David Wallace was as excited as a 10-year-old boy on Christmas Day, who happened to stumble into the living-room to find the Christmas tree almost hidden by a mountain of presents.
Wallace was all smiles, bursting with energy, anxious to speak to the media and even more excited to reveal the reason behind his contagious exuberance. Before speaking officially to the media, Wallace, who is President of Arawak Adventures and Commercial Tours Limited and General manager of Pirate’s Cove, Zipline and Water Theme Park, told one of the trainees for the upcoming Park that after “so many trials and time of waiting, they were set on the path to seeing their dream realized.”
Following a long wait, the adventure fun activity, Zipline is a step closer to becoming a reality in The Bahamas.
“We are pleased to announce the second phase of the Water Park and Zipline Adventure Park, now that construction of the Zipline has begun,” Wallace told the media, during a recent press conference at the Theme Park.
“As many may know, we opened our doors in June, 2016 with the first phase, which was the water park. The Zipline aspect, which is really the anchor part of this entire project, is now underway.”
It was the pronouncement which Wallace had waited to announce ever since they had implemented phase one of the project. His excitement extended beyond just having them move into phase two of the project, but also included the fact that Pirate’s Cove will be bringing the first Zipline Adventure ever to The Bahamas.
For those who may not be nature or adventure enthusiasts and who have no clue what is a Zipline Adventure, here is a quick explanation; a zipline is a cable or rope stretched between two points of different heights, down which a person slides for amusement, by means of a suspended harness, pulley or handle.
The Adventure has become popular in many amusement parks, but is found mostly in outdoor adventure parks in places like Puerto Rico, Costa Rico, Belize, Jamaica, New York, Canada and other parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
Bringing the outdoor fun Adventure to The Bahamas has been the burning excitement among the group of local investors who launched Pirate’s Cove, Zipline and Water Theme Park, located on Taino Beach.
Employees from one of the biggest Zipline construction companies in the Caribbean, out of Jamaica, have been in Grand Bahama for the past two weeks, putting in place all of the infrastructure, as well as training zipline operators and guides in preparation for the launch of the exciting high-rise adventure.
General Manager Wallace has been spending much time watching the construction take place, which also included the erection of 75-feet tall utility poles by workers from Grand Bahama Power Company.
“Thanks to Wendel Grant and these H3C class poles, which are the biggest you can get, these poles will be where the towers for the zipline will be constructed,” explained Wallace, who disregarded the heat to watch the workers from GB Power dig 10 feet into the ground before inserting the poles.
Wallace said that a total of seven towers are being constructed and each tower will tell the story of our rich history.
“Tower One will tell the story of the Caribs and Arawak Indians, who came to The Bahamas from South America in the 1200s,” explained Wallace. “You will then zip to tower two, which tells the story of the Pirates who used to roam these islands. Tower three will tell the story of Christopher Columbus who founded The Bahamas in 1492. Tower four will tell the story of the British, who brought law and rule to The Bahamas in 1729 and established the Parliament.
“The trip from Tower four to tower five will be on a wooden bridge which will be suspended some 65 feet into the air, which customers will walk to get to tower five, which is the tallest tower in the Park. It’s called Independence Tower and tells the story of an Independent Bahamas and the Prime Ministers who Governed these islands since that time, including Sir Lynden, Hubert Ingraham, Perry Christie and now Prime Minister Minnis.”
Wallace noted that the zip from tower five to tower six will be the longest zip, running 540 feet. Tower six will tell the story of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its role in the development of Grand Bahama. Tower seven will be the end of the first phase of the zipline adventure.
“We are hoping that the zipline team can have this first phase completed within the next few months,” added Wallace. “Hopefully we can begin zipping around the first or second week of December of this year.”
Right in time for Christmas, which could be the best Christmas gift for David Wallace and his partners this year.
Ten Bahamians have been contracted to work as zipline guides and have already begun training with the company out of Jamaica. Leshawn Clarke, Managing Director for High Extreme Adventure Tours (HEAT) out of Jamaica, don’t seem to mind having David Wallace and other executives from the Pirates Cove looking over his shoulder, while he carries out his task of overseeing the construction of the zipline towers, as well as training the future zipline guides.
“We’ve been constructing zipline adventures for over 12 years,” Clarke explained.
“We’ve constructed some of the most exciting rides and ziplines throughout the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Belize, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands and other places.”
This impressive resume of experience comes with a lot of security promises. In fact, Clarke noted that when it comes to zipline adventures, safety is top priority. He pointed out that careful construction of ziplines are carried out with attention to the smallest detail. The equipment and techniques which they will be using on the Pirates Cove project are of international standard.
“We do everything possible to maintain safety and prevent any problems,” Clarke said. “We inspect the equipment on a regular basis to ensure that they remain in top working condition. We use the best quality equipment available.
“Most importantly, all of the guides who are being trained for this Park will have to undergo over 250 hours of training, to ensure that everyone who comes to this park are kept safe at all times and go through the tour safely, while having fun.”
CJ, one of the trainee guides for the new zipline adventure, admits that the training thus far has been extremely vigorous and forces one to be always alert and pay attention. He said that because it is something new to The Bahamas the training is a bit unusual, but easy to catch on to.
“The good thing is that once you are trained in this, your training is acceptable worldwide, which means you can go anywhere and work at a zipline facility,” CJ said. “It’s fun, but it’s all about safety and being alert at all times.”
While workers from the Grand Bahama Port Authority were busy erecting the 75-foot poles into the ground, LeSean and his crew were busy training future zipline guides the basics of the operation.
Wallace was quick to point out that the Pirates Cove Zipline and Water Theme Park is not just for visitors, but for locals as well. In fact, he said that Grand Bahamians have been good in patronizing the water theme park ever since it opened. He would like to see the same kind of excitement and support they’ve shown for the Water Theme Park to go towards the Zipline adventure.
And yes, it will continue to be a family theme park, with a 25-foot zipline for the kids, which will end at a rock wall, where kids will get to climb the rock wall.
But even before phase two is completed, Wallace is already looking ahead.
“We are already talking to these guys about putting in what we will call a “Jonquel Jones and a Buddy Hield line, which will take customers right into the water,” said Wallace.
There are plans to extend the zipline park here in Grand Bahama into a third phase, which Wallace is hoping will include a zip into the sea as well as a sky restaurant, which will be made mostly of glass and suspended 65 feet in the air, where customers at the park could go to have lunch and dinner.
But even before phase three of the zipline is constructed in Grand Bahama, plans are underway to put a zipline adventure park in Nassau, Bimini, Eleuthera, Abaco and even in Grand Turk, in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The group has big plans to create a fun-filled, family adventure theme park in Grand Bahama and throughout The Bahamas, and with the work for phase two underway, the excitement and anticipation is building.
“This is what we’ve been waiting on and it’s exciting to see us get to this point,” said Wallace. “we would like to see this become one of the best Theme parks in the country, not just for visitors, but for Bahamians as well.”