My Bahamas adventures
Living on a sailing boat and exploring the Bahamas
this is gonna be a long article – but I promise loads of pictures so it won’t get boring – enjoy the read or just looks at the pictures as you like :)
Today I wanna share one of the most beautiful times I had in my life with you.
Mid April 2017 I was still in Nicaragua – spending some quality time with my beloved twin sister as I got a call from a friend inviting me to come over to the Bahamas to stay on a sailing boat.
Bahamas ? me ? as a backpacker on a low budget? The Caribbean wasn’t exactly on my list considering it’s very expensive … but hey … the chance is here, why no grab it and spontaneously I found myself booking a flight to the Bahamas. Two days later I flew via Nassau (capital) into Georgetown (Exumas).
The Bahamas, one of the most beautiful caribbean spots. It consists of more than 700 islands, 365 belonging to the Exuma chain in the south with about 7400 inhabitants…. and me in the middle of it???
I couldn’t believe my luck!
At first I stayed at a big old sailing boat, but for various reasons, that didn’t work out and it’s not worth mentioning here.
Georgetown – the centre of the Exumas – a small, lovely community which turned out to be my ‚Home‘ for the next 3 months! Not exactly Georgetown, as I mentioned, I stayed on sailing boats, to be precise: 2 sailing boats and 1 catamaran, but Georgetown is THE spot for sailors from the U.S. or Canada to either use as a stopover on their way down south or to simply spend the winter in the warme climate and enjoy a very independent life. Of course one as well finds the occasional European :)
You might think,
How did you do it? financially and practically ?
Yes, The Bahamas are expensive, because everything you buy is imported and needs to be either flown to the islands or comes by boat.
The only valid option to see this part of the world is to get hired as a crew member and share the costs of living (food, water, petrol). Hmmmm at the beginning I thought it’s impossible, I don’t even have the slightest idea about sailing not to mention , I had (and here comes my first FIRST of so many I experienced in the Bahamas) NEVER been on a sailing boat before!!!! But a problem is there to be solved right ?!
So I registered at one of various homepages where sailors search for crew www.crewbay.com and I found a boat which was anchored right here in Georgetown and was looking for new crew. I swum over to Chat n’ Chill a tiny bar at an even tinier island strip, a coffee and a chat later and I was hired as a deck hand on Gamma Gamma (boat name) by Jerome a lovely Canadian bloke and sailor by heart. I moved to Gamma Gamma and stayed in the berth (a cabin at the pointy front part of the boat). Please my dear sailor friends – excuse me if I use any boating terminology wrong :)))
For somebody who has never been on a sailing boat it is very strange at the beginning to sleep on one. Thankfully I never got sea sick :) and some rocky nights didn’t do a thing to me :) Yeah !
stormy weather coming in …
But before I start with all my adventures, I need to tell you something about the boater community.
what a lovely crowd :)
At first, you get to know a lot of people so easily – you stay somewhere at a bar and everybody sits in the same boat (not literally in the same boat but you get the point lol), everybody is chatting to everybody – boaters know their shit :) and they are a lot of fun to be around, because they have all kinds of crazy stories to tell. I will mention a few in this article by name :)
What amazed me most was the diversity of people you find on boats – from a truck driver, engineer, families with kids, former teachers, musicians, massage therapists, retired army veterans to neurosurgeon – you get it all. You can imagine that it’s been VERY interesting to getting to know some of their life stories – been shared at bonfires. And of course there are the rich ones on huge super yachts, but you never meet them :))) different people anyways.
When somebody is in need for whatever reason, may it be a mechanical one, a lost dinghy, a spar part one is looking for or simply needs a lift to go on land – They all help each other out and without expecting anything in return apart from a beer maybe :)
This is a huge thank you to all my dear new boater friends. You made my stay in the Bahamas not only special but gave me an extraordinary time I will never forget und believe me – I MISS YOU ALL !
50 shades of blue – The Bahamas
Oh man, actually I am struggling to describe the beauty of the Bahamas.
I named the article 50 shades of blue, because I swear, I had never seen so many different shades of blue in my life before. (second FIRST) It’s stunning what mother nature has to offer.
By sailing up and down the Exuma chain I got to see so many breathtaking places … I was smitten by the color of the ocean – from crystal clear over turquoise to a deep rich blue of the open water. Every day I had at least one awwwww moment and it felt like I needed to pinch myself to believe it’s true, I am really there.
The turquoise of the more flat ocean reflected on the bellies of the sea gulls and in the clouds – can you imagine? The beaches so white it hurt my eyes! I hope that some of my photographs will show what I can’t express in words :)
View from Chat ‘N’ Chill Beach Bar & Grill at Stocking Island
some random beach :)
What does a day on a sailing boat look like ?
Sitting here and writing this article is really hard for me… so many great moments I had – reflecting this time I would say, I was most balanced :) positive spirited people around me, going on adventures almost every day…. going down memory lane touches me so much, that I can hardly read what I am writing.
anyway .. let’s carry on.
I usually got up at 6 am, made myself a coffee and sat on deck enjoying the sunrise. It was still all around me, I could only here the waves, feel the warm breeze and first rays of the sun on my skin. EVERY SINGLE MORNING! The sky colored in pink, orange, yellows and blues …. I am so lucky … and often I dream myself back.
For an hour I did my workout, listening to my favorite tunes and feeling free and happy. My captain and the other crew members woke up by then and we had a lovely breakfast, making plans on what to do with the day.
Swimming with dolphins
On early morning we were anchored in a place called crab cay, the sea was flat and very calm… I was standing on deck and out of a sudden two dolphins swum right next to the boat – a mom with her toddler – I couldn’t move that stunned I was. As I got to know later her name is Nicky and she is quite friendly, always coming up to boats and saying hello :)))
A couple of days later I was lucky enough to see her and her friends again and I jumped in the water to swim with them :) what an experience being so close to them! (Third FIRST)
Going for a sail along the Exuma Chain
The first time I sailed along the Exuma Chain was with Jerome on Gamma Gamma and Dave on Bliss II another charming Canadian … aren’t they all, the Canadians ? lol.
We left Georgetown to make our way up north – wow how exciting – my fist time at the helm (the steering wheel of the boat) – Fourth FIRST for me !
me at the helm of Bliss II :)))
Uhhhhh I was so scared being at the wheel, lifting the anchor, setting sail and so on …. maybe I should stop counting the firsts here hahahhahahaha.
Always when we lifted the anchor I was scared of not being fast enough to move the boat in a certain direction and to hit any boat next to us :) But Jerome and Dave gave me the calm to learn and I think at the end I did a pretty good job.
As soon, as we were in the open water, we cast the fishing rod out, hoping to catch some Mahi Mahi. New to fishing I told the guys, I am happy to cook the fish, if we catch some, but I will never touch the rod :)))) Mahi Mahi, have you ever seen or eaten one? The green/yellow skin reflects in the blue water – wowsie ! The meat of the fish the best I ever had so far !
catching a Mahi Mahi – and look at the shade of blue in the background !!!
Our first anchorage was at Musha Cay – a private Island that’s owned by David Copperfield and of course you can’t go on land there!
But there are a couple of things to see around there, so Dave, Jerome and I jumped into the Dinghy and we went for a little cruise around the island stopping every now and then!
just a little swim somewhere :) relaxing
At some point David Copperfield decided to throw a stainless steel piano with a mermaid sitting on it into the ocean – tourist attraction of the region.
The current is quite strong there, but nevertheless I decided to go for a swim and snorkel down :) pretty cool to see to be honest.
David Copperfield’s Piano with a mermaid
check the water – isn’t it stunning ?
We anchored not far away at a place with a huge sand bar … so in the afternoon Dave decided to take us there for one or two sundowners :) a Canadian drink called Vodka Cesar – looks healthy, isn’t but very yummy hahahahaha.
Dave and Jerome at the sand bar
Vodka Cesar – Yummy
What a view – nobody there, just some birds and us chilling with a drink and playing in the water :)
surrounded but nothing but the ocean :)
till the water came back and the sand bar disappeared.
The sunset was spectacular!
I then had the spontaneous idea of swimming back to the boat (about 2km away) – the reflection of the sun in the ocean was stunning and I had one of my moments, when I am with myself and I wish family and some friends could see that as well. Tears were running down my face, overwhelmed by the beauty of nature … but hey in the water nobody could see right! Anyway I swum and it became darker every minute – Dave and Jerome sitting in the dinghy being my life guards :) but I made it and it was one of those experiences I will never forget!
Next stop was Farmers Cay – another small settlement, I believe only about 70 people live there. Going on land was always fun – we went for a burger and a beer or two to Ty’s Sunset Bar and Grill located directly on the beach. And a couple of minutes later, the owners and some locals joined us – I guess half of the population was there with us and we enjoyed the afternoon and evening together dancing and drinking.
Farmers Cay – Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill
The next day, we went for a stroll over the island , met JR a wood carver
and not far away on the other side of this little island strip we went snorkeling with turtles and some rays :) I LOVE Turtles :) so cute! But the day is long and some caves are nearby too – loads to do in paradise!
We left in the morning and went to our next stop – Blackpoint Settlement – there we had a lot to explore too – we talked to a lady weaving baskets (sorry I forgot her name)
went to see Will and Muriel in der Garden of Eden, a stone and wood sculpture garden :) we had a little chat and Muriel gave us some Sapodilla fruits freshly harvested from a tree on their property. Quite sweet, a bit too sweet for my taste, but that is the hospitality you get here in the Bahamas wherever you go.
What Dave and I got to see too, was a blow hole where the ocean presses water through a gap in the coral/stone formation of the coast – shooting it into the sky. Usually it’s suppose to be higher but still pretty impressive to watch.
Sailing to Staniel Cay was on our list for the next day – off we went and I was pretty excited because there were 3 things I really wanted to see and do there. First snorkeling in a grotto where the James Bond Thunderball movie was done :) wow … seriously … snorkeling there is a must do! it’s full with fishes and the view of the grotto itself .. another wow :)
check the videos
The second thing were the nurse sharks in the harbor of Staniel Cay. A beer in the nearby Staniel Cay Yacht club made the afternoon just perfect :) or was it a Bahama Mama cocktail ?!
And here comes the third thing I really wanted to see – The Pig beach :) I had heard pigs are living at that beach and they even swim in the water :) of course they are always fed by tourists – nevertheless pretty cool :)))
Did I mention that I saw my first proper shark while snorkeling ? I think it was a black tip – but hey I am not an expert and too be honest I was so excited to see one that I held my breath lol.
You see, the things to do in the Bahamas are just endless but one is for sure you are always surrounded by the 50 shades of blue :)
Before I will tell you in Part II what else I did in the Bahamas .. here just a couple of pictures of sunsets I was lucky to soak into my memory forever.
to be continued …..