Close to the action at a fair price
The accomodations were simple and basic. All rooms overlook the clean, pretty pool, channel and Port Lucaya. Easy walking to the central area. Hotel staff helpful in providing info on things to do. Pool was well maintained, restaurant and bar on premises. Dive boat and operation adjacent to premises. Staff very nice and helpful.
I went to Grand Bahama specifically for diving, so I didn't want to spend a fortune on a hotel when I'd be out on a dive boat all day! Bell Channel Inn fit my needs - small, inexpensive, simple. It's not fancy, maybe a bit "aged" by some folks' standards. If you're fussy and expect the 5-star amenities, you won't like it. I personally don't care if a room has a chip in the paint or if the decor isn't fancy. The room was clean & comfortable; efficient air-con, private balcony, two double beds, refrigerator & many storage cabinets. Rate was around $84 US per night.
All the staff were very friendly & helpful. They have a small restaurant/bar on site. Nothing very gourmet, but it works. They're open from 6 or 7am (I forget) until 11pm so you don't have to rush to eat. Geannie will explain all the local tour options & book trips if you like, but it's not a "hard sell".
Also perfect for my needs: they have their own dive shop on site - Caribbean Divers. They have a smaller boat so it's not a giant crowd of divers getting in everyone's way. The most we had on the 2nd day was 7 divers plus Pressly (Captain & dive leader) and Jerry (dive leader). I had my own gear but the rental gear other divers were using was new. Pressly & Jerry run a professional outfit!
The only drawback: if you want to check out the bars, casino, shops, or other restaurants in the tourist shopping area (Lucaya marketplace), it's a 15-20 min. walk. Not very hard to find the marketplace, but some people may prefer being "closer to town". Also, the pool is very small so it's more for soaking in than actual swimming. (one benefit of smaller hotel out of the main tourist area - it's quiet!)
When I go back for more diving, I'll be staying here again! Dive shop on site: several divers I met were actually coming to Bell Channel from other hotels, just for the dive operation.
Entrance to Port Lucaya and Bell Channel Marker
This is what the marker looks like during the day from a boat that is fairly close, and knows where to look. The little light on top is barely visible at night.
This shows the fake lighthouse on the western side of the entrance (on the left). In the water in about the middle of the photo is an unlighted daymark.
A high rise hotel is on the right side, and in front of that a lower building with a black roof. In the water in front of that building is a sailboat coming out of the entrance channel.
In this diagram, the water is grey and the land is white and buildings are red. In the middle of the picture is the Bell Channel, with a white dotted line, going to the Lucaya Village Marina on the upper right.
The big red building with the red and white lighthouse next to it is the Lucayan Hotel and Casino. The map of the marina shows the fuel dock, the pool, and the bathhouse/laundry. And the free shuttle path is shown over to Ferry House (which isn't labeled). The shuttle also goes over to the Bayside Hotel.
This is the entrance channel from inside looking out. A small power boat is headed out the channel
Another view of the entrance channel- this one has a snorkeling boat (pontoon boat) in the channel.
The pontoon boat is coming in to go to Port Lucaya as our boat (the shuttle) is going over to Lucaya Village Marina
Leaving Lucaya - Monday 26 Feb 2001
JOY left real early. JADE EAST (a CSY 37), and the other boat they were traveling with also left about 7. I walked up to the office to finalize our bill. We'd used 4 KW of electricity - cost $1.00. We also had the two lobster salads on the bill, and I'd bought an Explorer chart book at the suggestion of Tim as it had more depths and detail than the MapTech one we had.
The office opened at 7:00, and I was right there as she unlocked the door. We cast off at 7:20, and motored out of the marina, out of the breakwater (again no breakers as the winds were light), and actually saw the Bell Channel marker this time.
Then we had breakfast. Assisted by the current, we were doing 8 or more knots, but we were motor sailing. I took a nap. Then we had lunch. Then Bob actually took a nap of about 2 hours. Then we talked to Herb at Southbound II and signed off - he had trouble grasping that we were actually under way.
Now we were in the Gulf Stream and it was pushing us north. I tried to keep the speed up above 5 knots, and just let it move us sideways without trying to fight it. We would be steering 242, and the GPS would say our track was 255. The winds were light, and really SW or WSW. We had dinner while motor sailing. Bob took in the jib, so the sails were mostly steadying.
I went down and took another nap, although Bob refused to do the same. About 11:30, we had gotten near to Ft. Lauderdale, and I phoned Customs to see what we should do, and whether we could sign in by phone from a mooring. I got a grumpy guy and he said I couldn't phone from offshore (which was obviously not true), and that I would have to come in to a dock.
Since I doubted that there would be anyone around to authorize that at the hour we would be coming in, I didn't know how that would work.
We motored down along the coast just outside (inshore of) the Gulf Stream, dodging fishing boats that were darting out at random, and gambling ships which were barging around like fireflies.
Coming into Miami and going back to the mooring
I would LOVE to rent a condo or timeshare
I need a timeshare or 2 bedroom condo March 17-24 near the Our Lucaya complex.
Please let me know if you can help me.
RE: I would LOVE to rent a condo or timeshare
I own a timeshare and have a few weeks to spare. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can exchange contact information and discuss further details. Look forward to hearing from you.