At Nassau (continued)
“It would be impossible to imagine any situation better for the thorough examination of a sea garden than that in which we found ourselves on this particular morning. Our vessel was not going fast enough to interfere with the most minute investigation of every object on the sea bottom, and yet just moving sufficiently to enable us to see fresh forms of coral beauty every minute, each more lovely than its predecessor. Into deep alcoves and recesses, under delving masses of coral, did we peer with wondering eyes, almost looking for some Lurline or sea-nymph basking in the sunlight that seemed to penetrate right down into this glorious submerged coral world. The fish that dart about or lie sleeping in these coral caves harmonise well with the general beauty of the scene, for their colouring is gorgeous, and their motions extremely graceful. Some are yellow, some are a rich scarlet; some silver and satin, others ringed, striped, fringed, tipped, or spotted with all the colours of the rainbow. Sponges abound in every direction, clinging to the coral rock".*
Nassau, on account of its beauty and genial climate, has not been inaptly compared to Mentone. It has become quite a fashionable health-resort for American visitors, who flock here, especially during the months of February and March, when the climate is at its best. In the winter months, from November to May, the temperature varies from 60 deg. to 75 deg., and during the rest of the year, constituting the warm season, from 75 deg. to 85 deg. During the latter season occur the heavy tropical summer rains. The sea bathing here is described as excellent. For those seeking rest and recreation, Nassau may be regarded as an ideal spot. Those who suffer from any form of lung complaint benefit by the curative effect of the climate. It is not an uncommon sight to see walking about persons who ten or fourteen days previously were so ill that they had to be carried ashore from the steamer. The town, it has been remarked, is one of the cleanest in the world, the streets and roads being scrupulously swept and cleaned down every morning. There are many up-to-date buildings, including a well equipped colonial hotel and well planned golf links. One of the interesting features is the old forts, which date from the middle and close of the eighteenth century.
On the occasion of the visit of the Williamson Submarine Expedition, the Governor of the islands, Mr. Hadden Smith, entertained the members of the expedition on a gala day. They were shown the interesting, and sometimes comical, sights of the little town, including the sponge industry, which is the principal business of the island. In honour of the event, the Governor ordered a parade of all the civic and military bodies of the island.
With the exception of the officials, their families, and a sprinkling of residents, the entire population is native. The Union Jack, which flies from the Governor's residence, is a quiet reminder of the vastness of the British Empire. The town, in addition to the native constabulary and native troops, can boast of several divisions of Boy Scouts.
The present Governor, Mr. W. L. Allardyce, C.M.G., we may note in passing, raised three native contingents for service with the troops fighting in the life and death world struggle for right against might, and for freedom against military tyranny.
Nassau, besides its unrivalled Marine Gardens, can boast of several other attractive features. There is, for example, the famous “Queen's Staircase", consisting of nearly three hundred steps hewn out of the solid rock by Spanish convicts three centuries ago, when Spain was in possession of the Bahamas.
Mr. Haddon Smith (Sir George Basil, 1861-1931)
Mr. W. L. Allardyce, C.M.G (William Lammond, 1861-1930)