Bye bye Exumas
Shortly after our farewell to Mary&Joe and Susan&Brat, Charlene&Karl announced themselves in Shroud Cay. Ka had designed the logo of their “Nala” and so we postponed our departure to see the result live on the hull and spend an evening together. This was the first vessel with a pizza oven on board. Freshest pizza on board, what a treat.
It’s spooky how often there are hour-long orgies of lightnings on the horizon at night. Early in the morning we left Shroud Cay for our last Exumas stop at Highbourne Cay. The weather turned calm and sunny and pampered us with a relaxed 14 nm trip. Highborne is beautiful, a worthwhile stop in calm weather. I doubt that its pleasant in strong winds.
There is a small exclusive marina where mainly large motor vessels land their guests. Nice paths on the island invite you to take a walk to the Atlantic side. In front of the harbor, countless nurse sharks of all sizes lie on a sandbank and enjoy life. The island is very well maintained, a nice place for a few exclusive holidays.
Glad to have visited Highborn, we left the Exumas the next day after 6 weeks. A wonderful piece of earth, which can mainly only be travelled by boat. The turquoise water everywhere is even visible in a lighter blue on Google Earth. We are happy with our decision to take our time in the Bahamas.
Nassau – New Providence
35 nm away from the Exumas, lay the 4th part of our Bahamas trip: New Providence. The capital Nassau is home to 2/3 of the 400,000 inhabitants of the island nation. Fun fact: this is the second time we are visiting a Caribbean island with a “B” that is celebrating 50 years of independence. In 2016 it was Barbados (independency in 1966) and now the Bahamas, which became independent in 1973. You can book us from now on. 🙂
We moored the Rivercafe at Nassau Harbor Club Marina, in the north of the island, overlooking Paradise Island. Between USD 2.25 and USD 7.50 is the cost of a berth per foot of vessel length in Nassau’s many marinas. Plus 10 % tax – which is added to everything, plus electricity and water. No bargain considering that you bring your own bed. We had no great expectations of Nassau, according to the reports of many sailors. Therefore, we were pleasantly surprised.
Nassau’s appeal probably lies in the direction from which a visitor arrives. Coming from the US east coast, Nassau cannot compete with Savannah, Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, of course. So the level of disappointment might be quite high. But if you’re coming from the south, you haven’t seen an appealing city in a long time. Most cities in the Caribbean are not nice in best case. So in this weak competition, Nassau is in the front field.
After 6 weeks of nothing, we enjoyed what the city had to offer. Fresh food to choose from and after hours of searching and schlepping, a new starter battery for our generator. For the immoral price of 800 USD, we breathed life back into our generator. Bahamas prices. If you can buy something, it is freaking expensive, plus 10 %.
During our days in Nassau, we unpacked our bikes and cycled through New Providence in search of the city’s gems. We were the exotic ones, because nobody cycles here. A botanical garden was more like a compost heap. Downtown is consistently trimmed for the day tourists of the cruise ships. Between 3 and 6 of these big vessels drop off their guests every day. But its easy to avoid them.
Anchorage westerly of Nassau, Conch for the local restaurants, view from the bridge between Nassau and Paradise Island, Cruise Ships and Atlantis Hotel
Paradise Island and jet ski idiots
Paradise Island is quite nice. The island lies north of Nassau and is just a stone’s throw away over the channel. Two 70-foot high bridges lead to the paradise. One of them is named after actor Sidney Poitier, the famous son of the Bahamas who was born in Cat Island.
Paradise Island is mostly hotels and villas. Therefore, it is much neater than Nassau on the other side of the bridge. The well-known Atlantis Hotel occupies the western part of the island with its numerous buildings. The east is occupied by a gated community with a golf course. On the north side, Cabbage Beach invites you for a swim. Unfortunately, you have to share the beautiful beach and the clear water with plenty of jet-ski morons who have certainly never thought about our global warming and environmental pollution. It’s pretty crowded by Bahamas standards, but no comparison to popular beaches in the Med.
Cabbage Beach, Locals at the beach, the only guys on a bicycle Nassau
I remembered standing at the airport with my parents as a child and the clattering departure info sign stopped at “Nassau”. Since then, I’ve had the most beautiful visions of a dream destination. I really wanted to go there. In my imagination, of course, I saw no rubbish on the roads, no man-sized holes in the streets or dilapidated houses. Nassau Downtown and Paradise Island are nicely prepared for tourists. A few streets behind them is real life. And that is not much different in the Bahamas than on the other Caribbean islands.
The last parts of the Bahamas
The wind once again kept us longer than planned. On our departure day, the weather charts were dark red again and with 38 knots forecast, we didn’t fancy the bad anchorages in the Berry Islands. We extended our stay in the marina and watched, well protected, as the strong wind drove the current through the Nassau Channel and the wind whistled through the ship’s rigs.
We have just over a week left for the Berry Islands and Bimini. Then we cross the Gulf Stream on our way to Fort Lauderdale. So we will report once more from the Bahamas before we arrive back in the “normal” world. / Holger Binz