5 Things We Wish We Brought Cruising…

11 Comments

We thought we had our ol’ girl, Luna Sea all set for cruising. So here we sit – in beautiful Spanish Wells, Bahamas! This place is freaking amazing. Seriously. Partly because we can get some of the things we WISH we had gotten before we left the States…  (sorry there’s no beautiful island pic – it won’t load.  Check out Instagram for all the pics!)

It’s been awhile since we had wifi. I realize I have fallen behind on the blog. Hopefully this is just the beginning of me getting you all caught up on crossing the Gulfstream, dragging around Bimini, hopping through the Berry Islands, and finally, now, chilling (and spending mucho dinero) in Spanish Wells, Bahamas!

First and foremost, as I know lots of you are prepping to cross soon, here is a list of things we wish we had brought with us as we go cruising from beach to beach to beach.

5 Things We Wish We Brought Cruising:

5. Toilet Paper: Seriously. The food prices here are a little high. Not unbearable though. But toilet paper?! Geez louise. I don’t think we should’ve filled up an entire bunk with the stuff, but more than 1 large pack would have been nice. I just picked up a 24 pack roll of the cheap stuff (think tissue paper for packaging, not your bum) for $11. The “good stuff” was around $30. I kid you not.

4.  Cell Phone Signal Booster:  Not gonna lie, haven’t really researched these much.  But they sound impressive.  We switched over to Tmobile just before we left.  We have unlimited data and texting. (Calls are $.20/minute)  And they use the Batelco towers.  So if we are near land, we likely have a signal.  It’s been enough for us to stay in touch via Instagram (which then shoots over to FB and Twitter) so everyone knows we are still alive.  But we can’t use the hotspot and really can’t do much of anything.  Since we only have one phone, that means we can also only surf the web one at a time.  Not ideal.  I wonder if a booster would be an improvement.  *I did upgrade to the One Plus plan for a couple of days – it was supposed to double our speeds.  And let us use the hotspot.  No such luck.

3. Bigger Dinghy Engine!: Luna Sea has a very deep draft, at least for the Bahamas.  She has a 6’4″ draft – which means we need about 10′ of water to anchor (we prefer more…)  But all these beautiful islands?  They are 5′ near shore.  So we have to anchor pretty far away to keep our boat safe.  Not that big of a deal really, IF our dinghy would get us and our gear on plane.  It will get one of us on plane.  Two of us, kinda on plane, but put the dogs and/or stuff?  No way.  We just plow through the water getting drenched from head to toe.  Thanks to the efficient folks at Spanish Wells Marine and Hardware, we have a shiny new Yamaha 8ph arriving tomorrow!  (Anybody need a 6hp Tohatsu?  Runs great, but not with our particular dinghy…)

2. Mantus Anchor:  First off, we never had trouble with our Bruce anchor in the States.  It always caught and always held.  We also have loads of experience anchoring in changing tides.  We know the boat swings, and the anchor resets.  In Bimini, though?  Nope.  Near the Sapona ship wreck, we had trouble getting the anchor to catch.  Try after try it would just drag and bounce across the hard bottom.  When we finally got it to hold tightly, we decided to hang there for the night and snorkel the dive in the morning.  Unfortunately, the night held hours of squalls – and meant we were on 2 hour watches to be sure the anchor held and we didn’t drag into the wreck.  Did I mention the storms blew us TOWARD the wreck, instead of parallel to it, as we had been for hours before…?  Yeah.  I really, REALLY wish we’d bought a 45lb Mantus before we left!

1. Wind Generator: Remember those fancy batteries we put in right before we left? Well, first of all, we should’ve hung out in the States longer and made sure we had them straightened out. Oh, well. We didn’t. If we had, however, we would’ve realized that we needed more solar or a wind generator. We just can’t seem to get them full unless we are motoring down the ICW in full sun… Turns out though, while we would’ve just added more solar in the States, now that we are here, we are more likely to add a wind generator. We’ve had 3 really gray, rainy days in a row, and no amount of solar was going to fill up those batteries. But a wind generator? That sucker would’ve been humming! And cranking in those amps.

Spanish Wells just happens to be a fishing mecca.  They have loads of stuff for boaters. Sure, they cater to their lobster fishermen, but they have a great selection for cruisers as well.  And are going above and beyond in the customer service.  We have a lead on a wind generator provider in Nassau, a guy who’s going to check out our refrigerator tomorrow (uh oh!) and a magnificent lady, Norma, who carted us all around town today.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a more friendly island!

11 Comments
  • Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

    Reply

    Great list! We’ll definitely be stocking up on lots of toilet paper and paper towels before we head to the Bahamas. It’s a real shame about your anchor. Replacing your Bruce with a Mantus or Rocna is one of the things that will give you real peace of mind. One of the first things we bought for our boat was a Rocna. Maybe our paths will cross in the Bahamas ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jennifer

      Ellen, I would love to finally catch up in person! Any idea when you are heading over? We will find a hefty anchor eventually, and we wont hesitate to buy it!

  • Monica James

    Reply

    Great post. Taking notes. Who knew TP would be so hard to find?? Hoping to catch up with you guys soon!

    • Jennifer

      Exactly. Maybe you should cart over cases of TP when you head this way and sell them to cruisers!

  • Mark and Cindy - sv Cream Puff

    Reply

    Yeah Baby! Glad you guys are there. It been a long time coming. Very happy for you.

    TP is a must.

    Don’t fret the draft too much. We draw 7′ and have only had a few places where it was a problem. We cruised all through the Abacos and Exumas with no issue. If you wanted a shallow draft boat you would be sailing a cat.

    Not sure if a cell phone booster will help you but we love our Wi-Fi booster: http://islandtimepc.com/marine_wifi.html

    We go onto Bahamas WiMax in most anchorages and could even stream Netflix (low definition). Best couple of hundred we spent.

    Glad you too are finding the people of the Bahamas to be very friendly. We had wonderful experiences at every island we visited.

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

    • Jennifer

      We actually have a wifi booster, and when we can find an open signal it is great! That is what gives me hope for the cell booster. I hear they are pricey, though…

      Are you paying for the WiMax service? I saw it listed via my booster, but it appeared to be a pay only connection.

    • Mark and Cindy - sv Cream Puff

      Yes. If we are going to be in an area for a little while, we will buy the month of WiMax. It worked really well in the Abacos – not so well near Exuma Island (too many boats on in the evenings – days worked fine).

      Since cell phones are line of sight to the tower, we have found that we can often get a signal by putting the phone in a dry bag and sending to the top of the mast using a spare halyard. We turn the phone into a hot-spot and use a tablet to get weather, Skype, etc.

      Hope this helps.

      Mark and Cindy
      s/v Cream Puff

    • Mark and Cindy - SV Cream Puff

      BTW: here is the link to the WiMax coverage areas: http://www.bahamaswimax.com/index.php/services/interactive-coveragemap

  • nitasmith

    Reply

    5 things you should have brought with you:
    Nita
    Jen Garrett
    Sandy
    Zeleekha
    Denise

    • Jennifer

      You are right, Nita – you guys would be 5 fantastic things to have on board!

  • Candy Hicks

    Reply

    FANTASTIC ! ! ! ! HOPE YOU HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS WHILE YOU’RE HAVING FUN IN THE SUN ! ! ! ! <3

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