Cruising the Bahamas
Are the Bahamas in your winter sailing plans? Read on for info about where to go, what not to miss, and tips from other cruisers.
From Brittany Meyers aboard Asante
1) Bahamas is ALL about the water, so make sure you have a few things on board to enjoy it: like snorkel gear, Hawaiian sling (if you are into spearing), and - if you have a room - an inflatable kayak or inflatable Paddle board (iSUP) can be a LOT of fun, especially in the more remote islands where the land offers little to explore.
2) Expectations are everything: If you are traveling to the Exumas, it's good to prepare for sleepy, remote islands with very few "shore attractions." We met people who went to the Exumas expecting the British Virgin Islands and they were very disappointed.
3) Invest in the "Explorer Charts" they are well worth it and exemplary. BUT, don't forget that you CAN go off the beaten path every once and a while, and not *all* anchorages are marked with an anchor.
4) Provision well in the US, but don't go crazy. Our first trip to the Bahamas we provisioned like we were going to the moon and it was totally unnecessary. There are plenty of islands that have decent grocery stores and while you might not eat your favorite food from home, you will NOT go hungry.
5) When anchoring, try not to simply follow the herd and leave a little room to the boats who were there first if it is possible. Nobody enjoys being anchored on top of and there are PLENTY of fantastic anchorages in the Bahamas.
6) One of the best features of the Bahamas are the locals - they are friendly, kind, welcoming and have not been embittered by mass tourism. Enjoy this camaraderie and, if your budget allows, support the local community by eating at their restaurants or purchasing their goods from time to time.
From longtime Bahamas cruiser, Pam Wall
1) Take plenty of outboard motor fuel
2) Get the biggest RIB you can fit aboard your boat comfortably, it will be your source of diving, exploring, eating out, and your car!
3) Have an easy way to get into your tender from the water. I go up the back of my RIB with my back against the pontoon and use the cavitation plate of the outboard as a convenient step up into my tender so easy so simple
4) Set up an easy way to collect rain water in your water deck fill. I use a tea towel wrapped around the deck fill facing forward for a dam for rain on foredeck going down the scuppers into the deck fill. Works like a charm
5) Take a "look bucket" for looking under water from your tender. Check your anchor from the tender from the look bucket
6) Take a hand meat grinder for delicious conch fritters
7) Take a tack hammer to open hole in conch to get the meat out
8) Take COMFORTABLE Mask, snorkel, flippers as you will be using them all the time
9) Be sure you have screens, awnings, bimini top, sun shades for the aft end of your bimini top, etc
10) Take a lot of GOOD sun protection lotion, hat, polarized sunglasses (I take 3 pairs of inexpensive polarized sunglasses as I know I will probably loose them!), dive shirts with sun protection, aloe if you get burned
11) Coat your RIB with 303 Aerospace Protectant to protect it from UV deterioration
12) Don't forget the Hawaiian Sling for fish and crayfish. No spear guns allowed