Before moving to The Bahamas, I thought that inflatables were either rings or mats, and only to be used in a pool. I’ve since seen the light. Inflatables are an essential part of island life.


A popular inflatable for a previous season


As a family, we like to spend our downtime going to quiet beaches. Yet as soon as we get there, I get itchy feet and like to explore. This is great for our little dog, but triggers complaints from my two daughters, who hate walking, unless it’s to the bakery. I’ve found the antidote to this: inflatables.

Since living on Harbour Island, I’ve realized that, like many things, inflatables have their own seasonal fashion. Last year, it seemed to be flamingos and peacocks; this year, it is oversized unicorns. I’m yet to own my own flamingo or peacock, let alone a unicorn, so I’m a few seasons behind. I do, however, thanks to having children, own some pretty interesting ones.


Taking the (inflatable) dog to the beach.


There is a limited supply of inflatables for sale on the island, so what we own was either on sale last time we were in Walmart, or are someone’s hand-me-downs. Here are some examples:


A dog (see photos)

A log (tricky to use, you kind of just had to flop over it)

A wiggly flower shape (similar skills needed to a ring)

A watermelon (like a bed, awesome. No balancing required)

An emoji (see notes above)


They can take a bit of commitment to inflate, but it’s generally worth the effort.  The girls play with them for a bit, then, when they’re done, I get myself comfortable and relax.


Inflatable dog. Who could have guessed how comfortable this would be?


Here’s a chart comparing inflatables to lying on the beach (because we all like charts, right?):


Squishy like a mattress Feels hard after 10 minutes
Bob gently up and down, lulling you to sleep Stationary
Often have cup holders Can dig a cup holder, but drink is exposed
Less bugs on the water Buggy (Noseeums, ants, mosquitoes)


So I’m going to continue working on my inflatable floating skills. Being able to balance and relax on any shape has improved my family’s quality of life immeasurably.


So last season.


I can’t help but wonder – what will we be floating on next season?


Are inflatables popular on your island too? What types do you and your island family float on?

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Harbour Island, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:

The UK

Cate could barely pronounce Eleuthera when her husband got a teaching job there in 2005. Back then, there was hardly anything about it online, but from looking at a map, they figured that on the long thin island you could always either snorkel, windsurf, or surf. It seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t. And here they are today. Cate runs a small school on Harbour Island, a little rock just off the bigger rock of Eleuthera.

Now that she has two daughters, her priorities are less about her surfing and more about how to get her two daughters surfing… so she can surf more again. She also paints, paddleboards, runs, cycles, and likes to go on family trips in their little Boston Whaler, roasting marshmallows and floating about in various shaped inflatables.

They spend their weekends and vacations in their holiday house on Eleuthera, which her husband built on his year (or three) off from teaching.

Now her husband has accepted another teaching job that is going to take their family to another rock in a few months – Tortola. She’s enjoying the last weeks on the place that has been home for the last few years and is looking forward to new experiences on her new rock.

For more on Cate’s island life, check out her blog, Notes From My Hammock.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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