With all this cold weather lately, I decided to pull out some pictures of warmer times and trips to the Bahamas in the Bonanza. Many pilots really enjoy flying over to the Out-Islands of the Bahamas for long weekends. Our favorite destination is Marsh Harbour, in the Abacos, east of Grand Bahama Island. This is about a 1:50 trip from KLEE, and about 300 nm in the Bonanza. We usually file IFR at 10,000 feet for the over water portion of the flight.
On board we carry a 4-man inflatable raft, vests with lights and whistles, a portable battery-powered GPS, a hand-held aviation radio, a survival kit including flares and water dye and water.
Departing Leesburg, we will fly down the Florida coast then turn southeast-bound around Ft. Pierce, directly towards the West End Settlement on Grand Bahama. This is a bit longer than a direct route, but it minimizes our over-water footprint.
I am no fan of eAPIS, the online U.S. Customs program set for private aircraft. While I do believe that Customs has an obligation to secure our borders, the idea that I have to file passport and itinerary information ahead of time and get permission to LEAVE my country is ridiculous.
In any event, here are a few of my favorite pictures flying to the Bahamas, tooling around Elbow Cay and Marsh Harbour. One of our favorite day-trips is to rent a boat and head out to Nippers Bar on Great Guana Cay. Nippers overlooks the second largest barrier reef in the world, behind Australia. The water is crystal clear, and the sea life stunning. On our last trip we snorkled with some large sea turtles and even a shark, of the Nurse Shark variety.
Above: Flying over Grand Bahama Island at 9,000