Funky Nassau

There are a few places to anchor in Nassau Harbor. The quality of the anchorages varies considerably, depending on your precise location. The two most popular are the west anchorage near the BASRA docks and the Green Parrot, a popular meeting place for boaters, and the east end of the harbor just past the marinas. This anchorage is a sand bar that divides the channel through the harbor. The inner channel runs along the marina docks and the outer channel is the main transit channel and favors Paradise Island. All of the anchorages and all of the marina slips, with the exception of Hurricane Hole and Atlantis, are extremely rolly. There is no speed limit on the boats and ships transiting the harbor and most run full speed and throw up large wakes which roll the boats at anchor from side to side and keep the boats in the marina slips bouncing all around. It begins around sunrise and goes on well into the night. Many might find this very uncomfortable, and is one of the reasons we usually bypass Nassau. But since it has been a while, we stopped for a few days.



Bay Street is the main road that runs along the harbor. There you will find the cruise ship terminals, restaurants, shops and supplies. There are two good boating supply stores and a number of service companies ranging from engine repair to outboard motor sales and service. Nassau also has one of the rare haul-out yards in the Bahamas complete with a travel lift and full service facilities. We found the city interesting and noted the major changes and development that have taken place since the last time we were here, especially on Paradise Island, where the entire island has now been developed with hotels, casino, condos and restaurants. The Atlantis complex is huge, and to visit there is a $30.00 per person charge just to go in and look around. We found the prices here for most things are more expensive than we have encountered so far.


Continuing east past all of the marinas takes you into the banking district with large, well-kept buildings and perfectly manicured grounds. The homes in this area are much better kept and all are privately gated. If you keep walking you come to Montagu Beach and Fort Montagu. The fort is very small and if you want to go inside there is a charge. The beach is nice with white sand and a breakwater in several locations to protect the beach from erosion. We didn't see anyone using the beach, but maybe that was because the water is still pretty cold. We saw a man cleaning fish and since we were looking for fresh fish, asked him if he had any for sale. He said no, but pointed us to a group of red covered tents not too far away and said we could get all the fresh fish we wanted there.


We knew we hit the jackpot when we got to the local fish market and found table after table covered with fresh fish, conch and lobster. What wasn't on the tables could be found in coolers sitting all along the seawall, chock-full of fish of just about every species and size, from small to humongous. We went from table to table, asking prices and negotiating for the best deal. We settled on grouper from a nice lady who gave us a good price. This seems to be where the locals come to buy there fresh seafood. We walked away happy and with fresh grouper for dinner.


The fish market near Montagu Beach is totally unlike the market at Potters Cay, under the bridge to Paradise Island. These are mostly small food stalls and restaurants, and the stalls that do sell seafood sell only conch. Even the commercial boats tied up to the government dock only had conch for sale. When the cruise ships are in, Potters Cay is a favorite place for the passengers to visit. We assumed that is why they don't sell much fresh seafood, just prepared food. It is an interesting place to visit and has been part of Nassau Harbor for many, many years.


A good way to really see Nassau and New Providence is to hire a car and driver. These are taxis that are for hire and for a set price will drive you around and show you the island. The prices do vary so you have to ask around and find out which will be in your price range. They can run from $120 up to $500.00 for a couple of hours, but they will take up to 10 people in a van. Be sure and find out in advance if you will get a "tour" or just a drive around the island. Most drivers will take you to the different forts, the Queen's Staircase (pictured left) and many of the other shops and points of interest. The drivers we ran into were all very knowledgeable about the island's history.


And of course, there is always lunch at many of the restaurants overlooking the harbor. We choose The Poop Deck at Nassau Yacht Haven. The food was okay and reasonably priced by Nassau standards. Each Thursday, boaters in the harbor meet at the Green Parrot for lunch and to discuss all things boating. We didn't do lunch there because we looked at the menu and found it rather expensive ($17 for a fish sandwich). Just about any type of dining can be found in Nassau - from steak to Chinese to, of course, fresh seafood.


We were very excited to arrive just when a new supermarket was having their grand opening. Solomon's Fresh Market is located in the shopping center across the street from the Nassau Harbor Club Marina. This is a true supermarket and the best surprise was that the prices for most items were equal to what we paid for groceries in the States. Walking in the front door is like walking into a Publix or Trader Joes. There is a large section for fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide selection of meat and seafood and mostly organic products in the shelves. The store also has a deli that sells sliced meats and a bakery that makes fresh bread and other baked goods. You can buy sandwiches and salads and eat at the booths set up in the market. It was pretty incredible to find this here, and we took advantage to restock some of our supplies before heading down the Exuma chain. There is a pharmacy, Dairy Queen, Domino's Pizza, Radio Shack and several other shops in the center. The local officials were making a celebration of it with speeches and a steel drum band set up in the parking lot.


If all goes well, we should be on our way very shortly. During our time here we took advantage of being in the harbor to do an oil change and some minor maintenance. The next stop is the northern Exumas. We're not sure what the internet service will be like so the postings may not be as often. When we have a good connection, we'll bring you up to date.

2 comments:

  1. Wow. Great post. Nice pics. Good luck on the next leg!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ben. We are really looking forward to getting in to the Exumas, real soon. Chuck

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