The Islands of the Bahamas, June 16, 2022—Effective Sunday 19th June 2022 The Bahamas Travel Health Visa (BTHV) will no longer be required to travel to The Bahamas. However, all present COVID-19 Testing, and Vaccination Protocols will remain in effect and will need to be presented at check-in.
By Zachary Granat
“He looked at boats the way most guys look at women,” says Diana Allbritton of Charleston, South Carolina about her late husband, Joseph. But he had eyes only for her.
Almost four years after his death in a private plane crash headed to the Bahamas on Oct. 25, 2018, Diana remembers when she first visited his bachelor pad in 2006.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation has taken note of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases around the world and is implementing new testing requirements for all persons entering The Bahamas as a precautionary effort to continue to keep the destination safe.
If you would like to donate to our team “Team Inlet” Click Here
By Dale Wills
Paddle boarding from the Bahamas to Florida may sound like a crazy idea. Keep reading and you’ll understand why this trip made sense. A friend of mine asked if I could help co-captain his boat for the fundraiser, The Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, as he and his family volunteered to be a support boat for 3 paddlers attempting to cross 80 miles of open ocean from Bimini, Bahamas to Lake Worth, Florida. What I witnessed as a result of taking part in the crossing was a heroic effort by everyone involved. The main goal was to increase awareness and money for the foundation and that they did. Over $600K was raised.
The Bahamas Customs & Excise Department has launched its electronic submission portal for cruising permit applications on the Click2Clear platform. Visitors traveling by boat can now complete and submit declaration forms and make a cashless payment in advance of arrival. “This is all a part of our digital transformation agenda. It addresses a long-standing pain point for boaters who have been clamoring for a fully digital process. It also minimizes the opportunity for revenue leakage,” says Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson. While we love living on island time, the new Cruising Permit module is expected to dramatically improve the processing time for boaters when clearing customs at the various ports of entry across the archipelago.
By Dale Wills
Ask Captain Billy Black about his fondness with red bottom paint or saving a seven-year-old boys life from drowning ten feet under the ocean’s surface in choppy seas or running around Walkers Cay at wee hours hour in the morning with former President Nixon unbeknownst to the secret service or outfitting his boat dogs with sunglasses so they could spot fish from the bridge of the Duchess. For a captain who has invested over 50 years of his life to his sportfishing craft, these stories and countless others are worthy of a comfy dock box and your favorite beverage any time you cross paths with Captain Billy Black.
IMPORTANT TRAVEL UPDATE—On June 17, 2020, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar announced that all tourists and returning residents who come to the Bahamas when commercial international travel resumes on July 1st, 2020, WILL NEED to present a negative COVID-19 test.
Required Travel Documents
All guests traveling to the Bahamas must:
• Present negative COVID-19 test results valid within 10 days of travel (links to test sites above)
• Complete a Travel Health Card
• Complete a health questionnaire and temperature check upon check-in to SCYC
The following information applies to all guests. We will update with any modifications for travel as we receive the information.
Masks, Temperature Checks & Social Distancing
To protect yourself and our Bahamas, all guests are kindly asked to wear a face mask and follow social distancing measures when out and about on SCYC property. Masks are required when walking around the property and upon entering and exiting the check-in area, restaurant, and bar. Temperature checks will be performed at check-in, as well as prior to entering the restaurant and bar area.
A nightly curfew remains in effect daily from 10pm to 5am. You are required to remain on SCYC property during this time period. SCYC will close at 10pm each night to remain in compliance with the curfew.
Effective immediately, indoor dining will re-open at 50% capacity with physical distancing measures in place. All guests will be required to wear a mask when entering and exiting the restaurant and bar. SCYC is pleased to let you know that we have also added outdoor dining tables to accommodate our guests with full beverage and dining service provided by our stellar SCYC servers!
For everyone’s health and safety, SCYC will no longer offer snorkel gear rental. You are more than welcome to bring your own gear or else purchase a snorkel set at check-in. A $25 voucher per cottage will be offered to our current Package Plan guests who booked their reservation prior to June 9th, 2020 in lieu of snorkel gear inclusion.
Please click here to see the Makers Air statement regarding this situation.
Bahamas Preparing to Resume International Tourism on July 1 with New Health & Safety Protocols in Place
NASSAU, Bahamas, June 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, along with the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, a group comprised of public and private sector partners, announced today a collaborative plan for re-opening the country’s borders and tourism sector, as well as the resumption of international commercial travel starting July 1. A press conference provided details of the “Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan” to be used as an approved, comprehensive guide of health and safety protocol to be followed consistently across the country.
Here is one captain’s take on fishing in the Bahamas right now. We’d love to hear what you think…
I have an idea. Instead of trying to navigate the grey area of the US/Bahamas offshore boundaries, how about wait until the Bahamas opens back up. Go over, clear in, get a fishing permit and then fish wherever you want legally.
Just because you have the money and resources to want to do something doesn’t give you privilege to do it. There are many other areas within the US coastal boundaries to catch fish. The tuna and marlin bite is happening in the Carolinas for an example. Take your boat up there or to the Keys and patronize the local US economy at the marinas, tackle shops and restaurants.
Leave the Bahamas alone and respect their wishes to remain closed for the time being. Under the current conditions, it seems to me Respect is what is lacking all around the world. Just my opinion. Tight lines.
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.
By Winslow Taylor
The Bahamas are a boater’s paradise, full of diverse opportunity for recreation — much more, in fact, than many people realize. If you are an InTheBite subscriber, chances are when folks say “I’m headed to the Bahamas for vacation” and that is followed up with plans to go to Nassau or Atlantis, you are going to roll your eyes. There is nothing wrong with Nassau, it’s a fun spot.
The Atlantis makes a delicious $35 coffee/bagel combo and it’s a good fuel stop on the way to elsewhere. These popular “mainstream” destinations hardly convey the real Bahamian experience. When it comes to the Bahamas, one of the coolest experiences is one of the simplest: leaving the United States, crossing the gulf stream, and seeing the clear blue water on the banks as the depth goes from the thousands to the teens.
Having your own boat in the Bahamas, whether it’s a 150-foot yacht or a 23-foot center console, gives you a sense of freedom and flexibility that is unmatched in any other boating destination. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but the fishing from the flats to the deep is superb, with different species to target year-round depending on the island(s).
Exact trip planning depends on the vessel, itinerary, and person count (things that are different for everybody), but generally speaking, it’s important to properly plan out the logistics and provisions. The major islands, and even Marsh Harbour, have grocery stores that rival those in US, but the off-the-beaten-path islands require more planning.
Furthermore, US beer is expensive, so if you enjoy a cold domestic you should provision accordingly!
Although there are two seasons in Florida (1) hot and humid as hell and (2) a little less hot and humid, the Bahamas can be a four-season, year-round destination with different islands and fisheries best showcased in the different seasons. Although I spent a few months in the Abacos shagging grass, island hopping, and watching the wind blow, I have spoken with some well-traveled professionals for their take on where to go and what to do/target throughout the year.
The following provides some off the beaten path Bahamas perspective that might be of use in your next trip to the islands. The information is broken down by season and destination. With apologies to the many activities and locations left out, here is a breakdown of the seasons of the Bahamas.
Cat Island is 130 miles southeast of Nassau and 300 miles from Fort Lauderdale. Cat Island is home to Hawk’s Nest Resort and Marina on its southwestern tip. The island boasts lodging, a protected marina, and an airstrip. One of the best attributes of Cat Island is the ability to fish in the lee whichever direction the wind decides to blow. The winter wahoo fishing is phenomenal and blue marlin are no stranger to the spread.
Cat Island is definitely a destination where you need to properly provision and don’t forget to bring some bikes for local transportation. Coupled with the phenomenal fishery, diving, and true Bahamian experience, Cat Island and Hawk’s Nest Rest & Marina should be on your winter to-do list!
In the Berry Islands and close to Chub Cay is Great Harbour. The fishing from Great Harbour is similar to Chubb (30 miles to “The Pocket”), but Great Harbour is a more economical location to keep your boat. Talking with Capt. Ben Brownlee, who has spent many seasons throughout the area, he explains that from Great Harbour you can fish right in front for wahoo, the deep dropping for snapper and grouper is insane, and there are always some marlin around.
Also, with the right wind, you can hit up The Pocket. Great Harbour is the largest island in the Berry’s and provides more opportunities for small boats to explore and cruise. While you’re there make sure to go to Flo’s restaurant and cliff jump into the blue hole!
San Salvador is very much off the beaten path, but it’s famous for the massive wahoo captured there every winter. Many world records have come from its depths and it’s not uncommon to see fish in excess of 80-100 pounds. Mixed in with the big wahoo are the occasional yellowfin and marlins. Although the island is rustic, there is commercial air service, which makes traveling and keeping your boat there a breeze.
Not only is the fishing excellent, but San Salvador’s history is unique as it is believed to be the first land Christopher Columbus visited in 1492.
Also in the Berry Islands, Chubb Cay is a year-round destination with an impressive fishery from the flats to the deep. It is definitely a first-class destination and conveniently located approximately 30 nm from Nassau, 75 nm from Bimini, and 125 nm from Fort Lauderdale. Access to the pocket is closer than Great Harbour and it’s the place to be on an east-southeast wind. Ben reports that double-digit marlin bites are not uncommon and you have a decent shot at slamming out when the water is right!
Personally, I think the Abaco Islands are one of the coolest destinations for fishheads and cruisers alike. It’s also a great “intro” area into cruising the Bahamas. You can leave Florida in the morning and be checked in and fishing by lunchtime, weather permitting of course. There is no shortage of great marinas and accommodations, with each island offering its own unique character.
There are two airports offering commercial flights from the mainland (Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay), with Marsh Harbour even having direct flights from Atlanta and Charlotte. Marsh Harbour is great, not only because of the travel options, but it’s also easy to stay well provisioned. Marsh Harbour has a Maxwell’s Supermarket which has everything you would find in the US.
In the spring there is no shortage of gaffers and the blue marlin really start showing up in April, you can’t go wrong trolling off the lighthouse, and your never far from a quick run in for lunch. One of my favorite activities is conching in the Sea of Abaco. Just get some snorkel gear, tie a line behind your boat, and get dragged through the water looking for conch on the bottom. Once you see one (or more), release from the line, dive, capture, and repeat.
Eleuthera – Cape Eleuthera
Pete Zabinski has been traveling the Bahamas since he was a kid, and one of his favorite spots is Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina on the western tip of Eleuthera. Cape Eleuthera has a great marina with equally amazing accommodations. Not only that it’s only 50 nm to Nassau if you need to pick up/drop off folks, and there are two airports with commercial service on the islands.
Eleuthera offers a true Bahamian feel, and no visit to Eleuthera would be complete without visiting glass window bridge. The marlin fishing gets firing in the spring, and it’s a good jumping off place to the Exumas and the Abacos.
Clarence Town – Long Island
Clarence Town is another one of Pete’s favorite locations. If you are in the Exumas, you might as well keep heading southeast to Long Island, which is another true Bahamian out island. Clarence Town is the capital, and another amazing destination for pelagics as well as bonefish on the flats. Flying Fish Marina is the place to be, and no trip to Long Island is complete without checking out Dean’s Blue Hole.
It’d be easy to write a whole book on what to do in the Exumas. It’s an amazing archipelago that is easily accessible by air from the mainland, but also by boat from Florida. If you want to get away from a 100% fishing oriented trip and explore, then the Exumas are the place to be. You can island hop every few days and check out everything each island has to offer. From the “natural aquarium” at Staniel to the sharks on the dock and the bubble bath at Compass Cay.
It truly is one of the coolest places in the Bahamas. There are some great accommodations on the main island, but if possible, try to branch out to the various islands. Offshore, bone fishing, diving, golf, doing absolutely nothing…Exumas is top of the list!
Andros – Fresh Creek
Andros is the largest and least explored island in the Bahamas. It sits on the edge of the third-longest barrier reef in the world and is a short 20 nm run west from Nassau and about 100 nm from Bimini. Andros, with its expansive flats has phenomenal bonefishing and the barrier reef with its numerous blue holes, lends itself to some amazing diving.
Again, talking with Pete, he emphasized that Andros, specifically Fresh Creek is “Old Bahamas,” where the tourist factor is nearly zero. You can grab your gear, rent a car, and explore the island or use your boat to check out the endless shoreline. Summertime lends itself to meat and marlin fishing, and it’s a short hop from Florida that lets you skip the craziness of Bimini.
West End is an awesome, low-key destination that is a stone’s throw from Florida. At only 55 nm from Palm Beach, you can pretty much head over for lunch. Hell, in North Carolina we run that distance just about every time we go offshore. Old Bahamas Bay has a first-class marina and great accommodations to keep the entire family busy. As a side note, the runway at West End is recently opened so you can there in about 10 minutes from the mainland.
There is decent snorkeling just outside the marina, and the beach at the resort is protected so it’s perfect for kids. Just down the road Blue Marlin Cove and Bootle Bay offer more fishing-oriented accommodations, with great marinas. From West End, it’s a quick run-up to Mantilla Shoals (“The Corner”) where you can catch anything from limits of tuna to marlin!
West End also makes a good jumping off point to the upper Abacos which has some unparalleled diving and spearfishing opportunities.
At 45 nm from Florida, Bimini is another great short trip. Although in summer Bimini can seem like Miami/Ft. Lauderdale 2.0, in the fall the crowds thin and it’s a great destination to get away for a long weekend. Although not prime fishing season due to the warm water temps, Bimini has awesome snorkeling, spearfishing, reef fishing, and bonefishing.
If you want the party scene you can hit up the casino at Resort World. Resort World also happens to be a Hilton Property, so if you have Hilton points you can score some free rooms. There is a huge casino as well as all the usual accoutrements. If you want a laid-back spot check out Bimini Sands on South Bimini, it has a great marina and a more traditional Bahamian vibe.
Make sure to check out the SS Sapona for a cool snorkeling spot, and if you’re going to head offshore you can make the short 20 mile run up to Isaac Cay where the tuna show up. There is no question Bimini is a great spot to enjoy a long weekend in the islands!
It’s easy to give Nassau a hard time, but there is no denying it’s convenient, nice, and plenty of fun. Barring a hurricane, fall is my favorite time in the Bahamas, it’s warm, it’s not too crowded, and usually the wind isn’t horrible. Nassau gets a bad rap for being overpriced, but there are many ways to keep the cost down. If gambling is your (or your friends’) thing, it’s not difficult to get a comped room at the Atlantis or the Baha Mar.
The Baha Mar is nice and willing to give some deals to try to lure some of the Atlantis’s clientele over. Nassau has some great marinas (Bay Street, Atlantis, Hurricane Hole, and Lyford) and it’s an easy jumping off point to Andros, Chubb, Eleuthera, and Exuma. Also, there are plenty of islands between Nassau and Spanish to cruise and enjoy. If you’re looking for a fun Conclusion: Now you have read some of our recommendations, all you need is a chartbook, some fuel and you can go find your own favorite spot. That’s the beauty of the Bahamas.
It’s close enough to be accessible, but far enough away to truly get away from it all…if you want to!
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.
The fabled blue marlin destination is being reborn….
Superyacht owner, businessman and philanthropist Carl Allen has purchased the island of Walker’s Cay in the Bahamas. Allen describes his relationship with the northernmost Bahamian island, which he has been visiting since a child of 12, as a “love affair”.