Photos in the Gallery of Bahamas so far
18 April 2018
Nassau - busy, busy
18 April 2018
Over 70 per cent of the population of the Bahamas live in Nassau on New Providence island. So there are a lot of shops, services, bars, restaurants and so on … and Paradise Island which dominates Nassau harbour.
This island, linked by two road bridges to New Providence, is holiday home to the rich and famous: Oprah Winfrey to name one. It also has the resort/hotel/casino/entertainment centre that is Atlantis. A day pass for a non-resident is US$160 and children of 12 are classified as adults.
So what have we been doing here?
We are at Nassau Harbour Club marina and our aims were to get our two scuba dive tanks tested and approved so them we can get them filled, get a couple of bushes made (one for the autopilot connection to the steering quadrant and the other for the rope and turbine connection to the towed generator), fill our cooking gas tanks, fill up with diesel and stock up on provisions … and do some sight-seeing.
All have been successfully achieved … so far …
Our sight-seeing took us to the historic part of Nassau with 18th century forts, colonial administration buildings, the cruise ship area and its inevitable souvenir shops.
There are some lovely old buildings but then on our way back east to our marina we passed through a large area of closed down commercial and retail premises. It was clear that building shops close to the cruise ship terminal and edge of town shopping malls have killed what was once the retail heart of the city – sad, but we are told that the government is trying to work with the building owners and developers to re-enliven this part of the city. Don’t hold your breath.
There is so much money swishing around this country but it is not clear how far this is trickling down to the average Bahamian citizen and how much is being repatriated by foreign owners. Not sure the Bahamians are getting a fair deal.
Our jobs are completed and next we head for Abacos which will be our jump off for Bermuda.
Exumas Sea and Land Park
18 April 2018
This 176-sq-mile land and marine-protected area is truly delightful. We stopped at Cambridge Cay and Warderick Wells, taking a mooring ball at each place. At the former a charming US boating couple are volunteering for the Park, collecting fees, giving out maps and organising sundowners on a nearby sand-spit.
The Park HQ is at Warderick Wells and again they provide excellent information on places to snorkel and the marked paths for lovely walks ashore.
The whole Park is archetypal Bahamas with low islands, a few higher outcrops in the limestone, all the shades of blue and turquoise that one can imagine, white sand beaches, eroded cliffs and shelves, scrub and sub-tropical trees as well as the reefs and coral.
Now, we have to say that the reefs, coral and fish have been a bit of a disappointment - bleaching, algae and storms have taken their toll and there are not many WOWs about. We are told that it is better in the Abacos.
With a cold front on its way we headed the 30nm for Highborne Cay as our jumping off point for the island of New Providence and the Bahamas' capital, Nassau.
Highborne Cay was also interesting. There were two mega-mega motor yachts present: ‘Clarity’ a snip at US$12.9 millions to buy or US$175,000 to charter for a week (plus expenses) was at anchor near us, and ‘Home’ which probably cost the same or more, was in the small marina … and ‘Home’ had hired the whole island for the weekend for a party so we could only visit the shop ashore. Ah, the company we keep eh?
We stayed two nights and then on Saturday 14th April we sailed the 45nm to Nassau in 14-18kts ENE/ESE wind– we ended up on every point of sail as we dodged the reefs and especially the rock and coral-head strewn Yellow Bank.
Bond ... 007 ... Thunderball
18 April 2018
We have now managed four Bond movie locations: Udaipur, India for 'Octopussy', Colon, Panama for 'Quantum of Solace', Thailand for 'The Man with the Golden Gun' and now Bahamas for 'Thunderball' and 'Never say Never Again'.
There is a limestone cave on an islet that you can snorkel into at low water or duck through what becomes a sump at high water. Inside, the cave has a high dome roof with holes letting in dramatic shafts of light. In the water there is a large number of reef fish which seem quite habituated to people. We were lucky in our timing as a party of people were just leaving as we arrived and we had the cave to ourselves for a few moments ... had we known what took place in the films we could have re-enacted the scenes ... oh well ...
Just to be clear, we are not what you would call 'avid fans' of Bond films, especially those with Roger Moore. [pace Neil]
Pigs might ... swim
18 April 2018
Nine miles on is another cruiser gathering point at Staniel’s Cay and Big Major’s Spot. The currents around the islands can be quite strong so picking your anchor spot requires some care, albeit we saw boats at anchor in places we would never consider: too much current and too exposed. Oh well, maybe they are old hands and know a great deal more than we do about these waters.
Staniel’s Cay has a small marina, bars and restaurants, hotel and other shore accommodation so it is popular. We chose to anchor at Big Major’s Spot which is a bit of a long dinghy ride to Staniel’s Cay but well sheltered from the prevailing winds … and it has the swimming pigs …
You might think this has involved too many rum punches, but no there is a whole herd of pigs, big and small, on the beach and they love to come in the water and swim, gobbling any food the people bring along … and many, many holidaying people come from all over the Exumas and even from Nassau.
Washing and watching
18 April 2018
Another 10nm along and we anchored at Black Point on Great Guana Cay in 4 metres of water. The settlement is famous for its laundry – yup, one of the best equipped in the Bahamas. However there is more to it than just washing.
We had some nice walks around the island to the east (ocean) side and along the west coast where there were people weaving strips of palm to send to Nassau for final assembly into basket work for the many tourist visitors at the Straw Market.
We lunched at Scorpio’s on conch and watched the very large party of MPs and government officials who were carrying out an inspection for development funding. The local people would like to have a bank – understandable if you have a cash business and it would also bring more cruisers, albeit there were around 30 boats at anchor.