are very cleverly hidden into the foliage along the river on the opposite bank.  The lifeguard is under the blue umbrella. 

Notice how the constant presence of trees and bushes gives privacy to every single section of the water park.  There might be another area right behind you, but it is so completely hidden, you get the feeling this your own little world. 

The water is really not very deep.  I was able to stand up in the Lazy River.  I would estimate the water is 4 feet at the deepest point. The lifeguards did not want you to walk across the Lazy River to the other side, but it was easy to do. 

Unlike most Lazy Rivers where you feel like you are on public display,
there are many areas at this river where you feel totally secluded. 
Look how thick the foliage is.  The sense of privacy is wonderful. 

No matter how secluded the area, the kids are never alone.  There is a lifeguard for every angle.  It is a very safe environment.

As you can see, the water isn't very deep.  Four feet?  That's my guess.

In certain narrow parts of the river, they release a huge amount of water all at once.  This creates huge waves.  As a result, your tube gets tossed and turned every which way due to the sudden rush of water.  Fun? You better believe it is fun.  As I keep saying, I wanted to stay in the river all day!

Here is a close-up view of "The Cove", the landmark I keep referring to.

Here is yet another picture that conveys the sense of privacy in your own little Jungle World.  It is pretty easy to go into a happy trance.  If it wasn't for the hidden lifeguards, you might even do a little smooching.


It is very difficult to capture 'motion' in a still photograph.  Nevertheless, these waves should provide a clue.  As I said earlier, this may be a Lazy River, but this River is on steroids.  In some places, you really move!  They have machines which artificially boost the current.

Do those kids look happy?  You better believe it.  And it all looks so natural.

Just in case you haven't figured it out, I am a big fan of this Lazy River.  This ride is pure pleasure on so many different levels.


The Incredible Mayan Temple

Here is a view of the slide known as the "Leap of Faith".  Yes, those really are sharks in that pool below.

The main purpose of the Mayan Temple was to serve as a "knock your socks off" icon for the entire resort.  In my opinion, they succeeded royally. 

The Atlantis Mayan Temple compares favorably to the real Mayan Temple known as Chitzen Itza near Cozumel in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. 

What a shame the Mayans never thought of putting a shark pool at the base of their structure. 

Here is a good look at the Challenger Slide.  If you are inclined to be competitive, you can actually race another person down to the bottom.

I will let you in on a secret.  This ride isn't all that scary.  It just looks tough.  Marla was delighted to discover a comfy rubber pad at the bottom of that pool. 

This pool serves as the re-entry point for the Jungle Slide, a ride that takes a gentle meander through exotic caves and jungle. Like everything else at Atlantis, the landscaping and design is exquisite.  It is so easy to take all the beauty for granted, but someone really knew what they were doing.

Here is the shark pool at the bottom of the the Serpent Slide.  By the way, you don't actually swim with the sharks.  Instead you glide along inside a protective tube.  Psst... don't tell anybody... it's supposed to be a secret.  Be sure to tell the world that escaping the sharks is part of the fun.

Until the Power Tower came along, the Mayan Temple's Leap of Faith Slide was the most famous ride at Atlantis.

This slide requires some guts.  You are standing there six stories above the earth preparing to plummet almost straight down.  If you are stupid enough to look down, you pay the price.  That is when some serious fear takes hold of your body and makes you think twice about going through with it.  I could hear screams of terror all day long and I knew just where they were coming from.

As you can see, this slide takes a
n almost 60 foot vertical drop.  It is so steep that it propels riders at speeds of 35 miles an hour culminating with a pass through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in the shark filled lagoon.  For half the ride, you don't feel any contact with the tube at all.  Your butt and the surface are only about two inches apart, but your mind is completely fooled into thinking you've had it.  You're a goner!

Marla and I both did this slide.  I felt like a cannonball hurtling through space.  I don't think my body has ever moved that fast before. 

Hitting the water is a real kick.  There is no gentle taper to this ride.  You hit that water hard!

But it was worth it.  This was quite a ride.

I went before Marla.  I saw her hit that water hard.  When she finished, her eyes were as big as saucers.  In fact, she was actually knocked a little silly.  I had to go fetch Marla in the middle of the pool and steady her while she got her bearings back. 

The lifeguard just grinned at Marla's punch drunk staggers.  He was half out of his seat to help her, but hesitated when he saw me go get her.

I am sure he fetches half-naked dizzy women out of that same spot all day long.  I'm sure they are completely oblivious that they are wrapping their bodies tightly to him for security as he slowly walks them to safety.  Tough job, huh?


The Mayan Temple is really beautiful.  Yes, Atlantis is very expensive.  But when you realize how much money was invested into creating so much beauty, you begin to understand that you are helping to reimburse the people who took such a huge gamble in creating this magnificent resort.

Don't forget - Donald Trump and Merv Griffin, the first two owners, lost their shirts investing in this place.  So let us salute Sol Kerzner, the man whose gamble and vision paid off handsomely.  He took the risk; now he deserves the rewards.  And the neat thing is that Kerzner is always looking for ways to re-invest that money to make this place even more amazing than it already is.

Do you sense there is something sneaky about this picture?   It looks like the Mayan Temple, but then it doesn't.  This structure is known as the Ziggurat.  A ziggurat is a Babylonian pyramid. 

Atlantis has a twin in Dubai. 
Atlantis, the Palm is a resort at Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  It is a joint venture between Kerzner International Limited and Istithmar PSJC.  It opened in September 2008. The resort is modeled after the Atlantis in the Bahamas.  Maybe Marla will schedule a cruise for us and we can take a first-hand look at the Arabic version of Atlantis some day.   Raise your hand if you want to go!

That is the Jumeriah Beach Hotel above.  It turns out that the water park pictured above on the LEFT is actually the "Wild Wadi Waterpark". 

Something bothered me about the pictures.  After digging around, I figured it out.  Dubai has not one, but two water parks!   The picture above on the RIGHT is the new Atlantis water park.

Looking below, you can see Atlantis the Palm, the clone of the Bahamas Atlantis.  This water park is located on a man-made island out in the Persian Gulf.  Isn't that hotel lovely?   By the way, Iran is just 90 miles away on the other side of the Persian Gulf.   Dubai is something of a rebel in the Arab world because, much to the dismay of the more conservative Arab states nearby, it embraces Western culture . 

One Final Look at Atlantis, Bahamas

As much as I have written about Atlantis, there is so much I never got to.
For example, I never said a word about the fabulous Dolphin Cay.  
The first residents of Dolphin Cay were 16 rescued dolphins who were swept to sea during Hurricane Katrina from their previous home at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. 

Fortunately, the dolphins were eventually all nursed back to health.  To the naked eye, Dolphin Cay is an entertainment center with performing dolphins and sea lions. Behind the scenes, however, the Dolphin Cay is a serious research facility dedicated to learning more about these wonderful animals. 

Besides the dolphins, Atlantis is home to an incredible variety of fish and marine animals such as these abandoned mermaids who washed ashore at Paradise Island after a terrible storm.  They seem to have cheered up.

More than 50,000 fish and marine animals live in a sea of lagoons and underwater tunnels, including all sorts of sharks.

However, none of the fish are more dangerous than these undernourished mermaids who have the ability to suck the oxygen right out of any man who comes across their path.

I haven't really discussed this angle, but it should be obvious that Atlantis is not only visited by incredibly wealthy people, but many call this place 'home'.

I didn't get the chance to see Atlantis at night, but the pictures make it clear this place is just as beautiful.  That is quite a picture.

I didn't linger long in the Casino, but I looked around enough to see the Casino is just as lavish as everything else about Atlantis.

Harborside Resort is home to many of the wealthy people who own yachts and want to have access to the Atlantis Resort on a daily basis.  Sometimes my envy got the better of me.  Wouldn't it be fun to be rich?  While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose a very pleasant form of misery.


The Dig was an aquarium area with much to look at.  So much to see, so little time.

A look at Atlantis at dusk. 

Uh oh, those poor dangerous undernourished mermaids again.  I saw several women during the day just as pretty as these young ladies.  However I didn't have the nerve to take their pictures.  I figured even beautiful women have the right to some privacy. 

I am sure Marla noticed several men who were just as handsome. I suppose this goes without saying, but Atlantis attracts some absurdly beautiful people. 

Another view of the lavish Gardens in front of the Royal Towers. 

Mother Nature better watch out... humans are getting so good at recreating natural splendor that gardens like these seem like an improvement.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are considered to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built in the ancient city-state of Babylon, an area about two hundred miles south of Baghdad in Iraq.

The lush Hanging Gardens are so extensively documented by Greek historians that their existence is not in doubt.

The gardens were supposedly built by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his homesick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland Persia. 

The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the second century BC. 
It is a shame that no images exist to give us an idea of the beauty of the Hanging Gardens, but this imaginative drawing definitely helps.

Who can say how our modern Gardens of Atlantis match up to this legendary place?  My guess is that Atlantis would not suffer in comparison. 

The more I learned about Atlantis, the more I realized what I didn't know.  For example, I don't know anything about the nightlife or the gambling.

I know nothing about the luxury hotels.  I know nothing about the fine dining experience that many people rave about.  I know nothing about the expensive condos at the Reef Atlantis.  For that matter, I know nothing about the Harborside Resort and all those impressive yachts I saw in the Atlantis harbor.

I know little about the marine research they do here. I completely bypassed the Dolphin Cay. I was so pressed for time that I sped right by the impressive marine habitats and giant aquariums.  I barely glanced at the Dig, an impressive archeological museum housed in the Royal Towers. 

I learned that Atlantis is a favorite location for weddings and certainly for honeymoons.  That makes sense to me.  Those lovely Atlantic Ocean beaches are definitely perfect for long romantic hand-holding walks .

I did see a couple of the most beautiful women who have ever crossed my path.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that beautiful places attract beautiful people.  Along these lines, I learned via Internet photos this is a place where celebrities like to come to be seen.  Atlantis is definitely a gathering ground for the rich and famous.  After all, they can afford the place, right?

What I can say for sure is that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Atlantis have produced the most exquisite "Gardens" that I have ever seen.  In some ways, I think people take this place too much for granted.  This place is actually a modern miracle that shows what man can accomplish.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the original Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.  Well, I am ready to nominate Atlantis as a Modern Wonder of the World.  Here man has copied Nature so perfectly that you would swear some of those lakes and waterfalls are real.   What an experience.


Atlantis Reborn?

If you are evenly remotely interested in Mysticism, then at some point you truly should study the story of Edgar Cayce, America's Sleeping Prophet.

Edgar Cayce was an average person in most respects: a loving husband, a father of two children, a skilled photographer, a devoted Sunday School teacher, and an eager gardener.  Yet throughout his life, he also displayed one of the most remarkable psychic talents of all time. 

I spent my entire sophomore year in college reading every book I could get my hands on about Cayce.  I am totally convinced that Edgar Cayce was no fraud.  He didn't do it for the fame.  He didn't do it for the money.  All he wanted to do was help people cure their sicknesses.  Along the way, Cayce crossed over into a dimension that touched upon the mysteries of Life itself.

Although Cayce died more than half a century ago, the timelessness of the material in his readings is evidenced by approximately one dozen biographies and more than 300 titles that discuss various aspects of this man's life and work.  For people like me who have studied Edgar Cayce, unusual concepts such as karma, past lives, reincarnation,  the akashic records, spiritual growth, auras, soul mates and destiny seem like distinct possibilities.

On a personal note, I have never had a psychic experience in my life.  So I will not try to convince anyone there is more to this world than meets the eye.  That said, the time I spent researching the career of Edgar Cayce has given me all the evidence I will ever need to keep an open mind about the Divine.

As I wrote earlier, one prediction Cayce made involved the discovery of Atlantis.  Today thanks in large part to Edgar Cayce, the Bahamas are the place that many believe hold the key to the ancient continent of Atlantis.

Through Cayce's psychic abilities, he was said to be able to see the future. He predicted that this discovery would take place off the coast of the Bahamas in 1968.  By an odd coincidence, in 1968 an interesting formation named "the Bimini Road" was discovered.  The picture shows a group of unusual stones that have been found off the coast of Bimini Island in the Bahamas.

Some claim those stones are part of a natural formation, but others point out that the stones are too precise and well placed to have been formed in nature. The rows of stones are set in straight lines and face very distinct directional patterns. The individual stones seem to have been "Cut" to fit one another perfectly. Also some divers have claimed to have found pottery and other minor artifacts along the road.  Unfortunately, nothing definitive has come to light. 

Personally speaking, to me, those stones are too sharply cut to be explained by natural causes.  Keep in mind, however, that I got this picture from the Internet, long the domain of hoaxes and lies.

This road, sometimes called the Bimini Wall, is said to be an underwater structure that stretches for half a mile near Bimini Island in the Bahamas. The whole structure is formed of rectangular limestone blocks which look very much like an ancient road or a wall. The official explanation for the strange structure is that it was caused over the years by concentrations of shells and sand.  The formation could potentially be created over millions of years by a natural occurring phenomenon of hard shells gathering in straight angles.

However, this doesn’t explain why this "natural" formation is completely unique to one specific spot in the entire whole world. It also doesn’t explain why it seems like it has multiple layers.  Furthermore, thanks to erosion, right angles as sharp as these these are not common in nature. 

So did the original Atlantis really exist?  Does Atlantis rest at the bottom of the ocean in some watery grave?  Did a civilization with technology equal to our own actually exist 10,000 years ago only to disappear off the face of the Earth?

When you think about today's threat of nuclear holocaust, our mistreatment of our environment, our vulnerability to man-made plague, our inability to control our own population and man's willingness to wage war, it isn't quite so difficult to imagine a society with the ability to wipe itself right off the face of the Earth, now is it?

For that matter, with recent discoveries of water on Mars plus the mysterious canals on Mars that appear to be man-made, perhaps a destruction similar to Atlantis happened to our neighboring planet eons ago. 

One reason the disappearance of Atlantis fascinates us all is that it serves as a grim reminder we could have a repeat performance today if we don't learn from the lessons of the past.  The reappearance of Atlantis would definitely make us rethink our war-like tendencies and inability to seek compromise. 

Rick Archer
October 2010

Please keep in mind I found this picture on the Internet.  I have no direct proof that this picture was taken near Bimini.  But it is interesting, isn't it?

Atlantis.  Was it the victim of technology that man was unable to control?
That which we fail to remember, we are doomed to repeat

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