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Air and Sea Travel Into North Eleuthera and Harbour Island [Updated]
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Posted by:Jun 18th 2004, 04:08:16 pm
Fig Tree News TeamFrom the H.G. Christie newsletter:
http://hgchristie.net/newsletters/2004-03/feature.htm

The proliferation of travel options to the Bahamas and inside the country has led to a mini-boom in travel related to island hopping. Between charter airlines, new ferry services and sealinks, the distance between the Family Islands seems to be shrinking.

The night was slowly giving up to the sun rising over the horizon as we sped to the airport to catch our sheduled charter to Nassau. The trip was going to go smoothly. I would be on the ground in Nassau at 7:30am, and able to leave for the short trip home at 6:30 that evening after a full day's business.

I was about to board Pineapple Air's turboprop service, now based in Eleuthera. In stark contrast to the grandaddy airline of the Bahamas, where waiting for the flight to eventually arrive gave you ample time to catch up with all the details of your neighbours' lives, the new charters run with military precision. Now the local joke is that if you are not at the airport in time, you had better be prepared to run down the runway after your plane.

A relative newcomer to the charter air business, Pineapple Air says they are in the business of flying people to and from Eleuthera. With a Beechcraft C-99 Airliner Turboprop, they carry 15 passengers with 1000 lbs. of cargo to several near islands.

All over the country it is the same. There is a quiet revolution in domestic air travel from one central airline serving the county with scheduled hub service, to a veritable host of small charters serving the burgeoning inter-island marketplace.

Major's Air in Freeport has also reacted to the need for people to go island to island, with a spiderweb of flights from Freeport to little regional airports in Abaco, Andros, Bimini, and Eleuthera.

And there is another benefit to the new travel systems- interisland connections.

Some airlines like Pineapple Air on Eleuthera and Major's Air in Freeport harken back to the days of the early mailboats. Their routing is similar in that you can go from little island to little island directly.

In long ago days, the mailboats would call on a string of islands, dropping off and picking up before sailing for the next island. It was a circular route rather than a hub system as it is today. This allowed for a free exchange between the little islands, some only separated by 30 miles of water.

The lament for many years is that the hub system has made it difficult to travel inter-island by air or water, as one has to go back to Nassau before arriving at the next island. Although convenient for travel to and from the hubs - Freeport and Nassau- for a growing amount of casual and tourist air travellers interested in travelling the Family Islands, it can add days and lots of dollars to an island-hopping expedition.

And you can get there by boat now too.

Bahamas Florida Express is currently scheduling services by high-speed catamaran from Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport, and is working on setting up services into Nassau. Claiming "highway speeds" The Cat will carry up to 900 passengers and promises to revolutionize the art of Bahama Hopping with on-board amenities and activities. On your voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, you can now enjoy a Bahamian café and two food and beverage bars, a casino, two separate TV-movie lounge areas, a duty-free souvenir, book and gift shop.

Once into the islands, you can continue along by sea on the "Bo Hengy" from Nassau to Spanish Wells, Harbour Island and Governor's Harbour, the "SeaLink" from Nassau to Exuma, Andros and Eleuthera and the "Sea Wind", from Nassau to Andros, Eleuthera and Abaco.

In comparison to even a few short years ago, the increase in available services has been for the most part, a blessing. For those of us who have chosen to live in the pristine Out Islands, the new air and water services have made a tremendous impact on removing the remoteness of the Family Islands.

With every day that passes, it's getting easier to get around to see all the wonders of the Bahamas. Be sure that you do a good tour of the internet to see all the possibilities. These days, chances are that no matter where you want to go in the beautiful Bahamas, there is someone waiting to take you there.

Links to Companies mentioned:

Bahamas Ferries - www.bahamasferries.com

Pineapple Air - contact Liam Seyfert at pineappleair@mail.com, or go to http://eleu.net/pineindex.html
Major's Air - www.thebahamasguide.com/majorair/

For a complete listing of all airlines in the Bahamas, visit bahamasource.com

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