Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grand Bahama Is Doing Alright After a Close Call With Hurricane Irene

 (c) Photo Christine Matthäi
by James Sarles

I am happy to report that Hurricane Irene did very little damage on Grand Bahama Island—mostly lots of wind and rain and a few tree branches to be cleaned up (and not even too many of those!). Everything is back to normal, with power, water, and cable/internet restored in most areas. Here is a picture of me, my wife, Marina, and my son, Nikolai, at the beach near our home during a break in the storm. This was a big Hurricane that seems to be causing a lot of flooding up the East Coast of the United States, so hope all my friends in the US are doing okay—we send you positive thoughts and safe wishes. We appreciate all the expressions of concern and support sent before and after the storm. Thank you so much.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grand Bahama: Please Say Goodnight, Irene

All eyes are on Hurricane Irene right now as the storm tracks through the Caribbean. The storm's current position via is here. All of The Bahamas is going through hurricane preparedness checklists, while still hoping for the best and holding onto the possibility that the storm's path may take it far east and out into the Atlantic. Here's thoughts and prayers that Irene will find her way out into the open ocean, and safe wishes for all who are in the path of her winds and rain.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association's Annual FUNdraiser: 41st Bernie Butler Marathon Swim Race at Coral Beach - Saturday, August 20th

The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA), Grand Bahama, is a dedicated non-profit voluntary organization committed to saving the lives of distressed seamen or airmen in the Bahamas. They are supported only by private donations and their biggest annual fundraising event is the Bernie Butler Marathon Swim Race, coming up this Saturday, August 20, 2011. 
The Swim Marathon is two miles long and encourages fitness enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to come out and swim from Our Lucaya to Coral Beach. The kids get involved with a one mile and half mile swim. This is always an exciting event, with the fastest swimmers taking thirty minutes to finish, to the last hardy competitors completing in about two hours. Right after this epic event is the famous beach party on Coral Beach. The general public is invited to attend and take part in the biggest beach party of the season. There is food, games, beverages, and it’s fun to meet up with people you haven’t seen in a while.
Come out and support this very worthy (and life-saving) island cause!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Going above and beyond - enough slackness Bahamas!

By Sarah Kirkby

Yes, we all know that things are tough in The Bahamas. We are all anxious for a miracle to befall our little gem of islands and for things to look rosy and for everyone to prosper. And I hate to say it - we are not alone! There are many thousands (maybe even millions) of Greeks, Spaniards, Italians -- and Americans ... all feeling the pinch of the economic gloom.

So, we have a choice, we can sit here and complain about it or we can make the best of it. I say make the best of it and I wish others here would too.

I am, in particular, going to discuss the SERVICE industry, which includes pretty much everyone. You see, I have a choice of where I am going to spend the money I earn each week, and I am not going to go back to places where the service sucks! I want to deal with people who take the time to smile at me, ask me if I need help, or show up to an appointment on time.

We all know what I am talking about, we have to deal with it every day. Stores where the sales girl is too busy texting to ring up your purchase, where your order comes wrong and the waitress looks at you like she's confused, or, my favourite - when they promise to call you 'right back' with the information.

You see, it's those little things that make a huge difference, but take a mere second of a person's time to make a incredible impact. A friendly greeting, a 'please' or a 'thank you' for your patronage or -- wait for it -- a 'SORRY, I got your order wrong'! Or even, 'Give me just a second, I'll get that for you right now'. As I am sure you can too, I could go on and on but I will not. I am instead going to mention some positive experiences I have had recently. Where service has gone above and beyond and where they are making an effort to make the best of it.

Hats off to Jamal at Zorba's downtown location in Grand Bahama; lovely smile and great service!

Way to go Curly Tails in Marsh Harbour; wonderful food, service and smiles!

Thank you Chante at Commonwealth Bank; always so polite and helpful!

Nice one Regional Airlines; on time, nice staff and a really great young porter!

Wow MAXWELL's (Marsh Harbour) -- that's one nice supermarket and super fast check out!

There are others but these are the recent ones I have experienced over the last two weeks. These are the people who hustled, smiled, assisted and made me want to bring my business back. It's time the rest of us stepped up to the plate. Enough of the "slackness" Bahamas -- let's go above and beyond expectations and maybe we'll all appreciate this little archipelago of paradise more.
Footnote We'd ove to hear your experiences of services recieb=ved whilst on Grand Bahama, locals & visitors alike, why reward bad service when you can give credit where credit belongs, emil us at Subject line "GB Service stories"

The Radisson Our Lucaya gets excellent reviews

So it looks like a huge change is underway at the Big Ship on the beach (when you visit you'll know exactly what I'm talking about). There have been some recent positive reports from visitors that have visited our lovely Island and stayed there. Now I'm unbiased so I'm posting the link to Tripavisor for you to make up your own minds before you book. If you have recently stayed there, we would also love to hear from you, send us the best of your vacation photos and a short review and we may feature it in the next few weeks. Email us at, subject title "Radisson review".

Monday, August 15, 2011

Casting call for upcoming film project on Grand Bahama

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Keen i Media is now casting for a humourous, feel-good fiction film project to be shot in Grand Bahama in March 2012 with an accomplished U.S. film director.

There are some paid and some non-paid acting possibilities for a small number of supporting, extra and background roles. Producers are looking for healthy, fit, passionate, clean-living, radiant actors of all ages and ethnicities; film/stage/TV acting experience is a plus but not a requirement. A mother/daughter pair is of particular interest!

Shooting would take place over a two to three week period on Grand Bahama.

If you are available, passionate and interested, contact Keen i Media today via e-mail: Be sure to include:

all contact information
a brief description of any acting experience
a snapshot of you
your thoughts on why you think you have what it takes for this particular project

Please note that only Bahamians or those with established work status in the Bahamas can be considered.

Those persons that apply and are of interest to Keen i Media will have an informal meeting with the director on August 18 at Keen i Media in Grand Bahama.

Dreaming of a destination wedding? Grand Bahama Island makes the perfect location

Brides-to-be take note, If you're dreaming of a destination wedding on a tropical Island that's picture perfect almost everyday, year round. Grand Bahama Island should be in your top 5 list.
Here's a sneak peek of an stunning Beach destination wedding planned by the wonderful team at Chic Weddings Bahamas & photographed by Me, Lyndah Wells Photography

Tourism numbers rise

Some excellent news, according to the latest Central Bank report, Visitor performance in the first half of 2011 experienced an upturn, with total arrivals increasing by 14.8 percent up to April. The latest figures were found in the Central Bank’s Monthly Economic Financial Developments (MEFD) June report, which also further revealed the uptick in air and sea travel.
“In April, total visitor arrivals firmed by 14.8 percent, buoyed by a 2.8 percent hike in air arrivals — the first monthly increase for the year — and steady gains in sea visitors of 19.2 percent,” the report stated.
“All of the major destinations recorded improvements, with total arrivals to New Providence up by 6.1 percent and double digit gains in both Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, of 16.1 percent and 29.8 percent, respectively.”
The first half visitor performance also translated into increased hotel revenues for local properties, with Frank Comito, the Executive Vice President of the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA), saying the 5.8 percent growth in room rates could be attributed to the busier travel period and various tourism initiatives.
“For the first half of the year, we’ve continued to show marginal improvement in occupancy and slightly better improvement in room rates,” Comito told Guardian Business.  “A late easter, a stronger spring break business, continued improvement in group business and the Fly-Free and other promotional campaigns all contributed to marginal increases.”
Comito’s comments come after various hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island collectively posted the highest occupancy levels since 2008, recording an 80.1 percent rate in the first quarter of 2011 according to BHA President Stuart Bowe.
Occupancy levels experienced a small growth of 0.2 percent to 61.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, with the average daily room rate rising 5.4 percent to $219.86.  Comito mentioned that he is optimistic that the summer numbers will be equal or better than last year despite the recovery stage hotels are in locally and globally revenue-wise.
“Thus far, we are anticipating the summer will be on par or slightly better than 2010 occupancy-wise,” he said.  “We expect there to be stronger performance in room rates, still below pre-recession rates, as hotels in The Bahamas and worldwide continue to struggle to improve revenue.
“We are optimistic that we can at least maintain the increases which we realized in the fall of 2010 and build on that.  With advanced bookings, particularly in group business, we are encouraged.”

Brand spanking new Layout for Taste of Grand Bahama blog.

Good morning readers. Last week Jamie & I sat down for a lovely lunch at Cafe Breeze  in Port Lucaya. We both had the Seared Tuna breeze salad (YUM!) and talked about our plans for Taste of Grand Bahama blog.
I have been on maternity leave and the AWESOME Paula Farrington has been the editor in my place so first of all I just want to say a big Thank you for doing such an Awesome job!
As we ate and talked, we felt that a fresh new rebranding should take place as we want to let our readers know and feel that Grand Bahama Island is definitely a place where you can eave your worries behind and lighten your load, so to speak. So we've gone for a easy bright but simple theme. Let us know your thoughts please. Also in the next coming weeks the content will change slightly. There will be a lot more posts from our personal perspective , some musing from new contributors and more Island photography from me.If there's something happening on the Island that you'd like to let us know about or talk about, Please email us at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Find the Lighthouse, Find the Best of The Bahamas

Pinder's Point Lighthouse, Grand Bahama Island

Iconic Lighthouses Lead the Way to Famous Beaches and Distinct Island Experiences

Read more:
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
/PRNewswire/ -- Sailors prized them. Pirates hated them. Today they are romantic symbols of adventure, travel and solitude. Lighthouses still stand watch throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Lighthouse Preservation Society safeguards three of the world's few remaining kerosene-burning, hand-wound lighthouses.
Built in 1863, the famed Hope Town Lighthouse on Elbow Cay, Abaco still guides boats and ships today. Boating remains a way of life in The Abacos and throughout The Bahamas and the lighthouses are treasured even if modern captains navigate by satellite. The Dixon Hill lighthouse on San Salvador and Southwest Point lighthouse on Inagua have also escaped automation and still must be hand wound every two hours by keepers who have tended their flames since the mid-1830s. You can explore these lighthouses and their proud tradition via a video at VisittheBahamas.
There are still two dozen active lighthouses in The Bahamas and many others that have been decommissioned; there are even a few faux lighthouses. Several are easily accessible and can be explored by visitors in search of their own seafaring tale or just a bird's eye view of the island.
Hog Island LightOriginally built in 1817 and situated on popular Paradise Island just off Nassau, New Providence, Hog Island is the oldest lighthouse in The Bahamas and is also the oldest surviving lighthouse in the West Indies.
Pinder's Point LighthouseOverlooking bustling Freeport Harbor, this red-and-white candy-striped icon was restored, relit, and reactivated in 2009. Grand Bahama also has two often-photographed "faux" lighthouses—Lucaya and High Rock.
Hope Town Lighthouse In operation since 1863, Abaco's red-and-white striped lighthouse is still hand-wound and accessible by ferry from Marsh Harbour where it is surrounded by Bahamian style buildings.
Hole-in-the-WallAlso on Abaco, this British-style lighthouse is painted white on the lower third and red on the upper two-thirds and is home to the work of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization.
San Salvador Lighthouse (Dixon Hill)Established in the mid-1800s and built in 1887, Dixon Hill is a very popular Bahamas lighthouse facility to visit because it is still occupied and operated by lighthouse keepers who refuel the 400,000 candle powered lighthouse by hand every 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Andros LighthouseBuilt back in the early-1890s, this Andros landmark was made famous in the Blake Alphonso Higgs (known as Blind Blake) song, "Run Come See Jerusalem," which told the story of a 1929 hurricane when more than 20 islanders drowned near the lighthouse.
Eleuthera Point The long island of Eleuthera has several lighthouses and this early-1900s version is a classic. The island also has several other active lighthouses, including North Palmetto Point, which is available as a vacation rental.
Southwest Point Great Inagua's classic all-white lighthouse near Matthew Town is popular with visitors who want to see the hand-cranked light and visit with local lighthouse keepers.
Hopetown Lighthouse, Abaco, Bahamas

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Celebrate Freeport" Four-Day Celebration Underway (Update: Now Postponed Due to Weather)

Historic signing of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement August 5, 1955

by NINA LAING, Freeport News Intern

Fifty-six years ago today the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA) and then Bahamian government signed The Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which created Freeport and spurred economic growth.

In commemoration of the Agreement, which came into effect on August 5 1955, the "Celebrate Freeport" Committee will launch its four-day celebration this evening with a forum to discuss various clauses of the agreement with emphasis on tax exemptions set to expire in 2015.

Although "Celebrate Freeport" aims to bring to light the success of long-standing business, it is also to inform the public on the achievements of GBPA and its future plans.

For full story, a schedule of planned events, and more information, click here.

9/6/2011 NOTE: CELEBRATE FREEPORT EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. The event will be rescheduled later in the year. Click here for info in

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Humane Society Calls Attention to The Animals' Plight

photo via

This moving article (click here) details the plight of many island animals and the tremendous work and support that The Humane Society of Grand Bahama needs in their ongoing efforts to educate and find loving forever homes for those who have no voice and are too often neglected.  This heartfelt plea and call to action for the animals (and recognition of the limits of those who are doing so much to care for them) is a quality of life issue for everyone in Grand Bahama.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Lobster (Crawfish) Season!

Phots by Derek Carroll via

Lobster season in The Bahamas is officially underway!  From August 1 to March 31st Bahamian crawfish are legally harvested and enjoyed. (For full article detailing size, licensing, and harvesting restrictions click here.)

Be on the lookout for delectable lobster dishes on the menus of your favorite restaurants, and for a fabulous lobster recipe you can make at home, click here for an amazing taste treat via