The Exodus crew adopted a healthy diet of daily swims, snorkels or dives. Freeman’s bay offers residence to numerous turtles, 9 curious squid, two eagle rays that occasionally jump out of the water, and tropical fish of various sizes…
Several anchors from Nelson’s days can be found, as well as two shallow small wrecks of modern boats ensuring good viewing spots for sea life.
Off the main beach, is an ideal snorkeling spot for kids, with a rock ledge dropping about one meter. For a length of a 100m you can spot all sorts of fish without having to dive down, they are feeding off the rocks, browsing around, flapping their fins, chasing each other. It is great to observe how whole shoals of fish are hiding underneath the rock ledge, all eyes on you. The single ones that didn’t make it back to safety before the snorkelers arrive attempt to keep deadly quiet, almost getting away with it. Stopping flight in midair, eyeing you from a distance ‘Did you see me? Did you see me?’
At the entrance of the bay there is also some reef with fan, tube, and brain coral, lots of colourful fishes and sea urchins with very long spikes. Big parrot fish and harlequin fish dash around quickly, clearly camera shy. The nice thing is that it is really shallow and you can get close to the sea life without having to make an effort.
Inside the bay feels like diving in a big tropical aquarium. The fish seem used to snorkelers and less skittish. The temperature is ideal most times of the day. Even at night the cold blooded amongst us could go for a dip without a problem. Visibility was fine to perfect most of the days we have been here. Some funny things were:
- A decent size needle fish showing of his teeth when we got too close and looking ridiculous at it.
- A group of 9 small squid lining up and staring back at Arthur.
- A black fish desperately yet unsuccessfully tried to hide amongst the coral as soon as he heard Gitane approach.
- A big rusted and overgrown tube that roused Winnie’s interest. A quick peek inside gave her a big fright as she was eye in eye with a big porcupine puffer fish, both trying to back off at the same time.
- Fearless Gitane’s fish spotting skills are improving every day. When she spots the turtle first, there is no holding back. She swims quite close and takes off in pursuit…
We went for a scuba dive and a few snorkeling sessions on the reef outside the bay. We saw lots of parrot fish, surgeon and nurse fish, damsel, wrasses, jacks, grunts, and groupers. Fish falling down like leaves, others making a cloud and taking on the shape of a large fish. The red squirrelfish like to raise their combs to make themselves bigger as we got closer. There are many odd shaped fish to be seen such as: flounder, drum, trunk, puffer, ballyhoo, firefish, …
On scuba we had a close view of two turtles having a chat, that only moved away when one of us started drifting too close and struggled to control her buoyancy. The short movie gives you an idea…
Our freediver spotted decent sized barracudas and large King mackerels. Even though our (trigger)fingers were itching, no spearfishing is allowed for non-residents and on top of that there is a risk of ciguatera. The pair of eagle rays allowed him to swim along with them, whilst the biggest turtle came to sniff the captain’s butt. On a sandy patch a stingray went for a clean by several remoras. The cleaning frenzy put the ray in a bad mood and when our freediver ostentively stood and watched she lifted her tail and told him to mind his own business.
The biggest advantage of Freeman’s bay is that each time you snorkel, dive or just swim to the beach, you are very likely to get the chance to swim with eagle rays or turtles, that continue eating sea grass or performing their ballroom dance, going round and round in circles frilling their robes. We tried to capture a bit of our experiences for you.
All fish and turtle mug shots were done by Arthur. The fuzzy, long distance ones are done by your surface snorkeler. More pictures.