Monday, February 28, 2011

Laing: GB’s Economy Will Improve

The Bahama Journal

State Minister For Finance Zhivargo Laing (Journal File Photo).

Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing says that some aspects of Grand Bahama’s sluggish economy will get slightly better within the next 12 months.
Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing says that some aspects of Grand Bahama’s sluggish economy will get slightly better within the next 12 months.

"Some areas might actually experience further challenges but I expect BORCO and Stat Oil to continue to add additional jobs, sub-contract business, rental revenue and some broad spending to Grand Bahama’s economy," said Minister Laing said as he addressed scores the Grand Bahama Business Outlook yesterday.

"Two consecutive sales transaction of BORCO over the last two years has been a great blessing to the public treasury, accounting for some $120 million in unexpected revenue to the government from stamp taxes."

Mr. Laing said the construction of a new power plant on the island would also add to its economic fortunes.

The minister also predicted the cruise business might continue to perform well.

"The cruise business will continue to perform well but the stopover business is likely to continue struggling, though some gains may come as the US economy continues to pick up steam," said Minister Laing.

"One caveat to this is the possibility of increase oil prices, which seems more likely with the developments in the Middle East."

Minister Laing said hotel or resort developments on the island remain dim.

However, he said that hundreds of Grand Bahamian construction workers will find employment on the Baha Mar project over the next twelve months.

"Overall, employment prospects in some areas of construction will likely expand over the next twelve months while new employment in other areas of the economy will remain subdued," he said.

Meantime, Minister Laing appealed to Grand Bahamians to abandon their negativity surrounding the islands economy.

"We must abandon the negativity that saps our energy and muddies our will. We must state emphatically and with faith, our intention and desire to move forward and to achieve these potentialities. When we do so with conviction, we will find the means to fulfill these desires," he said.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Featured Listing!! 16 Fortune Cay Club, 3 Bed, 3 bath USD 685,000 Listing ID-5586

#16 Fortune Cay Club
2,000 sq. ft.
3 Bed, 3 bath
Listing ID#5586

Island style living awaits you in this beautifully appointed three bedroom three bath home in Gated Fortune Cay Club. This open floor plan home allows for the ease of entertaining while a wrap around patio allows the outdoors in. Amenities include a pool and tennis court with oceanviews and access to the beach. This home is offered to you fully furnished.
 Click here for more details and photos

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Featured Listing!! Old Bahama Bay Home 4,000 sq. ft. 5 Bed, 4 Bath USD 3,450,000 Listing ID-5560

This Spectacular 4,000 square feet Island Style Home is a boaters dream home. This home is situated in the idyllic gated community of OLD BAHAMA BAY in West End on Grand Bahama Island only 56 miles from West Palm Beach, Florida. This five bedroom three and a half bath home will allow for plenty of room for out of town guests.

The remarkable craftsmanship of this home truly needs to be seen to be appreciated. No expense has been spared in this luxurious one of a kind residence. It offers breathtaking Ocean views and deep water dockage on a 1 acre lot. This home is simply Island Living at its best with magnificent Sunsets and barefoot elegant charm.


Island living at its best with magnificent Sunsets and barefoot elegant charm!

Featured Listing!!Princess Isle Single Family Lot, 99’ Canal frontage USD 875,000 Listing ID 1620

James Sarles Realty offers this prime piece of real estate. Located inside the Premier gated community of Princess Isle, this property offers the best of both beachfront and canal front living. Lot 21 features 150ft of beachfront and almost 1.24 acres of land while the adjacent canal lot offers 99ft of water frontage and .29 acres of land. This is an unusual and extremely rare situation to have the ultimate luxury of living on a Peninsula. The community itself boasts some of the most amazing homes throughout the islands. Close proximity to major shopping and the airport makes this property even more spectacular. A must see at an excellent price.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Paint Fair praised as an outstanding 'green citizen'

PAINT FAIR’S ‘REUSE PAINT DEPOT’ – Persons wishing to support on-island community projects can donate left-over or excess paint to the ‘Reuse Paint Depot’.  Inspecting containers of donated paint before passing them on are (left to right): Gary Carey, sales associate and Eric Baptista, store manager and sales representative, Paint Fair.

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Since the inception of the Keep Grand Bahama Clean (KGBC) initiative, Paint Fair has been a staunch supporter helping to spread the message of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.

“Keeping our island clean is in our best interests – it protects all of our livelihoods and the future of our children and their children,” expressed general manager, Lesley Baptista.

To this end, Paint Fair has introduced various initiatives to encourage persons to preserve and protect their homes, businesses and communal areas. “What we think is important is for everyone to realize that small steps can add up to make a big difference – the key is to start,” Baptista stressed.

Initial steps the company has taken include, reducing waste by eliminating it in the first place. Baptista said they offer customers the best information possible at the outset regarding not buying more paint or accessories than is really needed.

Additionally, Paint Fair is committed to providing environmentally friendly, durable products like ‘WonderPure no-VOC paint, which has been named best-in-class by environmental publications. They also provide eco-friendly cleaners, paint hardeners and products made from recycled material.
KGBC chairperson, Nakira Wilchcombe, is full of praise for their efforts. “We are thrilled to have such concerned ‘green citizens’ as Paint Fair as a KGBC partner. They have always demonstrated a keen desire to positively impact the community and this is evident in the expert advice and quality products that they offer when it comes to protecting the environment,” she said.

Of particular note is the company’s ‘Reuse Paint Depot’ where individuals can drop off excess or left-over paint. Launched in late 2009, this partner programme with KGBC provides a place for persons to bring in used or excess paint to be passed on to those in need, or properly disposed of.

GOING GREEN  HOMEGOODS  –  Paint Fair’s ‘green’ efforts extend to offering a wide variety of unique accessories for the home including many recycled items.  Sales associate, Bridgette Storr (left) and general manager, Lesley Baptista, arrange assorted displays.

According to Baptista, after passing proper inspection, the donated paint is then given to various beneficiaries such as schools, churches and various organizations. “We never re-blend the donated paint with our new stock, nor do we recycle it, but it is given to those in need to support community projects,” she said.

Student entrants in the KGBC Downtown Mural Competition were recently on the receiving end of this initiative. Paint Fair’s ‘Reuse Paint Depot’ made donations to school Art departments and young artists used the paint to produce award-winning pieces for the contest.

Wilchcombe further noted that Paint Fair has also been a major supporter of the Downtown Turnaround Project (DTP) which The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) launched in 2009. As GBPA has worked to transform the downtown city centre with improved lighting, landscaping and other features, Paint Fair has cooperated with businesses wishing to repaint and refurbish their premises.

Baptista offered several eco-friendly tips for local consumers: use it – try to use up any leftover paint by adding an extra coat for richer colour and extra protection, or use paint to give new life to furniture and accessories that could use a facelift; share it – as long as paint is in good condition, swap it with a friend or neighbour; clean up – water-based paint, brushes and accessories can be cleaned with water, and solvent cleaners (for oil paints) can be strained and reused after cleaning brushes, rollers etc.; dry it out – latex (water-based) paint can be dried up with paint hardener, sand, newspaper or cat litter and then safely thrown away; deliver to your local paint depot – if you can’t use it up, bring it in to be passed on.

The adoption of ‘green practices’ was encouraged by both Wilchcombe and Baptista. “We think the initiatives taken on by the KGBC committee are vital to our collective future and it’s a natural extension for Paint Fair to help in anyway we can to protect and preserve our natural resources and bring awareness to the need for all of us to do our part,” Baptista added.

Prime Minister celebrates Deep Water Cay Resorts Grand Opening of its new facilities

Submitted by Barefoot Marketing

Pictured at arrival on the cay are (left to right) Minister Kenneth Russell, MP for High Rock, Paul R. Vahldiek and Sonja Engelhorn owners of Deep Water Cay, Prime Minister Ingraham, Richard Zundritsch, owner of Deep Water Cay and Dana Dribben, General Manager at Deep Water Cay.  (Photo courtesy of Erik J. Russell for Barefoot Marketing)

DEEP WATER CAY, Grand Bahama - The Right Honourable Prime Minster Hubert Ingraham spent Friday afternoon at the revamped Deep Water Cay resort, in east Grand Bahama. His visit and tour was to see for himself what is approaching a 10 million dollar investment spent on refurbishing and expanding the original bone fishing lodge there.

“There are many places in The Bahamas that would be envious of having this facility near them,” said Prime Minister Ingraham. “As a small place, this place is employing and providing income for 40 or 45 people - these are the sort of things that we would like to encourage in our Family Islands.”

Prime Minister tours Cay.  Prime Minster Ingraham was accompanied to Deep Water Cay by former MP for High Rock, Maurice Moore

Now under new ownership and management, this exclusive resort is situating itself to be the premier boutique destination in Grand Bahama. “We are thrilled to have the Prime Minister here to see the work we have done,” said Paul Vahldiek, co-owner of Deep Water Cay resort. “We met two years ago to discuss our goals and I am very pleased to be able to show him the investment we have made on this beautiful cay.”

Some of the many improvements made on Deep Water Cay includes accommodation upgrades to seven oceanfront cottages, cell and internet service at the Lodge and Welcome Center and the addition of A.J.’s dockside bar. Several guest homes have been added to the rental pool, thereby increasing the resort’s occupancy to 38 guests. As a convenience for guests and as a protection for the environment, a desalinization and waste water treatment plant has been completed.
Part of the new owners investments include a new Welcome Centre that houses the fly fishing pro shop with fishing clothing, flies, terminal gear as well as logo apparel.(Photo courtesy of Deep Water Cay)

For the avid fisherman Deep Water Cay’s new ownership has purchased ten new Hell's Bay skiffs giving the resort a fleet of fourteen bonefish skiffs. “The old docks and pilings have been replaced by floating docks,” said Dana Dribben, Deep Water Cay General Manger. “Guests have the convenience of simply walking a short distance from their cottage to climb aboard their Hell’s Bay skiff for a day of adventure on the pristine surrounding waters.”

The resort has also built a new Welcome Centre that houses the fly-fishing pro shop with fishing clothing, flies, terminal gear, as well as logo apparel and gifts. In addition to these amenities the resort will now have a fully operational dive shop, with two new 33-foot World Cat boats for scuba diving, reef and blue water fishing.

Local companies Knowles Construction, Care Maintenance and Treasure Coast Development Company, have all been hard at work improving the 50 year old resort employing over 40 Grand Bahamians. Improvements are not finished yet, as the resort has purchased the “Burrows” property near McLean’s Town where they will construct a marina with boat storage, a fuel dock, employee housing and a sustainable garden for the resort as well as the local community.

A.J.’s dockside bar.  Deep Water Cay owners also added an after fishing tiki hut, called A.J.'s dockside bar for their guests.(Photo courtesy of Deep Water Cay)

Prime Minister Ingraham gave brief remarks after touring the resort, he noted that, “I came to say to the people of East Grand Bahama, McLean’s Town in particular, that you’ve got some wonderful people here who have invested substantial sums of money, who did what nobody else I know has done before and that is they paid your wages for a long period of time while they did not own the place – they had no obligation to do so; they wanted to demonstrate that they were people with a heart and that they were interested in your welfare and your best interest.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Papa Smurf releases official music video, "I Am a Bahamian"

By The Bahamas Weekly News Team

Freeport, The Bahamas - Bahamian Hip Hop Artist “Papa Smurf” finally drops his long awaited video for the hit single and patriotic anthem, "I Am a Bahamian" featuring Da Element and Sherrol Rahming, with scenes shot in Grand Bahama Island along with lots of local faces.

Hailing from Eight Mile Rock, Jones Town, "Papa Smurf" exploded on the music scene with his hit single "What Da Vibe Is" and went on to release other hits songs such as "Forward Upward" “Stop, Look, Listen” and "The Teacher Appreciation Song."

Still working on his solo album entitled "Over Seven Hundred Strong" he decided to shoot a video for one of the singles. This video was shot and directed by Shantz Collymore of Evolution Film and Media. The video boasts a bright rich island feel that captures the true essence of island life. With a new album in the works and a strong determination to make The Bahamas proud, we can expect great things from Papa Smurf

"I Am a Bahamian" is truly a patriotic masterpiece...

More about Songwriter / Musical Performer, Papa Smurf:

Born: June 2, 1978
Birthplace: Freeport, Grand Bahama
Real name: Alvin Simms
Best Known For: His Most Popular Songs (Tings Still Cool) "What Da Vibe Is", "Forward Upward", and "Serious Ting"

Growing up in Eight Mile Rock, Avin had a real taste of island life, from shooting marbles at home and during lunchtime in the school yard to going fishing with his father in his 12 foot aluminum dingy boat. From a young age his mother would line him and his two brothers up and ask them to sing for her. But it was not until the age of Thirteen that he developed a strong interest in music, and cars. He would race down the road playing songs from KB (Just cause she fat). The high school children with their boom boxes would walk down the road playing songs from Bob Marley, and at home he would hear songs from Smokey 007 on ZNS radio. Simms had interest in different genres of music from Hip-Hop, R&B, Soca, to Reggae and Dancehall. He got his first taste of performing in front of a crowd at the local Fish-Fry in Smith's Point. He then went on to perform in local concert shows, sharing the stage with local and international artists.

Alvin then moved forward to recording his music, and working with recording engineers such as Fritz Bootle, Lester Adderly, and Dave Mackey of T-Connection. In 2007 he met Terrance Capron and they later became the rap duo Positive Link. Using Bahamian slang and Bahamian terminology in their songs they introduced a whole new style of music that they call "Bahamian Swing" which also was the name of their debut album.

Making a fresh start in 2009 as a solo artist, Smurf dropped his first single "Stop, Look, Listen" from his upcoming album due out in the summer of 2009.

On Facebook as Positive Link

GB gets emergency water facility

The Freeport News

Freeport, GRAND BAHAMA- A project that has been a dream for the Rotary Club International and the TK Foundation from 2006 finally became a reality yesterday with the commissioning of an emergency water reserve for the island.

Following the devasting hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 the need for water became apparent as airlift of supplies was mainly for much needed water. As a result, food and other supplies became secondary.

Since that time through the support of the Foundation and the various Rotary Clubs including Grand Bahama district 6990, East Nassau Rotary district 7020, California district 5280 and the Grand Bahama business community joined forces to raise funds for the reverse osmosis water plant.

A special ceremony was held at the site located behind the Hawksbill Service Station where government officals and those invovled in the project celebrated the occasion.

Don Cornish, administrator in the Office of the Prime Minister and co-ordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), noted that the island now has the benefit of reliable consumable water in the time of crisis.

"We believe that that there is a clear need for co-operation among the various organizations with the government and the private sectors to ensure that our eyes are kept squarely on the ball and that at the end of the day key initiatives are taken in order to prevent the kind of issues that would adversely affect the population and its need and its access to water supply," he said.

"NEMA has an awesome responsibility of protecting the population during catastrophes of various kinds. It also has the task of restoring order to the lives of those persons who are affected adversely. We cannot do it alone, therefore the efforts of partners such as the Rotary Club to assist, takes us quantum leaps closer to ensuring that all of the necessary resources that are often scarce are as widely distributed as possible."

He said that Rotary is to be commended as the lead organization. The goal of Rotary, Cornish stressed, is always to ensure that the greater good is realized through its international foundation.

The reverse osmosis plant produces up to 6,000 gallons of water daily and will fill five gallon containers when the need arises. It is connected to city water and ground well water, with its own generator, in case of power outages.

Once a storm is tracked in this area, the plant will commence storage of water and will be maintained by the Grand Bahama Utility Company.

Myles Pritchard, a Bahamian living in California, brought the matter to his club and its incoming California President Elect, Jillian Alexander assisted with raising financial support.

Arthur Coady of the TK Foundation donated $100,000 for the equipment and through the Rotary Foundation and their ability to match grants, $217,000 was raised for the major project.

The plant sits on land donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and Harold "Sonny" Waugh of Waugh Construction guided the progress of the project and supervised its construction.

Various Grand Bahamians also assisted in the project including: Contractor Len Hindley, Antoine Knowles, Draftsman, Argus Advisors, Bahama Rock, Bahamas Hot Mix Co. Ltd., Big G's Plumbing, Bradford Marine, Care Maintenance Ltd., East Atlantic Electric Co. Ltd., Freeport Aggregates Ltd., Freeport Construction Co. Ltd., GB Power Co. Ltd., GB Terrazzo & Masonry Co. Ltd., GB Utility Co. Ltd., Gold Rock Concrete Products, Guardian Fencing & Shutters, Mechanical Engineering Ltd., Power Equipment Ltd. and Sanitation Services.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Downtown turnaround project in final stage


Freeport,GRAND BAHAMA- Officials of the Downtown Turnaround initiative, conducted by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), are preparing for the third and final phase of the project with hopes that when completed, it will spur economic activity back to the area.

According to GBPA Envi-ronmental Manager, Nakira Wilchcombe, the final stage of the project will be focused primarily on the Churchill square area to create an outdoor venue for the downtown community.

"We want to upgrade a lot of the landscaping. Currently, it is an open space that is unused, so we would like to really improve amenities as far as trash receptacles, landscaping, some degree of seating and make it an atmosphere where persons that patronize the downtown stores, as well as work in the downtown community can utilize that space," Wilchcombe said, adding that once renovated the area can be used as a venue for events in the future.

She said that they are also continuing to call on business owners in the downtown area to make improvements to their stores and buildings.

She noted that during the entire process the response from business owners and those that frequent downtown has been a positive one.

"We call on the public to do their part in keeping the general environment clean and just respecting some of the changes that have been done.

Wilchcombe said that the improvements to the downtown center will hopefully serve as another improved area that tourists and locals can visit.

"It is our desire to ensure that the area looks and feels good. We want to encourage persons to come into the downtown area and enjoy it and to also support the business there."

Similarly, members of the International Bazaar worked to improve the esthetics of the area that became a "ghost town" following the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.

Along with incentives offered by the GBPA business is reportedly thriving and businesses in the downtown area are looking forward to the same success.

Any improvements in the general area, Wilchcombe said, whether it be Freeport or Lucaya or anywhere else, will be a bonus for the island.

The three-phase plan for the downtown area, which began on April 1,2009 includes a full-scale clean-up of the area, the introduction of new landscaping, signage, benches, lighting and other esthetically-pleasing features.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Power firm eyeing all renewable energies

Tribune Business Editor

Grand Bahama Power Company and its 80.4 per cent majority owner will look at every renewable energy technology for possible inclusion in its future electricity generation, Tribune Business was told yesterday, as it currently explores the economic viability of wind power.
Ray Robinson, Grand Bahama Power's newly-appointed executive chairman, said that while data collected over a two-year period suggested the island was "not an incredible wind region", there were signs that it could be economically viable and part of the future energy generation portfolio.
Other possibilities included biomass, waste-to-energy and wave/tidal power, and Mr Robinson pledged: "There is no renewable energy technology that we are not looking at."
He added: "We have been collecting wind data for nearly two years on this island, and have a good bit of it. It's not an incredible wind region, but we think we can economically develop wind power and that it can be part of the portfolio going forward."
Mr Robinson said Grand Bahama Power Company thought it had "found a good one" in terms of a wind turbine supplier, given that the design was hurricane resistant, and was now going through the technical checks and due diligence with the prospective supplier.
"We're overlaying the wind data with our electricity data, matching the right power curve to the wind experience in Grand Bahama, and running financial models to see how we can economically produce wind on Grand Bahama," Mr Robinson said. The company, he added, was still assessing the best sites upon which to locate the wind turbines.
"One of the things we're doing is a long-term system development plan," Mr Robinson told Tribune Business.
"There is no new renewable energy technology we're not looking at.
"There's a wealth of new renewable technology that may end up being part of the generation portfolio over time.
"We're looking at any number of these."
Mr Robinson said Grand Bahama Power Company's review analysis of these renewable energy technologies was likely to be completed later in 2011.

Review of Bishop's Bonefish Resort

"Beautiful, secluded beach!"-July 2010, Anejo-y-Coca, Las Vegas

"Cracked Conch and Grouper Worth the Drive"-March 2010, castletonroad, Pinedale, Wyoming

by TheInveterates

"Seclusion, Good Food, Fantastic Location, Great Value - I have visited Grand Bahama several times during the past year, and once you've hung around Lucaya it frankly gets pretty old. Bishop's is a wonderful break from the expensive tedium of Big Hotel life in Freeport. You'll need a car or at least a scooter, as it is about 30 miles east of town on the main road. (Get a map). When you get to High Rock, look for the small sign on the right that says "Bishops" and turn right. (Don't be afraid to stop at a shop and ask for directions. People are very friendly and helpful.) If you get to the big oil tanks, turn around and go back about 3 miles and turn left into the settlement. At the shore, turn right and Bishops is all the way to the end of the road. Bishops has 7 rooms, each with two queen beds. Room # 1 is best.

>Clean tile floors, cable TV and WIFI (spotty) are standard, and a unique outdoor beachside gazebo is often frequented by locals and tourists alike. His food menu is limited but good, with cracked conch being a specialty. Lobster ($18 for a full dinner at this writing) is available in season, and even out of season if you give him notice. (Out of season will have been frozen in town.) Do not plan on eating late, as unless he has a crowd (defined as four or more), he will shut the restaurant down at about 6:30. The bar is open until the throng leaves, but you aren't here for the nightlife. The beach is absolutely beautiful - you can walk for about 4 miles before you see any development. It's usually deserted. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet and the peacefulness. Take a few days off from the Lucaya bustle and come out to Bishops for a nice tropical and typical stay.

Read more here 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Australia opens its Honorary Consulate in the Bahamas

By Jacob Sapochnick

Nassau, Bahamas- There is a new development in the cordial relations between the Bahamas and Australia was realised with the official launching of the Australian Honorary Consulate and the introduction of Caroline Moncur as Honourary Consul.
The event took place Thursday at the Lyford Cay Club, where Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest underscored the importance of such relations. The Bahamas and Australia have been enjoying friendly and supportive relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations on January 7, 1974.
"We work together in the bilateral and multilateral levels. One of our latest important bilateral endeavours was the signing of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement in March 2010. On the multilateral level we are working together on important climate change and maritime issues," Mr Turnquest said.
Australia also maintains relations with other members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); having extended a hand in friendship and co-operation in a number of areas.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Posted By Jillian Morris on

Tiger Beach is a shark diving Mecca that draws scientists, film crews & divers from across the globe. If you have never slipped beneath the surface at this underwater paradise, it should definitely be on your, “Bucket List.” Thankfully, the white sand here is free of beach chairs or umbrella-adorned drinks, and instead offers massive apex predators. The potential for encounters that are up-close and personal will far exceed anything you could have imagined. I have spent a great deal of time at this adveturous location and it remains one of my favorite places on the planet. Afterall, it was while diving at Tiger Beach that I made a dead fish talk and subsequently my fiancĂ© and I were hooked! We have been together ever since.

Many of the female tiger sharks at, “The Beach,” have become celebrities because they are seen year after year. Emma, a big beauty, even has her own Face Book page. They have become regulars on Discovery’s Shark Week and countless other television programs and documentaries. The shallow depth and aquarium-like visibility make this an ideal location for filming and photographing these charismatic mega-fauna. Scientists and researchers are also to trying to better understand these animals as a means of protecting their future survival.
There is also a reliable troop of lemon sharks that inhabit these waters; numbering anywhere from 15 to 30, when you visit you will find them gathering around the boat. The lemons are more interested in the food than the tigers and seem oblivious to divers at most times. I have also seen Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks onsite, with the occasional appearance by a great hammerhead!! Those are my favourite trips. The cast of characters is dynamic, making each trip a unique experience.
Despite the global popularity and love for this site, it remains an unprotected region. It is an open target for sport fisherman seeking out world records, commercial fishing boats weekend warriors heading across from Florida. Sadly, some people have no respect for sharks, only a skewed perception of their purpose or a lack of the fundamental understanding that we are all interconnected. On my last trip, we encountered a well-known female shark that looked like she had been hooked sometime in the last year. She had clearly suffered damage to the right side of her jaw and was extremely skittish. This is an unfortunate manifestation of the often-misguided battle we humans wage against these vital animals. However, resilience can only take you so far. This shark also appeared much skinnier than most of the other regular females. She never even came close to the cage until all the divers were out of the water. Tiger sharks are known to be cautious, but curious, eventually getting close enough that pictures or footage are just a grey/brown blur. So, it is truly devastating to see such a magnificent creature reduced to a fearful shadow of itself. With one single heartless act, humans have the capacity to remove the power and beauty of an animal that has otherwise survived millions of years unaffected.

On my most recent trip to Tiger Beach, I was acting as a private dive guide for "The Undertaker" (a professional wrestler) and his son. It was fascinating to see a man who has lived in an arena with larger-than-life qualities get as excited as a kid on Christmas morning, smiling so much he can hardly keep his regulator in place. At 6’8, even a humongous wrestler felt small next to some of the 8-foot long lemon sharks that spent the day with us. I am pretty confident not many other things have ever made him feel so much smaller. "The Undertaker” asked great questions and spoke with terrific enthusiasm about his very first shark encounter, which he experienced while diving in Fiji. He ardently listened to me speak about the plight of sharks and about safe seafood choices, recycling and marine protected areas. I would like to believe that he is now acting as an advocate for these animals. I am also encouraged that due to their positive experience at Tiger Beach his son is also likely spreading the message to his friends and inspiring them to go see sharks up close.
As a dive guide, videographer and shark naturalist, I have been blessed to share these incredible animals with people first-hand and to capture images that inspire compassion the world over. It is extremely rewarding and I hope that I am able to do so for many years to come. Connecting people with sharks is necessary for the future of their survival, and ultimately ours too. The Bahamas and Tiger Beach are now facing the threat of a shark-finning corporation moving into their waters. Bahamians, the Bahamas National Trust, dive operators, scientists and conservation groups are uniting to prevent would be a complete atrocity and degradation of the oceans in this region. It is incredible to see so many diverse groups collaborating and working towards a common goal. I hope that our voices and actions will be strong enough to save these sharks!

Want to dive Tiger Beach? Join our June expeditions for the dive trip of a lifetime on the Tiger Beach Expedition with OceanicAllstars.
Learn more and get involved in protecting the sharks of the Bahamas here:


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Freeport government complex construction progresses

By The Bahamas Investor Magazine

New government office buildings on schedule to be completed by summer this year. The $19-million administration complex in the centre of Freeport will house a variety of government departments.

The $19-million government complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama, is well into the construction phase, with the majority of the office building nearing completion. The 65,000 sq ft facility will house various government departments and is scheduled for completion by August 2011.
The construction is being carried out by FES Construction Co Ltd.

“The complex will create 250 new jobs in the construction sector all told and spin-off effects for the wider community,” according to Minister of State for Finance in the Ministry of Finance Zhivargo Laing.
It is hoped that the new buildings will help shift some of the government’s administrative duties to the nation’s second city.
“At the moment the government has a kind of branch mentality when it comes to Freeport and Grand Bahama,” says K Peter Turnquest, president of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce. “We are hopeful this will help change that, but there are practical considerations. What we need is true local government.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cruise News-Cruise Ship Extreme Makeover: Details on Grand Princess' Massive Refurbishment

Grand Princess on Dry dock at GB Shipyard

by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor

Talk about cruise ship plastic surgery. We may not even recognize Grand Princess, the 109,000-ton, 2,600-passengers vessel that splits time between Fort Lauderdale and Southampton, following its massive facelift in April.

That's because during the 24-day refit, which will take place at Freeport's Grand Bahama Shipyard from April 11 to May 4, workers will slice off the ship's distinctive "shopping trolley" handle (pictured), dramatically altering its profile. Below decks, Princess is gutting the atrium to make way for the line's now-signature "Piazza," a multi-purpose venue that didn't exist when the ship debuted in 1998. The ship will also gain new restaurants, suites, lounges and a combination tea room/library.

Here are the details on the multi-million dollar refurbishment, which the line is calling its biggest ever:

The entire Deck 18 (the ship's distinctive shopping cart handle), which currently houses Skywalkers Nightclub, will be removed. A new nightclub, One5 (a clue to its location) will be fitted on Deck 15 in the area currently used as a conference room. The reason for such dramatic surgery? To improve the operational performance of the ship and increase its fuel efficiency. The new lounge will resemble a chic urban nightclub, with a backlit bar and modern decor.

The atrium will be refashioned into Princess' signature "Piazza," with an International Cafe serving coffees, pastries and sandwiches; and a Vines wine bar, a popular feature on the larger and newer Princess ships. Vines will serve over 30 wines by the glass as well as tapas and sushi. Passengers will also be able to buy wine at a wine shop here.

Alfredo's, an open-kitchen pizzeria is also being added. It's named after Princess' master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi.

The current Promenade Lounge and Bar on Deck 7 will become Crooners, the popular, 1950's-style martini bar featured on the line's newer ships.

The Limelight shop on Deck 7 will become a dual purpose tea lounge and library, serving custom-blended specialty teas in association with the Mighty Leaf Tea Company. A "tea sommelier" -- which sounds very grand -- will help passengers blend their teas. The current library will be absorbed into the changes to the atrium on Deck 5.
The Crown Grill, a classic steakhouse, will replace the current Sterling Steakhouse. It will also have an open kitchen, serving fresh beef and seafood, including lobsters, which are kept live onboard.

Also part of the renovation will be the addition of 10 new suites; a remodeled casino, boutiques, an art gallery; and enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel.

Because Grand Princess cruises out of Southampton during summer, British passengers will be among the first to experience the vessel, post-op. The ship will arrive in Southampton on May 21 and sail the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the Norwegian coast all summer.

Interested in other cruise ship refurbs on tap for 2011 and beyond? Check out our newly updated chart.

Humane Society of Grand Bahama holding FREE spay and neuter clinic in Eight Mile Rock

Friday, February 11, 2011

A noon appointment with a Bahamas beach

Coral Beach During Basra
A True Story By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer

The plane takes off into the dawning sky, flying southbound like a giant migratory bird. I close my eyes to the frozen tundra below.

Hurry, hurry, hurry.

The flight attendant unlatches the exit door and attaches the staircase. The passengers barrel out; I'm at the head of the line.

Move, move, move.

At immigration, visitors form two rows, fidgety as they wait to enter Grand Bahama Island and start their vacations. I'm next in my line, after a young woman in a flouncy skirt who's talking too much, taking too much time. A third counter opens; I break for it.

Go, go, go.

Racing to the rental car desk, I rush past a bathroom and a snack shop. I turn back for one of them.

Drive, drive, drive.

Cruising down unfamiliar roads, I keep to the left side, as the sticker on the windshield reminds Yankee drivers to do. I don't see a sign for the speed limit. Do I pass on the left or the right?Stop. Exhale. Relax.

Standing ankle-deep in the warm ocean water, my winter boots and jacket heaped behind me in the sand, I lift my pale-as-the-moon face to the midday sun. I made it - the beach by high noon.
Winter 2011 has been exhausting and exasperating, a mean stunt by that heartless Jack Frost. Seemingly every other day, I raise my angry fist to the skies, cursing it for the latest delivery of snow or icy rain or leftover slushies from 7-Eleven. To add to the blues, spring is more than a month away, and as we know from experience, the arrival of the vernal equinox doesn't mean that it's time to mothball the Nordic wear.

To escape the misery, we have a plan: the beach. And a deadline: by noon.

Imagine: While your colleagues at home are pulling on their clunky boots and scratchy hats for the cold trudge to lunch, you're leaping in the waves as the sun's rays alight on your warm skin.

To arrive at a beach destination when the orb is at its pinnacle, however, you need to be flexible. For example, you might not get your full eight hours of beauty sleep.

From Washington, flights with morning arrivals in such tropical locations as Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean depart before the sun has barely risen. And for international flights, you have to turn back the clock at least two hours. Also account for time in customs and immigration and for collecting your bags.

To make the challenge even stickier, airlines have cut many nonstops to island havens: Flights to the Bahamas stop over in Miami, and planes to Mexico's Cancun and Cozumel grab passengers in Atlanta or Philadelphia. The only nonstop flights are to Florida.

But after days on end of numb cheeks and mummylike attire, it's easy to dismiss the downsides for the prospect of dallying on the beach and feeling warm - even sweltering - again.

And so at 4 a.m. one recent Thursday, I piled into a cab to board a 6 a.m. flight that connected in Miami at 10:35 to arrive in Freeport, Bahamas, at 11:21.What I neglected to calculate into the schedule: traffic roundabouts.

On Grand Bahama Island, you have about 60 miles of sandbox to play in. And all real estate up to the high-water mark is open to the public.
Despite being the fourth-largest of the 29 Bahamian islands, the 96-mile-long Grand Bahama is one of the shier members of the family, especially compared with noisy Nassau, the capital that has swallowed up New Providence and Paradise islands. Most of Grand Bahama's hotels, restaurants and shops are consolidated in two areas only minutes apart: downtown Newport/International Bazaar and Port Lucaya Marketplace, a candy-colored, Caribbean-style souk. Traditional fishing villages and settlements established by freed slaves claim the western and eastern ends of the island. Pine forests, dense in number and tall in stature, fill the otherwise blank spaces. From the water, the coastline retains its natural glow, with long threads of sand barely touched by developers.
And on some beaches, you will feel very alone - because you are.

"You're really going to try to get to the beach by noon?" asked a Virginia passenger as we took our seats on the 30-minute flight from Miami to Freeport. "All you have to do is grab a taxi and have the driver drop you off in someone's backyard."

"Can I place a bet on you?" asked his friend.

Why, of course, you may, and to increase my odds, I left the two pals in the third row and moved closer to the exit in the plane's tail. I figured that I could save several minutes by relocating 11 rows back.

With only 41 minutes to complete my mission, I knew that I couldn't afford any missteps. So I took precautions: I went carry-on only and filled out my immigration form before landing. Pre-departure, I had asked an expert at the Bahamas tourism office for the closest beach to the airport; she told me Taino, about 10 minutes away. I circled it on the map in my guidebook. I'd reserved a rental car, but if time was tight, I'd grab a cab. I didn't want to waste any seconds signing my initials in a half-dozen places.

Lucky me, the plane arrived a few minutes early. I shot straight for immigration, landing in line with just that one person ahead of me telling the official a story that seemed to be taking much longer than necessary. No one needs more than 60 seconds to say, "I am staying in Lucaya for two nights because it is so cold at home, I think my brain is suffering from hypothermia," I thought. And yet her lips continued to move, immobilizing our queue.
I decided to check the time on my cellphone, betraying my original oath not to peek until I was free of customs. My reason: I didn't want to start sweating or freaking out, thus incurring more questions and losing more ticks on the clock. But I succumbed, and I suffered for it. The phone flashed 12:19.

I was stunned. Had the islands suddenly switched to Atlantic Standard Time? Or did Verizon think I was in Puerto Rico, one hour ahead?

When the agent called me up, I was the one who started asking the questions: What time is it? Much to my relief, it was barely 11:30 a.m., same as Washington. (Not funny, Verizon.) Then, while I had the agent's full attention, I asked him for the closest beach. He confirmed Taino, southeast of the airport. At immigration, I asked again and received a split answer: vote three for Taino, one for William's Town. Uh-oh, dissension. On my way to ground transportation, a taxi driver trailed me, offering his services. I tested him: Closest beach or no fare. He threw out the Wyndham, adding that I could have a nice lunch there, too. But I didn't need the nearest BLT on wheat. I was on my own now.

I approached the Hertz counter and asked if the car could be ready in five minutes, so that I could make my noon "appointment." The obliging agent, Pearlette, agreed. She just needed my voucher. I had a reservation number, but no printout. She said that without written proof, I'd be double-charged. I asked if I could "take care of my errand first," then return with a printout. She looked unconvinced. I blurted out my reason, and her face turned soft, even amused. She told me that Xanadu Beach (a suggestion seconded by the agent at an adjacent car rental desk) was minutes away.

"It's a straight drive," she told me. "You'll be there way before noon."
Now we double-teamed. As I printed out the confirmation, she pulled the car around. I handed her the sheet; she passed over the key.
As I drove off, she reminded me to drive on the left side and to watch for the three roundabouts on the way. Yes, Grand Bahama has nearly as many traffic circles as it does beaches.

I messed up on the first roundabout, losing five minutes as I drove east, not south. I considered just driving straight, reasoning that the island had to dead-end eventually, but I decided to stick to my original plan. I didn't have the convenience of improvisation.

I turned back and found the correct road, traveling through downtown, a quick spurt of British empire-style government buildings, and then the International Bazaar, a colorful maze of ersatz world cultures. As I looked for a blue sign signifying my right turn, a driver in the next lane shouted to me through an open window, "Stay left!" I switched lanes, making it even more impossible to spot a small marker across four lanes of traffic plus a leafy median.

I missed the turn and paused at a stop sign to check the map. (The island's roads are very quiet, so you can feasibly study a map without causing a traffic jam.) A man in a car pulled up, asking whether I needed help. I threw out that now dog-eared query: "I'm looking for the nearest beach?"

"You're too pretty for those" non-resort beaches, he said, with princely charm. "Go to Xanadu."

He supplied directions that involved yet another circle. No surprise, I failed to go the proper fraction around it. I decided to just drive until I hit some semblance of a beach.

On a rutted, tree-shaded road, I spotted shimmering water through the windshield. I aimed for it, not stopping until the car's wheels sank slightly into soft white mounds.

I jumped out, having no idea where I was but not caring. I had sand under my feet and an endless spread of ocean tinged with the blue of the sky. I checked the time: 12:05.

But that wasn't quite right.

I'd forgotten to figure in the handicap for the roundabouts. After a quick adjustment, it turned out that I'd arrived at the correct hour: the stroke of noon.

Emera Inc.''s fourth quarter profit rises six per cent to $39.6 million (Emera-Inc)

Reposted from SOURCE

HALIFAX _ Emera Inc. (TSX:EMA), the owner of Nova Scotia Power and other utilities, says its fourth-quarter net profit rose six per cent to $39.6 million, despite a decrease in revenues.

The Halifax-based company´s fourth-quarter profits amounted to 35 cents per share, up from $37.5 million, or 33 cents per share in the year ago period.

Revenue fell to $392.7 million from $406.5 a year ago.

For the full year, Emera earned $191.1 million, or $1.68, rising from $175.7 million, or $1.56 per share, in 2009.

"In 2010, we produced record operating results and record returns for our shareholders," said Chris Huskilson, Emera´s president and CEO.

"Emera has had five years of solid progress. We have diversified our earnings, increased our clean generation, and set the stage for future growth."

In breaking down its operations for the quarter, Emera said:

_ Nova Scotia Power Inc. earnings rose to $20.7 million from $17.4 million, reflecting a lower income tax expense.

_ Bangor Hydro-Electric contributed $7.8 million to net earnings, up from $7 million a year earlier. The increase was primarily due to increases in transmission pool revenue due to recovery of regionally funded transmission investments.

_ Emera´s Pipelines contributed $8.8 million in earnings from $8.4 million, reflecting the beginning of Brunswick Pipeline´s operations.

Emera is a growing energy and services company with $6.3 billion in assets and revenues of $1.6 billion.

It operates Nova Scotia Power Inc., Bangor Hydro Electric Company in Maine and the Brunswick Pipeline, a 145 kilometre gas pipeline in New Brunswick.

Emera also owns 38 per cent of Barbados Light and Power which serves 120,000 customers on the Caribbean island of Barbados, 19 per cent of St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited, also in the Caribbean, and 25 per cent of Grand Bahama Power Company which serves 19,000 customers on the Caribbean island of Grand Bahama.

In addition to its electric utility investments, Emera owns a gas-fired power plant in Saint John, a joint-venture stake in the Bear Swamp hydro-electric plant in northern Massachusetts and a 12.9 per cent stake in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.

Shares in the company fell 56 cents to $30.44 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rotary Club of Freeport distributes food boxes to the elderly island-wide

Rotary Club of Freeport members packed food boxes for distribution from West End to East End.

Submitted by the Rotary Club of Freeport

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- This past weekend the Rotary Club of Freeport conducted an island-wide food distribution for the elderly exercise that extended from West End to East End. Living up to its commitment as a service club whose motto is “Service Above Self,” this donation it is hoped will assist those in need at this time and will help to lessen the burden in these tough financial times.

Rather than distribute the food packages during the Christmas holidays as so many other organizations do, it was felt that this gift would be more appreciated at a time when there is little chance that any other organization would be doing the same thing. With the downturn in the economy and the reality of the holiday bills now setting in, a donation at this time is most timely.

Over one hundred and fifty-five boxes of food were given out. This distribution complimented the pre-Christmas holiday donation of a ham or turkey that was given out in conjunction with the Northern Bahamas Council for the Disabled.

Assistance in these distributions came from persons and organizations including Mr. Preston Cooper, who assisted in East End district, and Mr. Dudley Seide of Outreach Ministry, who assisted in the Freeport/Pinder’s Point area.

Local community members in West End assist with distribution of the food boxes in that district.

Local community members in West End assist with distribution of the food boxes in that district.The Rotary Club of Freeport would like to publicly express a special thanks to those who assisted in the distribution of the food boxes, and also those who assisted in identifying those in need of these food parcels.

Photo 1: Rotary Club of Freeport members packed food boxes for distribution from West End to East End.

Photo 2: Local community members in West End assist with distribution of the food boxes in that district.

Wind Jammers to premiere in Grand Bahama in support of the GB Sailing Club

Freeport, Bahamas - Pelican Bay Hotel and The Bahamas Weekly are please to present the Grand Bahama premiere of the Bahamian family feature film, Wind Jammers on Saturday, February 12th at 7pm in the Canal House conference center.

Organizers of the upcoming premiere of Bahamian family feature film, Wind Jammers, which will screen at Pelican Bay Hotel on Saturday, February 12th at 7pm. Left to Right: Magnus Alnebeck, GM, Pelican Bay Hotel; Robbin Whachell of The Bahamas Weekly; David Mackey of The Bahamas Weekly; and Chris Paine of the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. Photo: The Bahamas Weekly

 The idea to screen in Grand Bahama came about when Dave Mackey and Robbin Whachell had the opportunity to view Wind Jammers and cover the world premiere in December 2010 in Nassau at the Atlantis Theatre. "We enjoyed the film so much, and after interviewing the cast and directors, along with Sir Durwood Knowles who was a collaborator for the film, we felt it would be wonderful to show it here in Grand Bahama," said editor of The Bahamas Weekly, Robbin Whachell.

Co-directors of Wind Jammers, a Bahamian feature family film, Kareem Mortimer (left) and Ric von Maur are pleased to be showing their film in Grand Bahama and to be supporting the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. Photo: Wellington Chea

 Since the film is related directly to sailing and shows the Nassau Sailing Club, the idea of showing it to the Grand Bahama Sailing Club was a natural. After all, The Bahamas won its first Olympic gold medal in the sport of sailing. Dave Mackey contacted with Chris Paine of the GBSC and he loved the idea. Proceeds of the screening will be donated to the Club which has only been in existence since 2006, but is seeing great progress in such a short time, recently taking a contingent to sail in the USA as well as hosting the 49ers World Championships in January 2010.
Co-director Ric von Maur had this to say about the upcoming screening, "Our film is about a girl's coming of age while learning to sail. We are looking forward to showing the movie to the young sailors in Grand Bahama, and are so happy that the event supports the Grand Bahama Sailing Club Program."

Ric von Maur, along with co-director Kareem Mortimer will be in attendance along with the film's lead actress, Justice von Maur and other feature actors, Moya Thompson, Claudette 'Cookie' Allens, Sean Nottage, and Anthony Roberts.

The screenplay was written by Ric von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien and Michael Ray Brown. The film was produced by Nick Huston, Paul Jarrett and Kareem Mortimer.

Wind Jammers will be shown in the Canal House's Delphine's Room on the 2nd floor which is equipped with the best in technical equipment for such an event. Guests will receive complimentary popcorn and a cash bar with a variety of beverages for the young and adults will be on sale.

Tickets are $10 for Adults, and $5 for Children (12 and under) and are available at the Pelican Bay Hotel or the Grand Bahama Sailing Club and its members.

Lead actress of Wind Jammers, Justice von Maur will be in attendance at the Grand Bahama premiere screening on February 12th, 2011 at Pelican Bay Canal House. Photo: Wellington Chea

 Film Synopsis: A young mixed race girl, Justice, moves to The Bahamas with her father and experiences a new culture. The family joins the local sailing club and discovers racial undercurrents. Although there are no rules against black members and most of the members don’t mind, one influential member makes it difficult for the new family. Justice joins the sailing program and meets new friends. She loves sailing and decides to compete in the National Regatta. A 1964 Olympic Champion in sailing is impressed by Justice and recognizes that she can help change the attitudes of his beloved Bahamas and coaches her to be a first class sailor. Tension mounts as the influential member, worried that Justice will embarrass him, tries to get the family thrown off the island. Meanwhile, Justice meets a Bahamian boy and the two teach each other about their different cultures. In the end, Justice inspires everyone to rise above their petty differences and unites them as one people. One Bahamas!


George (Justices father) ..Brad Thomason
Justice....................... .......Justice von Maur
Sea Dog........................... Ashton Crosby
Whitehead..................... ...Craig Pinder
Christopher................... ....Nicholas DiMichelle
Lakeesha...................... ....Moya Thompson
Otis................. .....Anthony "Skeebo" Roberts

The screenplay was written by Ric von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien and Michael Ray Brown. The film was produced by Nick Huston, Paul Jarrett and Kareem Mortimer.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Tripadvisor Review for “Calabash Eco Adventures - Best Tours on Grand Bahama"

Photo by Calabash Eco Adventures

By Lyndah Wells

I'm a firm believer in doing research, especially reviewing other regular Joe's reports on consumer based sites before packing my bags and heading off on vacation, especially to places I've never been before.
 So when I see consistently excellent reviews for a toursim product and especially when its based right here in Grand bahama, then I really feel a duty to highlight it.
 Grand Bahama's Calabash Eco Adventures Is the Highlight this week, Read the review below from a very happy customer and click on the link to read other positive reviews on this amazing Eco adventure!

Reposted from Reviewer  Panamerican299 on Tripadvisor

"Believe all of the excellent reviews about Shamie Rolle and his Calabash Eco Adventures and don't miss the opportunity to spend the day with Shamie. I have had many excellent guides in many countries around the world. But I have never met a more knowledgeable, friendly, and outgoing guide than Shamie. He was also extremely professional and made it easy to do business with him and his Calabash Eco Adventures. After exchanging a few emails, Shamie was on time and waiting for us when we arrived by cruise ship in Freeport.

My parents and I were looking for more of a culturally authentic experience while on Grand Bahama and we could not have asked for a better guide and tour. Once Shamie settled into the driver's seat and put on his hands free speaker set, we were off exploring on his West End Adventure. Shamie was an enclycopedia of information as he proudly recounted the history of his island and in particular, the West End. This went on virtually non-stop for five hours. But Shamie did not talk simply to talk. He recounted interesting stories that captured our itnerest and left us longing to learn more. Occasionally he would ask if we wanted him to continue to which we jubilantly told him, of course!

One of the advantages of going on a small tour with Shamie is he literally stops at many places where we were able to get out, walk around, and take in the scenery as he explained the fascinating history. And when we actually ate Lobster for lunch (included with the price of the tour) after I joked about expecting to have Lobster and Champagne for lunch, we were truly amazed.

The only bad part of the day was when the tour ended. Not only did we have a fantastic tour, but we had made a new friend at the same time. I highly recommend Shamie and Calabash Eco Adventures. I look forward to going back to Grand Bahama Island if for no other reason than to take another tour with Shamie."

See our photos at: