Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nassau Harbor

Up early and anchors aweigh before 0800 today, as we made our way north from Highborne Cay. Winds were 15 knots or so out of the south, with an easy following sea of 2’-4’ pushing us along. We carefully made our way across the Yellow Bank area with its isolated scattered coral heads before deciding that we’d head to Nassau versus West Bay. With the winds out of the south, we figured that we’d have more protection in Nassau Harbor there than anchoring off West Bay. We weren't keen to try making our way around the western end of the island in the rougher deep open waters. Hopefully the weather will settle enough so that we’ll have a good lee shore to follow in the morning before crossing the Northwest Passage/Tongue of the Ocean to the Berry Islands. 

Entering Nassau Harbor
Coming into the eastern bay of Nassau Harbor, we hailed a couple of marinas on the VHF, out of curiosity to see what the current transient rates were. Having been on the hook for the past 5 weeks at  various bays and coves in the Exumas, we weren't sure we wanted to return to a marina just yet. Prices were more than expected, actually, with Hurricane Hole wanting $4.00/ft and the Atlantis Marina quoting $7.00/ft!! (Rather shocking, considering the rates we were used to in the Chesapeake, and even in other parts of the Bahamas!) But, Nassau is a major port with all the amenities and creature comforts, so the dockage prices reflect that. Vessels entering and leaving the harbor have to contact Nassau Harbor Control as to your intended route and destination, and to receive clearance to enter and exit the busy commercial area. It's not as bad as Norfolk in terms of traffic, but it narrow and congested in spots!

 Some of the working boats in Nassau Harbor

According to the cruising guides, anchoring in the harbor wasn’t highly recommended due to the limited anchorages, poor holding, and the many obstructions within the harbor, so we didn’t know what to expect. Ron knew about the anchorage in front of the British Colonial Hilton, just past the commercial cruise ship piers, so that’s where we headed. To our delight, there was only one other boat there in the anchorage, and we dropped anchor just to its east in an area of sand and grass, where our anchor set well. It’s a much better anchorage than I had feared it would be, but we shall see how the currents affect us tonight!

View from the pilothouse of the commercial pier 
near our tiny anchorage

View of the massive Atlantis complex, as seen from our anchorage
We took Tingum over to the commercial city pier, where we docked along the promenade. Being Sunday, most places of business were shuttered, including restaurants. We wandered a bit, before having a late lunch at (rather embarrassing to admit) Senor Frog’s .... since no other restaurants were open, that was the choice by default! After lunch we walked about town to stretch our legs some more before returning aboard Equinox to relax and watch the cruise ship Majesty of the Seas turn around next to us after leaving her berth, before departing west back to the States. 

No, she's not coming into the pilothouse!

Almost done turning about, preparing to depart

A quiet evening aboard with dinner on the aft deck followed the day's activities, with our protected anchorage most appreciated!

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