Friday, May 6, 2016

"Cuz I'm Free.....Free Fallin'" in Freeport, The Bahamas

Hello!  Welcome back to my blog Where is Brandy?  I wanted to show you my day in Freeport, Bahamas.  My two travel amigas and I were aboard the Carnival Freedom and couldn't have been more excited to get here and experience our first TURQUOISE WATER (and yes, you're going to see way too many pictures of said turquoise water, but it's too beautiful not to post).
We got into Freeport fairly early and were up and ready to meet our excursion hosts - Pat and Diane's Tours - for their Snorkeling and Private Island Adventure.  There were many cruise ships due in and supposedly we were going to be the last to arrive so they had told us to get off the boat FAST...  Yeah...we were the first on the bus LOL.  Super, SUPER friendly company and fellow travelers.

The bus actually took us about 20 minutes away from the cruise terminal to Port Lucaya which included an infamous straw market, lots of bars, live music and touristy restaurants/pavillions.   During our drive we were given some information about the island and saw a school and some local businesses....Let's just say it's nothing super fancy!  In fact, one of the comedians on our cruise ship told us Freeport was a really poor island where you can sponsor a child each month and have plenty of people begging for money.  We never saw anything like that was definitely NOT like Nassau (next post).

*Just saying, I got a bit obsessed with my Pano setting on the ole iPhone...but it was just too cool to get everything going on in ONE shot.
 So after a bit of time signing our waivers and getting everyone on the boat we headed towards our snorkeling spot.  The water was definitely darker when we left the harbor and you can scroll to see how clear and light it gets!

*Still smiling at this beautiful sight!*

The boat had a great vibe to it.  The employees were so friendly and the radio blared with Top 40 songs from a local radio station.  Some of the songs were "Bahamafied" and we heard a good rendition of the steel drum version of Katy Perry's Fireworks.  While we were heading out to the water the different employees passed out all the snorkel gear.
So, to be perfectly honest the snorkeling was just okay....  As you can see in the picture we ended up where the water a bit darker.  It wasn't the most crystal clear picture so I'm not sure if it was just the quality of goggles or what but the reefs weren't anything terribly exciting.  We saw a couple of types of fish but every time kids threw the $1 bags of fish food (sure did look like puppy kibble) into the water the seagulls came right along and snatched them up.  

Don't get me wrong, I had a BLAST!  I just was hoping to have gotten more than 30 minutes in the water when we purchased a full day of snorkeling and beach.  No hard feelings, Pat and Diane's Tours but I'm just saying....I could have used another 20-45 minutes in the water!
*It's just so pretty!!!*
 So after snorkeling we ended up traveling another 20 minutes to a "deserted island" where we actually just pulled up to the dock or anything.  We climbed down off a 4 step ladder and there were were (you can see the beach here in the picture).  The team put together a bbq chicken lunch while we did our thing on the beach.
We found our spot on the beach and baked like chicken in a hot oven.   
This is a picture of my spot from the beach where my friend Brandi was sitting in the water... I just love this picture, one of my favorites I took over the whole vacation.
 One of the other guests found a conch shell and the team did a big demonstration on how to get the meat and teach us all about the animal.  They made a raw conch salad/salsa for us and put into little tasting cups.  I had heard from a coworker that conch was amazing so I tried it...but...

It was so chewy I had to spit it out and bury it in the sand :/  The onions didn't help either (I hate onions....more than hate, loath.
I was about to brag on the fact that I made an intelligent choice and put a light t-shirt on when I felt my body burning in the hours of sun...  But then I remembered the fact I didn't take my sun hat...
 and proof that my face was RED when we got back on that boat!
*Just a side edit: I don't normally do duck faces in pictures, nor publish said pictures, but it just shows you what a wonderful beach day in The Bahamas can do to a middle-aged lady.
The entire boat ride to the deserted island included bottomless Bahama Mamas full of rum but they ran out while we were at the island...go figure.  On the way back to the harbor, though, the team made Sky Juice which is a combination of milk, coconut water, and gin.  It was really sweet but tasted really good!  Definitely something I suggest when visiting the islands.

And lastly, upon arrival at the harbor we walked around the Lucaya Straw Market.  It wasn't a great experience for me as I was just uncomfortable.  There are 3 dark hallways filled with cheap tshirts, jewelry and toys all things I've seen in every country I've visited.  When I asked about an elephant (since I get one in every country for my mother) they wanted me to pay much more than I expected.  I tried to haggle with them but they weren't having it.  They were so persistent in coming into their "booth" which was COVERED with kitschy touristy goods and ugly Disney straw purses but not willing to work a deal.  It was just strange.  Luckily, on the main walkway there are additional shops (kind of the size of a large clothes closet) that had actual doors on them.  There were 3-4 local artists inside some of these individual stores and I was lucky enough to find a man making Christmas ornaments out of shells and sand.  It was the perfect gift for me and my Travel Tree.  My genius friend stopped at an artist next door who was making notecards and got the woman to write "Bahamas 2016" for her to frame.  How cute is that going to be on a wall?  

The rest of the day we waited on a bus back to the cruise terminal and did a little more shopping for souvenirs (which ended in no purchases).  Overall, I highly recommend Pat and Diane's Tour.  The people were great and I felt like we got a great experience in Freeport which some people didn't have the highest regard for.  I would definitely return and would love to go snorkeling more!  

Stay tuned for the next post when I show you Nassau and Atlantis!

Safe travels!!


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