Country #79 - Bahamas Day 1

The Mustang

Today started quite early and ended up being an endless day of travel. Unfortunately, I had a hard time deciding exactly where I wanted to travel over the holidays, so I ended up deciding by default to go ahead and burn my saved country of the Bahamas. I was saving it for if I needed to be home for any unexpected reason for a long period of time, but oh well! It’s going to be a great place to visit in December for sure, and my mom is tagging along again so it will be a great little trip. The bad news, though, is that since I decided too late, we have to fly on standby family passes during the busiest travel period of the year. It was looking rough on anyway for us to possibly get to Miami today, so we ended up going with the best possible option at the time. And it was definitely quite the roundabout adventure!

We woke up at 4am, headed to the airport, and flew from DFW into Savannah, Georgia. I wish I would have been able to see some of Savannah, but we had no time when we landed. The original plan was to rent a car and drive to Jacksonville to then fly to Miami, but by the time we landed in Savannah that flight had filled up. Our only option then was a flight from Gainesville to Miami. So we had to rent a car and head that way! We rented a car from Alamo, and at the counter, we were told that we would be upgraded to a sports car for free. Yay! We had no idea what to expect, but when we walked to our car and found a yellow Mustang we almost died laughing. And my mom suddenly got really excited about our three-hour drive! It was extra funny because my brother, Edward, wants a Mustang, so it was great to send him that picture.

The drive was definitely made more fun by the surprise Mustang, and I had fun playing with the Apple car play. It was a bit rainy but we were in Gainesville pretty easily. We stopped for some Wendy’s, refilled our gas, and then returned the car. By the time we arrived the flight had gone from looking like a good possibility to not so good. Two people had bought tickets at the counter, which I didn’t know was a thing anyone really did anymore. It didn’t look good but we decided to wait because it would be close if at least one person missed the flight.

Closer to take off we were suddenly told we would be on the flight! I had no idea how because from what I could tell online the numbers were not working in our favor, but I wasn’t going to argue. We were in line to board when I saw that there might be a problem. The paying passenger in front of us had somehow been removed from her seat, leading me to think that this probably had happened to put us on. The gate agent did not think so, though, as he still allowed us to board. So we did it, we were on the flight! Until we weren’t – it was a very bad sign when the gate agent walked on board, and even worse when he walked to our seats and asked us to follow him.

Apparently, three paying passengers had had their seats removed so the system then showed those seats as available. So we were out of luck. One of us could have gone on, but that made little sense, so we headed back to Alamo. And rented our Mustang again. Not even purposefully – we were just given the Mustang again, so at least we were able to laugh at our unfortunate situation. We decided at this point to just drive to Miami – my mom was quite the trooper on the five-hour drive, dealing with lots of back roads and darkness. We stopped at Shake Shack outside of Miami which was quite appreciated and stopped at Target too to buy some snacks for our trip.

We finally arrived at the Miami airport where we returned the car without issue and then took an Uber to a hotel near the airport. It had an unfortunate smoky smell, but it did the trick for a few hours. We decided to take the ferry from Miami to Freeport, Bahamas tomorrow instead of messing with flights anymore. After almost an entire day of travel we finally made it to Miami (too late for our intended flight), but at least we had a plan to arrive at the Bahamas in the morning!

The Rocking Ferry

It was nice to get some much-needed sleep before continuing our travel adventure. We took an Uber to the port of Miami where we checked in for our ferry to the Bahamas, the FRS Ferry. The ferry seemed similar in size to the one I took way back when from Argentina to Uruguay. We sat upstairs and were soon off headed towards Bimini where we would stop before heading to Grand Bahama Island (where Freeport is located). It was really cool to go past all of the giant Miami buildings on the ferry. It was my favorite (and only) good moment of the ferry. From that point forward, the waves dominated the situation.

It was so wavy! There was a reason that there were sea sickness tablets available and barf bags in the seats – it was so intense. I tried to sleep through it as best as I could to avoid thinking about it. The ride to Bimini really wasn’t too bad, but Bimini to Grand Bahama was insane. There were points where the entire ferry would collectively hold its breath! It was cool, sure, but not worth the seasickness. The poor guy sitting near us had to use his barf bag, and I just tried my best not to think about it. Our stop in Bimini was beautiful – I would love to go back someday as we didn’t leave the boat. I was very glad to finally arrive on Grand Bahama Island, though!

We were met by our driver right outside of the ferry terminal which was really nice! He stopped by Solomon’s grocery store for us to run in and get a few last things we didn’t get before we left the U.S. We would be staying far from the city so we tried to stock up! After Solomon’s we drove about thirty-five minutes (and had a fun time talking with our driver during the drive) to the far northwest end of the Island to the settlement of West End, where Old Bahama Bay is located. I cannot thank Old Bahama Bay enough for sponsoring this segment of my trip! It was so nice to have a place to stay for a few days in the warmth of the Bahamas, and Old Bahama Bay was the perfect spot. Our room was incredible – literally right on the water! We had a huge room with tons of space, the best view, and easy access to everything at the resort. I’m very excited for the next few days at Old Bahama Bay After all of our travel difficulties, it was all worth it once we arrived at such a beautiful spot.

We spent some time walking around to see everything at Old Bahama Bay, including the marina, giant checkers board, activity hut where we could get kayaks or paddle boards, bikes, the infinity pool, the restaurants, shuffleboard, corn hole, and more! It was nice to walk around and have an overview of everything. We then headed back to our room where we sat on the balcony for a bit before eating dinner – it was an inexpensive night filled with microwave pizza and other snacks! My mom went to sleep really early (understandably after the lack of sleep and plethora of driving), and I stayed up and worked a little bit on planning my next trip before going to sleep as well. It was quite the ordeal getting to the Bahamas, but after arriving I can safely say that it was totally worth it and I can’t wait for the next few days!

79 countries down, 118 to go.

For more information on the Bahamas click here to read my guide.

To learn more about Old Bahama Bay click here.