October welcomes the national public holiday of Discovery Day-Columbus Day on October 12th, with weekend celebrations throughout the islands. As to the actual location of the first landing of Columbus in 1492, some islanders still debate Cat Island over San Salvador Island—historically known as Guanahani (translated “sweet and gentle”) by the native Lucayans. Nevertheless, the nine-foot-high, white-washed cross monument dedicated in 1956—facing west over the sweeping crescent of Long Bay at Landfall Park—marks the spot where Columbus presumably landed and set foot ashore.

Holiday Highlights:
• October 10-14: Annual Discovery Day-Festival Homecoming—Rum Cay
Contact: Marlon Jones (242) 331-2150

• October 12-14: Back to Cat Island Festival—New Bright Park, Cat Island
Contact: Ezra Russell (242) 342-3014

• October 18-19: International Cultural Festival—Nassau
Contact: Janet Johnson (242) 302-2000

• October 25: Ride for Hope Bahamas—Eleuthera

• October 31: People to People Tea Party—Government House, Nassau; Reservation only
Contact: (242) 356-0437;

North Bimini

Just across from the Bimini Big Game Club on King’s Highway, the historic, turquoise blue building with a can’t-miss, big red sign is the site of the much-acclaimed A Taste of Heaven Bakery and Take-Away. The building’s previous owner was the famed Manny Rolle of Manny Rolle Deli and Supermarket, otherwise known as the chair boy to Ernest Hemingway, who paid eight-year-old Manny 30 cents per day to hold his fighting chair. Manny went on to become one of Bimini’s most respected guides for sportfishermen, mariners and tourists who visited the island from the 1950s through the 70s.

Today, you’ll find an old-timey vibe with the original glass-top wooden display cases from Manny’s days that hold some of the most delectable freshly baked goodies found anywhere on the island. Daily treats vary from cinnamon rolls, coconut tarts, pineapple carrot cake, guava Danish, banana raisin bread, and fresh pies of every description.

Take-away also varies from day to day with BBQ, chicken souse, pork chops, rice, plantains, macaroni and cheese, mutton curry, or honey garlic wings. For large orders and to avoid disappointment, call ahead (242) 225-3244. It opens Monday through Saturday at 8AM and is closed on Sunday.

Note: Vendors with booths in the popular George Town straw market (a short walk from the main dinghy dock) now take credit cards.

The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park (ECLSP) is implementing new user fees to support conservation management in the ECLSP. According to Eric Carey, Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Executive Director, “The cost to manage the ECLSP and protect its precious natural resources now approaches half a million dollars annually. This is actually the minimum cost, and to effectively manage the park, provide a positive visitor experience and continue outreach and education efforts, we need to double this amount.” New user fees for the ECLSP will include an increase in existing mooring fees and new fees for visiting researchers, film crews, dive operators, and anchorage fees for boats greater than 90 feet. All user fees can be paid via credit card at the ECLSP headquarters, Warderick Wells or BNT’s office in Nassau, via check to the 501(c)3 Bahamas National Trust Fund Inc., or online at BNT’s website.

The artificial reef project at Sandals Emerald Bay Marina is advancing with government approval for the reef’s development just off shore from the marina. The base segment of the reef will be centered on an old construction barge that will be sunk at the reef site.

The marina has also become a popular spot for catamaran and trimarans because there is no up-charge to cats for their extra beam, a charge that appears to be pretty routine at many Caribbean marinas. This results in a catamaran dockage rate at Emerald Bay Marina that is one-third to one-half less than typical charges at other marinas. The rate is even more attractive when long-term off-season dockage rates are taken into consideration. Check directly with the marina manager or harbormaster for special off-season rate quotes.

Sandals Emerald Bay Marina also now offers free Wi-Fi along with a new, wide-screen high definition computer. And don’t forget to try authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee—dubbed the “world’s best” by leading authorities—served on a complimentary basis to marina guests daily from 7AM to 11AM. Call (242) 336-6100;

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA)
If you cruise The Bahamas or are interested in doing so and are at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show October 30th-November 3rd, stop by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s large, colorful display booth. It’s a great opportunity to meet hospitality professionals, answer your questions live rather than on the phone or internet, and collect the most recent nautical maps and brochures on all ‘tings Bahamas.

Navigation notes:
Grand Bahama: The red marker at the end of the jetty on the Sunrise Channel entrance has been restored.

By Sandra Davis, Southern Boating October 2014