The weather down here has been picture perfect the last few weeks. With the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show kick starting the buying (looking) frenzy we wanted to remind you that boat shopping can be fun, but BOATING is way more fun.
The time you spend looking for the better deal is the time you lost…and unlike money, time is something you can never get back.
Cruising tips to the Bahamas, specifically the Exumas a paradise for boaters
A tropical paradise lies at our fingertips, The Bahamas are attainable for any southern boater and present the perfect getaway for everyone to partake in. For those wishing to escape the typical tourist trap, The Exumas offer a place for people to hideaway, leave the noise of the modern world behind, and live a life of simplicity. The perfect yachting adventure awaits you, with glistening white sandy beaches and excellent underwater reefs, this untouched land truly gives one a break from reality.
How to get there:
Once you have acquired the necessary permits and documentation, many may wonder, how do you get there? What is the best route to take? What stops should I make along the way? Brant a seasoned boater, shares his experience after taking annual trips to the Exumas on a 62′ Pilothouse. He suggests that when making preparations, travelers should first focus on crossing the Gulf Stream and look for certain weather aspects. A great guide to use for this purpose is called, The Abaco Guide which offers more detailed information on the subject.
Brant describes his course when traveling to the Bahamas from Florida “…She crosses from Fort Pierce to Spanish Cay where we clear customs. We could go from Daytona direct but it would make for a very long day and the trip would be way out in the Atlantic and require a daylight departure with no room for delays if you do not want to run at night. Leaving from Ft. Pierce has us enter the Bahamas Bank at a point known as White Sand Ridge and then angle a little south for the top of Great Sale Cay. Great Sale is the first land you see after leaving Florida. We have anchored there several times coming and going.”
If you are looking to make the Exumas your final destination, there will be some places you will probably like to stop along the way in order to gather some general provisions. Many boaters like to stop in Nassau either for clearing customs or just to get the essentials as they get further and further from the mainland. Brant takes his 68′ pilothouse down to Marsh Harbour where they dock at Harbour View Marina at the center of town. “Marsh Harbour has everything anyone needs including an airport” Brant explains, while also mentioning that they often stop at Wally’s Restaurant across from Harbor View and sometimes rent a 28′ center console and motor around the rest of the Abaco chain before continuing down to their destination.
Very important items that everyone must have are navigational charts, you should probably purchase several including Explorer and Exuma guides. Brant uses the C-map system chips in his chart plotter rather than using the old-fashioned paper chart and finds them to be a very good substitute. He still insists that one really needs to read the books on the Exuma chain to have confidence in moving around. He explains that this trip can be done by anyone even an amateur, “It is very doable, one does not have to be a veteran of ocean crossings, just have good charts and you can navigate.”
Brant stresses that having good ground tackle is a requirement that cannot be overstated! He says, “It allows one to have confidence that your vessel will stay where she should in wind and storms which always come at night.” The tidal currents can be extremely strong, swinging your vessel into other neighbors or maybe even sweeping you away all together. Be sure to do your research on various anchors and chains and also determine if you will be needing more than one.
What to expect:
The Exumas house about 3,600 residents that kindly welcome travelers that are passing through their home land. The island folk are happy to greet you and share their way of life with those that wish to experience it. They mostly live simply, making a living in farming or fishing and using the abundant natural resources they have around them. If you want to live as the Exumians do, you better be prepared to do nothing for a while, leaving behind the glitz and glamor that other main attractions offer. Enjoy snorkeling, diving, swimming, surfing, and fishing when living out in the Exumas. One frequent traveler, describes his personal experience with free-diving in the Exumas, saying, “It’s like diving into a big aquarium! A truly beautiful and life changing experience.”
Living out in the Exumas for several months is very peaceful. Brant and his family spend their time reading, swimming, cooking, napping, writing, going online, watching TV, and exploring the islands. “I read 7 books last summer and worked my way through the wine cellar on board,” says Brant. A fellow boater agrees and says that when he travels down to the islands he makes it a point to be offline and appreciates the islands around him. He says, “My cell phone doesn’t even work outside of Florida, so I am able to truly separate myself from the rest of the world. I must say it is pretty nice for a change”, but if you have to stay connected there are options.
of course, food seems to be an important factor when enjoying your time away. It is natural to be concerned in finding good food when you are no longer near numerous restaurants. Brant’s yacht has a sub zero which works perfectly when freezing prime ribs, steaks, and even pizza dough! They also are able to store an assortment of cheeses, veggies, and breads, which they buy along the way. “Bahamas Bread and French butter makes the days start out good. We also add some coconut rum to the French toast batter and chase that with a dry Champagne, it is all part of the fun.”
Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park
One of the largest underwater and land preserves, Maybe the most beautiful breathtaking place in the Exumas! With 15 major cays, 176 square miles, this is the world’s first national marine park. There is No fishing allowed which leaves room for amazing reefs filled with brilliant exotic fish. Click Here for the park’s website.
Want to boat in the Exumas? Check out our Bahama Boat Picks below:
Special thanks for Bran an inspirational boater and a dear friend