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2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

Glastonbury...
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2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

Just returned last week from a fabulous trip to my favorite destination in the entire WORLD---the Bahamas of course!!

The vacation really started in Connecticut where I live however!!

I rented a single engine 4 seat Cessna aircraft and myself and a non-pilot friend flew all the way to the Bahamas. We departed Hartford at 1:00 PM on Fri June 1st and made a quick fuel stop at Malfa, Virginia and then made it to Myrtle Beach the where we spent the first night.

Due to severe t-storms moving towards Myrtle Beach, we landed short at N Myrtle (CRE) and waited 45 min for the weather to clear and then hopped just 15 miles over to Myrtle.

Here is a link to the pictures flying down on the first day from Hartford CT to SC.

June 1st pics (Hartford, CT to Myrtle Beach, SC)

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Day 2 (Sat June 2nd): Myrtle Beach to Great Harbor Cay, Bahamas

Link to all pics June 2nd:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Woke up at the Hilton at Myrtle Beach and took off around 8 AM bound for Pt Pierce, FL where we picked up a liferaft and life jackets for the overwater flight. The flight down the east coast was uneventful with pretty good weather. Nothing too exciting which is good of course!

As soon as we get the raft onboard, we takeoff at Ft Pierce bound for Great Harbor Cay (GHC) in the Berry Islands! As I am listening to the radio on the plane I hear thatn Nassau is having a lot of t-storms. I can see menacing cloud build-ups that direction as well, but luckily, where we plan to land is 50 miles short of Nassau!

As we descend to land, I do a flyby of the cliffs on Sugar Beach at the NE end of Great harbor Cay and later to Haines cay on the South side of GHC.

Going through customs and immigration at Great harbor Cay is a breeze. The officer could have nailed me with a heafty duty tax on all the hard liquor I imported :-) but after looking at all of the various spirits, he doesn't charge me a dime!! NICE GUY!! YA MON!

We stay at Beach Villas owned by Anthony Williams, and relax the rest of the day and make a few cocktails on the beach (just 100 yrs from our door!) with my mobile makeshift bar I brought along!!

After that my buddy and I go exploring up to the Northwest of our place and walk about a mile up and a mile back down.

Day 3 (Sun June 3rd): Great Harbor Cay

Link to all pics June 3rd:

…photobucket.com/albums/…

I wake up at 6:30 very excited to be in paradise so I go outside and get some good pics of the sunrise over the ocean. A few hrs later Ian and I bum a ride from Anthony to Sugar Beach where we explore the water and the previously mentioned caves there. We aare NOT dissappointed in the least as they are spectacular!

We spend about 3 hrs there and start walking 4 miles back to our place. We are in good physical shape so walking that far, even in the heat and humidity, is not problematic at all.

Still though, we are pleased when he sees up walking back and gives us a lift in his pickup truck the rest of the way.

After another hour of R&R back at our place, I make my way down the main road to the south end of GHC where I swim across the creek to Haines Cay. Ian decides to stay behind for this so its just me going solo.

I am taking a calculated risk certainly by going to such a remote area alone along with climbing the bluffs to get to a well awaited presting beach on the east side of Haines, but i feel its well worth the risk to really live and be adventerous and accept that, but its not for everyone.

I finally manage to get to said beach after a good amount walking over rocky shores and bushwalking through fairly thick brush in sections. I be sure and bring PLENTY of water, because dehydration can be just as deadly as slipping and falling out there!!

Of course I have the entire 2 mile stretch of sand all to myself. Not a single soul in sight anywhere! I love it! I only spend about 20-30 min there before heading back, and swimming across the creek back to GHC again.

We end the day with dinner at the Pool Bar Restaurant near the Marina and then have a few more cocktails on the beach.

I'll post the rest of the trip report later as I have to get back to work now.

Let me know what you think about everything!!! Thanks!!

Edited: 19 June 2012, 18:42
Gastonia, North...
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1. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

LOVE the title to your report! Can't wait to read more and see more pics. Did you get some of the creek and caves?

Mobile, Alabama
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2. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

Great reading- I can't wait for the next installment. I have been wanting to try the Berry Islands so I would be interested in hearing more about GHC. Do you have a link to the listing for the place you stayed (was it a rental?) that you could post? Thanks!

Dallas, Texas
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3. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

I'm hoping to get the same detail and photos and hear about your experience at Rum Cay!

Glastonbury...
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4. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

OK everyone, I'm picking up where I left off. This will be June 4th to 7th at Staniel Cay.

Mayaguane, Rum Cay, Cat Isl and Nassau to follow soon.

June 4th

…photobucket.com/albums/…

We depart GHC and fly 140 miles to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club this morning where we will spend 4 nights. Our flight path takes us over the east side of Paradise Island and then down the beautiful Exuma Chain where I get a lot of good pics of breathtaking beaches and clear blue water!! This is great!

We land at Staniel and are picked up in the Golf Cart (we did the all incl plan) and get checked it. The weather is PERFECT with nearly clear skies and almost calm wind, but it is HOT! I kick off my stay by swimming with several nurse sharks at the SCYC dock. Being that it is such a nice day, Ian and I take the 13’ Whaler over 20 miles to the SE of Staniel where we explore a 4000 ft long sandbar (you’ve probably see pics of it in brochures and magazines even). Having two, 5 gallon spare gas cans allows us to go a lot farther than we would otherwise.

We time our arrival perfectly during very low tide which makes it even better! At first studying the nautical chart, it looks like arriving at the north end of the sandbar is better, but it is only 18 inches deep almost a full mile away from the sand! At first we think about walking, but think better of it---that would look really bad to succumb to the elements trying to walk a mile in knee deep water with all the emergency equip back on the boat so after 5 min we turn back, get back on boat, and approach it from the south side.

This works well and we only have to walk 100 yards to the sandbar while being able to anchor in 3 ft or more.

As we slowly make out way back to Staniel Cay, we snorkel a sunken shipwreck and then another coral head further to the north. At the coral head, I see a baby nurse shark as well as a lionfish among your typical colorful tropical fish. From there we make one more stop on a nice sandy beach before getting back.

June 5th

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Today is a lot more choppy on the water with a good southwest breeze going. We visit Sandy Cay about 2 miles northwest of SCYC, but since it is near high tide, we are not able to enjoy the sandbar. From there we go to Compass Cay where I swim with the famous Nurse Sharks there which is a thrill! They are pretty tame and not a lot to worry about as long as I pet them behind the head.

After an hour there, we take the boat up to a deserted island 15 miles northwest of Staniel which we have all to ourselves. Because of the strong wind, we minimize our time best we can in the open ocean and cuts which are still rough, but have calmed down a bit from earlier that morning. Our last stop of the day before returning to SCYC is the ThunderBull Grotto which is spectacular! Even though I saw it in Aug of 2010, I didn’t remember it being as good as it is now!

The real excitement comes later that evening around 6:45 as we are about to witness a very rare astronomical even----a transit of Venus!! This occurs when Venus passes between the earth and sun much like the moon does during a solar eclipse, except Venus is much smaller since it’s a lot farther than the moon is.

I’ve already put mylar solar filters on a pair of binoculars so I can safely view without eye damage it and it is amazing! I show a bunch of other guests at SCYC as well and tell them this wont happen again for another 105 years!!

June 6th

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Ian decides to stay back so I take the boat out solo for much of the day. I start out exploring a plane wreck submerged a quarter mile south of SCYC as well as another sunken aircraft on the sheltered east side of Staniel. The pictures don’t disappoint me as they turn out well! Afterwards I make my way up to the North to visit the Exuma Land and Sea Park to a spot known as the “Aquarium”!

Due to the tide rushing out, the current is strong and I know it’ll be a challenge to grab the mooring balls with the current. Much to my surprise I snag it on the first attempt and quickly secure the boat! Luckily, I did my homework before hand and read about how to do it properly (always into the wind and current, never downwind!!) so it paid off.

The snorkeling at the Aquarium is amazing with very colorful coral and fish galore! No sharks or lionfish this time however.

On the way back, I take her up the narrow and shallow channel on the East side of Pipe Cay during very low tide. The channel is maybe 100 ft wide with dry sands on both sides. As long as I navigate by the color of the water, I manage not to hit bottom, but it is still a bit tight.

Once back at SCYC, Ian and I ride our bikes to the east side beach on Staniel and there is not a single other person there. I walk up on the bluffs on the north side and get some pics up there right before dinner.

June 7th

…photobucket.com/albums/…

Our last day at SCYC involves a stop at Big Major Cay where Ian and I visit the swimming pigs. I had been there done that in 2010, but am happy to go again since it’s his first time. I make the BIG mistake of trying to eat some freeze dried food near them and have to seal it up fast when they catch on!! Boy were those pigs nosey when they saw I had food!! Lesson learned.

Our next stop is Bitter Guana Cay where the plan is to visit the endangered Iguana’s. Much to my delight they are very social and very comfortable around people so I am able to take a lot of pictures with them. After that we make out way up to a deserted island with a nice leeward beach about two miles southwest of Staniel when we hang out and just chill. Ian wants to hang poolside for the afternoon, so I drop him off and continue solo on to Sandy Cay again (about two miles northwest of SCYC).

This time it is near low tide so the sandbar I mentioned earlier is now fully exposed. A group of 8 is already there from Foul Cay, but they soon depart leaving me to enjoy it all to myself. I relax for another 20 min before moving on to Twin Cays, another 3 miles past Sandy. It is near low tide so I need to use caution and move slowly since there are a lot of rocks charted as potential hazards. I can see the change in the water color wher they are so I creep along at just a few MPH and use visual references to navigate around them. I am not able to get really close to the beach, so I settle for taking pics 500 ft away or so and since its getting late, and I have other sites to explore, I don’t spend a lot of time there.

Next stop is a snorkel spot on the north side of Foul Cay which is OK, but nothing spectacular--- minimal coral in pretty deep water (25 ft perhaps). Another mile past that site it a much better one that is shallow and very close to a rocky island. I seem to have timed the visit perfectly right at slack tide because there is no current to speak of in an area this is like a raging river between tides!!!!! Nice feeling when prior planning goes so smoothly! To end my time on the water I take one last look at Thunderbull cave before turning in the boat. Then next day we are off to the very lonely and remote island of Mayaguana.

Mobile, Alabama
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5. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

Great report! I see you stayed in Key Lime like we did when we were there a few years ago. It looks like you had better boating weather than we did though because you were able to venture farther than we could. What a gorgeous area, huh? Keep the stories and photos coming!

Glastonbury...
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6. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

June 8th: Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

We bid farewell to Staniel Cay and takeoff for Georgetown for a quick fuel stop. From there, it’s a 200 miles to the lonely and remote island of Mayaguana where we will be spending the night at the Baycanner Beach Resort. The word “resort” should be used very loosely as only three of the sixteen room were occupied. The other two were occupied by utility workers so we were the ONLY tourists staying there! Not everyone sees it the same way as I do but I LOVE the isolation and solitude.

As we land at Mayaguana we are the only plane of the ramp and it looks as if no one is going to come to get us, despite giving them a heads up earlier!! Ut OH! Since there is no cell service there, the only thing I think to do to get them to come is to get back in my plane and fly 4 miles and do a few low pass flights over the beach to get their attention. I do just than and return to land. A minute after I taxi to the ramp to park, the owner of the Baycanner (“Shorty” as he is known!) comes by and brings Ian and I to the hotel. He is a really cool guy and he really knows Mayaguana inside and out. No surprise as he’s lived there his whole life, but it sure is nice to pick his brain since I have a lot of questions about exploring Mayaguana off the beaten path.. Wait……….isn’t that an oxymoron?? Hehe!

We get a bite to eat and then he allows us to rent his car to go exploring. We make out was to the southwest of the airport where we drive down a long straight road and explore an abandoned US military outpost of some sort. It has been rotting away for years I’M sure but it was still interesting to explore. Next we make out way back up that same road and hang a sharp right turn where we go down a very rough road to a deserted beach. As I am driving down this path, I am thankful I am in a high clearance vehicle! That’s for sure!

After sightseeing at this beach (no one around of course) we make our way to the north side of Mayaguana where there is another even better beach (wider and sandier) which we spend more time. We walk east for about 30 min and then walk west for an hour and then head back to the car. Just like before not a single person in sight anywhere along this 5 mile uninterrupted stretch of sand!! Just what I want!

Back at the Baycanner Beach Resort, I get some chicken strips and fries, but the best part is it is a self serve bar on the honor system. Ian and I are laughing and going on about how this feels like home in paradise! I end the night by lounging on the beach chairs listening to my Ipod as the stars move by overhead. It doesn’t get anymore soothing that this! It’s a nice break from the stress of everyday life.

June 9th Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

We wake up and are ripe to explore more of Mayaguana before flying over to Rum Cay where we will be spending two nights. We take out the car on the dirt road to the east of Pirates Well and reach the northwest tip of the island. From there we drive south to the government dock. There is nothing there to speak of other than some abandoned construction equipment and a few gravel roads. From there we continue south to Betsy Bay and then retrace our path back to the Baycanner and then drop the car off to the airport. Once there, we explore a few planes that have been left in ruin. Someone ought to scrap them up and sell it as just that—scrap. I don’t know?

From Mayaguana it’s a 90 minute flight to Rum Cay buy before fly climbing up to cruise altitude (8500 ft) on course to Rum, we fly at 1000 ft along the same beaches we explored the previous day to get a better look at them! It is a nice relief from the heat once we get to 8500 ft as the air up there is always cool. Even in the tropics during the summer, the outside air temperature is never more than 60 deg that high up so it feels just like running the AC in the car on the ground with the air vents blowing on us. Ahhhh refreshing!!

Before landing at Rum Cay, we circle the island and do a flyby so they know to come and get us at the airport. Just like in Mayaguana, they arrive right as we park the plane and Ian and I get a nice ride into Port Nelson in the back of a pickup truck! Fun!!

We get to our rental house and then hang out in town and get some delicious pork as part of the school fundraiser. Nice to know that the $$ spent on lunch is going to the local school. That’s a good cause.

After an hour getting to know the locals we are able to arrange a golf cart rental which we take to a really pristine beach on the north side. Once parked we walk the 3/4th of a mile to the west end where we pick up a 4WD road that takes bypasses the rocky and overgrown shore and brings me to the next stretch of sand. Ian decides to stay behind and I tell him to meet me here and I’ll be back no later than 7:00 and prob earlier. I give him an extra liter of water which he tries to decline since he has a full water bottle already. I insist he take it as he seems to dismiss how critical it is to have water in such a hot and humid and unforgiving remote place. Having too much water is this kind of place is a silly a notion as having too much fuel on my planes tanks!!!

I walk another mile and a half from there to the west and set a firm turn back time at 6:15 PM and stick to it. I arrive back just before 7:00 as promised and we go the rest of the way back to the golf cart and back to our place from there.

After we are settled in back at our place, we are standing in the back yard—which is right on an amazing beach, and I am in awe with the amount of stars I can see. At around 10:00 that night as I am looking to the southeast, I see what looks like a fuzzy glow in the sky. At first I think it is the moon rising, but I check and see that moonrise is still over an hour away. Right then and there it occurs to me that it is actually the Milky Way center. It s a pretty humbling feeling to realize your insignificance in the universe when you see that!! Back at home even on a moonless night when you think its dark, it really isn’t! I mean here in Rum Cay at night w/o the moon, it was DARK!!

June 10th Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

If the Bahamas is my favorite place in the world, Rum Cay has got to take the crown for being my favorite place in the Bahamas !! All I can say about RC is WOW!! This place is a land that time seems to have forgotten. Couple that with amazing natural beauty and it doesn’t get any better!!

Today we woke up on the early side again eager to explore. This time I had my sights set on taking the golf cart along the south shore of Rum all the way to the southwest tip to a spot known as Sandy point. Me make a quick stop at the Rum Cay General Store (not your average grocery!!) and then hit the path from there. As always, we carry almost a gallon of water each just to be safe!

We make a wrong turn at first just after what was to become the new Rum Cay Marina (but later was an abandoned project when the economy went south) so we turn back and try another path that parallels the south shore more closely. Sure enough, this seems to be the correct one. The next 2 to 3 miles are rough going, but it is pretty rocky which is a lot better for traction than sand is. About a mile later, we come upon some soft and fairly deep sand and we start to bog down!!! I utter my favorite 4 letter word and thinking on my feet, I jump off and give the cart a push!! Much to my delight it seems to work and I tell Ian to NOT STOP no matter what!! I do not want to spend the night there!!

He moves along as I am pushing at a brisk walking pace and luckily it lasts for only about 1000 feet or so before it becomes rocky again!! All the while we are just 50 feet from some AMAZING sandy and untouched stretch of beach!! Just as before, there is not a single other person anywhere in the area and I would be willing to bet that you could go a week----if not several, before seeing anyone else there!! After 3 more stops for pictures we are now 2.5 miles from Sandy Point ---our ultimate goal for the day. Now about 2 miles away, we get into another sandy stretch of road and I instinctively hop off the cart and push again!! We get through it, but it is hard work!! Then another mile later, we encounter another stretch of soft sand. Unlike the other two earlier, this one seems long and I am really on-edge about getting stuck as I am huffing and puffing like mad trying to have enough endurance to push through! Luckily through pure determination we make it and stop right away as soon as it becomes rocky again.

At this point I look to Ian and tell him that we ought to just walk along the beach since its only a mile away. He agrees so we just park it there and walk. It takes about 45 minutes since we stop for lots of pics. About ¼ mile from the end we come across a home out of nowhere. Part of me didn’t want to trespass, but I was very curious if anyone lived there so I walked around to the back of it to check it out. I didn’t get closer than 30 or 40 ft from it, but I noticed that there was no land vehicle parked anywhere, just a covered boat or two under the deck. Hmmmm maybe it was a seasonal winter home only??????

We finally make it to Sandy Point and then make our way back an hour later. I want to be back on the golf cart by 3:00 to allow PLENTY of time before dark in case we get stuck! Going back doesn’t seem as grueling as coming out---I guess being mentally prepared makes a difference. We still come close to getting stuck again in those same sandy spots, but get through somehow!! It only takes an hour to get back to Pt Nelson.

I am still amazed that that whole 7 mile stretch of beach that there is no other person anywhere around. I feel like I’ve gone back in time to the way it used to be in the 1800’s. Such a cool feeling to know there is still such an exotic and remote place in 2012! As remote as RC is, I’m sure in Central America and SE Asia that there are beaches that make RC seem like NYC however!!

After a bit more R&R back at the rental house, Ian wants to go to the southeast part of RC as there is a shipwreck visible during low tide that he wants to try to see. He asks me if I am up for coming along. Of course I am! It seems like at this point that I have seen most of what RC has to offer and feel this won’t be very interesting and exciting compared to what I saw earlier.

But boy am I WRONG!!

The scenery on this side is just as breathtaking as the other spots—if not more.

We take the cart past Pt Nelson and go up a pretty steep hill and having learned our lesson earlier, we stop short of the sandy areas and just walk the rest of the way. We make our way up to the end of a path that overlooks 2 beaches about 100 ft above sea level. I get some nice pics of this and am in awe of just how nice it is. I’m getting tired of repeating it but, I have to say how nice it was to not have a single person in sight, just like before!!! From that overlook, we walk about a half mile north to an abandoned home with boarded up windows and walk out on the deck. I felt a bit uneasy about potentially trespassing, but it looked like no one had been there in years as the elements were starting to rot away at it.

From the deck of this place, there was a spectacular beach off in the distance with steep bluffs over it. One of those scenes from a movie where you would picture a shipwreck alongside it!! Now 6:30 in the evening, we walk back to the golf cart to head home for the day. We have dinner and a few beers at one of only two eats on RC. This ain’t luxury, but that is just fine. If I wanted luxury, I would have spent a week at the Atlantis Resort instead!!!

Stay tuned........

Cat Island and Nassau coming up next post..

Edited: 20 June 2012, 02:43
Glastonbury...
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7. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

OK guys and gals, here is my last and final trip report post!

June 11th: Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

So Long to RC as we are flying today to Stella Maris on Long Island for a quick fuel stop and then to New Bight to visit the Hermitage and climb the highest “mountain” in the Bahamas at a whopping 206 ft! From there we fly to Nassau for 2 nights.

Just like in Mayaguana, as I’m departing RC, I fly over the same areas I explored from the ground to get an aerial view of this amazing island! What looks so massive from the ground looks so small from the plane, even though we are flying at just 1000 ft.

With RC now behind us, Stella Maris is in the front windshield now so I set up to make an uneventful landing, albeit with a stronger crosswind that what I expected, but still tame compared to what I’ve landed in at home after a strong cold front passage.

From Long Island we fly north to Cat Island where we fly by Greenwood Beach and soon after land at New Bight. One of the ladies working at the terminal offers us a ride (we chip in $10 each for gas, tip etc) to the Hermitage, but she tried to turn us down for the $$ but we insist. Being in not the best physical shape, she stays behind while Ian and I walk to the top. The Bahamas is the only country I have been to where the highest point is a man made structure!

From there we fly 1hr and 15 min to Nassau where we are able to get a same day reservation for 2 nights at the Sheraton. I spend most of the afternoon and evening relaxing by the swim-up bar and gear up for a snorkel and shark swim with Stuart’s Cove the next morning. Even though Nassau is far from my favorite place in the Bahamas , it is still a nice change of pace to be back in civilization after a heavy dose of out island.

June 12th: Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

I wake up early to catch the 8:30 pickup for Stuart’s Cove tour right outside the Sheraton entrance. By 9:30 we set out on the boat to our first snorkel sight, but with a strong northeast wind, the water is a bit choppy which makes it not an ideal place. Having it overcast also makes the pictures not turn out as well, but I really cant complain that much because I have been blesses with excellent weather the majority of the trip earlier.

The second dive site the captain takes us to is closer to the leeward shore which means the water is a lot calmer there. Here there is a sunken twin engine piston aircraft as well as your usual coral and tropical fish. It isn’t bad, but it sure can be a PITA trying to snorkel with 20 people all around you. Much better near Staniel when I had a whole reef to myself that’s for sure!!

Not long after I get some pics of the planewreck, I notice a 12 to 18 inch barracuda swimming on by so I rush to get my camera out and get some good pics of him. At least I’m not wearing any shiny jewelry!! He just minds his own business so I am not that worried really. After that we head about 3 miles south and do our much awaited shark swim. Now in about 30 ft of water, the sharks are near the bottom and the crew lowers a box of food for them. At this point we are all hanging onto this rope (as instructed to do) just off the stern and watching them swim under us. Luckily I get some more much needed pics.

That afternoon I meet Ian downtown at Senor Frogs where we hangout for a few drinks and then walk over the bridge to Atlantis. We try to get to the aquarium, but its $40 per person (it was free even for non-guests when I was there in Dec of 2009) so we bag it and just get food since we are pretty tired and hungry by now.

Not wanting to walk anymore we just bit the bullet and get a cab all the way back to the Sheraton and call it a day. As soon as we cross the bridge, still feeling a bit adventurous, I ask the cabbie if he will take us “over the hill” into the “hood” of Nassau! He says he will for $3 more pp so Ian and I both go for it. I get some good pics of the semi-rough area, but he wants me to hide my camera in the roughest area!! Once there we can see one crack house after another for a few blocks. Not being dark yet, they were prob still in hibernation. I felt OK having a local in charge, but I sure wouldn’t have wanted to drive through there on my own!!

Once through, it was amazing how it went from crack houses to a pretty nice area in less than half a mile!!

Once back I spend the rest of the evening relaxing by the pool and take in every bit of it since we’ll be leaving tomorrow for home again! I make sure to get in bed at a good time because I’m planning to fly straight through 1400 miles from Nassau to Hartford, CT in one day (with a few stops of course).

June 13th: Link to pics and write-up

…photobucket.com/albums/…

We get out of bet at around 6:30 and get ready to catch a cab to the airport where it is going to be a longggg flight back home! As soon as I get to the airport I pay my $25 departure tax and then inspect the plane to fly back home. I also make my required call to US Customs at Ft Pierce, FL to report my arrival time.

We take off at 7:45 and reach our cruising altitude of 10,000 ft about 20 minutes later while over the southern Berry Islands . The flight is smooth and uneventful as we make progress for Ft Pierce, although the wind in our face slows us down a bit. After landing I taxi straight to customs when the inspector greets us and helps us load out belongings on the cart to be taken inside.

Once in the agent looks at my card and passport and asks the usual questions. When I tell him we have booze, has asks to take a look, but again much to my amazement, he doesn’t penalize me with a duty tax even though I was well over the limit. Really cool and nice guy!! That’s was a quick and painless inspection!!

We then return the liferaft, top off the fuel tanks and depart for there to Myrtle Beach again for another fuel stop and a bite to eat. Much to my dismay, the wind is in our face as we fly NE, which is very rare. The cumulus clouds start to build up too so I make sure they don’t get too menacing and turn into something meaner like a full blown t-storm as we near Myrtle.

After a quick top-off of fuel and a bite to eat, we depart Myrtle for Malfa , VA for another fuel stop. As I’m climbing up to cruise altitude out of Myrtle, there are some t-storms off to my left that are menacing, but as long as I fly a few miles offshore, they are not an issue. Once to the outer banks of NC, they cease and I have no bad weather to deal with the rest of the way home, just that pesky wind in my face that slows my down 20%. Ughhhhh

Just another quick fuel stop at Malfa , VA again and then next stop in my home airport of Hartford Brainard (HFD)! The sun sets as we are flying over Southern New Jersey and not long after we are at just the right altitude where we are skimming the tops of the clouds!! In all the years I have been flying there is nothing cooler than doing that, especially during sunrise or sunset!! A nice bonus to boost morale near the end of a longggg trip!!

We fly right over JFK airport, but its totally dark by then. By now id have thought id be drained completely, but I still have energy, which is good as I want to be able to still fly safely. They say flying fatigued is just as dangerous as flying drunk—it’s just not stigmatized or regulated the same way.

I finally land at Hartford at 10:45 that evening and am sooo glad to be home. Total air time that day was 13 hrs and 15 min and the total elapsed time from takeoff in Nassau until landing at Hartford is a whopping 15 hours!!

Looking ahead to next summer, I am already planning another long and grand trip as pilot in command, but I have my eyes on a place VERY DIFFERENT from the Bahamas--about as opposite as you can get from the Bahamas in fact!!

I am going to hopefully fly wayyy up north to sub-arctic Quebec, Labrador as well as the east shore of the Hudson Bay! One town in particular that I want to fly to is Schefferville. It is as far north of NYC as NYC is north of Grand Bahama Island to give you an idea!!

http://maps.yahoo.com/#q=Schefferville%2C+QC%2C+Canada&conf=1&start=1&lat=50.68079714532164&lon=-68.203125&zoom=4&mvt=m&trf=0

Not only that, but you can not access Schefferville by road despite it being near the geographic center of Quebec! Only railway, air (or snowmobile from Dec to Apr!) is the only way to get there! Once there, I'm also going to fly along to the end of the Trans Taiga Rd and from there west to the Hudson Bay! I'm soo excited to see it up there and in the summer it's be cool, but not cold (temps in the 50's and 60s' likely).

http://jamesbayroad.com/ttr/index.html

If you think Rum Cay any Mayaguana are remote, this area of subarctic eastern Canada makes these islands seem urban!! You can easily be 100 miles from the nearest person up there!! I mean three is NOTHING up there! I am so eager to see it this area that I even have named it "The Bahamas of the North!" LOL!!

But as nice as sub-arctic eastern Canada will be.......................

IT'S BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS!!

Edited: 20 June 2012, 03:19
Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

AWESOME!! I felt like i was right there with you and loved the pics!! I need to get back there and visit Bill/Kathy! Thanks for sharing! Jimmy

Glastonbury...
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9. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

Jimmy,

Were the RC pics pretty much what you expected them to be or were you surprised by them?

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10. Re: 2461 pictures, 12 days, 5 islands and 1 GREAT VACATION!!!

The pics were great! I think you explored all sides. You definitely explored the entire south coast all the way West to Sandy Point. I wasn't sure if you made it all the way to Flamingo Bay (far West side of the North Shore)? I was looking for pics of Flamingo Bay, since that stretch of sand is so amazing. I think the reason is that you need boat access to get to the far West of the North Shore and can't reach it from the golf cart. Your island shots from the air are unbelievable! I'm sure you got a great look at Flamingo Bay from the air.

I think i'm going to take the wife to Cape Santa Maria (Long Island) and hitch a quick ride for a day trip to Rum Cay next summer!

I enjoyed hearing you say that RC can compete with the Exuma Cays (in terms of pristine/beauty). Coming from someone as well traveled as you in and around the Bahmas is a compliment to RC!