It’s been a busy time here in Stuart preparing for our 4 month trip to the Bahamas. Scott has attempted to prepare for any emergency, boat or otherwise. He was in the “Order of the Arrow” (The Boy Scout’s National Honor Society) and he truly lives and breathes the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” This is evident in his detailed planning; some might call him “anal” but I think he is simply a Boy Scout to the core!
A few things that he has accomplished, some with the help of technicians:
- Purchased additional spare parts knowing full well that if something breaks on board odds are it will be something that we don’t have!
- Purchased a satellite phone and has learned how to use it. That may sound easy but on the box it states to allow 3 days to set it up and 1 month to learn how to use it.
- Routine service of the windlass plus replaced one bow roller.
- Purchased paper and electronic charts of the Bahamas and has gone over routes and stopping points.
- Prepared for entry and exit procedures for the Bahamas including installing our American flag, courtesy flag and Bahamas flag which is required in a foreign country.
- Had new windshield wipers and one new motor installed in the pilot house.
- Had antennas installed for the satellite phone, the cellular hotspot and one new VHF.
- Purchased a 2 person inflatable “towable.”
- Prepaid insurances and other bills that will come due while we are gone.
He has also managed to get back in shape by riding his bike 3.5 mi to and from the YMCA to swim one mile. He absolutely LOVES swimming and I have LOVED being back in zumba classes and walking 1.5 mi. to and from the studio. Teri at ZT’s Fitness is fabulous!
One of my accomplishments was to organize and update the ditch kit which is what we take with us if we have to abandon ship and board our life raft.. Several items had expired and had to be replaced. We also organized everything in the new floatable ditch kit container from the Bruckners which is wonderful. In case you are wondering what is in a ditch kit here are a few items: flares, water packets, flashlight, signaling mirror, radio, handheld electronics and spare batteries, spare glasses, etc.
I have also updated our first aid kit for the boat by replacing expired medications such as epi-pens, antibiotics, painkillers, seasick medications, etc. I have also gathered a 4+ month supply of our supplements and Scott’s medications.
Downloading and utilizing my Paprika app has been one of my goals for the new year. This app organizes your recipes, creates grocery lists, keeps track of all food items, times your cooking, adjusts measurements, and so much more. I have successfully entered all food items on the boat into the “Pantry.” Now when I go to the store I can look at the app and know exactly what I need. Best of all, this is accomplished completely offline. Some examples of what we are packing for four months: 8 large containers old fashioned oatmeal, 22 large cartons unsweetened almond milk, 17 packages tofu, 30 cans chickpeas, 9 bags lentils, 8 large bags quinoa, 12 boxes pasta, 42 jars salsa, 11 large bags Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, and 8 large bags plain M & M’s. The last 2 items are mine and Scott’s treats! I also keep pretzels on board as a bland snack in case of a queasy stomach. It’s really nice not having meat on board as it allows us to fill the freezer with fruits and vegetables. Our vacuum-sealer has been invaluable for reducing the space required for many items and in prolonging the frozen life of foods. Yes, Scott has some beer on board, 146 cans to be exact! We have heard that some people barter beer for other goods since it is so expensive in the Bahamas. We are set to trade for caviar I guess! A case of Kalik, the local beer is $50 per case but rum is very cheap.
I’ve heard that in the Bahamas a tomato is $5 and a box of strawberries is $10. Food is expensive and there are few choices in limited grocery stores. Apparently rice and beans are the staples there. We did buy an off-shore fishing pole and ballyhoo bait so we can catch a Mahi if we run out of plant food. Fresh food is delivered by the mail boat once a week to the out islands so you must time your shopping within the first day or two of it’s arrival or it’s all gone. This will be a huge adjustment for us.
My job of provisioning the boat is more than just food. I’ve tried to anticipate how much of every item we use in a 4 month period such as deodorant, cleaning supplies, dental floss, cleaning supplies, TP, paper towels, hand lotion, on and on, etc. I have also removed as much cardboard and packaging as possible to create more space and lessen the chance of bugs infesting the boat. Amazingly, we still have 3 empty drawer, 1 empty cabinet and an empty shelf!
The most exciting part of loading Unforgettable is fitting in all the wonderful donations we have received for the Humane Society Exuma! Everyone’s generosity on such short notice has been incredible. Many families have donated and the Humane Society is absolutely thrilled. Many others have sent donations to our next stop at the City of Ft. Lauderdale Marina. For the Bahamians to order something the price is almost doubled once they pay for shipping, VAT and duty fees. The cash donations will go toward the veterinarian fees for spaying/neutering.
We have allowed 6 days to go only 75 mi. to Ft. Lauderdale. It will be nice not to be in a rush and to relax while anchoring. After gathering boxes and mail and increasing the capacity of our watermaker we will head to Key Biscayne and wait for the perfect weather for crossing the gulf stream.