Bahamas

Bahamas location map

The Bahamas

After Jamaica, the Bahamas is James Bond’s second favourite travel destination. The fourth Bond film Thunderball was shot here in 1965 as well as its unofficial remake Never Say Never Again in 1983. Especially in Thunderball the romantic lure of the Bahamas is used as a running character throughout the whole film. James Bond returned to the Bahamas in 2006, in Daniel Craig's debut, Casino Royale.

Below is a summary of the story In The Bahamas, as featured in the travel guide On the tracks of 007.
About 700 islands, of which only some 40 are inhabited, form the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. They stretch over a range of 650 miles (1200 km) from the east coast of Florida in a south-easterly direction right up to the Caribbean. Though one of the smallest islands, New Providence, with the capital Nassau, is the political, economic and touristy centre of the country. 65 per cent of the Bahamian population (268,000 in 1993) lives here. Because of the pleasant subtropical climate and the excellent beaches the Bahamas became a popular full-year vacation destination. Tourism produces more than 50 per cent of the national income. The second reason why the Bahamians enjoy the highest standard of living of the entire Caribbean is because of banking. The political and economic stability and very liberal tax laws attract investors from all over the world to this tax haven.

On 12th October 1492 Christopher Columbus set foot upon the soil of the New World in the Bahamas. He claimed the island for the Spanish king and called it San Salvador. Some historians nowadays believe that the location of the recovery of America was the Bahama-island of Samana Cay. The first British settlers arrived in 1648 in Eleuthera and New Providence. For the next 300 years the Bahamas remained a British colony. In the 17th century the islands were the hunting grounds of pirates and buccaneers. Blackbeard was the most notorious one of them. The novels of Daniel Defoe made the myth of the pirates of the Caribbean immortal. On 10th July 1973 the Bahamas gained independence. Officially, however, the Queen of England is still head of state. She is represented by a Governor General in Nassau.
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Rock Point, or Palmyra from Thunderball (1965)
Although Thunderball was filmed five decades ago, you will still find lots of people in the Bahamas today - taxi-drivers, hotel clerks, self-appointed tourist guides, etc. - who can point out where particular scenes were shot, who will show you the house where the production office was located or who tell you proudly that they have actually met Sean Connery in person (he has a house at Lyford Cay) and what a fine and likable fellow he is. It somehow seems that the release of Thunderball back in 1965 put the Bahamas on the map of touristy travel destinations. At that time Paradise Island, which lies about 500 yards north of Nassau, was a very tranquil place. It was owned by millionaire Huntington Hartford, who is mentioned in the film’s end credits. He abolished the former name ‘Hog Island’, because he thought it a horrible name for a holiday destination. (Agreed!) You could only get there by boat.

Nowadays it is connected to Nassau by two elegantly arched one-way-bridges. Since the mid-Sixties Paradise Island has changed enormously. Especially the building of the Atlantis Hotel in the course of the Nineties transformed the island from a serene holidaymaker’s spot for insiders into a world class mega-resort. Apart from being a hotel the Atlantis is sort of an aquatic theme park with pools, marinas, open-air bars and a variety of facilities to satisfy the vacationer every wish. You might ask yourself, though, if this huge, castle-like complex doesn’t blow the dimensions of that little island a bit out of proportion. And, we have to admit it - it destroyed some lovely Bond-locations for good.

Sun-drenched tropical beaches and crystal clear waters washing ashore are the striking features of the north coast of Paradise Island. Here Bond meets 1965’s Domino for the first time. He chats her up by pretending to have problems with the engine of his boat. Domino helps him out with her boat and they get ashore at Paradise Beach just in front of what is now CLUB MED. Walking in an easterly direction you approach the Atlantis Hotel and Paradise Lagoon. The picturesque little stone bridge that formerly spanned the mouth of the lagoon and that was visible in Thunderball fell victim to the complete remodelling of the once secluded area and was replaced by a concrete bridge. Fortunately, we were able to photograph it during a visit some years ago.

The breakwater that stretches northward into the sea did survive the reconstruction. At this place Bond emerges from the water after Domino has told him about Largo’s lair. The quay where he sneaks among Largo’s divers has also vanished.
The Tears of Allah wreck site from Never Say Never Again (1983)
The Thunderball breakwater at the Atlantis Resort
About 2 miles west of Nassau on the right hand side of the road lies a pink painted villa. Its official name is Rock Point, but we Bond-fans know it better as Palmyra, Largo’s home in the Bahamas.

It is right next to a public beach and looks rather as it did in Thunderball. The shark pool where Largo’s henchman Quist becomes fish fodder is visible from the road. You can also see the beach area, the place at which Bond shows off his masterly skills at trap shooting. Unfortunately, since it is a private estate, Rock Point is not accessible to the public. But if you're lucky you might just stumble into Mr. Mosko, the current owner of the house. Having bought the house in the mid-'70s, he doesn't know much about the filming. He only seems to know the film was made there because of the many Bond fans that turn up at his front gate. When you're outside the gate, you will realise there is absolutely no space for the entrance road with the barrier, as shown in the film. In fact, this scene was filmed on a quiet moment on the road to the airport.

Once you have passed the gate you'll come to the parking space in front of the house. Bond parked his car next to the place where you will now find two 17th century canons, each worth over 500.000 US$, just lying there on the grass. While the main entrance is also there (there used to be a wooden gate where we see Bond ring the bell in the film), the best entrance is to your left. You will first pass the outer (shark) pool.

Much damage has been done to the surrounding walls by hurricanes, and also the outer pool has suffered. It has partially filled up with sand, but according to Mr. Mosko, this was temporarily. Looking towards the sea, you will immediately notice the tree-area in the back, from where Largo was trap-shooting. This area has also changed much, due to the earlier mentioned hurricane attacks. Still it looks recognizable, and it can even be seen from the beach on the left of the house.

. . .

This and much more can be found in the chapter 'In The Bahamas' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected Hotels:

Atlantis Resort

Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Coral Harbour Hotel

Contrary to my earlier findings, the Coral Harbour Hotel does still exist, even though it is no longer a hotel. It's located at (surprise-surprise) Coral Harbour and is now part of the Bahama Coastal Defence base.

British Colonial

Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
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