Touring the Bahamas Via Private Vessel: Pre-Departure

Touring the Bahamas in a Private Vessel: Pre-Departure Checklist
The Captain’s vessel, the Mon Ami spent the winter in Ft. Lauderdale.  As many of you may recall, the Captain and I took the boat down the Intracoastal Waterway in the fall of last year.  Here are the links to those posts:

Traveling the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) Kent Narrows, MD to Norfolk, VA

Traveling the ICW: Norfolk, VA to Coinjock, NC

Traveling the ICW: Coinjock, VA to Wrightsville Beach, NC

Standing Still on the ICW: Wrightsville Beach, NC

Traveling the ICW: Wrightsville Beach, NC to Charleston, SC

We didn’t make it all the way to Ft. Lauderdale until mid-December.  We had to leave the boat in Jacksonville, FL for repairs.  I still need to post about the rest of our journey, especially down the St. Johns River.

We are planning a boat trip to the Bahamas in the Mon Ami, a 2002 31′ Formula powerboat.  We have been making preparations in one way or the other for months.  Five of us are making the trip, which means the Captain and I will be staying on the boat, and our other three guests will have hotel accommodations at each of our stops.

Planning and More Planning.  Did I Mention Planning?

Boat Preparations

We had to have some work done on the boat to get it ready for this trip, part of which involved replacing both of the gasoline engines, and the GPS system.  Costly, and unfortunately necessary.

Itinerary

Our proposed itinerary includes the following destinations:

Weather

We can plan for our adventure to the Bahamas all we want.  The bottom line is that we aren’t going anywhere if the winds aren’t cooperating.  Unlike a sail boat, high winds make travel very uncomfortable on a power boat, and if the winds are over 10 mph, the Captain is likely to stay in port.  We started watching the winds two weeks out, and it wasn’t looking good initially, however, the winds have calmed down considerably, and it looks like we’ll be able to leave on schedule.  We have added a couple of extra days to our itinerary to cover any possible weather related delays.

Reservations

We had to make reservations for both the boat and land accommodations in each stop.  Some of our reservations, we were able to make over the internet, and some places didn’t have a website reservation system, so we had to call and book our accommodations over the phone.

Provisions

The plan is to eat breakfast and lunch on the boat most days, especially on travel days, and that involves minimal cooking.  We purchased:  peanut butter, jelly, lunch meat, bread, condiments, hot dogs, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, apples, humus, carrots, celery, popcorn, chips and salsa, pretzels, tuna fish, and LOTS of bottled water.  No soda.  We bought drink mixes to add right to a 16 oz. bottle of water to make it more palatable.

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Clothing & Toiletries

We are limited to one duffel bag per person.  That was a challenge.  I kept having to re-evaluate my clothing, and weed out anything that wasn’t absolutely essential.  What to pack is going to be different for everyone, so I won’t go into too much detail, except to say, bring LOTS OF SUNSCREEN, and a few swimsuits, and any feminine hygiene products you may need,  Everything is more expensive in the Bahamas.  Also a hat and quality sunglasses are essential in hot climates.

First Aid

A well stocked First Aid Kit is essential.  Here is what is in our kit:

  • Dramimine (for motion sickness,  Absolute necessity on a boat)
  • Anti nausea bands (worn on the wrists are supposed to help with sea sickness)
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Alleve
  • Anti Diarrhoeal Medicine
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Acid Reducer Medicine
  • Benadryl
  • Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Bandages of all sizes
  • Gauze
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Life Onboard

Life onboard while motoring from one location to the other can get very crowded.  It is important to stow luggage, and anything else fragile securely so that nothing is tossed about the cabin while under way.   This could cause a potentially hazardous situation in the event one of the crew has to go down below for any reason.

Everyone on board needs to pick up after themselves.  The boat and cabin can get really messy in a short period of time without everyone’s help in keeping things neat and orderly.

Benefits of Traveling by Private Vessel

There are really cool islands you can get to by private boat that are otherwise inaccessible.

You can set and alter your itinerary.

If the weather is bad, you can hunker down and stay in port until the weather passes.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when traveling on a private vessel, is The captain is in charge, and you must follow whatever directive he/she gives without question.

The other crucial thing top remember is:  Have fun, and enjoy the sights.

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