All Aboard!

December 19, 2020

We are tied up at a dock in Nassau (Nassau Yacht Haven) and have decided to stay for an extra day to just decompress and wait for the strongish winds to pass through. Tomorrow we will move to the Exumas and begin our Christmas holidays.

While waiting, Jinhee arrived for her holiday. Phew . . . It’s just an outside chance, but there is always that chance that she won’t be able to make it. The other thing that has become clear is that all three of us are COVID free.

Christmas without Andrew is always a bit less interesting, but Andrew has chosen to stay close to other friends and family for Christmas again this year. Something about not wanting to swim with the sharks.

We had planned to start moving today, but with winds picking up, a grocery store nearby and four weeks to enjoy ‘island time’, we decided to just hang around. After a trip to the grocery store, the fridge is full of something other than packaged goods. As a person who doesn’t really appreciate the finer elements of cooking, I am in heaven. Real food shall ensue!

I did take the time to walk through a bit of Nassau (the main strip) today, and it is a bit of a ghost town. Originally we had planned to make the trip to Atlantis (a massive resort just across the water from where we are docked) and check out that area, but they have a tourist bubble. You can go from the airport to the resort, but then you can’t leave. If you are off resort, you can’t get in. They take this COVID thing seriously here.

Along those lines, I wanted to walk through the main drag to see how COVID is affecting business. (I asked, downtown is a ghost town apparently), but that is never the real story. That’s just the impression one gets when the tourist shops are closed. In reality the important tourist shops are open. It is still perfectly reasonable to buy a Gucci bag or a Rolex watch during a pandemic (those stores are often backed by major corporations, frequently cruise lines), but almost everything else is completely shut down.

We have been to this port on cruise ships and aboard Home Free a number of times and so we have seen this strip of shops over many years. A return to normal is not likely to happen quickly.

This is the downtown. The small retailers along this path are normally buzzing with cruise passengers. On the other side of the street are the shops with jewelry and watches, designer purses and shoes. They are still open and even have customers.
This building is outside of the downtown core. The right side has caved in, and the building needs to be torn down.
Another building just outside of downtown, a former hotel, that has probably reached the end of its life.
This appears to be a former professional building that has been abandoned. The windows are smashed in, and that typically means the end of the line for buildings.

The walk was invigorating and it was a bit sad to see the place shut down, the people on the street who were at the end of their ropes, and the incongruous opening of high end luxury stores. One thing is clear, and that is that The Bahamas takes COVID seriously. Masks are required everywhere ($40-60 fine for not wearing one) and you need to sanitize your hands on entry to every store. The police and security guards are everywhere but are not running around with guns, they are helpful and pleasant.

I did walk both ways, and on the way back took a couple of photos of the channel with the marina we are staying at. Just ahead of us, there is a yard, a lot of derelict boats and a local market near the bridge. Here are a couple of photos. It reminded me of Bar, Montenegro or perhaps a mix between the tiny fishing boats that filled Marina Zeas in Piraeus (Greece) and the boat yards in Perama (Greece again), but without any of the large boats that one would find there. It’s just direlict fishing boats and trawlers that have gone there to die. Of course just beyond are all the marinas for the tourists and locals who still use their boats, but the distinction is noticeable.

The ‘down market’ part of the channel. Home Free is just behind the really, really nice yacht right of centre.

Tomorrow, we will head to the Exumas and look for more sand and fewer people.

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