The Mail, The Mail, The Mail
"Oh the mail goin' today, And leavin' me behind,
Oh the mail, the mail, the mail."
- traditional calypso tune
These words are just a sample of many such sentiments that refer familiarly
to an inherent part of our Bahamian culture - the mailboat system. Mailboats
have been making regular many of our grandparents were born and are still
traversing the emerald water of our archipelago. The mailboat system,
of course, got its name from the fact that these boats were responsible
for carrying the mail to the many islands. Over the years, this system
has developed into a major shipping industry that transports tons of goods
from the city of Nassau to the family island on a weekly basis.
Designated mailboats still carry the government mail as well as any other
government cargo. The system is of such importance that I captures a spot
on the morning news, which is referred to as the 'Shipping Report'. The
names of the vessels are as colorful as the boats to which they belong,
"The Lady Matilda, The Eleuthera Express, The Sea Queen and The Daybreak",
are examples of this. Such boats create a setting that can only be found
in The Bahamas.
Harbour Island and North Eleuthera have seen many mailboats come and go,
but one of the most sophisticated mailboas to serve the area to date is
the New Eleuthera Express. This boat is equipped with all
the necessities and amenities needed to please the sea-faring traveler.
The passenger lounge has air-conditioning, television and spacious seating
accommodations. There are two private rooms available which are equipped
with five bunk beds each. A light snack is also served on board during
the trip. The "Express" is owned by five Spanish Wells businessmen and
captained by Charles W. Pinder. Captain Pinder has over twenty years experience
in this field and is ably assisted by first mate Willie Pinder. The "Express"
is constantly on the go with weekly runs to Central, South as well as
North Eleuthera. This new boat has a greater lift capacity than the its
predecessor, one-third more cargo space, a forty thousand pound container
and a twenty thousand pound cooler, which converts when necessary to a
freezer. There is ample safety equipment on board, which include inflatable
rafts, lifeboats and life jackets.
The Bahamas Daybreak is another one of our mailboats which makes
weekly runs to Eleuthera, servicing the North and Central Eleuthera area
and providing a comfortable passenger ride with ample cargo space. Jack
Stuart captains this vessel. Both the Eleuthera Express and The Bahamas
Daybreak take freight on Mondays for Central and South Eleuthera and on
Wednesdays for North Eleuthera. The Express takes much of its seafood
cargo along with passengers to Nassau on Sundays.
The Bahamas Fast Ferry is the latest entry for daily scheduled
transportation between Nassau and Eleuthera, and can be contacted online
at www.bahamasferries.com for information on routes, schedules and special
charters to islands throughout the Bahamas.
Mailboat Contact Information:
T: (242)333.4677, F: (242)333.4674
Bahamas Fast Ferries
Briland Ferry managers Leon Johnson and Shaquita
Major welcome the captain of the popular Fast Ferry back to Harbour
Island's Government Dock.