By Pablo Garcia

For the 9th year the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has hosted the annual Familiarization Trip (FAM trip) to the Islands of the Bahamas. The goal of this trip is to educate individuals on how easy it is for private pilots to fly their aircraft to and around the islands. The 2011 FAM trip included flights to Nassau, North Eleuthera and Bimini.

We started on Thursday August 18th with a briefing at Banyan’s Sabal Palm Conference room.  Greg Rolle introduced all of the participants to the ambassadors and support staff from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. We also discussed the requirements, itinerary and all other information pertinent to the trip.

Upon reaching Nassau International Airport, some of us had to hold in the air due to bad weather conditions at the destination, but after a brief moment we were able to land safely at the Capitol’s Airport.

We enjoyed lunch with the local authorities of the Civil Aviation Department and the Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism.  They gave presentations about the many activities and improvements the local government has accomplished to make private flying to and from the Bahamas as smooth as possible.

Since weather conditions deteriorated, arrangements were made for us to stay in Nassau that night instead of trying to get to Treasure Cay where the airport was closed due to bad weather and low visibility.  We got to enjoy Nassau night life at the Wyndham Resort and enjoyed a night tour in the downtown area.

The following day was a beautiful morning with plenty of sunshine and off we went to the next scheduled Island, North Eleuthera, where all the participants arrived without any delays. From the airport we took the water taxi to Harbor Island where we checked into the beautiful Valentines Resort & Marina.  There we had a taste of what life in the Outer Islands is really like; with everything you need only a short walk or quick golf cart ride away.

That day we had lunch at the magnificent Coral Sands Resort with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean.  We weretreated to an amazing view of the sunset, a relaxing dinner and the sounds of the local band playing Bahamian songs.

The following morning we took off again, this time to one of the most popular American destinations due to the proximity to the U.S. continent: Bimini.

We had lunch at the Bimini Sands Resort where the Chef delighted us with Lobster, Lamb, Sushi and Chicken, all at the same time!

After lunch we took the ferry to the North Island and checked in at the Bimini Big Game Resort owned by Mr. Guy Harvey. The resort’s services include a restaurant, bar, marina, hotel rooms and cottages.  After a short tour around the Island lead by our local host guide, Mr. Leonard Stuart, we had the opportunity to go around Bimini Bay in the resort’s glass bottom boat and enjoy the company dolphins.

That night at dinner, all the participants had the chance to express their thoughts about what they experienced during their stay at the Bahamas, followed by being awarded with a “Bahamas Gateway FBO Specialist” certificate.

To be able to participate in such an experience is an eye opener for all of us.  These gorgeous destinations are just a few miles away, yet we don’t realize the magnificence of the many places in the Bahamas.

Find out more about Banyan Air Service can help you plan your next trip to the Bahamas with the Bahamas Travel Assistance Page.

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