Almost every island in the Bahamas makes some claim or the other to Christopher Columbus. Last year, Linda and I, had attempted to track down the Columbus monument on Long Island. We never made it.
It is widely believed that Christopher Columbus in 1492, during his first voyage to find the New World, landed on San Salvador island in the Bahamas and gave it it’s name. For a long time, Cat Island was thought to be the island where Columbus landed. Maybe because until 1925, Cat Island was known as San Salvador, while San Salvador was known as Watlings island, bestowed by an English colonist of the name John Watling who resided there in the 17th century. The name “San Salvador” was officially transferred from Cat Island and given to Watlings Island in 1925.
I had hoped to make the flight to San Salvador the day before our departure, so we would have sufficient time to explore the island and track down the Columbus monument. But we had changed our plans and decided to join the group the following day for the flight to San Salvador. It was also the date of our departure from Cat Island and we expected to get to Nassau to spend our last night in the Bahamas.
San Salvador lies slightly south east of Cat Island, a short 53nm away. All those planning the day trip had already left ahead of us. Linda and I departed Cat Island after checking out of Fernandez Bay Village, and headed east for the 30 minute flight to San Salvador.
Transportation to explore the island was limited. There were only a few bikes available for rental and the other choice was to persuade a cab driver. Within walking distance from the airport is a Club Med, Columbus Isle, an all-inclusive resort that offers views, plenty of water activities and food. A few us decided to walk down to the ClubMed instead.
After an hour on the island, we departed San Salvador and headed towards the Exumas, my favorite archipelago of islands in the Bahamas. The Exumas comprise of 360 islands and the entire island chain is 130 miles long. Although there are 14 airports in the Exumas, most are restricted, with only 4-5 of those accessible to pilots.
To truly experience the beauty of the Bahamas, one has to be a few hundred feet off the ground. The greenery of the islands, interspersed with the white and pink beaches, and the vibrant azure hues of the ocean amidst the clouds and the blue skies all forge an unforgettable panorama that remains etched in one’s memory long after. Many people make it to the Bahamas for a weekend or week long getaway to relax, and enjoy the innumerable water sports offered such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing and many more. For me, the lure is the flying. A few hundred feet above the earth, amidst the untouched natural beauty of the islands, resplendent in all it’s colors, waiting to be seen and savored.