palms    palms    palms    palms
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The south Miami airspace is heavily congested by commercials airliners bringing sun-hungry Europeans to Florida, executive jets flying high-level executives to “meetings” in the Caribbean and an abundance of student pilots buzzing around the airspace to earn their wings. Needless to say, the air traffic controllers didn’t hesitate to get the Warrior out of their airspace, and after a couple of minutes and s-turns we set course over the severe blue water. Bahamian Airspace Bahamian airspace

Piper Warrior 29218, Welcome to Bahamas. Have a nice time, man. The relaxed, Bahamian accent was the first clue to what should become a wonderful vacation in the Caribbean. Some 20 miles east of the Bimini islands, I had contacted Nassau Radio to let them know that we had arrived in wonder-vacation airspace. Judging from his relaxed voiced, he must have been monitoring the radio from a hammock under the palm trees. And who's to blame him?

Long Island Airport, Bahamas Stella Maris Airport The first stop was Long Island. Just short of 4 hours enroute, we touched down on the 4000 feet long runway at Stella Maris airport. Being one of the so-called "out-islands", Long Island don't get that many turists, and you can tell. The airport is small, and the all-in-one customs, immigration and police station is the smallest I've ever seen.
Long Island Customs, Bahamas
All-in-one immigration, customs & police
Immigration and customs was completed in 20 minutes flat - mainland customs & immigration can definitely learn something here. The officer requested three inbound declarations, and 15 Dollars and one immigration declaration pr. passenger. After paying the fees and having our luggage checked for illegal items we were off to Stella Maris.
Stella Maris (Star of the sea) proved to be an excellent choice. Owned by a group of German investors and pilots, it combines Bahamian vacation with German dependability and offers three pools, several beach coves facing the Atlantic, Bahamian and Continental cuisine and fantastic hospitality. Stella Maris Resort, Bahamas This way to the Atlantic
Don’t expect to get a room key here - they don’t have any. Crime isn’t an issue here, and the front desk specifically asks to keep your valuables in their safe, so you can enjoy your vacation without worries. Whether the missing keys increases the number of people falling asleep in somebody else’s bungalow after loading up on rum-punch the entire day remains to be answered. No keys needed at Stella Maris Resort, Bahamas No keys!

Columbus named the northern tip of the island Cape Santa Maria when he landed here in 1492. South of the Columbus monument, on the leeside of Long Island, you’ll find one of the finest beaches in the Bahamas. The Cape Santa Maria beach is a 4-mile stretch of picture-perfect unspoiled white powder sand. Not surprisingly, the Kellogg’s and the Kennedy’s would hide out here in the 60’s.

Imagine an evening with no television. Just great people, drinks and music, and absolutely nothing else to do but having a great time. That is exactly what it was like in the evening. Walk down to the beach and listen to Atlantic ocean, or look up and enjoy the magnificent view of the billions of stars that you can see in the Bahamas where air pollution is non-existent.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the entire island. Because of our luggage problems in Miami, we were behind schedule and had to leave one day early to catch up with our itinerary. Friday morning we checked out to continue our trip to St. Thomas in the Caribbean.

The next leg would turn out to be a significant challenge. Due to fuel problems in Turks and Caicos, we had to divert to the Dominican Republic to get fuel. Let's just say that the Dominican Republic isn't the most friendly place when you land a small plane to get fuel.

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Map of the Caribbean