Beautiful everyday Bahamas

sailboat in clear blue water

pinterest beautiful bahamasTotem floats in water so crystalline she almost looks suspended in air; her shadow paints a dark splotch on the sand below. One anchorage after another, the incredible water of the Bahamas is the stuff of magazine covers that were surely photoshopped (maybe not, after all!); so beautiful it defies belief.

High clouds chasing the horizon serve as reminders for the march forward and the factors out of our control. The goal to reach Grenada in July feels remote, as the easterlies–which should be backing off–have sent up one day after another of 15+ knots coming out of the exact direction in which we’d like to go. Day-hopping puts a few miles away, but the magic feeling of flying along under sail is elusive.

Still running counter-current to the flow of boats, and that’s OK. The short term routing plan changes with every shift in the weather as we look at our options and work out how to go the “wrong” way most comfortably, while squeezing in as many of the spectacular anchorages of the Bahamas as possible along the way. Maybe eventually these turquoise blues fade into the everyday sameness, but that’s hard to imagine.

There is no hardship in the slow pace, and days of wonder slip by as we incrementally progress. Headed in our direction are boats we’ve “known” for years without meeting in person, and it’s been a joy to intersect. They bring reminders of the mellower pace of a convivial cruising life we’ve not had for a while, the better side of cruising, and many things to be thankful for!

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To days on the beach, sand between our toes, taking the time to talk story, enjoy wildlife, and just hang out.

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To nights with just enough rum – or maybe a little bit too much! – and the fuzzy pictures for remembering them. And these kids! How lucky do we feel to have another great bunch around, even it it’s just briefly?

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To the discovery that people who we’d only known remotely were, if possible, even more wonderful in person, and who indulged my Pavlovian response to the word “hug” from people I care about.

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To finding new friends headed down a similar path, and the anticipation of shared anchorages ahead.

beach days

Old dogs are learning new tricks on slower days, and having fun playing with the tools, although there’s a looooooong way down that road! Last December, we picked up a deeply discounted DJI Phantom 3 Pro during the frenzy of holiday sales. It proceeded to spend most of the following months languishing in the original box as we scared ourselves with stories of newbie drone-flying disasters. We finally got over it.

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A “practice drone” (read: crashable) from our friends Scott & Sara made for great raining wheels, and the Phantom is FINALLY getting put to active use. The images it provides– from Totem floating in the Stocking Island monument anchorage at the top, to the flyover our anchorage at Conception Island below– capture the feeling of these places for our permanent digital memory in a vibrant new way. Now we’re on the lookout for the next trainee to pass the practice drone to; if that’s you, raise your hand!


For bang-for-the-buck photography fun, the winner is the dome we got for our GoPro (make sure you get a cover: they scratch very easily!). For around fifty bucks, the half above / half underwater shots are just tremendously cool, and it’s fun to keep trying to get the “perfect” shot of Totem in the glorious Bahamian water. We’ve gotten a few winners but none to beat the one with a nurse shark just hanging out down below. They are slow, docile creatures but this one practically posed for Jamie!

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Despite appearances, things haven’t been perfect, and it’s more than the easterlies. I’ll regale anyone who wants at a later time about the problems with our new battery bank, with the aft head pump mechanism that broke (again), with the portable generator that’s wheezing, with the shoddily installed headliner that’s dropping, with the mysterious spiny things that got into Ruby and Siobhan’s feet in the lagoon, with… you get the idea.

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Sharing the less glowing realities of cruising is fine. Great, even, because I don’t want to be unrealistic. Today I’m choosing to revel in the highs of the last stretch instead of the lows. And yes, in a none-too-subtle nod to how we assume our lives often appear from the outside: there were actually UMBRELLA DRINKS served recently… on a sweet catamaran (it’s for sale!), with an even sweeter family, nibbling on Cuban guava paste on imported cheese. Because more often than not this cruising life is just that honeyed.

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9 Responses to Beautiful everyday Bahamas

  1. Porter McRoberts June 10, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    Great post guys!

    We’re leaving July 15th.
    Love the Bahamas and think it would be a great get acclimated place for a few months his summer except for the hurricane situation? What’s your hurricane escape plan? Our current plan is windward passage and then rio dulce then panama. But I’d change it to the Bahamas if I had confidence in a contingency plan. Love to know yours! Again great post and thank you. And hello to all of you!
    Porter Helen Grace and Lilly. IBIS.

    • Behan June 10, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

      With NOAA calling for a more active season I’d be a little uncomfortable playing the odds on hurricane season in the Bahamas, but there are holes and it’s VERY easy to stay connected here (BTC towers everywhere) but having a plan– always knowing where you’ll go– would be pretty key. It’s really later in the season that they are more likely to get whacked, I think. Our plan is to get to Grenada, below the zone of probable risk, by the time the risk kicks in– ETA southern Grenada in late July basically.

  2. Jonathan Caldwell June 10, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Wow, just might have to splurge on a big boy drone! What was your “practice drone.” I have a tiny Hubsan, but boy is it skittish.

    • Behan June 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

      The “practice” is this model (I think?): UDI RC U818A.

  3. Susan Kelly June 10, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Next year we are leaving the PNW cruising grounds to head to the Bahamas, so we would love your practice drone. We could practice here and send you pictures of your favorite coves and harbors. Susan & Craig, S/V Kairos, Bainbridge Island.

    • Behan June 10, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

      Yours for the cost to ship! I’ll send you an email. Would be fun to see the home waters! Are you picking up a boat on the east coast or going south and through the canal?

  4. Mark and Cindy - sv Cream Puff June 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Just love the pic with the shark and boat. Awesome shot!

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

  5. Judy Hildebrand June 10, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    I miss you guys!! 😰 So awesome to see your beautiful pics of my fave places and loved the nurse shark shot with Totem!! The easterlies aren’t giving up are they, at least here in Marsh Harbor that’s what we have had and more this week.
    So those umbrellas….if you happen to be having drinks under a ceiling fan on a smooth table….races with the umbrellas are hilarious! Discovered completely by accident after a few Goombay’s when my umbrella took off on its on providing lots of laughs and then races! ok so maybe the Goombay Smashes had something to do with it but who cares, it was fun 😄
    Love that drone, if you don’t find someone needing a trainer send it on.

    Hugs to you guys ❤️
    Judy

  6. Victor Raymond June 10, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

    Thanks Behan for reminding us how wonderfully beautiful the Caribbean is. We will never forget our time there, especially now as we have the heat on in Alaska as the temps have dropped down to the high 40’s not Centigrade either.

    Nevertheless beauty abounds here as there, so it must truly be in the eye of the beholder. I hope one day we are the group you meet on the beach and realize we have met before in the ether. I’ll hug to that.

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