Friday, December 14, 2007

Cruise Ships, Gucci & Junkanoo

Nassau, Bahamas
25 04.90'N 077 19.80'W

Sadly we had to leave the Berry Islands as the wind went E/SE for a while and because of our draft we couldn't find anywhere protected to anchor, so we waved goodbye to the tranquil calm of an unpopulated island and sailed down to Nassau. Twenty miles off we picked up our first sight of the Atlantis Resort, 2 huge hotels on Paradise Island which forms the northern part of the harbour at Nassau, as we got closer we began to see a never ending stream of cruise ships shuttling in and out of the entrance and realised that sadly we were back in "civilisation" again.

After our customary problem of not having enough water to anchor in we found a spot not in the shipping channel, not too close to shore and with a patch of sand to bury the anchor so we could sleep soundly during the forecast strong winds - only took 2 hours!

Nassau itself is interesting, the few blocks of downtown have old colonial buildings, all brightly painted in pastel shades, the huge cruise ship terminal and for the passengers endless shops selling Gucci, Prada, Breitling etc etc as well as a Burger King for the home sick yanks who have been eating ship food for 36 hours. Luckily it seems most of the passengers can't walk more than 100m, so once clear of the terminal the town is a lot more interesting, with colonial forts, hills to climb with views and the compulsory tour of the Atlantis Resort. It's a huge hotel, very well done actually with a stunning aquarium that fills the whole of one wall of the reception area, filled with sharks, tuna, manta rays and every other sort of marine life you could want - even better than the main pool at Sydney Aquarium but funded by gambling so free to see!

Last night we went to the Junior Junkanoo festival. Junkanoo is the Bahamian equivalent of Carnival, a night f dancing, singing and drums and a huge parade through the main streets. We will miss the main event so we went to the High School version. Amazing, it went on all night, when we left at midnight they had just got to the 11 year olds! Very courful, ll the kids parents in teh stands cheering them on and great dancing and music.

We have also waited out some strong winds and the very distant threat that Tropical Storm Olga would come north (doesn't it know hurricane season is over!) and explored the forts, did some odd jobs and shopping and met a great bunch of cruisers all doing the same thing. We hope to leave on Monday for the trip across the Bahama Bank to the Exumas - supposedly a paradise of sand, sea and coral.
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