Our friend Brittany, who writes her own travel/sailing/mommy blog www.windtraveler.net took time out of her extremely busy schedule to answer our Q&A about sailing to the Bahamas. Yes we have sailed there as well, and loved it, but as we are contemplating which direction we want to sail in next, Bahamas being one of the possibilities, it is always nice to hear someone else’s point of view.
In a nutshell can you introduce yourself and tell us about your sailing/cruising history?
We are Scott, Brittany, Isla, Haven and Mira. Scott and I cruised for 2 years from Chicago to Trinidad in our first boat. Came home and had our baby Isla. Bought a bigger boat and sailed from Florida to Grenada (where we discovered we were pregnant with twins – ACK!!) and then back up to the BVI’s. Came home to have our twins and we plan on cruising the 2015 season with ALL our babies in the BVIs. All in all we have sailed over 10K nautical miles, 5K of which was done with our baby girl Isla.
In regards to the Bahamas what was it that brought you there?
We had planned on skipping it not really knowing much about it (the Virgin Islands get all the glory) – but my father suggested we sail there knowing we had a shoal draft boat. We liked the idea of island hopping (via the “thorny path”) down to the Caribbean (as opposed to a ten day offshore passage to the US or British Virgin Islands) because we were “newbies” and they were conveniently on the way. We’re so glad we did because the Bahamas might just be our favorite place yet.
What are some of the pros/cons of the islands?
Pros: safe, amazing beauty, super friendly locals, incredible sea life, remote, uncrowded, no need to sail overnight anywhere, more islands than you can shake a stick at, mostly sailing in calm, protected waters (because of the Banks).
Cons: expensive, lack of contour to the land (all islands are more or less flat), need to constantly watch weather to avoid getting caught in a “norther”, shallow depths – average depth is something like 10 feet (but this is also a plus because anchoring is a breeze).
Are there any secret gems, “must sees”, of the area that you are willing to let us in on?
We really only cruised the Exumas but feel they really cannot be beat. Our favorite spot was Shroud cay. We also loved the area of Musha cay. Honestly, there are so many gems in the Exumas – we only scratched the surface – you could cruise them forever and keep finding more.
Is there anything you would warn us, and other sailors about, before heading this way?
Don’t get caught in an exposed anchorage in a “Norther”! There aren’t many anchorages that protect you from strong north winds so watch carefully.
Not sure if it’s the drink that the area is “known” for, but we were BIG fans of the Bahamian Ginger Beer. Despite what the name implies, it is non-alcoholic and pairs nicely with rum.
chocolate bar: can’t recall, probably $2
toilet paper: $6 for 12 rolls of simple 2 ply (side note: paper towels are VERY expensive at about $8 a roll)
chicken breast: (we don’t eat meat on board but I googled this) about $8 a pack
bread: $4-$6 a loaf (nothing fancy either)
gas: $5-$6 per gallon for both gas and diesel
Could you picture us there, enjoying ourselves?
Of course, because we were enjoying ourselves there TOGETHER. Bahamas are bliss and a great cruising grounds for boats with babies on them!
**Britanny’s personal vote is for us to go down to the USVIs so we can spend another season together. Their family makes it very tempting for us!**