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“Great Trip (2011)”

Calabash Eco Adventures
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Hello and welcome to our trip advisor page! Calabash Eco Adventures is an adventure tour company on the Island of Freeport Grand Bahama. We operate adventure tours throughout the entire Island including activities like kayaking, snorkeling, biking, birding, sightseeing, cave diving and blue holes. Our adventure tours are all combo tours meaning multiple interest in one adventure such as some sightseeing during narrative drives to multiple destinations with desired activities at each destination ending with beach and lunch. Please read our reviews and visit our website and if we gain your interest then "explore Grand Bahama the way it was meant to be seen"...
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Akron, Ohio
1 review
“Great Trip (2011)”
Reviewed June 6, 2013

My mother and I had an exceptional experience on the kayak and snorkeling tour we took in 2011. She and I were the only people on the excursion that day and it made the experience even better. After being picked up Shamie told us about the island and its history while we drove to the excursion location. The Kayaking was very fun and a little taxing but that is what we signed up for and it gave the trip a bit of excitement. The snorkeling was great and the guide (not Shamie) told us about the fish and other marine life that we may see and where to spot it. If he saw something interesting he would stop and point it out to us and explain what we were seeing. Lunch, which was included, was located on a gorgeous beach with only a couple other people. Overall, I would book all other excursions with Calabash if we are ever there in the future.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank Laura N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Shamie really knows his stuff!”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

I recently went on the Inland Blue Hole Adventure tour with Shamie (5/28/13) and had a fantastic time. Visiting the caves at Lucayan National Park and snorkeling in Owl's howl was the highlight of our time in the Bahamas. Shamie was nothing short of amazing. Courteous and knowledgeable, he really made this a learning experience for us. Not only did teach us so much about the area and its wildlife, he also knew where to get the best pictures and really let us take our time and ask questions.
I am a firm believer in the right to express your opinion, and I usually read positive and negative reviews with a very open mind but I was shocked to see the most recent post ‘Shamie is a Sham’ when I came to write my review. This one was an easy one for me to dismiss since I just meet Shamie and can attest that his thigh is nowhere near 300lbs in girth! Hopefully future visitors to this site will understand that someone who uses personal and exaggerated insults cannot be trusted to give fair and unbiased reviews.
If I ever make our way out to the Bahamas again (fingers crossed), I will certainly use Calabash for my next Eco Adventure!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Cameron H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Shamie is a sham”
Reviewed May 22, 2013

The reviews are overwhelmingly good, so I hope we were the exception. When people say Shamie is a pretentious, rude, lazy and inattentive guide, they are correct. At 9am we were forced into a jalopy of a van, maybe time for an upgrade, Shamie, it reeks. We went to his house to pick up the kayaks and equipment and after a long, tedious ride, we finally get to the launching point for the kayaks and he offers these nasty, stained, moldy, smelly life jackets. Most of our group declined, but I thought it might be nice just to have one in the kayak, so I grabbed one, but knew the minute it got close to my face it would have to be dire for me to use it! When we got to the island, about a 20-30 minute easy kayak stretch, immediately he goes into his lecture and I mean constant lecture about staying close, paying attention to his every thought and move, listening to his constant loud drone without ever so much as an inkling you might just want to relax, enjoy the quiet and the scenery, which wasn't much. We finally got started with our equipment and entered the water. We were all forced to hold on to his floater while he mindlessly droned on about the minute details of sea life of the very dull island. As an avid snorkeler I could appreciate his knowledge of common sea life, but really didn't need a 10 minute dissertation on the sand dollar. As the group of 9 were separating from his float, I got kicked pretty hard, right in the head. I'm pretty sure it was Shamie's 300 pound leg that got me. I took in some water and that's where it went downhill. It took 3 1/2 hours to get to this point in the tour. Pretty boring. What was worse is the lack of concern for everyone around. The water was rough and there was no reason to go any further around the island. The sea life was sparse and the coral was bland. But we were supposed to follow our guide. The water that I had taken in and the faulty equipment I was given made it impossible to follow and my guide that really couldn't care less that at this point that I was in distress. I made it back to our launching point and sat to collect my thoughts. There were times in the open water that I was worried about my safety and the "tour guide" was oblivious of this. My fellow tour mates asked if I was okay, and if I needed anything, while Shamie never once inquired as to what might have happened to me. I am used to this level of activity, but the intake of water and the rough sea was taxing. Everyone was complaining that there wasn't anything past a certain point to see that was different, that there was no reason to take us that far in such choppy water. No one seemed to want to say anything when he was in ear shot, though. He is this huge, loud, bossy Bohemian guy that you certainly wouldn't want to tangle with. We then kayaked back to the jalopy where he enlisted the help of everyone to load all of his gear. He should have an assistant, but I'm sure he is too greedy for this. He called in our order for lunch, again, bossy and loud and rude. It reminded me of a forth grade field trip with the teacher that really hated her job. His phone wouldn't work to call in the order, so he had to use someone else's. I hadn't brought my phone and wondered what he would have done if the other customer hadn't brought theirs. We got to Banana Bay a short ride in the jalopy later and it wasn't anything I would have stopped at. The place looked decrepit and the bathrooms were atrocious, but once you stepped out back, wow, was it beautiful. The cracked conch was delicious and the mahi was some of the best I'd ever had. For $11 and $12 an entree, they were fantastic and worth twice the price! I had jokingly asked about the refund policy on the website that stated to make your complaints before we got to the lunch destination and he said he would just refund your money and leave you there at Banana Bay to find your way back, after he charged of course for your transportation to the site and lunch which would be about 90% of the tour anyway. Ha Ha. funny. I then asked about the rumored huge starfish and huge conch shells we were told of in Grand Bahama and he said that was probably on the other side of the island. Oops, wish I would have done more research.We then left the restaurant, went back to his house to drop off the equipment, and proceeded back to the harbor. This would conclude our tour. I waited a good while to write this review because I wanted to make sure I wasn't angry about my personal experience and that I would give a realistic review of what to expect. Having taken the Blue Hole snorkeling tour out of Nassau the day before, for half the price, this was a disaster in comparison. This Calabash kayak tour is a tour that is stretched to the limit in terms of time, most of it spent listening to this boisterous guy in a jalopy of a van. I am glad I am a strong swimmer because my guide was no where to be found when I needed help. Blue Hole's guide Mark was unassuming, well-spoken, polite, knowledgeable,observant and kind. I will be writing another review for his tour and would highly recommend it. Calabash's 5 to 6 hour tour of which most of it is not fun. If this review saves just 2 people from wasting a prized day of their vacation, not to mention money better spent elsewhere, I have done my job. No one else on my tour has written a review. I think most people that write reviews are happy to do it for the people that showed them a great time. I hope my experience was a rare one with Calabash, but somehow I don't believe it is. Don't be fooled by their cool website like I was.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank NikkiP284
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CalabashEcoAdventure, Owner at Calabash Eco Adventures, responded to this review, May 23, 2013
This review on a tour experience does not read like a review, but instead an attack. Apparently i did something to upset your party and whatever that is, i am truly sorry. If this was the normal review we receive from a tour experience we would not be in business...but i am very fortunate that we have an overwhelmingly positive support from guests that love their experience with us and a high repeat guest tour experience.

I would like to respond to this review to persons that may be interested in our adventures and maybe concern about their experience with us after reading such a horrible review. Please bear with me as i try to do so with respect.

Here are some things that stands out; forced to get in the vehicle, jalopy, lectures, 300lb leg, marine life bland, oblivious...it gets worst even describing the lunch destination...but this improves with view of beach and lunch. We have been in business for 5 years and myself in the tourism sector of my island for 25 years...i have never seen anything like this...so i am very surprised and confused. As i read the words of this reviewer, it makes me wonder if we were even on the same tour, it doesn't same real, but will touch on that later. Please bear with me as i address a few things...there are too many to address them all.

When we pickup from the harbor (harbor being the farthest distance of travel) we share information design to inform our guests about the island's history until we arrive to where we keep the trailer with kayaks, then the information changes to the actual tour experience. I am sure not everyone is interested in this type of information, but please note without it, combine with the excursion and the options in lunch, i truly do not believe our reviews would be as high. Please do the math, we have 177 excellent reviews and 5 terrible reviews (few of which are disappointed people whom didn't get to tour with us).

The snorkeling part of the day is a guided experience. We do give snorkeling instructions, on this day however we did not, only because everyone had snorkelled before, so i took advantage of this to get more in water time and instead only cover the proper use of our equipment. This is the part of the day where Nikki expressed most of her concern and the part of the day i would like to address. Once in the water guests are informed to take a minute to check their equipment and if they have any issues to let us know. The reason for this is if you have equipment issues, this is known right away because you are in water...things leak and we brought extra masks and snorkels along with a save the snorkel kit, this kit allows for repairs of straps on masks and fins if broken and keepers for snorkels and so on if needed. If guests follow instructions we would resolve equipment issues immediately. However, i was too loud, rude and just love the sound of my voice and not the best interest of my guests for Nikki not to have heard this and follow instructions. However, a lady in the party of 3 from a hotel pickup heard this and because she was having problems with her own personal equipment, she used mine. With my equipment she was able to snorkel for over 90 minutes and thank me and also seek advise from me on future equipment for her and husband. They even loved the liquid we use to defog masks and praised me on that little simple thing. Why, because it was different and worked better than what they had used in the pass?! Now It took us a while to move on as i was trying to help a guest, but i have no control over this, but certainly appreciate the patience of guests as they wait by snorkeling about until i could lead the group. I stopped several times and shared interesting things about animals...in fact was applaud by guests (party of 3 and others) repeatedly on the small island after snorkeling and during lunch...whom also said that they would highly recommend us and had one of the best informed snorkeling experience in their travels.

Here is the problem i encountered during the snorkeling experience. When I stopped to count heads, see who's head was above water (this is usually a sign of distress) or share details of animals Nikki's party was always a distance away. When i shouted out if they were okay, they always responded that they were okay. I was not told at anytime by them of any equipment issues, at the same token at this point it would be too late. Issues with equipment were meant to be resolved prior to leaving the shallow standing type waters with spear equipment just in the kayak. Also they didn't really follow! I found myself waiting for them too many times in fact had to change the snorkel plan because of them. But never once rushed them, harassed them or told them they had to be at arms reach. They didn't know i held the group at spots to have them move closer. If a guest have an issue i should reach them in 5 to 8 kicks, not 5 to 8 minutes. So, if their experience failed them, it would not be because i failed them, it would be because they failed themselves. I reached out to everyone on tour, with information and tact, the people that leave such wonderful reviews are the courteous ones that reach back while on our excursions...we are very fortunate for and to them.


At the end of the day when i dropped off at the harbor, Nikki's party said goodbye and moved on, but another party that booked with us hung around and talk with me for a while, he and wife was so appreciative about their experience, being aware of my travel plans to Utah a State they once lived, took 15 minutes or more to tell me about that State and things i could do for my own adventures. Wrote down destinations and made suggestions on my plans. Nikki, maybe i couldn't reach you and share with you things i did with others because something about me made you unhappy (clearly), please note that i did reach others on tour and i had a wonderful day with them...really sorry you didn't.

In regards to my phone which she said didn't work...well, i use an IPhone, my hands were wet my phone got wet and i could not slide the phone to open it. What she decided to leave out, which is true throughout the review is that once my hands and phone were dried, i made the call for lunch. The restaurant doesn't normally take food orders over the phone, they do so for my guests. I am an organized individual, so i organized my guests to give me their lunch order exactly what they want, so that once at lunch we have no delays and i ask the person at the other end of the phone call to repeat the orders back to me to ensure that no one waits for food to be prepared at a later time at the lunch/beach part of the day. I also don't want to keep the person taking the order from any tasks they should be doing as they do not normally take phone orders. We do all of this so that after a 20 minute drive to lunch, our guests don't have a long wait due to us thinking ahead to place lunch orders by phone in advance. Nikki, I am sorry that this was also a bad experience for you.

In closing, for any future guests, please note that you are our main interest, we want you to have a wonderful tour experience, there will be instructions, please listen to them as you paid to have a wonderful experience and the information we share regardless of what that maybe, truly benefits you...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
1 review
“Kayak Snorkel Tour”
Reviewed May 22, 2013

We had a fantastic experience with Calabash. We booked the kayak snorkel tour looking to combine two fun activities.

Booking the tour was simple. We called Calabash on one day and were set up for a tour on the next.

Our Tour guide was Barry, who gave just the kind of colorful background on the Island's history and geography that we like on these kinds of adventures. When Kayaking conditions were less than ideal, Barry also made a quick change to our tour so we could still snorkel in calmer waters on another part of the island.

Finally, when there was some minor confusion related to the price of the revamped tour, Calabash went above and beyond to provide a refund of some of tthe price we paid.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Carey N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CalabashEcoAdventure, Owner at Calabash Eco Adventures, responded to this review, May 23, 2013
Carey, i must say, this was a really nice surprise. Sorry that this confusion took place and thank you for being so understanding. I will certainly pass this along to Barry...thanks again for such a very nice surprise! Wishing all the best...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MI
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The best excursion of all times!!!”
Reviewed May 16, 2013

Throughout this trip there was one thing that stood out; Shamie's goal was to provide the best experience for us.  He is a walking history book, considerate of his customers all while keeping safety a #1 priority.  His character speaks volumes and his attention to detail is incredible for the service he provides his customers.  Simply the best at all times!

First off let me say that I booked an excursion last minute through a third party agency without many other options available for other excursions with other companies.  My wife and I were going on our honeymoon cruise and wanted to do an excursion on 4/10.  I saw the "Bike and Snorkeling Adventure" excursion available and noticed the price was slightly higher than some other excursions.  Before I complained in my mind I noticed that this was approximately a 6 hour excursion compared to most that were 2-3 hours.  I was shocked and thought that this price was exceptional!  Upon debarking ship we were warmly welcomed by an employee named Barry.  We waited for another couple for nearly 20min but they never showed up.  We then drove out of the port and met up with a man named Shamie and Mr. Miller to pick up a trailer with all of our excursion equipment.  Upon departing for our excursion, Shamie educated us on the history of the island as we drove past many historical and current businesses, buildings and influential areas. Shamie then received a phone call about 5-10 min after we began driving and politely excused himself and took the call.  He then asked us if we could turn around to pick up the other couple because they were running late due to losing track of time and the time change between the ship time and shore time.  We were given the option to continue or go back because we were on time and they were late on their end.  We gladly wanted to turn around and pick up the other couple.  At this time Shamie apologized for answering the phone and explained to us that he is the owner and needs to handle major issues if they arise.  We were shocked that the owner was our personal tour guide!  We picked up the other couple and Shamie got us right back on schedule with no hick ups! We drove out to the west end of the island and Shamie, Barry, and Mr. Miller got out our bikes and prepared us for our bike ride.  We rode along the water as Shamie continued to educate us about the island, historical sites and many other interesting facts.  We periodically stopped which provided great photo opportunities, grabbed a sip of water, and make sure that we were okay.  It was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience!  Shamie always rode in the front while Barry rode in the back to make sure we were all staying together.  Meanwhile Mr. Miller was driving the van with the trailer behind us in case our bikes had an issue they can trade it out so that we can continue our adventure with no issues.  After our bike ride we drove to the private beach resort Paradise Cove (this was included in our excursion price).  We were given all of the snorkel equipment and asked what we wanted to order for lunch.  We were allowed to snorkel on our own with no guide and had about 2 hours of snorkel time.  We snorkeled around a reef and Barry joined us for fun but knowing we were still snorkeling at our own risk.  As we came back to shore Shamie had ordered our lunch for us to be ready.  We walked up to hot food and I was thoroughly impressed!  We ate and then headed back to the port while stopping at many landmarks along the way back and Shamie continually educating us about the landmarks of the island.

 At the end of the excursion, we had a received the best customer service, a fun packed safe bike ride and snorkel, a great lunch and we were back to port in time so that we had no issues getting back on the ship. It was a very relaxing and wonderful experience for our honeymoon.  

Thank you Shamie!!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Sean O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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