we just got back last week from a two month cruise
in the abacos. i will write here of the abacos, although most comments apply to anywhere in the bahamas.
1. you will have to get papers for your dog. this website has some info about that subject under 'pets'.
Bahamas Ports of Entry - Bahamas Vacation Travel Guide by Bahamas-Travel.info
2. your entry fee is currently $150 which is good for 3 months with a free renewal for 3 more months. there is a rumor that the fee for your size boat is going up to $200. this fee also includes a fishing/spearfishing permit
3. we paid an average of $5.50 for fuel -gas or diesel
. you will also have to buy water
. we paid 20 cents a gallon at treasure cay; some places want considerably more. bottled water was $1.50 to 2.00 a gallon.
4. dockage is optional - you will probably never need to take a dock
. off season (right now) it's less than $1 a foot at many places, excepting the 'upscale' marinas
where it might be double or triple that. better to spend the money
on a good dinghy
and anchor gear
5. food costs more. often double what you pay in the states. if you're budget
minded, bring all you can. any 'specialty' foods - like oreo cookies - can be outrageously priced. we average $15 per person at the restaraunts, but one of them in particluar (junovia's in marsh harbor) is so good it's worth it - and the portions will keep you full for a day.
beer is also expensive. if you consume mass quantities, you might want to bring your own. averages $2 to $3 in stores, $5 at bars.
don't count on catching fish
6. depths are mostly shallow. in the abacos the deepest water is 20 feet, but anchorages
are normally less than 8 feet. you won't need a lot of rode
, so i recommend 100 feet of chain. after 35 years i have finally found the best anchor i've ever owned - the manson supreme. it has never failed to take a deep hold and hang on like a bulldog. a 25 pounder would probably work great on your boat. don't go cheap
on anchoring gear
. you will spend most of your cruise
at anchor, and you don't want to worry every time a blow comes through.
7. get the explorer charts
for the part of the bahamas you will be in. if it's the northern bahamas, it's the explorer chartbook for the near bahamas. this is the bible of charts
for the bahamas - even the electronic charts are based on this one (except navionics
, and boats have run aground or been lost
using their charts). a couple of handheld gps', a good ships compass
, binoculars, hand bearing compass
, and your eyeballs are, in my humble opinion, all you need for navigating to, through, and back from the bahamas.
having said that, the steve dodge cruising guide to the abacos is also desirable, and for thirty bucks it's worth it. it has lots of pictures of entrances to inlets and aerial photos that make navigating a whole lot more visual.
White Sound Press
7. money. the u.s. and bahamian dollars are 'on par', meaing they're worth exactly the same, and you'll find them used interchangeably everywhere you go. there are banks with atm's in the large towns, some that are open five days a week. in the smaller islands there may be no bank at all or it just opens one day a week for a few hours. i don't ask locals to take credit cards; many of them either don't or will charge you an extra fee for accepting them. how much should you bring? how much you got?
on the other hand, we were gone for two months and when we got back i sat down and figured out about how much the two months cost us. i've come to the conclusion that it was cheaper to live on our boat in the abacos then back home in florida
while i'm on this subject, let me remind you to bring your passport and drivers license
. you will need your passport to enter the bahamas and it will be your id when you do your banking.
'rebecca burg'. she's based in the florida keys
but has made trips to the bahamas, first on her bayfield 25, now on her bayfield 29. she also has videos on you tube which are worth watching. you might even email
her for her views - as a fellow bayfield owner i'm sure she'll be receptive.
those are the basics that i can think of right now. if i think of anything else important i'll get back to you. in the meantime i'm sure you'll get many more responses. you can also search the forum for 'bahamas' and probably come up with lots more (and probably better) information.
all of the above notwithstanding, just go. you'll have a great time.