Things To Do On Grand Bahama Island
Things To Do On Grand Bahama Island
I recently went to Grand Bahama Island with the travel group I belong to. As soon as my nose led me out of the plane, I was hit by a wall of heat and humidity. I would suggest that if don’t like intense heat and humidity, don’t go in July. The cold season for the Grand Bahama is December to mid-March. The warm/hot season normally runs June to the end of September. Humidity averages between 57% to 92% over the course of the year with April usually being the lowest. Thunderstorms are common in the summer and average 54% of the total precipitation. April has the lowest percentage of rainfall at 27%. The storms of the summer move in quick and generally only last a couple of hours. I personally like thunderstorms. We experienced a couple of thunderstorms during our five-day stay and they put on quite the show. The Grand Bahama International Airport is small, very small. With all the tourist they attract, I just expected a bigger airport. The plane doesn’t get connected to the terminal so that you get to walk through the tunnel and right into the airport. I descended down the airplane rolling and shaky stairs and took a short walk to enter the airport. The group director decided to rent a house instead of going to a resort. She wanted us to explore the culture and mingle with the locals. I was the first to go through customs. The official asked me the usual questions; Why was I there? How long would I be there? Who was a traveling with? and Where was I staying? I answered all questions without a glitch until she came to the last one. I didn’t know where in the world this house was. I started rambling what I remembered from the photo posted; “It’s a house on a bay and it has a gazebo with hammocks.” I was really trying to make time as I looked around in hopes to see the group director. Suddenly the official gave this big smile and chuckled. She handed back my passport and wished me a great visit. This is pretty much how all Bahamians are, easy going. They don’t really go by real time, they are very friendly, always smiling and saying hello as if they didn’t have a care in the world.
We arrived at the house and got settled in. The main part of the house was not air-conditioned but all the bedrooms were. It was difficult getting together as a group in the main living areas for extended periods of time. Most of us, fled to the bedroom to cool off periodically. My problem was that I would start reading or checking email on the bed while cooling off and would doze off Coming from the US, I would wake up feeling like I was wasting time and missing out on something. I had a lesson to learn from the islanders to just relax and go with the flow of things. The house was located by Taino Beach and the backyard butted up to the bay. I enjoyed having my morning coffee on the dock and watching rainbow-colored tropical fish swimming right below me. Northern curly tailed lizards would come out to worship the sun. They didn’t seem to be intimidated by me. They are ground-dwelling, predatory lizards and mainly eat spiders and insects. These are not to be confused with the brown anole lizards who run the other way when they encounter a curly tail. The curly tail was introduced to Florida in the 1940’s to combat sugar cane pests. I need one in my garage to keep the spider population under control.
The locals made sure to advise us not to miss the Wednesday Night Fish Fry on Smith’s Point Beach. The fish fry was started by a local church with the hope of bringing the community together. It succeeded. Wednesday morning, we took a short walk to the beach and walked along the edge of the water until we found our perfect spot. Unknowingly we had dropped anchor right in front of the famous fish fry location. We rented beach lounge chairs, umbrellas and purchased ice-cold sodas from the establishment. Two lounge chairs and an umbrella were $7 for the day. The fish fry starts at 6:30 so we moved up to get a table in the open air eatery. Excited to be the first one’s there, we put
our bags down, turned around and were shocked to see a line of about forty people suddenly appear. Wednesday Fish Fry is a local favorite but the word has spread bringing in tourists to check out what all the fuss is about. I ordered the Snapper fish fry and chose the traditional rice with black beans and the baked macaroni-n-cheese. I went back to the table and waited for my friend to bring our meals. She set my plate down and quickly said I asked them to cut the head off for you. I love fish but was used to eating it as a filet, clean of skin and bones and HEAD! I looked down at my fish and looked over at the chicken she ordered and thought to myself, BIG MISTAKE! I reluctantly started trying to pull off the skin which was real difficult after being fried sticking to the fish. I looked around to see if the locals were having the same issues. Nope, they were just eating it. I continued to pull little bits of skin trying to leave some flesh behind for me to eat. Next was making sure I wasn’t eating any bones. I reminded myself that I was here to explore the culture and not eat like I do back home. I have to say, the fish was delightful. I found the baked Mac-n-Cheese a little mushy for my taste but the rice with black beans was my favorite. Dinner becomes a party of eating, drinking, and dancing. Definitely a must for anyone who visits the island! Another island popular food is conch. You will find it in salads, as fritters, in soups, etc. I am sorry to admit that I could not venture into the cultural food when it came to conch. Especially after watching one of the locals pull one out of its shell on the beach and cut it up to share with everyone.
Port Lucaya Marketplace is another must. A colorful and bustling waterfront markets. It offers lots of shopping, bars, dining and entertainment for after shopping fun. There you will find the straw market offering a huge selection of wonderful handmade items. Rainbow colors of dresses, shirts, and scarves flow in the breeze as you look at an array of handbags, hats, fans, baskets and so much more.
At the end of the marketplace is Pat & Diane Tours who took us on a forty foot boat for a day of snorkeling and then to a private island where we had a chicken, rice/beans, corn salad and bread feast. Did I mention the all you can have Bahama Mamas?
A couple of the restaurants we tried in the marketplace were clean, cool, friendly and the food and drinks amazing. The Molly Malone’s Irish Pub Eatery offers a great menu and a free Jolly Roger Shot after your meal. You can’t go wrong with that. There was also what seemed to be a fruit smoothy stand at the market. The line seemed too long for fruit smoothies. People were walking away with large coconuts in their hands sipping away from a straw. I watched the woman make these fresh fruit smoothies and the last ingredient? Rum! No wonder the long line. Another restaurant we tried was Agave. Everything was delicious and my pina colada just like I like it.
It was an amazing five days and a nice break from the resort stays. What would I do different the next time I go? I will go when it’s a bit cooler and try the conch fritters. I would also like to visit the Lucayan National Park located between Freetown and Freeport. Here you can find the world’s longest explored underground cavern system. There are over 6 miles of caverns and tunnels. I would like to take the underwater tour of the caves where Lukayans lived before Columbus. These caves and blue holes were also used as a fresh water source and to this day are used by the local residents as freshwater reservoirs.
© 2016, YK. All rights reserved.