|Tom and Luanne from SV Liberty|
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Bimini, The Bahamas
Another turbulent crossing across the forceful currents of the Gulf Stream, and we docked at the sheltered harbour of Cat Cay, Bahamas. We couldn't help but note the contrast between this perfectly manicured private island, (one may not leave the confines of the marina to walk the almost silent beach community), and the 'joie de vivre' of their Cuban neighbours. Next morning we checked out and headed over to nearby Bimini. This tiny village hums with music and laughter, and the Bahamians have a welcome word to all newcomers. Is it something in the rum, or maybe just the pleasure of living on an island paradise with near-perfect weather?? Hmmm…
After unfolding the bikes we cycled the village of Alice Town, famous for Bonefishing and of course, Hemingway. Did that guy ever get around! Even Martin Luther Jr. visited here where he wrote his great "I Have a Dream' civil rights speech of the 1960's. Today it is more of a sleepy, slightly shabby (in a good way) community connecting the three tiny villages of Alice Town, Bailey Town and Porgy Town with the slick, upscale Marina development of Bimini Bay on the other side. Fishing is still the big draw in the summer months, and sharks 8-10 feet long can be seen swimming in the bay on any given day. So much for a dip in that enticing aqua-marine water!
Nassau, New Providence Island
We will enjoy the vibe here for a week before setting out for Nassau, Providence Island where brother Kieran will join us from another island kingdom, Ireland, for some St. Paddy's Day cheer.
Our next stop involved crossing the Great Bahama Bank which extends for many miles of shallows ranging from 9 to 20 feet. A little nerve-wracking to say the least, especially in the middle of the night! With that behind us we dropped anchor at New Providence Island, Nassau Harbour. We felt like just a speck on the bay next to the five massive cruise ships next door at the dock, not to mention innumerable Mega, and even ‘Giga’ Yachts, parked disdainfully at Paradise Island. Some of the largest cruise ships in the world come here disgorging long lines of tourists, plodding blindly along like cattle to the next Senor Frogs.
Many historic and picturesque buildings line the walkways, some in genteel disrepair and others freshly painted. Across the pond at the glitzy Paradise Island casino and luxury resort area, things are going full tilt. There is even a French monastery that William Randolf Hearst had disassembled in France, shipped to America and rebuilt, and a Mayan Temple encompassed by a stunning aquarium spanning several blocks. The whole scene is a little O.T.T. (over the top), but somehow seems to endear one even more to the charms of Nassau. We hoisted the Irish flag as Kieran has arrived to join us cruising the islands and to toast the homeland on the 17th. Kieran as well Turlough along with Denis were members of the original Campari crew on the 1979 Bamhamas cruise seen here looking much the same (well,we think so).
We will head over to Rose Island for a few days of leisure before returning to the anchorage.