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The Bahamas chose their independence from the United Kingdom in the late 1970’s, but – exactly like Canada – remained in a close relationship with England, the English Crown, and the Commonwealth countries. Yet it is still an independent nation. It is common to find imports like butter, cookies, tea, or wine from New Zealand or England alongside American products. Yet the culture and economy of the Bahamas are strongly dependent upon American and Canadian tourists, boaters, fishermen and residents with vacation homes in the Islands. The Bahama Islands feel almost as they were a 51st State of the U.S.A.
The Bahamas usually has beautiful weather, similar to South Florida. Summer temperatures range from 85 to 95 degrees, with water temperatures from 80 to 86 degrees F. A rare thunder storm moves quickly through, and is quickly gone. Winter temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees with the water t from 74 to 80. The nights are filled with an astonishing number of clear stars. Far from interfering lights of civilization, even in the cities and towns, the view of the night-time sky is breath-taking, displaying billions of stars.
The Bahamas island chain includes more than 700 islands and 2,400 cays (pronounced "keys"), of which only about 40 are inhabited. The enormous chain rests off the East Cost of Florida, stretching in a long line to the southwest. These islands dot the edges of what are referred to as the Banks (vast areas of shallow water). The Banks consist of white sand and grass in 10 to 60 feet of water. The edges of the banks are lined with cays, rocks, reefs, and wrecks. The Atlantic Ocean intrudes in places, and off the edge of the Banks the sea floor drops off to a water depth of 200 to 2000 feet, providing fabulous deep-water fishing. The water is astonishingly clear and the Banks take on an aquamarine color. In calm conditions you will feel that you are in the world largest swimming pool.
The Northern-most bank is called the Little Bahama Bank. Along its Southern edge lies the island of Grand Bahama. Between the Bahamas and Florida runs the Gulfstream, a major ocean current that flows North along the western edge of the Little Bahama Bank. The Port of West End on Grand Bahama is 60 miles east of Palm Beach Florida. When arriving by boat, West End is the port of arrival. After passing through Customs, boaters follow the Northern edge of Grand Bahama, passing Indian Cay, Wood Cay, and Sandy Cay, and then a small little island Memory Rock. North of Memory Rock begin the beautiful healthy reefs, ancient ship wrecks, and emerald waters. White Sand Ridge is an area 35 miles north of West End.
Like the Canadian dollar, the Bahamian dollar is close in value to the U.S. dollar, though not precisely the same. Nevertheless, Canadian businesses ignore the slight difference and accept U.S. dollars and treat U.S. and Bahamian dollars interchangeably. There is almost never a need to convert your dollars, as anyone will accept U.S. dollars, even if you mix Bahamian and U.S. dollars when paying for the same purchase or dinner. U.S. Credit cards are accept almost anywhere, except perhaps the smallest shops.
ADDITIONAL FACTS ABOUT THE BAHAMAS:
Government Type: Constitutional, parliamentary, democracy
Legal System: Based on English common law
Capitol City: Nassau, New Providence
Literacy Rate: 98%
Economy: The Bahamas is one of the leading international offshore financial centers in the world. Stable, with a developing economy heavily dependent on tourism which accounts for more than 60% of the GDP.
Climate: Tropical marine with average air temperatures in the 80's and average ocean temperatures in the high 70's.
Terrain: Flat, with some low rounded hills.
International Disputes: None
Religions: Baptist, Anglican, Catholic, other
Homeowners Card: May be issued to a nonresident homeowner for $500 per year. This affords the cardholder multiple entries.
Residency Permit: Required to reside on an annual basis, the present cost is $1,000 per year.
Work Permit: To protect Bahamian jobs, working is not permitted amongst non-citizens without a work permit. Before a work permit is issued to a non-citizen it must first be proven that the applicant has a skill or trade that is not available from a Bahamian citizen.
"Nippers" -- a Jimmy Buffet style cafe & bar on the beach
WEBSITE FOR "Nippers" Beach-side Restaurant
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