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Old 29-11-2015, 10:00   #1
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How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

So, I open my daily digest and see an interesting new thread - eating inexpensively in the Bahamas.

There's mostly ranting over Navionics, but one followup with 3 bugs and two fish displayed, and, maybe a couple of others on topic, until someone brusquely informs those looking on that the thread is closed.

As I don't see anything like it in the feed, AND (I trust I've not achieved the level of opprobrium that OP apparently has, here) it's a subject near and dear to me, I'll try again.

OP said:

"While we were cruising the Bahamas we fed ourselves for pretty darn cheap.


However, we bypassed the usual frivolities that "vacation cruisers" afford themselves (like potato chips, nutella, and other processed goodies).

How did we do this?
We
1. Spearfished (no triggers or scuba gear!)
2. Fished
3. Conched
4. Stocked up on some of the cheaper long-lasting stuff like rice in Florida
5. Make friends and eat with friends to experience the local cuisine instead of just going to a restaurant (get to try the local cuisine and you make new friends... double winner!)

My question to you, how do YOU eat for cheap in the Bahamas??
What tips do you have for us and everyone else out there planning cruises in the Bahamas?
hogHunter is offline Report Post "

Now...

This didn't start as my post. AND, while I'm not nearly as successful as he and the poster with the lobster and fish. I - at times - have been a fearless accumulator of conch. I try to eat locally if I ever have the opportunity - and getting to know the locals is highly recommended, even if it deserves another thread.

I (well, we - the admiral does much of the cooking) also provision with staples such as beans and rice and pasta and jarred (we keep them in milk crates, and wedge stuff if we ever get to 'loose') sauces, PB and J (now usually in plastic, anyway). We also freeze burgers, chicken, cheese and bread, lay in a stock of coffee, dry milk (for whitening) and honey (sweetening), spices and Pam spray for the breakfast eggs, and Zone Bars for lunch; we mostly rely on local not-so-fresh veggies after those initially stocked are used and when it's not cooking out on the grill, stir-fry for dinners other than grilled or pasta (or maybe the occasional PBJ, which we actually enjoy).

So, instinctively ducking and hoping that any brickbats be directed to my email skipgundlach at gmail dot com, instead of polluting what I think to be an entirely appropriate thread, please have at it. The poster with the picture would be a good start, I think.

L8R

Skip, lusting after the next trip to the Bahamas
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Old 29-11-2015, 13:24   #2
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

We do like you do Skip - give or take a few specific items to taste.

The post you are referring to had two issues:
1) it was only an advert for Navionics - the blatant part of that was removed before you saw the thread, and the OP spams CF with these types of "questions" and then never returns to the threads. He posts the exact same things in other forums too.
2) the OP refers to anyone who stocks "luxuries" like you and me, or do not live on $1/day as "vacation cruisers" and not real cruisers.

Frankly, I doubt the OP can even make his $1/day. Heck, one beer at sunset ruins that budget, unless one is happy with crap beer. Not to mention he doesn't factor in something like the cost of his pole spear and dive gear to catch his fish.

In the Bahamas, one stocks up in the US as best as possible, take whatever fresh vegetables happenstance your way when you can, live from the sea to the best of your ability and enjoy the beauty instead of dwelling on what you ran out of.

BTW, this is our first time back the Bahamas in 7 years. We hightailed it down to some of the more remote areas and are shocked at how decimated the conch population is here. Last time here, I found numerous vast beds of seemingly limitless conch. Now, these same beds are literally carpeted with empty (opened) shells. You can't see the sea floor through the shells in some places. And this is an area that isn't frequented by cruisers much, so this is due to the commercial fisheries (there really isn't a local population here, but many commercial fishing boats working the area).

On the other hand, the hogfish are so thick it is difficult to swim through them, and there are lots of grouper about.

Mark
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Old 29-11-2015, 13:31   #3
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas



Where are you now? I've not been 'anywhere' for the last 5 years due to one thing and another; my last two times were this summer, very briefly, and I wasn't in any of my stomping grounds.

I did find (not hunting, particularly) a total of 3, but they were widely separated, and, not having more than one, I replaced them all.

I found lots of immature ones, and not very many holed shells where I was in the Abacos, so I wasn't looking all that hard.

However, like you, I recall times in the Exumas and Jumentos where I could get as many as I cared to, sometimes by just bending over and picking them up...

As to the spam part, I never saw any, so can't be offended - but I try not to get overly enthusiastic about the various vendors I have and like...
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Old 29-11-2015, 13:51   #4
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

Why "stock up on cheaper stuff like rice in Florida"? Instead, use that space to stock up on expensive stuff like canned chicken, fruits, vegetables, good cheeses, butter, beer, wine, condensed soups, ad inf. Don't forget nonfood items, which also cost a fortune there.
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Old 29-11-2015, 13:58   #5
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by JanetGroene View Post
Why "stock up on cheaper stuff like rice in Florida"? Instead, use that space to stock up on expensive stuff like canned chicken, fruits, vegetables, good cheeses, butter, beer, wine, condensed soups, ad inf. Don't forget nonfood items, which also cost a fortune there.
That's what I meant when I mentioned stocking up in FL.

Actually, we find the butter and cheeses to be much better in certain areas of the Bahamas than the US (they come from NZ and we like them better).

Stock as you can, but fruits and vegetables only last a relatively short time. These are always our low pantry items.

Mark
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Old 29-11-2015, 14:10   #6
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post


Where are you now? I've not been 'anywhere' for the last 5 years due to one thing and another; my last two times were this summer, very briefly, and I wasn't in any of my stomping grounds.
Skip! We helped you this past spring when your dinghy got stuck under the bar in Marsh Harbor. Is that your homebase?

I also found a distinct lack of mature conch in the Bahamas. I read that the population is now below the number of conch per hectare required for sustainability. Like the caribbean its increasingly likely that conch will never rebound. IMO - It's only a matter of time before it will be illegal to harvest. Same with lobster. I am a little disturbed by the size of the lobster I see people pulling out this year - like a half-pound pound lobster is normal size or something.

My understanding is that the southern Bahamas are very vulnerable due to Haitian fishing vessels illegally harvesting from Bahamian territory. However, they are certainly not responsible for the population drop in the rest of the Bahamas so you have to wonder if that is just a contrived excuse.

The T&C have that conch farm... I don't see why the Bahama's could not replicate at a much larger scale.

Next time we go the Bahamas we will only be stocking enough food to get us from the southern islands up to Nassau and the Abacos. However, we plan on stocking as much tp as possible!
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Old 29-11-2015, 14:37   #7
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Skip! We helped you this past spring when your dinghy got stuck under the bar in Marsh Harbor. Is that your homebase?
If there were one, that would be the case at the moment.

However, if we aren't expecting to have to hurry home as we are, it seems, every few weeks, we'd likely be in George Town or the Raggeds.

That said, Marsh Harbour is one of our favorites due to all the cruising/exploring opportunities there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I also found a distinct lack of mature conch in the Bahamas. I read that the population is now below the number of conch per hectare required for sustainability. Like the caribbean its increasingly likely that conch will never rebound. IMO - It's only a matter of time before it will be illegal to harvest. Same with lobster. I am a little disturbed by the size of the lobster I see people pulling out this year - like a half-pound pound lobster is normal size or something.
I also saw a charter, in the cove north of Grand, who I was told took its 5 outer-boats and - BEFORE opening day - literally piled each with lobster.

It's folks like that who are destroying the recreational areas which can't support commercial fishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post

My understanding is that the southern Bahamas are very vulnerable due to Haitian fishing vessels illegally harvesting from Bahamian territory. However, they are certainly not responsible for the population drop in the rest of the Bahamas so you have to wonder if that is just a contrived excuse.

The T&C have that conch farm... I don't see why the Bahama's could not replicate at a much larger scale.
I wasn't aware of that, but commercially sustainable farming makes perfect sense to me, wherever it may be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Next time we go the Bahamas we will only be stocking enough food to get us from the southern islands up to Nassau and the Abacos. However, we plan on stocking as much tp as possible!
Thanks so much for the taxi service on the dinghy. We nearly had the same issue on our last time there; I and several others were able to remove a hard inflatable (boston whaler in the shape of a ribbie) by standing on the bow and getting enough water in to release it, on that occasion. There were a couple of other boats nearly caught, along with ours, at the time!

We hope to see you again on our next trip out...
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Old 30-11-2015, 10:49   #8
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

We spent time in Abaco last winter. I believe we saw the Flying Pig in Man O War Cay in March. We plan to be back this year again.

We do bring a lot with us from Florida. There are some good buys in Abaco. Found good rum for $12 a bottle, even the local "Fire In Da Hole" rum at $9.50 was OK !

We bought fresh fish off the back of our boat from fishermen while anchored in Green Turtle and Marsh Harbour, 4 big servings for $10.

We joined the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club, gives you many discounts at marinas and even the liquour store.

We enjoyed many good conch salads from George in Marsh Harbour. He is right on the docks near Curly Tails in Marsh. Best we have ever had, made while you wait. One feeds both of us for lunch for $12.

We enjoyed many good lunches and dinners in the Jib Room, great food, fair prices.

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Old 30-11-2015, 12:33   #9
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas



We were never IN MOW, but intentionally grounded near the outer anchorage, to clean the bottom...

LOOOOVE them Abacos...
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Old 30-11-2015, 16:04   #10
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post

On the other hand, the hogfish are so thick it is difficult to swim through them, and there are lots of grouper about.

Mark
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Old 30-11-2015, 16:51   #11
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

The regional history of conch fisheries is instructive. In the Florida Keys the fishery collapsed in 1975 when commercial harvesting was banned. A few years later, commercial and recreational conch fishing was banned in all Florida waters.

Bermuda’s conch fishery also collapsed in the late 1970’s. And despite strict regulation, neither fishery has recovered. Other countries such as Jamaica and Cuba have been forced to use fishing moratoriums repeatedly over the last decades to prevent over-fished stocks from collapsing.

The Bahamas is fortunate to have comparably vast areas of suitable conch habitat and a relatively small human population size, which has allowed the harvest of conch to continually increase when it seemed all other nation’s stocks were in trouble.

But today, the signs of stock decline in The Bahamas are undeniable.

I recall asking a Bahamian about over-harvesting (conch/lobster) in the mid 90's; and he responded by saying (something to the effect of):
“If I (over) fish today, my children live. If I don’t, they die; and the legacy won’t matter.”
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Old 30-11-2015, 19:25   #12
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Empty Pockets View Post
So, do tell, where are you?
Where the hogfish are slowly decreasing dinner by dinner...

Seriously though, I PETTED one today. How stupid are these things? I had to push several of them out of the way to get to a lobster. Maybe it is just seasonal, but they are thick around these parts.

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Old 30-11-2015, 19:31   #13
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

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So, do tell, where are you?

Don't tell! I know where you must be though. Leave a few for me in March.


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Old 30-11-2015, 21:36   #14
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pirate re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

I asked my buds at the NSA to find Mark. It took them less than an hour:


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Old 30-11-2015, 22:08   #15
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re: How to live inexpensively in the Bahamas

I think the location on his avatar is a fib.
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