West End

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Old Bahama Bay Marina, West End, Grand Bahama Island

Old Bahama Bay Marina was very nice but quite expensive. With the charge for water and electricity we paid about $85.00/night. The marina, rebuilt since the damage by hurricane Floyd, has new and upgraded facilities. They even have phone connections at each slip, but like most phones systems serviced by Batelco, they didn't work.

Tidbits and Stories

bulletBus ride to the Airport
We needed to arrive at the Freeport airport by 11:45 to meet our daughter, Sylisha , and son-in-law, Cory. The desk clerk at the Marina/Resort Office advised us that we would need to take the 9:00 shuttle (jitney) for the 30-40 minute drive. That seemed a  little extreme but we did as instructed. These shuttles are a major mode of transportation for West End  residents and we soon saw why we had to leave so early. The shuttle is supposed to run every hour, but because it makes many detours and stops, the first one each morning is the only one on time. On our trip, Miss Lilly needed some bread so we stopped at the bakery and waited for her to shop. Further down the road we waited at another store for her to pick up soft drinks. We waited at a day care center so a young mother could drop off her baby.

The best stop was on the return trip. Two young males suddenly became very excited and crawled down under the seats.  Of course we had no idea what was going on at the time since we couldn't understand the language (English?). The driver suddenly stopped and began backing up. He pulled onto the side of the road, close to some very tall weeds. The door quickly opened and the two men rolled out, disappearing  into the weeds. We found out later that they had called in sick that day. Having spotted their boss at the gate to the marina, they had to make a quick run for it.

bulletTrip to the Grocery
Sylisha and I took the 9:00 shuttle the following morning to pick up a few items at the West End Grocery, about 2 miles away. The store was about the size of a 7-Eleven but most of the shelves were empty or near empty. We were able to get a few staples and ask the owner (?) to call a taxi for us. After looking at us as if we'd lost our minds, he informed us there were no taxis in West End but that his brother would be happy to give us a ride. There was no way of knowing if and when the shuttle would be back, and walking in that heat didn't sound like any fun. So we waited awhile for Brother to finish programming fishing spots into a GPS for some fisherman.

One of the things we enjoy most is talking to locals and learning about their way of life. Brother wasn't too talkative at first but Sylisha wouldn't let him by with that. Once he started talking we had a great trip back to the marina. Among other things, he told us how they prepare Conch (kongk). Judging from the huge mounds of Conch shells all over, it was obvious they really enjoy them. He said the favorite way is fresh from the shell with salt, pepper, and lime juice, or raw in salads. Visitors are more familiar with Conch Fritters. I've tried them several times but can't say I was too impressed - conch is too chewy for me.

Brother took us on a mini-tour of the area. He showed us a site that had been a large resort ten years earlier. It was complete with its own power plant and airport. He said it was a great source of employment and never laid people off, even in the slow seasons. Then the unions came in and the resort just closed its doors. We never quite understood how that all worked but it was interesting.  

Once at the marina, we were surprised that he refused to even take a tip. How very refreshing.

 

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