Nassau Revisited

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Nassau

 

 

Nassau
 

At dawn on 3rd May, we arrived at Highborne Cay in the Exumas, after an overnight passage of 75 miles, where we entered from the deep Exuma Sound onto the shallow Bahamas Banks. After stopping for breakfast, we continued over the banks for a further 40 miles, being particularly careful over an area called the "Yellow Banks" to avoid shallow coral heads.

 

Close to Nassau on the eastern side of New Providence Island there are all manner of shallow areas, rocks and coral heads to avoid. We cleared Porgee Rocks, then took a narrow channel very close to the shore of Rose Island, rounded the western tip of Rose Island and anchored close to the beach on the northwest corner for the night.

 

Leaving Rose island early on 4th May we had a fairly intricate journey back around Rose Island, then around Porgee Rocks and into the eastern channel of Nassau harbour. All boats must first call Harbour Control, give details of boat and crew to gain permission to enter. Iza handled this while Geoff negotiated the shallows. It was during this journey that Geoff lost his best shirt. We had a wind on the beam across the cockpit and it was cold. Iza threw the shirt up into the cockpit to Geoff. A couple inches before Geoff could grab it, it was whisked aside by the wind and overboard. We went back to look for it, but in vain. There was a sizeable chop in the water, a strong cross wind and a very strong current.

 

Entering the Nassau Yacht Haven, where we had reserved space was a little exciting. We had to turn across the harbour channel and across current through a gap between a marked reef and larger commercial boats. We then had a tight turn back to the east against the current which was so strong, that the only way to then enter our slip, which fortunately was just inside the end "T" was to ferry glide with the current until the slip was in line then accelerate against the current to straighten the boat, with hopefully the ability to slow her down again before reaching the end of the slip. A little adrenalin flow but we made it!

 

The marina was on the New Providence, south side of the harbour. Looking north across the harbour to Paradise Island, we could see Atlantis Resort Hotel.

 

We immediately set off to the US Embassy and were advised to fill in new visa forms and return at 0700 the following day. We returned the following day, went through the finger-printing and interview procedure, finished by 0900 and by 1400 that day we had passports back with new 10 year visas.

 

In the meantime during the two days in Nassau, we managed to explore the bits  we had missed on our way down to the Exumas.

 

We visited Fort Fincastle at the top of the Queen's Staircase, dating from 1793 with views over Nassau.

 

We visited St. Augustine's Monastery planned by Father Jerome and in which he spent the last 6 years of his life. (For the full history of Father Jerome, see our Long Island highlights).

 

And we visited Atlantis resort on Paradise Island which forms the northern side of Nassau Harbour. Atlantis is out of this world as an outstanding landmark, outstanding design and attention to detail and outstanding concept. Created and owned by the owner of Sun City in South Africa as a casino, hotel, resort, almost a self contained city. The sea aquarium in Atlantis is amazing. Fed by fresh sea water flowing through the hotel development, you can view most fish in the many shallow pools around the hotel gardens. Go down two floors and you looking in to the main sea aquarium with all the garden's shallow pools connected above so fish have the choice of the pools or the 20-30 foot deep sea aquarium. The decor inside the sea aquarium is styled on the designers idea of the lost world of Atlantis.

 

The creation of Atlantis seems to have rejuvenated Paradise Island and much more tasteful development is now taking place. The main Atlantis hotel building is by far the largest structure on New Providence and stands out as the first and last thing you see when arriving or departing Nassau.

 

Although Nassau is home to resorts and cruise ships we were pleased to see that it still retains some old Caribbean island charm.

 

We received an email from Wanda while in Nassau to advise us that they had left Royal Island, taken advantage of a weather window and headed back to the US. We hope to catch up with them in Charleston.

 

We had hoped to catch up with That's It, either in Nassau, Rose Island or in the Abacos, but we received an email from them a while we were in Conception to advise us that their engine repair was complete but that they had to head back to the US.

 

On 6th May, we left Nassau Yacht Haven to venture out into the main channel and through Nassau Harbour's western channel. The harbour is very busy and there seems to be no speed limit. In amongst the many tour boats, fishing boats, mail steamers and cruise ships is the occasional landing or take off of Chalks Flying Boats Grumman Mallard and Albatross seaplanes. There are also many shallows in the harbour to avoid.

 

With a sense of relief, we left the harbour and headed northwest for Royal Island, north Eleuthera, 52 miles away.

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