Bahamas 2020By Paul and Sheryl Shard

FOREWORD: When we published Paul and Sheryl Shard’s story “Bahamas – There and Back Again”, we began by noting that we all need a dream! The white sand, brilliant sun and blue waters of the Caribbean are the image of paradise that many of our readers picture, but back in October, COVID-19 restrictions were just being eased. At that time, the Bahamas were opening up, yet it is just now, in late November that the Bahamian government is offering to allow tourism without the two week quarantine. As we print and mail this issue of Canadian Yachting, the winter cold and flu season is bringing a rapid escalation in cases that may result in a new round of restrictions. On the other hand a vaccine could arrive, the virus could mutate and fade away…anything could happen. Some day though, this will pass and the Bahamas will be just as beautiful as before. So, let the dream begin! Andy Adams - Editor

In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were once again joined by friends.

This time it was Noel and Tracey Dinan, whose new shallow-draft Allures 49.5 was in build at the time, we headed north from the Exumas across the expanse of the Great Bahama Bank, dodging coral patches as we sailed to Eleuthera then Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco. Another commercial centre in the islands, we cleared out of the Bahamas here after provisioning for our offshore passage up to the Chesapeake Bay on the US mainland and out of the Hurricane Zone until mid-November, when our yacht insurance company, Pantaenius UK, considered Hurricane Season over. Until that date we could not have the boat south of 30.5 degrees North, which is just near Jacksonville, Florida. In Annapolis, Maryland, we were well out of the zone and it was an easy 11- hour drive home back to visit family in Toronto, Canada, for the summer months while we had some warranty work completed on Distant Shores III at the Port Annapolis Marina Boat Yard.

Cold Weather DepartureJacksonville, FL – Cold weather departure in Nov. L to R: Paul Shard, Bill Traweek, Lori Traweek, Sheryl Shard, Kelly Mann, Dale Mann

By November 16 we were back onboard and raring to go back to the Bahamas after sailing down the coast to Jacksonville, Florida, where we provisioned and welcomed aboard, friends Kelly and Dale Mann and Lori and Bill Traweek, all who had sailed with us before. The weather was cold for that time of the year, but with a hearty crew and a weather window of good winds to cross the Gulf Stream further south in a couple of days, we headed off and arrived in the Northern Bahamas at West End, Grand Bahama where the Old Bahama Bay Marina and Resort was just re-opening following a devastating hit from Hurricane Dorian the previous September. After being at sea for a few nights it was nice to get ashore in such a lovely place, but the rest of the island was off-limits as it was in a state of emergency recovery still.

NassauNassau – Aquarium at Atlantis Marina Village Resort. Before flying home from Nassau, the crew enjoy the Aquarium at Atlantis Marina.

For a little background on the Bahamas, or more properly, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, this is a nation of island groups that lies in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti; northwest of the Turks and Caicos; and southeast of Florida in the United States. The Bahamas became independent from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973, but still retains membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, recognizing Queen Elizabeth II as monarch and having a Governor-General and Prime Minister. So, as Canadians with a similar parliamentary system, you feel pretty comfortable with how things operate here. English is the language spoken by everyone with a delightful island lilt.

The standard of living is good in the Bahamas with tourism being its top industry, so we’ve always been treated well, not with the desperation and aggressiveness we find in some of the Caribbean islands further south. The proximity of the Bahamas to the US mainland means that if you need spare parts shipped in for your boat, it’s not difficult to arrange, although for items not related to the propulsion of your boat the duty charges can be high.

George TownGeorge Town – New Years Bonfire on the Beach. A perfect night for a New Year’s Eve bonfire on Stocking Island.

In fact, costs are high in general in the Bahamas since just about everything has to be shipped in and due to the government’s decision that the citizens of the Bahamas pay no taxes on personal income, inheritance, gifts, or capital gains but instead, derive revenue from other forms of tax, including value-added tax (VAT) on goods sold, property taxes, stamp taxes, import duties and license fees. The Bahamas is an international centre for banking activities that attract foreign financial institutions because of its reputation for stability. This is reassuring.

DS III at the DockNassau – DS III at the dock, Atlantis Marina Village. The Shards’ Southerly 480, Distant Shores III, at the dock at Atlantis Marina Village and Resort.

The Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar, so the exchange rate is reliable and US dollars are accepted everywhere although change is always given in Bahamian dollars. You can ask for change in US dollars so that you can then exchange it easily when you return home. You’ll need lots of cash when you’re sailing in the Bahamas Out Islands where the cruising is exceptional. Credit and debit cards are not always accepted except in larger centres and if they are, a charge of 2-3 % is added. Many businesses operate in the small communities on a cash-only basis however, there are not a lot of places to spend your money when cruising here since the attraction for sailors is the wild natural beauty of the Out and Far Out Islands. If you run low on cash out there, it could be a one-two day sail to a port where there is a bank or ATM and on many occasions, we’ve found them to be out of order. Check the cruising guides listed in the side bar for locations.

Staniel Cay Christmas Tree LightingStaniel Cay Christmas Tree Lighting – Paul and Sheryl. Every December the residents of Staniel Cay have a Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the village church by the ferry dock. Everyone is invited and there is a dinner on the pier afterwards. Names of loved ones who have passed on are placed on decorations on the tree in memory. Instead of an angel at the top, they placed a model of a traditional Bahamian sloop since a local captain had passed that year.

From West End, we made a 2 day hop to the Berry Islands where we wanted to revisit an inland blue hole and go for a swim. The blue hole is connected to the sea and is saltwater and tidal. The last time we’d visited was 30 years ago and we found it unchanged.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Long Island - Dean's Blue HoleLong Island – Dean’s Blue Hole. Dean’s Blue Hole is a blue hole (naturally formed sink hole) located in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island and is the world’s second deepest with a depth of 202 metres (663 feet).

Next stop for our crew was Nassau where they were all to fly home from, but not before they got a night or two at the famous Atlantis Marina Village on Paradise Island. Passing rows of cruise ships docked in port, we entered this luxurious marina and resort with an amusement park of “Disneyesque” proportions. What a contrast to being at sea and in the remote natural beauty of the Berry Islands! But, we have to admit, the contrast was part of the appeal and it was really fun to be there. The marina is mostly home to a host of opulent mega-yachts and gleaming sport fishing boats, so we all enjoyed the “boat show” aspect of being there.

We waved farewell to our friends and began a slow journey back south to the Exuma Islands, our favourite cruising grounds for the winter months when the winds are consistently stronger and there are more frequent winter storms called “northers”, powerful fronts that roll down from the United States. But, you can easily hide from them in the numerous protected harbours and anchorages scattered all over the Bahamas; they're merely a nuisance. The further south you go, the fewer northers make it down to you. That's why the Exumas and other island groups further south are popular cruiser hang-outs in the wintertime. Here was where we could catch up with cruising friends in George Town for Christmas and bring in the New Year at the annual Junkanoo Parade, similar to the colourful Carnival parades held in the islands of the Caribbean.

Christmas Day Potluck on the BeachGeorge Town – Christmas Day Potluck on the beach Over 200 cruising sailors get together for a massive Christmas Potluck Dinner on the Chat ‘n Chill Beach on Stocking Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the months ahead, we would be saying goodbye to this part of the world and heading for the Pacific. It was our farewell visit to the Bahamas for some time to come – or so we thought...
- - -
Award-winning filmmakers and sailing authors, Paul and Sheryl Shard, have been cruising internationally since 1989. They are the hosts of the internationally syndicated sailing adventure TV series, “Distant Shores”, that is broadcast to 47 million households in 24 languages around the world The Distant Shores TV series which you can download through their website and the Distant Shores YouTube Channel include episodes on cruising the island groups of the Bahamas. Visit their website at www.distantshores.ca.

Related Articles

Friday, 16 August 2013 15:18

Paul and I seem to love the extremes of cruising – long ocean passages where our skills and stamina are tested followed by lots of gunkholing where we poke along exploring creeks, rivers, cuts and...

Friday, 08 March 2013 13:33

Completing the Tour of the Six Celtic Nations. Sheryl and Paul Shard continue their sailing adventures with an autumn cruise of the Brittany coast of France aboard their Southerly 49 sailboat,...

Monday, 02 January 2017 23:46

The first time we sailed to Madeira we wondered if the island had vanished. Or at least that's how it appeared. Actually, it didn't appear. Not when we thought it should have.

Thursday, 02 June 2016 12:34

For three years following our return from a year-long trip to the Bahamas and back aboard our 1981 CS36 Traditional – Sojourn, Mary and I gave a number of talks...

Thursday, 10 October 2013 13:36

It’s an awkward fact of life for us at Canadian Yachting magazine that while we know the majority of our readers are power boaters, the majority of people who want to write about their cruising...

Friday, 02 August 2013 13:39

Spring is a beautiful time in the Caribbean. The trade winds become more gentle and the persistent northerly swells found in the winter boating season, formed by storms “up north”, subside. This...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that ...
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Cruisers Yachts 42 GLSBy Andy Adams

Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show at the end of October. The concept of a large day boat is now a very well-established trend made possible by the amazing new power and efficiency of the latest four stroke outboards.

Buyers are looking for a different boating experience and we think that the 42 GLS nails it. Fast, handsome and versatile, the 42 GLS is designed for fun and adventure.

Read More

 

Bahamas - There and Back Again IIIn Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were once again joined by friends.

This time it was Noel and Tracey Dinan, whose new shallow-draft Allures 49.5 was in build at the time, we headed north from the Exumas across the expanse of the Great Bahama Bank, dodging coral patches as we sailed to Eleuthera then Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco. Another commercial centre in the islands, we cleared out of the Bahamas here after provisioning for our offshore passage up to the Chesapeake Bay on the US mainland and out of the Hurricane Zone until mid-November...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Last issue, Mike Wheatstone, our Boat Nerd started a conversation about solar power. While many of ...
Oak Bay Marina achieves eco-certification in Clean Marine BC, which helps boating facilities to ...
OK, stop the presses. This photo just came in from Beacon Bay. Clearly those folks know how to get ...
Back in the day, the publisher of a magazine would receive a bound copy of the year’s monthly ...
Boaters on BC’s West Coast have heard the story of the garbage pickers of the Marine debris removal ...
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
When the boat is in the water, It’s easy to take for granted the parts of the boat that are under ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unexpected changes in our lives, impacting everything from ...
Boating boomed in 2020, with scads of first-time boat buyers chasing respite from the pandemic. Now ...
For anyone cruising on a boat that will be away from the dock for any appreciable time keeping the ...
Styles, shapes, pitch and diameter of props are widely discussed on online boating forums, YouTube ...
There’s nothing worse than wondering how much fuel you have on board. You’re left wondering how ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the ...
I’m on many different types of boats, with many configurations. Some have a single ...
I often get asked if regular care and maintenance is necessary for inflatable PFDs. Here is a ...

So You Want to be a Better BoaterBy Amy Hogue

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unexpected changes in our lives, impacting everything from boating to vacations and these trends look to continue into the future.

In summer 2020, those trends were seen in the unprecedented numbers of boaters flocking to marinas and boat launches seeking a COVID-friendly vacation on the water. While the waterways were more crowded than ever before, the boaters you were likely to encounter weren’t necessarily in the know for boating etiquette, or marine know-how.

 

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The JBL Click Bluetooth® wireless controller from Prospec Electronics adds fingertip control of ...
On February 11, 2021, Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), ...
“A Sailing Adventure Across 40,000 Nautical Miles” over a 17-year span, chronicles the adventures ...
A water-based insecticide that’s safe to use on Boats & RV’s. Long lasting and effective ...
With a 120 Degree Emitting Angle, 9 to 32 Volt DC Fused Input, constructed in a rugged 316 marine ...
Who could have imagined it would get this easy? With Epifanes Poly-urethane yacht coatings, ...
When Zhik’s design team created their award winning, Hydrovision® Adaptive Hood and detachable ...
When Linda McErlain and Erica Robertson purchased Anchor’s Away Custom Boat Bedding and re-branded ...
On Monday, Volvo Penta announced the availability of their fully integrated assisted docking system ...
Perhaps the ultimate audio solution for boat owners, the JBL by Harman BassPro Go from Prospec ...