Even large boats find needs for support boats too big to load aboard. Here, a sizable motor yacht tows a 21 foot center console fishing boat in the Exumas.
And some wish to have a tender that is even too large to tow. The 36' quadruple-engined RIB (rigid inflatable boat) accompanied a 100+ foot yacht. Here, it is backing to a 47' Nordhavn to pick up someone for a gathering on the mothership.
If you have numerous interests on the water, you can tow multiple boats. Here, off Elbow Cay in the Abacos, a cruiser tows an Abaco racing dinghy (the famous Abaco Rage), an off-shore fishing boat, and a flats boat.
There are no towing services, such as BoatUS or SeaTow, in the Bahamas. If you experience difficulties, you are on your own. Here, a 36' Krogen Manatee, which had a transmission fail, is towed by a generous guy, who was single-handing a 34' Marine Trader. It took 2 days to tow the boat to the nearest mechanic.
Boats with inflatable pontoons are the most popular type of dinghy accompanying cruisers in the Bahamas. The inflatable at right demonstrates why the crew of Last Dance tends to describe this type of boat as a "deflatable," although never in earshot of Rubber Ducky, which sits on the aft deck of Last Dance.
Megayachts travel in the Bahamas, particularly in the Exuma Islands. The large number of them testifies to the fact that the one percenters are doing well. Above, at Manjack Cay, two mega yachts are rafted side to side, with a string of water toys (other boats) on a line behind the boats.
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a 176 square mile park that is a no-take zone, creating waters filled with sea life for exploration. The park has very secure moorings in protected harbors, for which there is a daily charge. At the Cambridge Island moorings, cruisers are expected to place their payment in a box on a small island. The park rangers come to check on payments, and will make personal visits to boats whose crew have not made the trip to the small island. A member of the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, carrying an AK47, accompanies the ranger. The Last Dance crew always made the long trip to the box on the island.
Laid-Back, Easy-Going Pace
The only bank on Green Turtle Cay, in downtown New Plymouth, has hours that brings new meaning to the term "Bankers' Hours." The staff arrives on the morning ferry with a satchel of money and a guard, then returns to the mainland (as Big Abaco Island is called) on the early afternoon ferry - twice a week.
The library is open Monday through Friday, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. The sign on the door denotes different days, but to be accurate, it would require making a new sign - not consistent with laidbackness.
One of the interesting aspects of cruising remote areas is the wildlife encountered. This Land Crab, ready to protect his turf, was in the woods on a very skinny peninsula at Powell Cay.
Only a few feet away, on the beach, this Ghost Crab stands still, believing he cannot be seen if he doesn't move. Although these two species of crabs share a small piece of the island, they would never interact as they inhabit different terrain.
A favorite in the underwater world is the Trigger Fish. When Jill talks to them, they will come close. This Trigger, just off the beach on Powell, came within one foot. They have not learned to enjoy being petted, but give Jill a little time.
Wind from the Carolinas is historical fiction, written much in the style of James A. Michener, describing the lives of the people who fled the United States after the Revolutionary War. It is centered in the Exumas, following a family from the Carolinas who settle on Grand Exuma, attempting to recreate their plantation life. This book is an interesting-to-read account of the Loyalists and British adventurers who colonized the Bahama Islands.
Out-Island Doctor is an autobiography of an Indiana high school science teacher who retires and moves to the Bahamas. Through self-study and a short internship, he is licensed as a physician to serve the small islands. An Abaco boat builder constructed a ketch for him, which he used to travel the islands serving as the only doctor for many out islands. This book provides a glimpse of life in the Bahama Islands during the late 1940's and 1950's and the adventures of a Midwesterner adjusting to a very different life.
Set in the Caribbean, not the Bahamas, Don't Stop the Carnival describes how the laid-back lifestyle of the islands challenges an American who buys and operates a hotel/resort in the islands. This book is a favorite of Jimmy Buffett, who purchased and operated a hotel in the Caribbean. Buffett collaborated with Herman Wouk to write a musical based on the book. It is a fun, fictional account of life in "paradise."