Last month Pam looked at items you most definitely need in the Bahamas to make your adventure seamless. This month she takes a look at those items you may want as you cruise the turquoise water of the lovely Bahamas.
Let’s get to those important things you may want to take to the Bahamas to make your time there even more enjoyable.
A good meal is so important! So, my advice to you is to take the food you like to eat. If you like soft drinks, take a lot of them. Your favorite snacks become really important any time of the day. That special coffee bean makes breakfast happy. There are grocery stores scattered all over the Bahamas; you will not starve! But it is nice to have aboard what you really like. Also, when provisioning, take a lot of Zip Lock Bags, your special toilet paper for marine heads, and paper towels.
Electronic charting is probably a part of your boat’s navigation table. But, I would suggest you take a few good cruising guides as well. These will give you up-to-date soundings and tide tables, waypoints, and great local information.
It is very handy to have a Ram Mic, microphone extension, in your cockpit that leads from your master VHF below deck. This enables you to converse or just listen to your VHF when in your cockpit. It is so nice having your morning cup of coffee in the cockpit while listening to the Abaco Net on VHF Channel 68.
You will want a comfortable mask and snorkel and flippers as you will be in the water more than out. You may want a Hawaiian Sling if you like getting dinner from the sea. Leave your spear guns at home; they are illegal in the Bahamas.
It is really fun to have your own Look Bucket. This is a five gallon plastic bucket with a glass, or Plexiglas, bottom. When in your tender, you can use the Look Bucket to see underwater where the conch are, what you ran aground on, what is tangled in your propeller, or if your anchor is properly set, etc. Have it in your dinghy as a bucket to keep your catch of crayfish and grouper. This keeps the slime and scales from coating the dinghy floor.
You do not need a fast tender, nor a RIB, nor a 4-stroke outboard motor for that matter, but they make your life so much fun! I am a proponent of Bigger is Better, and Faster is more Fun! A 10-foot RIB with a 15 h.p. 4-stroke outboard is a great combination. This will give you the ability to use your dinghy near or far, in a calm sea or steep chop. It will keep you dry, and get you to places quickly. Helpful tip: replace the seat in your RIB with a snugly fit cooler jammed in between the two pontoons a little forward of amidships. With a snap-on cushion, a cooler makes a comfortable seat and doubles as a dry storage area for your camera, towels, hand-held depth sounder and VHF. Or you can fill it with ice and put in cold drinks and a freshly caught grouper.
Last month we talked about a need for a protective bimini top and main hatch dodger. At anchor you may want an awning that goes from the mast back to the aft end of the cockpit. Those gorgeous sunny days in the Bahamas can get pretty hot while you are at anchor. An awning cools everything down on and below deck while also providing more protection from the sun. Your awning should be easy to put up, and very easy to take down, or you will never use it. Another good idea is a Textilene shade to hang from the awning to protect the cockpit from either morning or afternoon sun.
You will want fine mesh screens for all hatches including the companionway hatch. Often times, in the lovely evenings and early mornings, the vicious little no-see-em’s come for afternoon cocktails or early morning coffee with YOU as their food. These tiny annoying flying bugs have a bite like a shark. Also have a can of flying insect spray!
Speaking of hatches and ventilation, 12-volt fans are wonderful. It’s also nice to have wind scoops for your hatches.
A refrigeration/freezer system is a real treat to enable having frozen meat, ice cream, and ice cubes all the time. Solar panels keep a 12-volt refrigeration system cold without using any other way to charge the batteries.
We have talked a lot about what you need and what you may want in the Bahamas. There is much more I could recommend. Follow my blogs at pamwall.com to find practical information on many more needs and wants.
Remember, everything is Better in the Bahamas!