Tuesday 7 Jan, BHS day 8: Golf carting around Harbour Island.
Today is Oana’s name day. It’s a tradition in Romania that almost everyone has a name day. Today is St. John or Ioana (for ladies) and Ion (for men). So there are lots of social media interactions and calls from home wishing her a happy name day. And Facebook also reminded us that precisely two years ago we set off across the Atlantic.
Having taken on a pilot yesterday to wiggle our way through the reefs to here, we are keen to set foot on Harbour Island and explore Dunmore Town. Does it live up to its exclusive reputation and matching hotel rates we wonder? In honor of her name day, and in anticipation of Dunmore, Oana wears a very nice dress. And I have to say, she does look rather special today 🙂
Like Oana’s dress, the day is bright and beautiful as we dinghy to Valentines Marina. There is no dinghy dock on site so we end up anchoring the stern of the dinghy and tying the bow to a wooden post. Like USA, the Bahamas really don’t cater for anchored yachts needing a decent place to tie up their tenders.
200m on foot and we are at the golf cart rental. $61 for 24hrs. Expensive, but not out of line with golf carts in other places. I think Bimini was $20 per hour! Our little white golf cart clearly had a hard life. The seats have holes stitched and foot-flat-to-the-floor speed is not much more than a fast walk! But luckily this town is not big.
First, we go along Bay Street which is lined with old and colourful Victorian houses. Most are renovated and probably holiday accommodation. One street back from the shore is the real town. Pretty much like any black Caribbean town: run down, half finished properties, junk vehicles, overfull garbage bins, litter everywhere, and general “don’t give a damn” disarray. Such a shame. These places could be so very different in appearance with just a little effort and care.
On the windward (east) shore the environment comes clean again with private villas and boutique hotels all onto the most amazing beach. After Barbuda, Anguilla and Anegada, probably the nicest beach we have seen. Pure white sand (although they claim it to be pink!), fronted by turquoise water and backed by lush green vegetation. Add the deep blue of the sky and you get the picture perfect post card of colors, where everyone dreams of being on holiday.
There are only really 3 hotels on the beach side, all very accommodating with regards to visitors just walking in. We visit the Coral Sands first, with price tag of $700/night according to our previous research. The infinity pool is very nice and we sit for a drink at the beach bar watching the goings on. We would’ve had a coffee, but they don’t seem to understand what “espresso” means! Or freshly grinded coffee.
Pink Sands is the next hotel we visit. An even higher price tag but nowhere near as nice at first glance. Extensive gardens and bungalows with lots of privacy, but all in need of more care. Especially the pool area, which seems like it hasn’t been scrubbed in ages.
Lastly, The Dunmore Hotel. This was really classy. Beautiful gardens and set back pool, and the beach restaurant was quite busy. We vote this one to be the best. If we have a day on the beach tomorrow we will definitely be coming here for a snack at lunch time.
The wide white sand beach itself is far from crowded but there are still quite a few people enjoying it. You can rent two chairs and umbrella for $25 a day. We’ll do that tomorrow, when the wind should be good enough for kite surfing. Oana will be needing a chair and umbrella to watch from!
Feeling a bit peckish but not wanting to pay the beach resort prices ($30 for a burger!) we head back into town and get ourselves some chicken patti from the local bakery. Not great, but they do fill a gap.
While the light is still good I fly the drone over the beach. This is a new drone so thought I’d best fly it on land before attempting off the boat. The last drone finally met its death in Romania during the summer. On sending it to DJI for repair, they returned a brand new one! For some reason the App limits us to maximum 60m height here, (must be a rule in Bahamas?) but nevertheless we get a nice view of the beach from up there.
After another hour or so we have pretty much explored the whole town on our snail-pace golf cart. So we head to the government dock where Bruno (the pilot from yesterday) had advised we should get the best Conch fritters. We find the Snack Shack on the dock and at first they seem to have sold out. But then they do manage to produce two conch burgers. And we have to agree with Bruno that it was the best conch we have tasted so far. Very tender and juicy.
In the late afternoon the low sun is shedding a wonderful light on the bay side (west side) of Dunmore. So we take a walk admiring the beautiful and colourful Victorian houses along the shoreline. Really very pretty in this light.
Our final stop is the non-inspiring Rock House Hotel. It’s a house from 1800 that sits on a rock on Bay Street. Uninspiring until you walk in. It’s very historic and beautifully decorated – you feel like you are in someone’s grand home. And the small pool in the garden is very nicely done. I guess “boutique” hotels and guest houses really defines the accommodation in Dunmore town. Quite chic …. if not shabby-chic!
At Valentines Marina we attempt happy hour. But it’s not so happy – absolutely no one there. We attempt the same at the nearby Romero Marina, but it is also deserted. And we do notice that most boats have already left from both marinas, before the strong wind kicks in tomorrow.
So we head back to Cloudy Bay to watch the sunset with a cup of tea. We debate whether we leave in the morning (last chance before Sunday) or allow ourselves to get weather bound here for the next several days. Conclusion: we stay 🙂
We have a quiet evening. We are listening out for any party or music from the shore, but nothing to be heard calling for us. So we stay on board accompanied by a very good free WiFi signal to entertain us.