Thursday, September 24, 2009
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.
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
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.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I just got back from Grand Bahama Island for my 2009 vacation. I visited places that I had not been able to last year, and one beach I wanted to mention to everyone is Barbary Beach.
On many forums, websites, etc, etc, it is said to be one of the top beaches on the entire island. While I would say the beach was quite beautiful, it still does not come close to being quite as stunning as Gold Rock Beach.
While the beach is quite secluded, and the pictures are worth a million words, the beach on our arrival was pretty riddled with trash.
We were able to look past all of the litter and enjoy the day on the very secluded beach. Not a single person was seen during our entire day, and we enjoyed snorkeling in the shallow pools to the right side of the beach where rocks, and corals piled up out of the sea. Here was where I took many pictures of needle nose schools. I will have to upload them at a later date, as they are buried in numerous photos I have yet to go through.
Out in the distance you will notice a small island poking up from the sea as well. This island is known as Peterson Cay, and if you want you could book kayak excursions or boat excursions out to the island. The kayak tours usually meet at Barbary Beach early in the morning. If you get to the beach early enough you will have the opportunity to watch them all paddle away, or you could join them by booking in advance.
The kayak tours claim it will take around 30 minutes to get to Peterson Cay, and I have to agree. It is quite far away, and if you are not good at kayaking, look for tours that run boats to the secluded private island.
One excursion for those of you whom enjoy kayaking, you can book a tour with Grand Bahama Nature Tours. Click to be taken to the site.
Anyhow, with that aside, Barbary Beach is beautiful, there is no denying it; however if you have to chose between Gold Rock Beach, and Barbary, hands down Gold Rock Beach wins by a landslide.