Freeport: 21st March 2015
All right, so it’s a ‘free port’ … but surely they could have thought of a more imaginative name for it? It was certainly a contrast to Miami, though; from where we were moored, shops, bars and restaurants were within walking distance. But, the main shopping area is about 10 miles away, at Port Lucaya, which can be reached by means of ramshackle buses, formerly public transport for the islanders, which provide a half-hourly service.
We boarded one of these buses, but not to go shopping. Our glass-bottomed boat tour also left from Port Lucaya. At first, we drove through the vast, rather ordinary complex that it Freeport, and I had some misgivings. Was the whole island of Grand Bahama going to turn out to be one huge trading estate?
Fortunately, it didn’t, and the featureless blockhouses eventually gave way to something more West Indian. Port Lucaya was buzzing, lively and colourful … even though its main purpose seemed to be selling stuff for visitors.
It might be thought that the glass-bottomed boat came too hard on the heels of the semi-submersible at St Maarten, but we saw something we didn’t see on that occasion. Sharks! But, more about that later.
We didn’t want to go back to the ship after the boat trip, so we chose a restaurant called ‘Le Med’, where we had a delicious and reasonably-priced beef kebab, washed down with ‘Sands’, an acceptable and cooling local beer. And, since it was open-sided … a large verandah, really … when some fellow passengers came by, we were able to chat without them actually coming into the restaurant.
We were also able to catch up on email and stuff, for there was free wifi here. But, one of the crew had said earlier that you could sit down almost anywhere in Port Lucaya, and have a fairly good chance of picking up a signal.