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Old 04-03-2011, 10:58   #1
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Bahamas Provisioning

Hi...I am new to the group. I have been cruising Florida for the last 12 years and will be making the first trip to the Bahamas ever by boat this spring! We will be gone 9 weeks. Plan to cross from Angel Fish Creek to Bimini ...then work our way down to Georgetown before heading back. Just wondering if there are any things you would recommend stocking up on that are either too expensive or hard to come by over there. I am vegetarian, so meat is not an issue (I do eat cheese and eggs though) & love to drink my wine! I would appreciate any help or ideas you can offer.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:13   #2
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

Hi Deb

My husband generally does the replying here, but I thought I might be able to offer some insight here.

This is our first year cruising, and I brought everything in the world with us. Big mistake. It does look like you are going to the Exumas, but may end up in the Abacos, depending on how you decide to come back.

In the Abacos you can get almost anything you want. There is a new Maxwell's (think a Publix, with prices about 15% higher than in Florida) with a decent produce section. Bread is best purchased at a local bakery as it is fresher (and tastes better!). Water can be easily purchased at any marina here in the Abacos.

Some things are much more expensive...paper products, personal products, things like that...so bring what you may need in that area. We overprovisioned, without a doubt, as it is easy enough here to find what you need. I can only speak to the Abacos, as this is where we are at this year, and others will have a much better opinion for other islands.

As an aside...we are in a Pearson 385, so very similiar to what you are cruising in. If you come to the Abacos, look us up!

Hope that this helps some...feel free to PM us if you have other questions or concerns.

Carol
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Old 04-03-2011, 13:05   #3
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

Hi Deb,
We're still in Texas, but provisioning this weekend for extended cruising and hope to be in the bahamas in a month or 6 weeks or so. Our plan is to get back to George Town and the Exumas, then the Berries, so maybe we'll see you. We will hit both CostCo and Sams, then Walmart and Target for some things we like there (their store brand breakfast and yogurt/fruit bars, and a couple of other things). We are a family of four, with two growing boys, so we bring a lot.

Except in Nassau (on the way) and George Town, provisioning in the Exumas can be pretty skimpy. Exuma Market in G Town, and the other store just across Lake Victoria, has pretty much everything you'd need, but pretty pricey.

Here's what we stock up on. If you use them, bring enough paper products (toilet, tissue, towels) as you think you'll need. Cheese and dairy at the bottom of the fridge. We've had goat cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. last over 5 months there. Good butter is not too expensive (we like Kerrygold, and there's a good New Zealand brand too). Leave Florida with as much less perishable fruit/veggies as you care to bring. We start every meal with a chopped onion, so we bring plenty (although onions are available pretty much in every little store in the Exumas). Apples keep well. We bring dried cranberries, dried fruit, ground coffee, splenda, coffee creamer that doesn't need to be refrigerated, honey, lots of spices, olive oils, vinegars, bottled sauces, mayonaise and condiments, etc. There's good advice out there (I think from Beth and Evans, and others) about how much stuff does not need to be refrigerated - things like mayo and many other commonly refrigerated condiments, and many more.

We like our wine too, and bring both some bottles and lots of better boxed wine, but just the bags. Black Box, etc. If you drink beer, bring it - beer in the Bahamas is really expensive. Don't bring rum, however, there's lots of cheap rum and other liquor in the Bahamas (I love Campari, but I'm too cheap to replace my bottle before I get to Nassau). To go with your wine, don't forget to bring plenty of dark chocolate. We like the big bags of pomegranite/dark choco from Costco. A couple of years ago I had to fly from G'Town to the states on business, and when I returned I had a small duffel bag that weighed 48 pounds - filled only with flour tortillas and chocolate.

Bring flour tortillas. Good for wraps, quesadillas, etc. They keep well unfrigerated (if you buy them that way), and we've only had one bag out of probably 30 or 40 go moldy in the last few seasons.

Nido powdered milk, if you like/cook with milk. Fresh milk in the Bahamas is usually not fresh, and 4.50 to $6 a half gallon (that's right, $ 9 to $12 a gallon). Canned Nestle cream, if you like cooking with cream (think cream style sauces for pasta, etc.)

Canned veggies: we bring mushrooms, scores of cans of tomato products - diced, stewed, sauced, paste, etc., stir fry veggies (water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, little corn ears, etc., and a few bottles of the sauces that go with them - soy, fish, teriyaki, thai chili garlic, etc.).

Our philosophy is this: on the one hand, many, many common products are available in the Bahamas, and the Bahamians do, actually, eat on a daily basis, so food is available; on the other hand, food there is expensive, sometimes not available, sometimes out of date/expiring/actually going bad, and provisioning is never easier than with your own pickup and a dock cart while tied to your dock. Major provisioning by dinghy, while certainly possible, is more challenging.

Those are some of my random thoughts while sitting in a conference and wishing I were provisioning for the Bahamas - but that's just a couple of days away.

Best of luck, and hope to see you out there.

Dave,
SV Liberty
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:53   #4
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

I agree with the comments here. You can find most things but will pay a higher price and sometimes the quality is not the best. I generally bring enough canned/nonperishable items that we could get by if needed. We have two dogs on board so I also bring enough food and treats to last.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:04   #5
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

If you drink beer... TAKE LOTS OF IT! It is VERY expensive in the Bahamas.

OR, switch to rum. M.
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Old 09-03-2011, 00:05   #6
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

Deb,
Well, we're $1800 into provisioning (for at least 4 months, some things more, some less), and here's a couple things I forgot in my post above.

Crackers. Lots of em if you like em.

Chocolate covered pomegranites, acai/blueberries, and fruit, from CostCo. Goes great with red wine while sitting in the cockpit with fellow cruisers. I realized after we got thru the checkout line at CostCo that we have over a dozen bags on board now, nearly one per week (which is waaay more than we eat).

Wine. Oh, I mentioned that above. Boxes and bottles. We've never had a bottle break, including on rough passages.

For canned goods, we are only buying tomato products (diced, stewed, paste, etc.), mushrooms, asian (water chestnuts and bamboo shoots), corn, green beans, enchilada sauce, green chilies, evap milk (I use it in coffee), and fruit for the boys. In the past we carried more canned veggies, and never ate them.

OK, all for now, need sleep. Plan is to push off the dock in 36 hours or so, and tooo much left to do.

Dave,
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:37   #7
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

Hey Dave...sounds like you are ready!! I have been out shopping...got about 15 boxes of wine now....got paper products yesterday. ....and I have tons of canned goods. we don't have a Costco here....those choc covered pomegranites sound REALLY GOOD! Thanks so much for all of your help and ideas. Hope you have a great trip. We will keep an eye out for Liberty when we are on the waters.

Deb
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:56   #8
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

A bit off topic, but germane nonetheless, is keeping your can goods in good shape. I will heat a block of paraffin wax in a big kettle of water until it melts. Take the labels off the cans, mark the contents and date with magic marker, dip can in kettle until submerged. Pull it right out and it will be perfectly coated with a thin layer of wax. No more rusty can goods, even when bilge stored!
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:32   #9
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

Quote:
Originally Posted by DebSV FREE REIN View Post
I have been out shopping...got about 15 boxes of wine now....
Hmm. I find that a little worrying. Are you sure it'll be enough?
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:53   #10
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

no....that is NOT enuff wine!! I'm planning on getting about 10-12 more boxes! I know we are only going to be out 9 weeks, but sometimes the wine goes faster than any other provision!! lol
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:50   #11
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Re: Bahama's provisioning

This is excellent advice, especially the part about heating the wax in a kettle of water. Paraffin is highly flammable. Friend of mine was horribly burned when melting wax in a pan on the stovetop to pour atop her jelly jars. Flared up and consumed her. Capngeo's technique is not only safer but each block of wax goes further and covers more evenly. A jar handler used in home canning makes this dipping easier. It has a firm grip.

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A bit off topic, but germane nonetheless, is keeping your can goods in good shape. I will heat a block of paraffin wax in t big kettle of water until it melts. Take the labels off the cans, mark the contents and date with magic marker, dip can in kettle until submerged. Pull it right out and it will be perfectly coated with a thin layer of wax. No more rusty can goods, even when bilge stored!
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Old 14-03-2011, 16:05   #12
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Re: Bahamas Provisioning

I have cruised the Bahamas for six seasons and have a six month provision list (Excel) with some notes about what I like to buy in the islands. If you'll pm me, I'll send it to you. It's my working provision list, not just a form, and works as a shopping list, locator where it's stored on the boat and even what box it's in, together with comments for the next cruise.

I don't mind overprovisioning at all. I enjoy being totally self-contained and we can go a long time without any shopping except for fresh stuff. Having said that, I do shop whenever I can, for fresh provisions and the regional items not available at home.

Bring the expensive stuff. Beer - Wine (removed from the box and stored in plastic storage boxes). Paper products: Toilet paper - I buy the 48 pack of individually wrapped rolls at Staples, add a 16-pack of Charmin to get started, and that gets us through a six month cruise. Paper Towels - 1 large roll of select-a-size gets me through one week, plus extras for spills and whatever (about 6 usually). I use cloth napkins most of the time, but party napkins, etc. for fun things and a few paper. Toiletries are still about twice the price. Do the math on what you'll need and bring it.

We use a Soda Club (Soda Stream) so we don't have to haul Diet Coke, etc. It also makes club soda, ginger ale and tonic for cocktails. Much less hassle than cans or bottles.

I store my canned goods in plastic boxes with locking lid handles, and they do not rust in one season, so they are stored with labels on but I write on the lids with black Sharpie what they are, so I can identify from the top of the box. I don't know about anyone else's bilge, but ours is pretty clean and still I wouldn't want to put any food in there.

Some Good stuff to buy in the Bahamas: Sawyers jams (pineapple, and pineapple coconut). Island Spice Jerk seasoning (yes, I know it's from somewhere else but I can buy it in Nassau at City Market), Pigeon Peas in coconut milk (comes in cans - serve over jasmine rice which you've brought with you). Sometimes you can buy wonderful sea salt made by the islanders in the out islands. If you don't catch fish, buy it. My favorites are the one in Spanish Wells (stone crab), and the commercial fish supplier down the road from the two grocery stores on Long Island. I do fish, but it's great to supplement when you can. I would never buy fish in a grocery store, however. Home made Bahamian breads - sweet Bahama bread and coconut bread. However these are expensive, but you gotta have some. I bake my own bread every two weeks as a main source. Rum, Rum, and more rum.

I could go on and on, but hope this helps. Enjoy your cruise!

Entlie
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Old 21-09-2011, 22:26   #13
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Re: Bahamas Provisioning

Even if you think you have everything you don't so I wouldn't fret too much. Although, if you are stopped anywhere for an extended period of time, don't waste your time shopping for food if you don't have to. There are some great grocery delivery services there like FoodStore2Go. We used them a lot while we were visiting some friends down there. It was well worth it.
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Old 23-09-2011, 14:00   #14
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Re: Bahamas Provisioning

We've been cruising in the Bahamas numerous times and bring everything we can fit in the boat. Everything is expensive there and not always available in remote areas. I even have a small freezer on board. We stay 3 months and try to limit our purchases to fresh vegetables.
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Old 23-09-2011, 17:19   #15
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Re: Bahamas Provisioning

Box wine stores easily however be aware of the "Use by" dates. Some have "Born on" and you should get a max of 4 months. We lost 27 liters last year as it had turned. It was a sad day pouring it overboard.
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