Archive for June, 2010

Experience The Bahamas

Several friends from afar have come to visit me since I have been here in the Bahamas. I suspect much of their interest in visiting me has to do with my new location, but I understand that completely.

In the past few months I have seen and experienced many of the wonderful things the islands have to offer. I find that when visitors come down I quite enjoy playing the part of the tour guide and showing off my new surroundings.

Initially, many people seem to think there isn’t much more to do here than lay on one of so many blissfully beautiful beaches and forget about the rest of the world. Now personally, that is one of my favorite activities, but there are actually a whole host of other activities and experiences to enjoy.

A golfing enthusiast friend of mine was thrilled  with the world class golfing that is available in these islands. I have arranged to take my sports-minded buddies on big game fishing trips, while with others we have enjoyed leisurely boating excursions. For the nature lovers I have suggested hiking, and bird-watching tours.

It was just in my last blog entry that I told of my freshly married friends and I shamelessly take credit for the fact that they had their wedding and their honeymoon in the Bahamas.

I say all of this just to make the simple point that the Bahamas has something for everyone from a family vacation, to a romantic getaway, to a fishing, boating or hiking adventure.

I have so much more to experience here and I encourage others to come and experience an authentic Bahamas vacation.

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Exuma, Bahamas Wedding

I was recently invited to attend the wedding of two close friends. Actually, when they told me of their engagement several months ago I suggested that they have a Bahamas wedding. They jumped on the idea with exuberance and immediately started planning it.

They chose the Exumas, having been there once before and remembering it as the “most beautiful place on earth”. It was a late afternoon ceremony on one of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen. There were just seven guests and a small local band. The ocean was a brilliant blue and the sun was just low enough to cast that sweet golden light that makes everything¬† so beautiful.

The bride wore a long simple, strapless gown and the groom was in chinos rolled up to his knees with an untucked shirt. Both had bare feet, in fact so did I, enjoying the soft white sand between my toes.

The hotel had supplied a lovely gazebo decorated with palm leaves and colorful bougainvillea flowers, which matched the bride’s bouquet. They had also put together a remarkable beachside reception with tiki torches and delicious island fare. The band kept playing long after sunset. It was a beautiful ceremony, and a memorable night.

I flew back to Nassau the next day, but the newly married couple are still in Exuma for another week enjoying a romantic honeymoon in paradise.

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Diving In The Bahamas

I recently went on my first scuba diving trip.  It was more otherworldly than I could have imagined. Of course, I have been snorkeling many times and even done a little free diving but this is very different. I felt more unified with my surroundings and was entranced by the deep peacefulness, mystique and magic of the underwater environment.

This was a relatively shallow dive, during which we explored beautiful coral reefs and marveled at colorful fish and sea creatures. I can not fully describe how amazing an experience it was in the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. I wanted to take it slow the first time. But for more experienced divers the islands of the Bahamas offer numerous opportunities for some real adventure, including shark dives, cave and bluehole diving, and diving around shipwrecks.

There are really too many extraordinary dive sites throughout the Bahamas islands to mention all of them, but New Providence, Andros, The Bimini Islands, San Salvador, Grand Bahama and the Exumas are amongst the top islands featuring an abundance of unique and spectacular Bahamas diving sites with locations suitable for novice divers and also intermediate and advanced divers.

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Rake & Scrape Festival, Cat Island, Bahamas

I am headed to the annual Cat Island Rake & Scrape Festival this weekend and I am quite looking forward to it. Dating back to the 1800s, rake & scrape is known as the folk music of the Bahamas and would accompany traditional Bahamian quadrille and polka dances. It has even been called the “heart of Bahamian culture”.

I am told that rake & scrape originated in Cat Island, where the locals are well known for making good use of whatever resources they have around them. It could have originated with the African slaves brought to the islands, who learned to create musical instruments out of the various materials they had available to them.

Rake & scrape musicians have been known to create a bass instrument out of a piece of wood, fishing line and an old tin tub, though, today’s musicians more often are seen using an accordion, a carpenter’s saw and goatskin drums (usually referred to as goombay drums). The saw is played by raking a screwdriver across the teeth. Bending, hitting, raking and scraping the saw creates raw, unpolished but surprisingly harmonic sounds. It’s a beautiful thing.

Bahamian music doesn’t get more authentic than this.

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