Wednesday, 3 June 2015

© The Bahamas - An archipelago of 700 Islands!

         I first landed on Bahamian shores as a youngster in July 1960 while at school in England. My father had taken a posting there as a flight engineer with Bahamas Airways, a subsidiary of BOAC, now British Airways. The first impressions of those beautiful islands were the extreme colours and clarity of the light. I saw an ocean more turquoise than anything ever witnessed and clarity unmatched anywhere on the planet!
The sea was in my genes and life from here on would flow and ebb as the tides. The Bahamas and its people opened their arms and made a new home for me. After Independence in 1973 I was granted Bahamian Citizenship and proudly ended up with two amazing self-created careers that are to be described in my upcoming autobiography 'Sharks in the Runway' (seen as an earlier blog on this site) now available as a pre-order being published on July 13th 2017.
       






        Here I will show a more pictorial essay on the islands as I saw them, from both underwater and from above as an aerial photographer while flying seaplanes commercially.


I lived here for most of my life, some 55 years and then retired to the UK for a while to write and explore this side of the Atlantic Ocean discovering my roots here in 'the Old Country' and venture further into Europe, the Far East and beyond; photographing places of history and beautiful natural scenery as I did when covering many fabulous experiences in the North American continent. Many of the adventures I recall here in the pages and more to tackle as time marches!
The Bahamas remains very special and the waters nothing short of spectacular, both above and below the surface and sure enough I returned all soon enough!




The capitol of the Bahamas is the city of Nassau on New Providence Island situated in the central Bahamas and one of the smallest measuring a mere 21 miles long by 7 miles wide. Most of the islands lie from the northwest just some 40 miles off the Florida coast, down to the southeast and just 90 miles from Cuba. Only a couple of islands lie in the east-west configuration and both are home to the two major ports, Nassau and Freeport up in Grand Bahama Island; both also have International Airports.



Both major ports of entry are now capable of docking the world's largest cruise liners.


New Providence comprises of two major tourist locations, Paradise Island connected to the mainland with two 72ft high bridges, and to the west of the island is Cable Beach where the old hotels of the 1950s & 60s are now being demolished to be replaced with the new Baha Mar Resort that finally opened in the Spring of 2017.






The western end of New Providence is developing over the last decade to be the most prolific in growth both in commercial real estate and private housing. Several canal communities are most popular with investment and rental real estate.




The archipelago of the Bahamas covers 100,000 square miles of the western Atlantic Ocean just north of Cuba and nearing the east coast of Florida. Visitors from all over the world are amazed with the natural simple beauty of the waters and beaches that grace our shores. Rivers are absent within these islands and live coral reefs that are found extensively throughout the country act as natural filtration systems. The waters of the Bahamas claim to be some of the clearest on the planet creating their glorious swirls of turquoise and deep indigos. Columbus landing in 1492 on the island of San Salvador named this place Bahia Mar, 'Shallow Sea'. I exclaimed to guests flying in my seaplane that I would be showing my version of a Van Gogh painting!






These islands are visited by cruise lines, private yachts, avid sailors and hundreds of thousands by air, averaging near two million visitors annually. Landing at the two major airports of Nassau & Freeport tourists can venture through the 700 out islands by local air charter companies which use the many small landing strips throughout the cays. One can also use a seaplane to land right at your back door, be it private island or yacht!






With such vast areas of open water and so many islands and cays the Mega Yacht charter business within the Bahamas is very popular. The rich & famous love to bring their charters to cruise the Bahamas. Here they too can experience the magnificence of the country and maintain their needed privacy and escape from the everyday world. The Bahamian people often see a famous screen actor or celebrity and to us they are just "family"and made to feel at home!






April 26th 2016

The wheel does go around! With an invitation to my daughter's wedding I arrive in secret a month ago to be seated in the garden where the ceremony is taking place. It is a gorgeous blue Bahamian day and the bride is well surprised to see Dad sitting there! Worth the long trip from the shores of southwest Turkey.



After reconnecting with family and friends this visit back home strikes a chord inside this 'island boy' as we are called here. It is resoundingly noticeable that those of us who live in the world's gorgeous locations, wherever they may be, we become very 'visual' in nature. Take us out of our familiar environment to what seems a more 'bland surrounding' or deep suburbia and our very soul seems to wither over time.
My return to England replenished a lost admiration for its part in offering beautiful scenery. I visited so many lovely places but the yearning for 'those blues' creeps back into us so easily. I was labeled being 'solar powered' by some! How true.

This visit shows me that my other choice of location to reside, on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey was a wonderful choice indeed. I will always want to be a part of those beautiful people and stunning surroundings but unquestionably the Bahamian ocean wins out. Having been a man of the sea, both underneath it and then above it for all my life leaving this beautiful country of 700 islands is near to impossible.


The familiar rocky shore line of eastern New Providence boasts gorgeous greens one day to brilliant turquoise the next. The small coral reefs lying just offshore are home to vast arrays of tropical fish and the warm waters of this early summer invite many a swim to see our underwater world.


Now is the time for new adventures within my country. A search for another pair of wings maybe so flight again be part of life here? The out-islands beckon and exploration of Abaco in the near future. Meantime a peaceful hideaway in eastern New Providence allows the Autobiography to enter its final stages in the midst of feeding our friendly raccoons and spectacular hummingbirds & herons!





 Completion this year a target. "Sharks in the Runway" is a fun ride and recants those 50 years of life well traveled through these fabulous islands and to far corners of this earth. Publication now underway for July 13th 2017 with pre-order available on Amazon.com
So much more to come .. stay with us here for updates!
Meantime enjoy some of the scenes close by us that are so appreciated from day to day that nature blesses us who live here demonstrating the 'visual' craving we who live here so often miss abroad.









Returning to my home, the island nation covering over 100,000 square miles we begin a new journey with my long- time friend and now close companion & partner Melissa. A gifted well known local artist who's Bahamian heritage reaches as far back as eight or more generations and member of the admirable Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; founded in 1977 by Paul Watson a former member of Greenpeace. Several substantial vessels fly the Sea Shepherd emblem around the planet with the operation featured in 2008 on televisions 'Animal Planet' filming a weekly series called 'Whale Wars' based on the groups' encounters with the Japanese whaling fleet. The societies first action in 1979 was against Canadian seal hunting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 
Melissa returning very recently from Utila, Honduras working with the society in the documentation and protection of the sea turtles found egg-laying on the beaches during the night hours.



Together we are exploring our islands and the stunning nature the Bahamas has to offer the world. Melissa's extensive & breathtaking nature photography and past adventures into the wilds of these islands we can share with you in due course. 


We have become airborne again! No more saltwater battles against seaplanes, it is time to land on dry ground and back to basics with the purchase of a Cessna 172. The very aircraft most of us in the profession actually trained on. Safe, reliable and affordable air transport, allowing me to rekindle the popular Bahamian business of commercial aerial photography I had created with the seaplane, now called Aerial Imaging© - marinas, private islands, real estate, and yachts are part of the many available services.




With this lovely machine we have begun future explorations. The first being to the Abaco's just north of New Providence giving rise to the next Blog page: "The Cays of Abaco" coming soon. Here we explore the magnificent islands that run along the north and eastern shorelines of Great Abaco. Their heritage teaching us about the first Loyalist settlers and their amazing skills and relationships with the sea. Fabulous boat-builders, quaint cottages and quiet stretches of beach that become many a travel brochure about out gorgeous Bahamas!




 ~ Stay in touch here for updates and new posts.

...... this Posting will be continued from time to time. The library is huge. Check here in days to follow! *Click "Follow by Email" at the top of each page (+Submit) to receive updates personally!
* At the bottom of each page you can click on "Older Post" to find other adventures!