Getting Ready For BahamasWritten by Randy Whaley on February 27th, 2010
(27⁰12.662′ N by 080⁰15.424 W - Mile 3076.90 - Stuart, Florida)
Having traveled 101 days since leaving Honey Harbour in Georgian Bay we arrived at Harborage Yacht Club and Marina in Stuart, Florida on November 13th ready to relax and enjoy the club’s pool over the next five weeks and to start provisioning Prime Time V for our journey to Bahamas in the New Year.
Harborage is a new condominium project near US1 with excellent docks, power and water and a surprisingly low monthly rental rate due to a local marina dockage price war which was a great benefit to us.
It was also a great place to work on some performance issues that had been plaguing Prime Time on our journey south. The port engine was showing signs of sluggish acceleration and both engines were smoking under load. A visit by a qualified Caterpillar mechanic identified three problem areas. First, the inter coolers needed to be boiled out and pressure tested as part of routine maintenance to ensure they were not leaking. Secondly, the turbo chargers were out of spec showing signs of wear on the blade tips to the body and third, the exhaust risers were showing early signs of leakage and needed to be replaced. Annoying mechanical issues to deal with and costly but, not unexpected for high performance diesels. All the engine work was completed and a short sea trial proved all was well once again.
On our list of “Things to Do” was the addition of a reverse osmosis water maker. Water in Bahamas can cost up to $0.50 per gallon to say nothing of the inconvenience of finding a marina that has it for sail. Prime Time has 200 gallons of water storage on board and while this amount can last up to a week with conservative use with the two of us on board it can also disappear in as little as a day if we decide to wash the boat or do laundry on board. Little did we know how valuable the addition of a water maker would be until we arrived in Bahamas. It certainly proved to be a great investment for Bahamas cruising.
While all of this was going on the captains were constantly making daily trips to the local chandleries stocking up on replacement parts and conducting maintenance that was due or pulling the maintenance forward in anticipation of our cruise time in Bahamas.
Provisioning the boat was the focus of the chef. From previous visits to Bahamas we knew that finding specialty foods and spices, fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat would be a challenge. (Surprisingly, fish has been a challenge as well something we thought would be easy to find.)
What else should you bring to Bahamas? Here is a quick lesson in provisioning economics. A case of beer in Florida costs $16.99 per case. The same case of beer in Bahamas costs $42.00 per case. A case of Diet Coke in Florida costs $6.99 per case while the same case of Coke costs $24.00 or one dollar per can. Wine is similarly priced and far more expensive in Bahamas. Guess what was in our hold coming across?
It was a busy five weeks provisioning the boats and for the record, we never did get to the pool but, we did manage to get to the marina pub most nights to discuss what we had to do the next day in preparation for our trip to Bahamas.