January 4th, 2020
It has been pretty busy over the past two days, and so I thought I would capture some of the activity here.
We departed very early yesterday from Little Whale Cay and made our way to Nassau. It was a bumpy ride, but not too bad. As we neared Nassau, the weather and waves improved more and more.
Nassau is the most populated island in The Bahamas, and it is a busy place. When we arrived in the port, there were five cruise ships moored at the docks. Not the fancy new ones with 3-4,000 passengers, just the old fashioned ones with 2,000-2,500 passengers. That’s a LOT of people pouring out into the ‘shopping’ area, where they sell trinkets, t-shirts and overpriced jewelry.
Since we are new to these areas, we have read the chart books and guide books and took seriously the advice to not anchor in the harbour. We called into the port before entering as recommended, and we paid close attention to depths and dangers. Nobody responded to our hail on the radio when we sought permission to enter the harbour, there were dozens of boats anchored in the harbour and we did well to miss the many dangers.
Nassau’s harbour has a variety of marinas, most are ridiculously expensive. On Paradise Island, they charge as much as $6.00 per foot per night. I suppose if you want to use some of the facilities that is fine, but we just want to park our boat and get a good night’s sleep. For that we stopped at Nassau Yacht Haven which was closer to $3 per foot. While the marina looked pretty rough and was a parking lot for a wide variety of tourist boats (we were moored beside a massive ‘glass bottom’ charter boat). We also had the help of John on the docks and a very capable and friendly office staff. It was not the prettiest place we have docked but met our basic needs.
Jinhee and I have been on five or six cruises (the big ship kind) with and without kids, but I had no recollection of ever being to Nassau, until I arrived in downtown Nassau, then I remembered the place and how it inspired me to not take cruises anymore. It is a rough area, with lots of trinkets and very little character at all. Yesterday we walked around, Megan acquired some trinkets. and then we made our way back to the boat.
I spent some time looking for fuel hose for my dinghy and was met by blank stares and shaking heads by the four repair shops close by. The Yamaha dealer (it’s a Yamaha engine) found something similar in the trash and gave it to me, but they all said ‘we don’t have anything that small’. I guess 40Hp is a small engine, or perhaps these small engines never break down.
We capped the night with dinner on the Poop Deck, the restaurant with the most appetizing name. The food was good.
This morning, Megan packed up and departed for Toronto and while we were sad to see her go, we were quite happy to have her spend time with us over her Christmas break. The weather has not been cooperative, the experience was less warm and sunny than all expected, but still it was family time and we enjoyed it.
Megan had barely left the boat when we untied from the dock and headed to Highborn Cay. Have I mentioned yet how unsettling it is to run the boat across the banks of the Bahamas with 12 feet of water and a six foot draught? It takes some time to adjust to the reality that you can ‘speed’ along at seven knots in water as low as nine feet.
The dolphins helped us feel a bit better. We saw a large school of them, but my camera management skills only caught one for your enjoyment.
We have chosen to stay at a marina/resort in Highborn Cay as the weather will continue to conspire against us and our uncertainty about reading the weather and water remains persistent. Overnight winds are expected to rise to 25 knots from the North and we want to be nestled up to a dock rather than risking being anchored in the ‘open’ and having a sleepless and bumpy night.
Luckily the Cay itself has an excellent weather station and unlike other forecasting services, their analysis skills are consistent, if modest.
I would complain about being tied to a dock but we have decided to just enjoy our time here and take in the sights and enjoy the benefits of the island. 😃
After watching the sun set, chatting with some fellow Canadians on a 60′ Ocean Alexander and eating dinner, we were treated to a massive fireworks display. There seemed to have been a birthday party on the island (that group in the photo behind us) who blew up a LOT of fireworks. I think the display lasted longer than a Canada Day fireworks display in Toronto and we watched it from the bow of the boat!