Thursday, February 25, 2010

And The Adventure Begins With a Breath Taking View From a Plane Window

Ever since childhood I dreamed a dream of white sandy beaches, waters as clear as glass, and of palm trees with real coconuts. I imagined myself on my own deserted paradise, with nothing but me, a hammock, a cool drink, and tons of sunshine.
It took me close to 20 years to finally reach such a destination, and finally...finally I found my paradise, and my paradise? Well let's just say it was all delivered on Grand Bahama Island.
I booked our flight in June of 2008, and up until the day of our flight I worried so many worries. Mostly though I am sure the worries I dealt with were that of anyone who would be taking their very first trip.
My first concern was; was I expecting too much? Would the sand really be as white as websites and brochures offered? Would waters truly be crystal clear? Would I really be surrounded by palm trees? Or would everything be just as it is here in New York. Dark murky waters, sand- but more of a yellowish tint? Palm trees, only planted and not naturally grown?
I worried...would I really find paradise on Grand Bahama Island?
The flight was around 6 hours long, of course we traveled economy, and had a change in the Carolina's. The flight though offered a glimpse of the Bahamas as we grew closer. I could tell we were nearly there when the dark waters we had seen down below for so long, turned into a near glowing turquoise rainbow, with beautiful hues of green, blue, aquamarine, and every other hue of blue one could imagine. I knew just from the view down below, that paradise was soon to be discovered.
All of my worries were set aside, the moment I looked out that window.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Palm Trees with Coconuts!!!!

The moment we stepped off the plane I felt as if we were in a whole new world. Freeport Airport was small, and there were no terminals, we simply stepped off of the plane and into the airports parking lot! This is something that I only thought was done in scenes in Hollywood movies!
After stepping off the plane the heat hit me. It was not a drenching blow of heat, it was a dry clean scent, like nothing I had ever smelled before come from air.
I took my first look at Grand Bahama Island, and I wanted to take in every last scent, and sight. Immediately in the distance I noticed not just a few palm trees, but thousands of them. A tropical jungle if you will.
I knew I was not just on Grand Bahama Island, I was some place special, some place I never ever in my life thought I would be. I felt like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz- only I didn't want to go home.
I was in all I needed was to find the water and see for myself if it was crystal clear.
From the small airport we took our cab to Viva Wyndham, an all inclusive resort on the island.
The cab ride itself was an adventure. It took 20 minutes to get to our destination. Our cabbie driver pulled up at the airport in a large taxi van. The van had no seat belts and in New York no way would it ever pass inspection. As uncomfortable as the ride was, it was part of the adventure. Like I said. You are not in Kansas anymore. In Grand Bahama Island many of the roads are covered in bumps, holes, and sand. The ride was indeed bumpy, but the scenery around us impeccable.
On the way we did happen to see a few homes that were in total disarray. They had been destroyed by a hurricane a few years back, and some were still in repair. Others that looked vacant actually had people living in them. Nonetheless, everything was as I had imagined. Beautiful. Palm trees as far as I could see, and phone lines were actually made of large palm trees. No large glorified cylinder shaped poles with lamps like you would find in New York. On Grand Bahama Island everything is simple, making it all the more natural, and all the more beautiful.
Before pulling up to our hotel, I managed to count 3 enormous crabs crossing the street. An image forever marked in my memory, never to be forgotten.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grand Bahama Island Photos

The photo below was taken on the airboat tour into the mangroves. This is the small cay you will be having your lunch on. Lovely!!!
The Mangroves

Grand Bahama Island Sea Gull

Where I am from seagulls are big, white and gray. On Grand Bahama Island the gulls take on a much smaller and prettier apperance. As you can see, they are more of a dark gray, and white, than a light gray like here in the USA.

Cute huh?


I found these photograph recently on my PC and realized I had not shared it with my viewers yet. So here it is a beautiful array of sea fans.

The pictures were taken right off of Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach... and once again, I cannot stress it enough... this is WHY you are not supposed to step on the coral, or even the bottom if you can help it. Delicate beautiful wonders like this are everywhere, and it does not take much to destroy them!

They don't step on you, so don't step on them. : )

Monday, February 15, 2010

My, What a View!!!

Once the taxi dropped us off at our hotel, I wondered if it would be a dark dank little box of a hotel.

My worries though all slipped away the moment we pulled up. We had an employee grab our bags and take them into the main lobby where we checked in.
I could not see water yet, but I could feel it, and I honestly could not wait to be checked in, and given our water view room.
Once we were given our room, I was a little hesitant, because I still did not see water. The nice man who carried our luggage went over to the large balcony sliding doors, and pulled away the curtains to reveal our dream like water view.

There before me, no less than 50 feet away stood a gigantic beach! White powdery sand? Check! Turquoise blue waters? Check! Palm trees? Check, check, check!!!

Our view was spectacular, and even though we were jet lag, we hit the beach up immediately, with our underwater camera in hand, and our scuba gear; we were ready to see what Grand Bahama had to offer; under water!
*Our view, day and night photos- above.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Needle Nose At Barbary Beach, Grand Bahama Island

I finally was able to find the photos of the needle nose schools that were spotted in large schools in between the rock pools at Barbary Beach.

Gold Rock Beach

Framed Coral Reef Print, Get It Here

Gold Rock Beach Postcards, Get Them Here

Gold Rock Beach Pin, Get Them Here

Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama Island...Bridge Repaired!

Last year when we took a day to check out Lucayan Nation Park, the bridge to Gold Rock Beach was out of service. Left with no other option, we took the very long trek through the mangroves in order to get to the beach.

The hike is not for the weary though, because it is one hell of a long hike, however the hike through the mangroves is beautiful. If you have the energy definitely take the right path to Gold Rock Beach.

The bridge during our 2009 visit though was back in order, and the newly repaired bridge to the beach is beautiful.

You still get to see the Mangroves, but you won't be as up close and personal had you taken the long hike through them. Along the way you will run into some tropical friends, such as this lovely spider.
Don't be afraid of them, they are not harmful to humans at all. They may get big, may look scary, but they are harmless.

Gold Rock Beach has 2 paths to get to it. Go to the right for the jungle like trek, and head straight for a faster hike to the beach.

Before coming up the small hike through the path in the woods, I wondered if Gold Rock Beach stood just as stunning as she was last year. To my shock, my jaw once again dropped. The beach never fails to stun. As soon as we came up through the woody path, our eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. The beach was still pristine, still decadent, still perfect, still the definition of pure paradise.

If you have been following my blog, than you likely already know that Gold Rock Beach was a location where Pirates of the Caribbean filmed. It's no wonder why, the beach is one of the best beaches I have ever seen in my life.

The sands are pure white, the colors of the water fade into dark blues, greens, turquoise and emerald, a sight that will take you breath away.

On the beach the large driftwood trees still remain. They however add to the breathtaking scenery.

At low tide the sea leaves behind traces of its own natural art.

If you are on Grand Bahama Island, even for a short period of time, you cannot miss Gold Rock Beach. Be sure however to check your tides, you want to hit Gold Rock Beach at low tide in order to embrace it in all its glory.

Snorkeling at Gold Rock is not that fantastic however, the beach itself is pretty lifeless, and you may only come across schools of small fish, crabs, and sting rays. The water here is very open though, which means that sharks can quickly come in, take a bite, and pass back out to sea in seconds. The best snorkeling is out in the distance at the 'Gold Rock'. You do not want to go alone though, because the water is very open and you are quite a ways away from help for if anything bad were to happen.

The Gold Rock features a nice formation of corals, and lots of fish can be found here. The swim is far though, so make sure you are up for it, if you do decide to do it.

Snorkeling though will not impress you as much as the beach itself will as a whole. It is the definition of beautiful, paradise, and tropical wonders.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bahamas EcoVentures - A Must Do Nature Tour

I wanted to mention one of the wonderful tours we took while on the island. Bahamas EcoVentures is a tour that runs on Grand Bahama Island.

We took tour # 1 which is an airboat tour, which consists of a 4 hour nature tour through the mangroves. For $79 per person the tour begins with complimentary pick up at your hotel. While still in the tour bus you are given a waiver to sign in case you are hurt. Next you are taken to Hawksbill Creek where the tour begins. Before taking off on the airboat you are given life jackets and are told safety procedures.

On the airboat you are then handed a pair of ear plugs because the boat is very loud. The boat itself is roomy, comfortable, and the tour guide was not only full of bubbly personality, but she was also very knowledgeable in the plant life, animal life (land and sea), the mangrove, and the history of the area and the island.

The airboat first glides calmly over some large blue holes which plunge at depths of up to 80 feet. These blue holes were spectacular to look into from the boat as the waters are crystal clear. Inside the blue holes numerous fish swim about, and you are able to take photos.

After looking in at the blue holes, the airboat then quickly races off through the mangroves, which are areas that no normal boats could reach due to how shallow the waters are.

While flying at top speeds through the mangroves, the boat would slow up whenever we came across small sharks.

We spotted many different small sharks, and hammerheads were in an abundance in some areas. We also spotted plenty of stone fish, needle nose fish, baby barracuda, reef sharks, black tip sharks and more.

The hammerhead sharks were amongst some of my favorite sharks to spot, and they swam out in the open. The smaller reef sharks stuck to where small trees grew from the sea. We were told they do this to feast on baby birds that happen to fall into the shallow waters.

Can You Spot The Baby Reef Sharks Fin In This Photograph?

About an hour into riding through the area on the airboat we stopped to do some snorkeling in a collection of blue holes. The waters were extremely murky and hard to walk in. The water got no deeper than 3 feet, however while snorkeling around the blue holes you could swim down to deeper levels if you felt up to it. Some of the blue holes plunged down to very deep depths, while others you could easily tough the bottom.

Snorkeling around was an experience to say the least, and was a lot of fun.

After snorkeling, we then switched up on who got to sit next to the guide. The captains chair allows you to see more of the area as it's seated higher up above anyone else. The seating was fantastic and memorable.

Before setting up on Mangrove Cay a small deserted island, the tour guide ran the boat at full speed and showed us what it was capable of doing. Mind blowing turns, twists, and it was able to reach through areas one would not imagine.

A Small Cay In The Distance. There Are Many Of These Small Islands Here

After the fun speed ride around the area we walked off of the boat onto the deserted Mangrove Cay, where picture taking took place. Mangrove Cay was spectacular with tons of tiny sea shells, and scenery that could take your breath away. One really neat picture opportunity was the deadwood bush that stuck up out of the sea.

Homemade lunch and beverages were served on the beach, and the authentic Bahamian cuisine was fantastic.

After lunch we packed up due to an oncoming storm in the distance.

Overall EcoVentures was worth every penny, and an adventure worth writing home about. If in Grand Bahama Island, definitely be sure to check them out, the tour is well worth it. Click for more information.

Dolphins at Unexo, Grand Bahama Island, Flipping Video!

Dolphin Moonwalking at Unexo, Grand Bahama Island Video

Stingray Right Off Shore at Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach; Video

Puffer Fish That Lives In The Larger Reef At Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

Beautiful Video Of Fish At Reef on Grand Bahamas Island