We returned to the ship to get cleaned up for our lunch. Racks are ready to store wet gear by cabin number to keep everything organized and efficient. Rooms on board are cleaned three times a day, and again the crew knows exactly what is important: in this case, clean towels. You will shower a lot on a trip like this after sweating or swimming, and having two fluffy white clean dry towels always at the ready is a godsend. Of course, anything else you need you only need to ask for and it immediately appears. My girlfriend requested an extra blanket the first night to combat my addiction to air conditioning (and the air conditioning on board is fantastic) and there was a knock at the door with a fluffy blanket almost before she hung up the phone. Though it took me a while to realize it because the whole operation is so seamless, the real genius of Metropolitan Touring is that, because they've already anticipated your every need in advance, you never really need to ask for much of anything because you already have it exactly when you need it. The afternoon activity was a short hike followed by a snorkel from a white sandy beach though a lot of guests chose to head directly to the beach. Snorkel gear and towels, all in our bags conveniently labeled with our cabin numbers, were left in the Zodiacs while we headed out with our guides in small groups.

Sullivan Island

After a total excursion time of perhaps an hour and half, we were back on board getting ready for the next activity. Most chose the deep-water (up to about 20 feet) snorkel while a few less-aquatic passengers opted to view the same area from the comfort of the glass-bottomed boat. Everything was perfect: the equipment provided is excellent quality. The water was completely clear all the way to the bottom. Temperature was about 72 degrees, just right for shorty wet suits. And the views are, of course, incredible. Thousands upon thousands of different types of fish. Enormous sea stars with fascinating colors and patterns. A stray manta ray or sea snake cruising along the bottom. Giant sea turtles. Reef sharks up to about 5 feet long. Even a flock of about a dozen penguins, flying together under the water as they went on to hunt for their lunch.

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