Bahamas Provisioning

Well, we’re still in Marathon – and will be for at least a couple more weeks. We hope to be headed out to the Bahamas by May 1, but we are at the mercy of the mast manufacturer for now!

In the meantime, we have met some wonderful people and done some fun things.

The airshow at the Naval Air Station was a real treat.

Start of the Show


I’d never been to one before, and WOW was it fun! 

Blue Angels


Nice Cessna


We’ve explored Key West a bit, including Hemingway House and the Little White House. Such interesting history.

And, of course, we’ve really enjoyed the marine wildlife around here. Just yesterday we had four manatees and a shark swimming off Consort’s stern.

Manatees 1
Curious Manatee


Manatees 2
Three Friendly Manatees


I’ve also had plenty of down time to daydream of destinations to come, though. The next is Bimini. The subject of provisioning for the Bahamas comes up a lot, with most folks saying that groceries are just really expensive (more expensive than Marathon Florida??? We will see. I rather doubt it.) . On the other hand, I know people eat everywhere, so there has to be affordable food of some sort, right?

I want to provision adequately, but I also don’t want to miss the experience of shopping and learning how the people who live in each of our destinations cook and eat. That will be part of the fun, I am sure. So I’ve set out to find out which foods I really should stock up on, and what I can expect to find there. From my (admittedly informal!) research, I have made a list of the things other cruisers report to be expensive in the Bahamas, and I plan to stock up on some of these, but I am also accounting for what we actually eat most of the time. If we don’t use much of an item now, I can’t imagine we will later. Some we don’t use much, or can just treat as an occasional indulgence:

  1. Soda and Beer – I don’t really drink soda, and we both know it is not good for us, so we’ll take a few, but mostly do without. I brew kombucha, which makes a good, healthier, and cheap substitute. Alan does love beer, and we have heard the horror stories about the prices in the Bahamas, so we’ll take as much as we can store, and sometimes just not have beer, I’m afraid. I’ve also heard the Rum is reasonable there, so all is not lost!
  2. Juice – We don’t drink much juice. I think we’ll just wait and see what’s there and make a decision whether it’s worth it to buy.
  3. Canned Vegetables – I have a few on board, just in case. But they are not something we use a lot of, other than tomato products. Chances are I won’t use many of these until we make a longer passage.
  4. Coffee and Tea – We both enjoy coffee, and I love tea. Also, my kombucha brewing requires a steady supply of tea. So we will be well stocked with both.
  5. Chips, Crackers, Cookies, and American Snack Food – We will take a few, but these also kind of fit the “occasional indulgence” category. I think. Or Alan may eat them all up right away. We’ll see. I do love ginger snaps, so I’m looking for a good recipe for them. Any recommendations?
  6. Breakfast Cereal – We’re more of the fruit or oatmeal for breakfast types. We’ll be well stocked on oatmeal and dried fruits, but I don’t think we’ll take any Wheaties.
  7. Capers and Olives – I will try to take plenty of each! I love to cook, and these are ingredients I use frequently.
  8. Condiments – I will stock up on mustards, soy sauce, and ketchup, but mayo and salad dressings I will make myself. They are easy and taste much better made fresh. I have collected recipes for all our favorites. Of course, that means I have to have oil, vinegar, spices, and eggs on hand when needed.
  9. Oils – I understand that olive and coconut oils are pricey in the Bahamas. The second one surprises me, because I have found it so cheaply in other Caribbean destinations. Am I wrong? I cook with olive oil, and use coconut oil for DIY skin care, so I will carry plenty of both.
  10. Paper Goods – We have made a serious effort to reduce our use of paper products by using cloth instead for most purposes. We bought a bundle of blue huck towels, (the kind they use in hospital operating rooms) red mechanics towels, bar mops, and handkerchiefs. We’ll take a few paper items, but mostly I view higher prices as a way to discourage the use of disposable goods.
  11. Peanut Butter – I have both regular and powdered on board for eating and cooking.
  12. Chocolate – Don’t tell Alan, but there is a secret box aboard. It’s good to be able to surprise him sometimes!
  13. Wine! – We will carry as much as we possibly can. Looks like maybe we can take four cases. We both really enjoy wine…
  14. And one more item, not food, but a staple: Sunscreen – I make my own reef safe, water resistant sunscreen, and incorporate insect repelling essential oils into the recipe. I will carry a good supply of all those random ingredients. Now, if I can just get Alan to put it on…

I’ve heard that these items are more reasonably priced there, and so I’m not planing to really stock up on them:

  1. Flour
  2. Sugar
  3. Butter
  4. Cheese – I have heard varying reports on this one. What do you think?
  5. Eggs
  6. Tuna
  7. Pasta
  8. Rice
  9. Beans

If you’ve already been to the Bahamas, tell me: what have I missed? What would you add or remove from either list? I’d love to get your input!

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