The Bahamas, A Review

Our time in the Bahamas has come to an end. It was one hell of a cruise. Tears flowed when we headed west into the Gulf Stream towards Florida leaving the beautiful waters, islands, and people of The Bahamas in our wake.

That water!
Those beaches!

Our route took us from Key Biscayne, FL to Bimini, to Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, to Rose Island off of Nassau, down to the Exumas with a stop in George Town for a full month. Then on to Long Island, The Jumento Cays and Ragged Islands, back to Long Island, up to Cat Island, up further to Eleuthera, west to The Berry Islands again, further west to Grand Bahama, and the ultimately back across to the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach, Florida.

A lot of miles under the keel

A few facts from the log book:

  • Days underway: 37
  • Days in country: 92
  • Distance logged: 1084.7 NM (Plus day sails around George Town.)
  • Nights at the dock: 7
  • Nights at anchor: 85
  • Top three Anchorages:
Shroud Cay
Cambridge Cay
Lee Stocking Island
George Town. “Sammy, check the bar. Your food is ready. Sammy, check the bar.”

Yup, all in The Exumas.


Biggest question: Why doesn’t everyone live here? It is truly paradise.

Biggest challenge: Bugs. We enjoyed an unusually warm and calm stretch of weather in The Bahamas over the past three months. But with this still weather came bugs. We had a few lazy mosquitos, but the biggest problem were the tiny little beasts. some people call them Black Flies, others call them No-See-Ums, or Midges, or Gnats, or Sand Fleas. Lots of names, but we’re somewhat sure they all refer to the same tiny devil with wings. We have screens on the boat, and they do a great job keeping the typical Maine mosquito out. But the little No-See-Ums slide right thru. Bastards! When we come back next, we’re bringing our own custom made bug nets to drape over our bunks.

Biggest mystery: An abundance of engine blocks at the low water line on popular beaches. This airplane engine in the photo below was at Double Breasted Cay in The Raggeds. Flamingo Cay had a pair of boat engine blocks. Just north of Governor’s Harbor on Eleuthera is another one. All without plane/boat. All at the same point of the beach at the low tide line. Must be used to anchor some fishing system. But we haven’t figured out what that would be?????

Best Tender in The Bahamas: Heidi.

Everyone said we would never make it in The Bahamas with a rowing tender. Wrong! People have been saying that for years about our tender. But with 40,000 miles rowed and towed under her keel over the past 24 years, we’re here to say that the mighty Heidi is capable. What about the 30 knot winds in the Bahamas in the winter? Bill never missed a walk. What about the long trip from Socking Island to Georgetown for provisions? Running out of beer can motivate a person to pull on those oars. And we did. What about getting out to the dive sites? We’ve seen some fish and we will see some more.

Delighted not to be carrying any red tanks on decks of Sundance. We’ll keep rowing.

Best meal off the boat: Thanksgiving dinner at the park headquarters at Wardrick Wells. Free, and all were welcome, and it was a feast.

Best meal aboard: There may not be an abundance on the shelves in the Bahamian grocery stores, but there is usually pork, and Alex can cook the heck out of rice and beans.

Biggest surprise: Lack of birds. When we returned to Florida, we were struct by all the birdlife. And it dawned on us, birds are relatively scarce in the Bahamas. No idea why. Maybe this guy ate them all?

Most heart warming moment: The kids come to visit us on Christmas Day.

The boat: Running strong! No major problems. Thankful. We were surprised to note that winter sun in the Bahamas produces far less solar output than does June sun in Maine. Length of day trumps tropical sun for solar power production.

Most thought provoking stop: Long Island. We yearned to put down roots and stay forever. The place is magic. But the place is hard, and we wondered if we could do it…

Best hike: To the top, of course! We huffed and puffed our way up to the highest point in The Bahamas. (208′ above sea level.) And spent a memorable afternoon exploring the old hermitage situated there on Cat Island.

Biggest temptation: Cuba. We could tune in Cuban radio from this beach on Hog Cay in The Raggeds. We wanted to take an easy trade wind sail over for an in-depth visit. But we didn’t. maybe next time.

Keep sailing

We’ll be back.

Where to next?

We have big plans for the summer ahead which require us to get an early start heading north. Our first stop will be Brunswick, GA. where we plan to add some new equipment to the boat. The climate there should be nice for working in March, something we need to consider because we have neither heat nor air conditioning aboard the boat. We found a marina in Brunswick within easy walking distance to a grocery store, a marine store, a bar, and a hardware store – handy! This same reasonably priced marina also offers free laundry and free beer 24/7. We might not leave.

Starting to think we may have seen a green flash or two. We now believe the phenomenon to be more subtle than we had originally thought.

On April 1, we decide on our summer sailing plans.

Stay tuned.


4 thoughts on “The Bahamas, A Review

  1. Thank you for such a phenomenal description of your time in the Bahamas. See you next year.

  2. Another great entry! And those photos! The color is so saturated I feel like I’m sitting in an IMAX theater watching “Fantasia” while sky-high on LSD.

    Or something like that.

    Love the best/biggest format. Entertaining!

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