Arriving at a marina towards day’s end in the Bahamas means no one really wants to help. Cat Cay was no exception; not a dock hand in sight even though they still had an hour to go. So we pulled up to our assigned slip, big enough for a 65 footer with dock heights to match, and I backed her in, got a spring line on, and proceeded to set up the bow, stern, and starboard side spring lines. All the while an American couple sat on the 45 foot power boat next door with their backs turned towards us with not a word asking if we needed a hand. Good thing it was only blowing about 15.
In spite of the dock reception, I had an unexpected experience dealing with Customs and Immigration here at Cat. The Customs, Immigration, Agricultural, and Medical officers, all wrapped into one sweet lady handled all the paperwork with uncharacteristic efficiency. I guess it probably helped that I had already filled out all our paperwork except for the visas. Bahamian entry forms can now be downloaded over the internet and filled out on line, then printed. You simply leave the dates and signature lines blank, complete them in the officer’s presence. Times do change.
Here we are above tucked into our slip at Cat Cay Club. It’s easy to tell how small we are compared to the member’s boats. I guess the largest yacht (ship) was somewhere around 200 feet, but 150 was more the norm. Many of them had cars on the aft decks to give you some idea.
All of the staff was outgoing and friendly, and we found many of the members to be the same with smiles, waves and “Have a Good Day” greetings all day long. I found the facilities in need of some work at this writing. The laundry room was very rough, and only one dryer worked; the floors and walls were in need of a major freshening. On the plus side, the convenience store was impeccable, and the dockside cafe and bar is hard to beat. Joy is still on the hunt, and she found one of the best pina coladas ever at the Dockside Pub right here in our first stop in paradise.
We only spent one day at Cat to handle laundry, pick up a few fresh goodies, and stretch our legs a bit. Most of the island is off limits to visiting yachtsmen, but there is still plenty to keep you busy. The grounds are beautiful, prices at the store are comparable to US prices, the pub food is great, and the scenery is spectacular everywhere you go.
Dockage was to our minds, outrageous for the service and facilities received. We paid $4.50 per foot plus electricity plus water, and received not much in return. Nearly $400 for 2 days dockage; it was hard not to compare this to Hurricane Hole in Nassau where, for less money, you are treated like royalty. Oh well, we were here, safe and sound at the start of our Bahamas adventure.