The fast, modern Bahamas ferries are partially replacing the old Mail Boat system that linked all of the main 20 inhabited islands of the Bahamas to Nassau, the capital.
My wife and I have traveled on these modern catamaran ships.
You as a Nassau tourist, can enjoy Harbour Island just off the coast of North Eleuthera and get back to Nassau on the same day. No long drive to the airport and no one-hour-waiting before take-off.
Quaint and picturesque Harbour Island is a very pleasant change from the big city of Nassau. BTW, here are the Nassau Pros & Cons.
Click the above link to get a first impression of Harbour Island. Getting around in a golf cart, the usual means of transportation there, is easy and fun.
You will not regret your decision to explore this tiny spot of British colonial charm where some of the rich and famous come to relax.
The Fast Ferry leaves daily from Nassau's center at 8 a.m., and returns to Nassau at 6:15 p.m. Actual schedules and fares are here. Right-click the pdf-files and save each to desktop.
For more information, call the Fast Ferries in Nassau at...
In the graphic below - to the right of Nassau - you see the northern part of long and narrow Eleuthera. It's the island with all the spectacular beaches. See link to beaches below.
The high-speed journey from Nassau to Harbour Island, with a short stop at Spanish Wells - see above - takes 3 hours.
Governor's Harbour in Central Eleuthera is just below Harbour Island on the graphic above. Note that Eleuthera island is extending about 50 miles south of Governor's Harbour, but this is not shown on the above map.
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Let me show you how you could travel to Eleuthera on your way back to Nassau to make your trip even more exciting...
Here's how you could get to some of the nicest Bahamas beaches. Surprise, surprise, the Bahamas' greatest beaches are on Eleuthera. No, not on Grand Bahama and not in Nassau.
After having enjoyed your day in Harbour Island, take a five minute boat ride to Eleuthera. Then a cab to the bungalow hotel Cove Eleuthera in northern central Eleuthera. It's located about a mile north of Gregory Town. That's just a 20 min. ride from the water taxi to the hotel.
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The main disadvantages of the modern Bahamas ferries are...
This does not apply to the main route, Nassau to Spanish Wells and Harbour Island, which I have described above.
Here is a real life example of what I mean...
My wife and I went by Fast Ferry from Eleuthera to Abaco. We had planned to see Andros on the way back.
This itinerary meant a first leg from Eleuthera to Nassau, an overnight stay in Nassau and another leg from Nassau to Abaco and on to Andros before returning to Nassau.
But the only Fast Ferry port on Abaco is Sandy Point, US$ 110 by taxi away from Abaco's capital Marsh Harbour. And believe me, it's not easy to find a taxi at Sandy Point. That was our second problem.
But the first one was arriving in Nassau at night. Not a very well planned schedule, considering the area is so poorly lit...
On the left side of the above rectangle in the water, right under the two bridges connecting Nassau to Paradise Island, is the disembarkation point Potter's Cay.
This area was strewn with shipping containers and some strange looking individuals were roaming about at night. My wife who generally is not a fearful person, didn't feel too good in this unusual atmosphere.
And there are no taxi stands where the Bahamas ferry docks. So all we could do was to walk, hoping to find a taxi once we found our way to the main road into Nassau.
But we were lucky. A captain picked us up and drove us to a car owner who was willing to drive us to our hotel. In a car with no taximeter, we paid US$15 for a short ride. Well, we were at least happy to have arrived...
At Sandy Point again. A friendly Bahamian pick-up truck driver offered to bring us to Marsh Harbour, the capital of Abaco, an hour away from Sandy Point, a taxi ride that would cost US$110...
After this experience, we decided to fly rather than using the modern but not so well organized Bahamas Ferries.