[ New Providence ] • The Potter's Cay Dock (Under the Dock)
We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives. If you’re like me and is “old people chirren”, you know it by heart:
“Good morning. It’s Friday, the 19th day of May 2017
and these are the community announcements.
In the shipping report, the M/V Captain Moxey will
be taking freight today until 9 am, before sailing to
Mangrove Cay & South Andros (or wherever the hell
in Andros that it sails to) at 11 am… at the
Potter’s Cay Dock.”
The Potter’s Cay Dock; home to all things in boating, Bahamian grown produce, fresh seafood and most importantly, true-true Bahamian vibez.
The “story” of the Potter’s Cay Dock is intrinsically a part of the history and the culture of not only the people of The Bahamas but the islands themselves. This was the travel mecca in the country. All boats to and from the family islands found themselves into and out of Nassau Harbour laden down with essential goods, loved ones and/or fresh catch. Today, not much has changed actually. The community announcements are still the same, informing the Bahamian populous of shipping times and routes, as, despite the dawn of aircrafts, the mail boats are still the main choice for movement for the family islanders.
What has changed, however, is the atmosphere. The Potter’s Cay Dock has gone from a simple domestic transshipment hub to what many Bahamians affectionately refer to as, “Under the Dock”. While both places are technically the same, they’re worlds apart.
I’ll be honest and say that I initially had no interest in visiting Under the Dock, but I was in Nassau for a conference and some of the other conference attendees decided that for a good time, that’s where we would head. I wasn’t driving so I didn’t object much, but I was a little hesitant. My hesitance was completely unwarranted.
It’s like Arawak Cay, but to me, better. It’s not saturated w/ as many tourists… In fact, there were little to no tourists Under the Dock. As such, the experience wasn’t watered down for the sake of visitors. We wandered around for a bit trying to find a place that wasn’t too crowded and everywhere was crowded and our search was coming up empty. So, we settled on the least crowded vendor (yet still a very crowded place) that we could find.
Cheap beers, cheap food, good company, what more could a guy ask for? If you’re looking for anything but seafood, you’re out of luck. If you’re looking for the best Bahamian seafood that you’ll have in Nassau, it’s the best spot for you. Typically, we associate Bahamian businesses and Bahamian workers with poor attitudes and lousy service and again I’ll be honest and say that it’s what I expected. I couldn’t be any more wrong. I’m upset with myself that I can’t remember the name of the stall that I went to, but the staff was great! After it was brought to their attention that I was allergic to shellfish, the owner insisted that she fix another plate for me and that she’d fry my fish in different oil. I tried to tell her that it wasn’t necessary at all, but none of the women would let me have it. That was appreciated. I’ve had issues (after making it known beforehand) at upscale restaurants because of my food allergies and it was refreshing to have the service offered.
There were recent upgrades carried out a few years ago by the previous administration, in an attempt to bring the area into the present. I was astounded, really, by the great time that I had. The Potter’s Cay Dock and its vendors is a real hidden gem.
Before you go (and I hope this inspires you to go), bear a few things in mind:
i. The vendors aren’t classically trained chefs or restaurateurs.
It’s all rustic. There aren’t many bathrooms (I peed in the harbour
because I really had to go!), so bear that in mind.
ii. I visited on a Friday afternoon, after the end of normal business
hours. It was crowded as hell! If you’re like me and aren’t really a fan of large
Crowds, I’d recommend visiting on another day or earlier in the day.
iii. Lastly, leave the bourgeoisie attitudes at home or in
the car! It’s unnecessary, annoying and it’s a sure way to have rude
service. Nobody likes pretentiously boujie people; okay?