Amber Isle Goes to Sandals Resort
V and S
Mon 28 Mar 2011 19:57
Leaving the marina, we drove around the point and entered Ocean Bight. There were no boats anchored here. The huge crescent beach was rimmed with beach bungalows, a hotel, beach chairs, umbrellas, and more. Welcome to Sandals Resort at Emerald Bay. On the other rocky side were a few huge manor houses and a big condo development, complete with golf course. I felt every eye in the place on us as we dropped anchor. We would not have been surprised if security came out and asked us to move, or if the Royal Bahamian Defense Force arrived to check our documents. Had anyone ever anchored there before?
The Marina at Emerald Bay was built in 2004 assuming there were 100s of huge megayachts just waiting for them to open their doors. Everything, from the $8 local beer, the $14 sandwiches, and the $250,000 dockomeniums was geared to this customer. They also sold home sites and condos; some were even built. Sadly, many places here in the Bahamas were planned on such expectations, and failed. The Marina at Emerald Bay would fail, too, in 2008. The nearby 4- Seasons Resort also announced they would not reopen about that same time. The entire project seemed doomed. Then a ray of hope appeared when Sandals Resorts bought the old resort. This year they also took over operation of the marina. This time they offered "no service" docks for $1.00 per foot per night. No water, no electric. They threw in free laundry, free showers, free shuttle to the market. At first the sailors were hooked. They carted in sail covers, dock lines, sumbrella cushions, and everything not attached to their sailboats for free wash and dry. The marina also offered full service docks and yesterday we noted about 12 power boats enjoying the dock. But only 6 "no service" docks were occupied. Guess the magic wore off. This big, modern, beautiful marina is a ghost town. The restaurant is closed, the torn awning covers blowing in the breeze. It is rumored that Sandals wants to sell it off. I bet they do.
But the Sandals resort seems busy, lots of vacationers walking the beaches, sailing hobie cats, kayaking, swimming. A couple oared over to say hi.
We launched the dinghy and toured the shoreline leading to Georgetown about 10 miles south. There were a few homes along the water. Coral reefs and rocks peppered the water. After a hot ride, we came back to Amber Isle for a refreshing swim off the platform in the inviting water. What a great Bahamas day we had.