Dealing with Nassau

Athol Island was and still is used as a quarantine island, most recently in the early 90’s during the Haitian influx to The Bahamas. Many who were quarantined on Athol lost their lives trying to swim the ½ mile to Paradise Island.  For us, it was a pleasant refuge from the wind and waves and offered us a chance to snorkel a wreck. Some years ago a vintage WWII landing craft used by Bahamians as a cargo transport vessel, began to sink off Athol’s eastern tip. The crew ran it into shallower water, removing what cargo they could salvage. The bow section sits in 5 ft while the stern rests in 11 ft and allows for an easy snorkel. The cruise ships send out hoards in large catamarans and a couple of dive vessels bring snorkelers out a few times a day. We took Bunting over late morning, after Russ made an exploration trip into Nassau Harbor, and had the spot to ourselves. The regular boats feed the fish so we had no shortage of cute yellow stripies swimming along with us.

The creature preps for the lagoon

Catamaran dockage in the plentiful Nassau marinas is limited and calls to several marinas turned up “we’ll put you on the wait list.” A weak cold front was coming through late Monday and that would keep boats in their slips. We moved from Athol into the harbor, figuring the south side of Paradise Island would offer wind protection. Problem was our stern would be very close to the channel where boats of all shapes and sizes come and go all day.  Getting it right took three tries and once happy with our spot, the guys dropped our second anchor in using the dinghy.  The wind was predicted to blow 25kts, gusting the 30+; two anchors was a must. Remember, the holding is generally not great.

Ok, the anchors are in and who arrives but that same sailboat from Chub Cay; almost too close and again we cringed as the anchor went in, dragged, then caught and hardly got a second check.  Later we had to ask another sailboat to move when he popped in to our right, between us and a boat who had been anchored when we arrived. Early Tuesday several air horn blasts from another boat caused a look-see from the group as Mr. What a cute little anchor was dragging from his spot further up after we kicked him out. The rest of us stayed put but the gusting wind moved our unlucky neighbor once more.

A daring dinghy ride across the harbor was mandatory as we needed to satisfy our internet/email needs and check with the chosen marina in person about a slip Wed night. Provisions would be good too; the fridge and freezer suffered greatly from the ransacking of 3 of us on board for almost two weeks.

Wi-fi was obtained at Starbucks for the cost of a $3 coffee, food at the City Market and a vague promise from Peter at Nassau Harbor Club (one of the newer marinas) to give us the next available slip; call him Wed at 11am. “Call” meant on the VHF, good thing as we still had no phone access.

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