How to Provision for the Bahamas
If you are on budget and going to go sailing to the Bahamas for a cruising season follow these guidelines. The Bahamas are gorgeous tropical islands which come at a price. It can also be quite an affordable way to travel if properly prepared. The best way to get ready and not spend a fortune is to carefully stock your boat prior to setting sail. Fill it with food!
Snacks are what you can save the most money on. When adventuring or between snorkelling sessions it’s nice to have a few snacks to bring with you on the dinghy. We’ve come to realise that nuts and peanut butter are crazy expensive over in the Bahamas. We also stock granola bars, tons of crackers, chips and some jerky. I also make my own hummus so bringing tahini and dried chickpeas from the US will save you money. Get all the fixings to bake some cookies or muffins. And dried fruits like mangoes or apricots are great.
Beers tend to be pricey and of limited selection. Wine is also another expensive item unlike rum which is more affordable in the islands. We also stock up on soft drinks for mixing drinks.
Brand Name food
Imported items can be 50% more or even double the price in the Bahamas. So needless to say that instead of paying $16 for a box of Cheerios, get a few while still in the US. Heinz Ketchup or Hellman’s mayo are a few other items that can be very expensive. If you have any prefered brands you like of something get it while you can.
When it gets hot it is nice to have a cold drink which isn’t necessarily water. So we bring with us dry powdered Gatorade, Ice tea and Lemonade which really saves on space.
We’ve noticed that the cheese selection is very limited, yellow cheese is the only choice in most places. So this is something we load up with before heading out. We also bring some fresh Parmesan with us. Unfortunately we can only bring fresh things for the first little bit of the journey so we usually stock up the fridge as best as we can with eggs, dairy, tons of fruits and veggies. We also have a small freezer so we bring a lot of meat and frozen fruit which tends to be expensive. As we empty the freezer of meat we have more room for fish.
Everything baby related is expensive. But bringing enough diapers to last 6 months would be ridiculous, way too many and the garbage would fill up way too fast, not to mention the smell. Instead I bring enough diapers for only night time plus a few extras for longer day trips as well as baby wipes. During the day I strictly use washable diapers. I get rice cereal in the US and bring a few sweet potatoes and squash which last forever. I then make my own baby food and freeze some. Tastier and cheaper.
We also bring cans of corn, tomatoes, pesto, olives, hearts of palms and a few others to make up for when the selection of produce is subpar or way overpriced. Pasta, dry beans, lentils, cereal, oatmeal, nori sheets and powdered milk last forever and are also cheaper in the US.
Shop around while in the Bahamas. You might want to consider going to towns like Spanish Wells in Eleuthera or Georgetown in the Exumas where grocery is more affordable. Touristy areas like Staniel Cay for example will have the same items for way more money. We have also found fresh fruit and vegetables trucks in areas like Governor’s Island where the pricing was great.
We usually do our provisioning while still in the United States. This involves a few trips to Costco, Aldi and Walmart. Because of this we eat like kings without breaking the bank. We also complement our meals with fish and lobsters while cruising the Bahamas. And remember that when the mailboat shows up it’s time to head into town to get first pick on your produce. The mailboat is how most islands get their food in and it comes once or multiple times a week depending on the island.
Anne Alexandra Fortin
Cory and Alex share their adventure with weekly videos on their YouTube channel “Wildly Intrepid Sailing” and share stories on their website www.wildlyintrepid.com . Their dream is to travel the world and to live without any regrets.