The Islander

sometimes known as

"The Jungle Boy..."

or

"Indiana Dan, da' Island Man"

For several years I lived alone on "Little Stirrup Cay", a secluded little island about a mile long and 1/3 of a mile wide in the northwest Berry Islands (map) of the Bahamas (map) about 55 miles south of Freeport, and 55 miles north of Nassau. (A message in a bottle came from Latitude: 26' 01.37N, Longitude: 078' 21.06W, although GeoCaching.com points to a more accurate N 25 49.057, W 077 56.201) I lived as caretaker of the island for a friend of mine who owned the island.  

When I lived on the island between 1980 and 1985, I lived in a thatched hut, cooked over a campfire, ate coconuts, lemons, turtlegrass seaweed, and whatever sharks, stingrays, grouper, or lobster I could spear, and basically lived like Robinson Crusoe. Most of the time I wore a Tarzan loincloth , and my hair got bleached really blonde from the sun and salt water.

People ask if I was the original "Survivor" or if I was there to 'find myself' or 'get my head screwed on right' or 'find God'? And I would always tell them, "No, I am very happy with the way God made me, and I enjoy myself. And God had already found me, and we have a great relationship. As a matter of fact, I spent most of my time very close to Him, since there was nobody else to talk to!"

Was I the original "Survivor"? Who knows? All I know is that I was "a" survivor, and I really enjoyed it! Why not? I was living on a beautiful deserted island in the Bahamas! What else could you ask for?

Two years later, I went back and managed the island again, as well as the Out-Island Activities department for Eastern/Admiral Cruise Lines. This time, from 1985 to 1987, I lived on both Little Stirrup Cay and on the cruise ship the S.S. Emerald Seas. During this period, I started a dive program on the island, a pirate treasure hunt and thatch train ride, bought paddle boats, wind-surfers, and six peacocks for the island, and ran a crew of 7 divers and about a dozen Bahamians and Haitians who worked on the island with us.

In my spare time, I also enjoyed playing "pans" (steel drums) and keyboards with a little Island band I put together with crew members on the cruise ship. Since I was a scuba instructor in charge of the dive program, most of the local Bahamians, passengers, crew members, and even the Captain usually just called me "Diver Dan".

Since then, the cruise lines bought the island and renamed it Cocoa Cay. They have also remodeled the island and tried to create an inner harbor - From what I have heard, it has almost caused the island to erode in half. Maybe you've visited it on a cruise on the S.S. Emerald Seas or recently with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines?

If you were a passenger on one of the 200+ cruises I was on from 1985-1987, or if you have recently visited Little Stirrup Cay (Cocoa Cay), please drop me an e-mail to just say "Hi!" and send photos or recollections of the island!

History of the S.S. Emerald Seas:

Update on Crewmembers and Staff of the SS Emerald Seas:

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"Yah Mon, I Down in Bahamas"
(lyrics and story behind the themesong about Little Stirrup Cay)