Bahamas Sojourn: Part 1
Why not join me for a tantalizing tropical sojourn to Naussau town, capital of the island nation of The Bahamas! Come along as we visit the land east of Florida named for baja mar (the shallow sea), a country comprised of over 700 islands and cays (and about 2300 smaller outcroppings), strung out like so many white and jade and ochre jewels across a bright blue-green stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.
A portion of that vast Atlantic Ocean presents us with our first hurdle. Though Grand Bahama Island, at the northwestern end of this archipelago, lies only about 75 miles from Florida’s beaches, we must travel almost 200 miles from Ft. Lauderdale to the capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island considerably farther southeast. And since we are not very fond of many hours on the rolling seas, we must therefore hop through the clouds (the turkey-neck cloud, the teddy-bear cloud, the gumdrop cloud, the clown-face cloud, the bowling pin cloud, and all the other cutely shaped and readily identifiable clouds). This is typically accomplished aboard a less-than-two-dozen-seat commuter airplane from the U.S. mainland, propjet roar ringing in the ears, cabin-pressure air squeezing the brain.
Like most Americans or other global travelers who don’t happen to reside at Ft. Lauderdale’s airport, we first have to make our way TO Ft. Lauderdale’s airport. That requires our initial flight from the Midwest on an early morning hub-to-hub aboard a more respectfully sized aircraft, say, a 727 or a 747. From the plane’s windows — through bleary but excitedly anticipatory eyes — we spy the vast and dense cloud cover blanketing the Southeastern states beneath the screaming spectrum of a clear winter high-altitude sunrise. [Our snakey friend bubblingly signaled phase two of our journey as we consumed our cabin-service morsels in rapt silence.]
As seasoned travelers of a journalistic kind, we wish to keep our bearings as we circuit the globe. So our carry-ons are crammed with travel guides, Bahamas brochures, and a supply of aerial maps and photos to aid us in scanning our zig-zagging path above the gently curving swell of the Earth below. But disorientation is the order of our new dawning day; the maps give no clue as to the seemingly vast watery distances between quite little dark green flecks. We are flying so close to the planet’s curvature that there seems nothing but endless blue in all directions. Then — at last! — peeking through the parting cloud-mists, we glimpse first one patch of green, then another, afloat in azure seas!
Now the cramped quarters of this small plane, with all of its jammed bags and sweaty expectant travelers, seem even smaller than before. For now we can clearly see where we are headed. The large masses of Grand Bahama and Abaco are behind us, and we are stepping-stoning past a number of smaller islands and cays toward New Providence Island and Nassau and Paradise Island beyond. As we descend ever lower and ever closer to landing at New Providence, we can recognize and distinguish the island’s shape — and, then! there on the distant edge of land, we can at last make out the pink profile of our final destination: the Atlantis resort!
Watch for Part 2 of The Bahamas Sojourn, coming soon to an online post near you!
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