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:
Rick and Marla Visit
Written by Rick Archer,
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Holy smokes! I frowned. The cost of this place was exorbitant!
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
The first time I saw the
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.
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.
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.
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
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
This is a picture of the amazing Mayan Temple
and the Challenger
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
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,
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
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
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,
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
As we all know, the Lost
Continent of Atlantis gave our Atlantic Ocean its name.
Unfortunately, its existence has never been confirmed
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!?
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
This picture is five years old!
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.
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.
Note: there is a twin water park in Dubai).
waterscape is laid out in front of the Cove Atlantis luxury hotel.
over 20 million gallons of water, 20 swimming areas and 11
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.
guests are situated in their inner tubes, they are propelled along
by water "escalators", waves, water surges and master blaster
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
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.
120-foot tall Power Tower delivers
four completely different exhilarating slides.
Are 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
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
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
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
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
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
The physical beauty of Atlantis was overwhelming
Thanks to photography, I think it is pretty easy to make my point about the
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
This lovely pool of water is emptying to become a small waterfall.
Looks natural, right? But like everything else, it is man-made
wish I had the ability to take a picture that could do justice to this
Paradise Lagoon has beauty in every direction you look.
all the swimming pools, the Lagoon, and the Lazy River aren't good
there is always the Atlantic Ocean. Finally something awesome that
This is called "Atlantis Beach". That is the Coral Towers in the
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Do those kids look
happy? You better believe it. And it all looks so
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.
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
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,
ride that takes a gentle meander through exotic caves and
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 an 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Hanging Gardens are so extensively
documented by Greek historians that their
existence is not in doubt.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
which we fail to remember, we are doomed to repeat