Turks and Caicos

Introducing our video about our lovely time spent in Turks & Caicos. We sailed from Georgetown, Bahamas to Provo, Caicos. The journey took two nights. We had a few issues on the trip – our genset died and we found an oil leak but the worst was having our backstay go lose.

Watch the video to hear about our adventures, get a tour of the Blue Haven Marina and see some of the amazing sights we came across.

Turks and Caicos Video

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

  • Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island Part 1 of 2
  • Bahamas Sailing Trip – Royal Island Part 2 0f 2
  • Sailing The Bahamas – Governor’s Harbour
  • Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas
  • Tunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach in The Bahamas
  • Sailing in The Bahamas – Engine Failure
  • Where To Live Aboard – 13 Benefits To Liveaboard Anchorages (Featuring Georgetown, Bahamas)
  • 8 Steps To Anchoring In A Storm

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)

Turks and Caicos

The post Turks and Caicos appeared first on Sailing Britican.

8 Steps To Anchoring In A Storm

So, what do you do if a storm is on its way and you’re anchored in a harbor? Anchoring in a storm or in high winds is part of the sailing lifestyle. Many storms arrive unannounced and others, although predicted, can turn out to be worse than expected.

Use these eight steps to anchoring in a storm. As a sailor it’s important to understand key steps to ensure your boat and crew are safe. Click To Tweet

After reading the steps make sure to watch my video, located below, showcasing The Big Blow of 2018 in The Bahamas. For three days we were stuck aboard Britican dealing with sustained winds of up to 45 knots and gusts well over 50 knots. The video also shows a catamaran dragging and important information about how we handled the high winds.

Anchoring In A Storm

8 Steps To Anchoring In A Storm

1. Analyze your surroundings

Survey your current anchor spot and determine if it makes sense to move the boat – either to another safer anchorage or to another spot within the anchorage. There are a multitude of factors to consider when analyzing the safety of a harbor; especially when a storm is on its way.

Ideally, you want the wind, when it hits, to blow you away from land and/or any obstructions (rocks, shallows, etc.) in addition to having good holding for your anchor. Look at the forecasts to determine if the wind direction will change and if you can safely swing on your anchor.

Another key consideration is the amount of boats in the anchorage.

With more boats, there are more chances of another boat dragging and hitting you. There’s also the position within the anchorage to consider. If you anchor close to shore and you drag, how many boats will you take out on your way? Or what happens if you get your anchor line fowled in other line?

TIP: We usually choose to anchor the furthest away from land and other boaters in a harbor. Our feeling is that if things get really bad, our best bet is to up anchor and head out into sea away from other boats, land, etc. The downside of doing so is that the wind can often be stronger as there’s less protection from the land.

2. Dive on your anchor.

Wherever you decide to anchor, if it’s possible, make sure to dive down to visually ensure that it’s bedded in. Later on, when the storm hits this action will provide a higher degree of comfort. In many cases it’s not possible to do a visual inspection, but if you could have done it and didn’t, you’ll regret it when the winds start blowing.

When diving, make sure that the anchor is set well. Also take note of the seabed. If you’ve anchored in grass or around grass you might want to switch to an alternative anchorage. When dragging in grass the anchor often gets filled with grass and mud preventing the anchor from being able to reset.

Important note: Many sailors fail to understand the art of anchoring. I think that people assume it’s easy or that it’s just one of those things that comes natural?! If you have any doubt about your knowledge on anchoring and/or whether or not your ground tackle is correct for your boat, this is one aspect where ignorance is not bliss.

Get my step-by-step guide on how to anchor. Not only will it decrease your likelihood of dragging, it will provide you with an increased peace of mind that you prepared properly.

How To Anchor ***READER REVIEW***
“This is was the perfect guide for me to read! We’re about to sail around the Mediterranean for the season and I’ve been waking up night after night worrying about anchoring. Your tips on how to anchor are spot on. No one ever explained it so simple, yet concise. And I love the tip about the marriage savers. I’ve order some. Thank you for writing this guide Kim. Like all your guides they’re easy to read but pack a punch.” S. Mann

3. Let out enough scope

If you’re happy with your current location and you’ve done your best to verify that the anchor is well set, the next step is to consider your scope. Scope is the ratio of anchor rode (anchor chain or rope) let out according to the depth of water you’re in, taking into consideration of your freeboard (length from the deck to the water line). Most sailors use a ratio of around 3 to 5 times the depth in calm weather. So, if you’re in 15’ of water (including freeboard), you’ll let out 75’ of rode using the 5x ratio.

When you originally anchored, if your scope was between 3x to 5x the depth, you’ll want to increase that figure. Many sailors will aim for a scope of 7x to 8x scope during storm situations if doing so does not put the boat in danger. The key concept to grasp is that more rode causes more of a horizontal pull on an anchor and less rode cause a vertical pull.




During a storm, the wind causes the anchor rode to pull back and waves cause it to jostle up and down. The more rode that’s out the less likely that it will pull up and out.

And if the anchor does pull out, with more rode, you’ll have better chances for it to drag rather than get pulled through the water. In other words, if the anchor drags it’s more likely to reset itself provided enough scope is used.

It’s important to note, however, that too much scope is not necessarily good either.

Too much rode can put you dangerously close to obstructions. Furthermore, in really high winds, your boat can start to sail. We’ve seen boats sail right off the anchor due to too much rode out!

In short, before a storm hits, ensure that you have a scope that is suitable.

Best anchor for your sailboat

Simon with our new Mantus Anchor

4. Make sure you have a snubber, or bridle, attached with anti-chafing guards.

If you don’t have a snubber or bridle, and plan on anchoring your boat often, you’ll need to put that on your shopping list as a number one priority. Time after time I see boats with out snubbers and I can’t believe my eyes.

A snubber takes the load of the ground tackle, wind, and current, off the windless mechanism (thing that pulls the chain in and out) and places it onto the hull, or superstructure, of the boat.

The windless is just a tiny bit of kit. You wouldn’t want something so small to hold the weight of boat, would you? By using a snubber, you effectively create a small bit of slack in the anchor chain removing any pressure on the windless. The load is then transferred onto strongpoints on the hull of the boat.

Again, if you’re not accustomed to using a snubber, make sure to get my anchoring guide as it’s a vital piece of equipment. Within the guide, I offer information how to use a snubber.

Get the How To Anchor Guide here!

Additionally, in high wind situations the snubber can move about over the top of the anchor chain plate. There’s a high chance of chafing so the use of anti-chaffing guards is vital. If you don’t have chafe guards, you can wrap areas of the snubber with heavy duty tape.

5. Check that your anchor alarm is set

In fact, use a couple anchor alarm systems to ensure you’re covered. We use our built in GPS anchor alarm system in addition to an Ipad anchor alarm app (We use SafeAnchor.net). When our alarm goes we know that it’s time to jump into action.

Anchor alarms allow you to program the position of your anchor and then set the radius that you’re happy to swing within. If the boat goes outside the circumference of the circle the alarm will trigger.

In 99.9% of the cases, our alarms are triggered due to naturally swinging outside the limits we set, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re dragging you want to know as soon as possible.

6. Reduce the amount of windage on your boat

Before the storm hits, remove anything that will catch the wind and increase the load on the anchor tackle. Pull down your sprayhood, bimini, cockpit enclosures, and so forth. Not only will this protect them from tears, or blowing off, but also it will provide your anchor with a higher chance of holding.

7. Decide upon an anchor watch system

If it’s really going to blow and your in a crowded harbor it might be worth setting a watch rotation. We often do three hours on and three hours off all through the night, similar to our night sailing watches. On an anchor watch you’re ready to respond in the case of a dragging and, often more importantly, you can see an oncoming boat dragging towards you. We’ve had many boats drag in front of us, behind us and a few have even hit us. Luckily, we were always on sight to use fenders to fend the boat off or work with the other boat owner to find a solution.

8. Have anchor faith

If you have loads of time before a storm hits, (perhaps you’re reading this before you’ve even purchased a boat?!), my biggest piece of advice for you is to understand your anchor system. Find out how your anchor ranks in the world of best setting anchors for the seabed you plan on anchoring in. Research the areas you plan on anchoring in and make sure you have enough rode or chain.

Side story:  Good friends of ours purchased a boat and set sail for the Bahamas. By the time they got to Georgetown they had anchored a couple times and already realized that their anchor was not adequate. Having a Bruce anchor they dragged time and time again. When The Big Blow of 2018 hit they had three sleepless nights. Thankfully they didn’t drag during the high winds but they did drag at other times. As soon as they made it to Puerto Rico, where they could source a new anchor, they purchased a Rocna.

Nothing is worse than being stuck on a boat in high winds for 48 hours or 60 hours not having anchor faith. To reduce fear and be able to sleep at night, you want to know that you have an anchor that will keep you safe.

And if you don’t already have a Mantus Anchor or a similar new breed of more advanced anchors, do yourself a favor and get one. Whenever I start to freak out, my husband looks at me and says, ‘Kim, we have the best anchor in the world. We have a Mantus.’

Best Anchor For Your Sailboat

Simon putting out Mantus together

Sailing and the sailing lifestyle is mostly exciting, enjoyable and fulfilling.

However, there are bits and pieces that really suck. And I mean really, really suck. Being at anchor in a storm or in a hurricane is scary. If you’re going to be a boater, storms happen. Needless to say, when a storm hits you want to know that you’ve done the best you can.

Out of the millions of things that a boat owner can purchase, it can be confusing as to what’s a necessity versus what’s nice to have. Having a plotter that provides a touch screen or a new fangled techy gadget is not necessity! Having a sound ground tackle system is.

We’ve come across loads of boats that have all sorts of bells and whistles and then you look at the anchor and notice that it’s an old generation anchor (like a Bruce, Delta or CQR). What the heck?! Priorities people. Priorities.

But sailing, sailboats and the sailing lifestyle is overwhelming to newcomer’s. Heck, I’ve done this for four years full time and I still consider myself wet behind he ears. We don’t know what we don’t know.

Living Aboard A Boat Video – Featuring The Big Blow of 2018 (Anchoring in A Storm)

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

And if you’d like more information about anchoring, consider reading…


Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)

The post 8 Steps To Anchoring In A Storm appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Where To Live Aboard – 13 Benefits To Liveaboard Anchorages

Are you interested in knowing where to live aboard on a boat (sail or motor)? Many liveaboard boaters start off by living in a marina. An alternative is to spend a season in an established live aboard anchorage.  This article will define what they are, what happens in a typical live aboard anchorage and why you might want to consider calling one home for a season or several.

Where to live aboard

Furthermore, to whet your appetite, you’ll find part one of a two part video series about a very active live aboard anchorage in The Bahamas at the bottom of this article.

Many sailboat owners avoid marina’s and choose to spend the winter in one location at one anchorage, such as The Bahamas and the summer at another – perhaps the north east coast of America. Some boaters are chasing perfect climates and others are working towards finding the best place to live taking into consideration the hurricane, typhoon or cyclone season.

These type of boat owners effectively use their boat as a fairly stationary home that changes location only a couple times per year.

Now one of the biggest questions I get asked by my readers is, ‘how can I get my partner interested in sailing?’ And it’s usually a man asking about getting his wife onboard. Well…perhaps a first step is to sell your wife (or partner) on the idea of having an ocean view, sunny warm weather, surrounded by a social, helpful and kind community.

Your partner might not be interested in sailing, but perhaps a way to ease him or her in is to start with the live aboard lifestyle at anchorage. Later you can work on getting him or her out sailing?

Where to live aboard

Let me get back to where to live aboard and liveaboard community anchorages…

Let’s take Georgetown in The Bahamas as an example. The area accommodates many long-term live aboard boaters, mainly from North America, during the winter. Similar to what is know as ‘snowbirds’ that fly south for the winter, some boaters sail south to take advantage of the beautiful turquoise blue waters, warm temperatures and hurricane free weather.

Often, live aboard anchorages are host to several boaters – sometimes hundreds thus forming a vibrant, energized and dynamic live aboard community.

Where to live aboard

During our six week stay in Georgetown in February/March, there were around 200 boats in and around the area – some anchored for the full season and others just passing through.

But what are the benefits of staying in a seasonal anchorage such as Georgetown?

I’m going to list the things that we found in Georgetown but it’s important to note that other anchorages around the world are similar.

1. First of all, it’s free to anchor so that’s always a massive appeal. Yes, it does cost money to book into The Bahamas but for $300 you not only get to anchor for several months but you also can fish as much as you want!

2. The wear and tear on your boat is not as extensive as it would be if traveling frequently.

3. You can’t beat the weather.

Where to live aboard

4. The surrounding area is set up for cruisers so that means that there’s a dinghy dock for the supermarket, one for each restaurant and even the cruisers beach has a line laid out for dinghies to be tied to.

5. The views and surrounding areas are absolutely breath taking. I mean just imagine waking up every day to views you see in this article (all photos were taken in and around the Georgetown, Bahamas area).

And there’s more…

6. You’re surrounded by likeminded people eager to socialize and support each other. The boating community is known for it’s kindness and support. We arrived in Georgetown having to sail onto anchor. A hose busted on our engine causing the engine bay to flood. Our starter motor short circuited and it was a stressful situation. (Read and watch Sailing in The Bahamas – Engine Failure)

Simon went to the bar and a cruiser came up to him saying, ‘you look like you need a beer.’ Simon had a new friend to commiserate with and they became so close that they now call each other brothers from another mother. Doesn’t a community like this answer the question of where to live aboard?




7. Strong and deep friendships are made when you stay in one place for a long time. Of course strong friendships can be made while cruising around too but when anchored for a long time you get to see other cruisers often.

Whether you decided to attend a talk given by another cruiser, meet up at the grocery store, go to beach church or have a hand at poker night. We found that many cruisers met up around 3pm on the beach just to enjoy a drink, play a game of volleyball or simply sit around and chat.

8. The community has a radio net that is often daily or at set days throughout the week. This enables boaters to express any medical emergencies, ask for help with boat problems, discuss the weather, announce community activities like aqua aerobics, bread making classes or an excursion on land.

There’s also a buy, sell or trade section. This part allows the community to get rid of what’s not needed and pick up something that’s wanted. New arrivals and departures are announced. And the net is often opened up to local businesses to promote a weekend BBQ at a restaurant, salon services from the hair dresser or a local church fundraising event.

9. Liveaboard communities, like Georgetown, are usually based outside a town. This means they’ll have standard amenities like a grocery store, laundry services, bank, boat services and even an airport. So…it’s only a short dinghy ride to get provisions and such.

Where to live aboard

10. If you get tired of the scenery or the community you can take a break. You can often head in any direction to find a deserted island or quiet anchorage. In The Bahamas you might want to check out Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island for a very quiet anchorage. When you’re tired of being alone you can head back to the community. And when you do you can show off all your pictures of the incredible lobsters and fish you caught.

And what about…

11. If you have been cruising around for a months or even years sometimes it’s nice to stop and grow some roots. (Or shall I say seaweed?) In a cruising community you can keep up the lifestyle without having to be on a constant move.

12. When choosing to return the following year it’s great to catch up with old friends and make new one’s.

13. Those cruisers that have kids will often find other kid boats staying the duration or coming and going. When we were in Georgetown there was an average of five kid boats ranging with kids from toddlers to teenagers. And one point I counted over 25 kids! Usually the children all do their homeschooling before lunch.

They then eat lunch and make plans for the afternoon. We enjoyed joint homeschooling sessions, time on the beach, going snorkeling, enjoying hikes, having sleep overs and more.

Where to live aboard

So…if you’re interested in getting into sailing but don’t want to head out around the world in your first season. OR you’ve been sailing around for a while and need a break, why not give an established live aboard anchorage a go?!

Below you’ll find a part one of two parts about our long stay in Georgetown, The Bahamas. The video will give you an idea of what the lifestyle is like. It will demonstrate what liveaboards do at anchor and on shore.

Liveaboard Lifestyle: Where To Live Aboard Video

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

  • Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island Part 1 of 2
  • Bahamas Sailing Trip – Royal Island Part 2 0f 2
  • Sailing The Bahamas – Governor’s Harbour
  • Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas
  • Tunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach in The Bahamas
  • Sailing in The Bahamas – Engine Failure

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)

The post Where To Live Aboard – 13 Benefits To Liveaboard Anchorages appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Sailing in The Bahamas – Engine Failure

Today was difficult. We started to take on water while traversing a very turbulent waterway. Water was rushing in fast and the bilge was working hard. It took us around three minutes to find the issue. I headed to the stern of the boat (back) pulling up floorboards.  Andrew, our volunteer crew member, went to the one side of the engine and my husband, Simon, went to the other.

Here’s the video I put together but to really get the full story, read below for the full play by play…

Andrew discovered that an elbow connection on our raw water system (cooling system that brings in seawater from the sea) had split. When I looked, all I could see was gallons of water spraying out everywhere in the engine room. As alarms where going off the three of us started to discuss options. We considered turning back to anchor or pulling out the sail to get the engine off quickly.

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

Can you see all the water just below the battery box?

Imagine having a discussion about what to do as there’s water filling the bilge below your feet.

Luckily we had over 20 knots of wind. Simon pulled out the headsail and managed to head out into the Atlantic, away from rocks. We still had a bit more turbulent water to go through so the boat was being bounced all over the place.  Once the engine was off, the water stopped flowing into the bilge…After ten minutes or so, most of the water was out of the boat. Our plan was to sail down to Georgetown.

In the mean time, Andrew went to work to fix the cracked elbow.

While Simon and Andrew were below, the engine started up. We all looked at each other thinking, how did that happen? With all the water in the engine room the starter motor was shorting out and starting up. In other words, all the water in the engine room caused the electricity to flow to the starter motor. Simon managed to turn the engine off by the pedestal switch but we heard a very loud odd noise. Our starter motor was freaking out. Andrew went to the battery bank and cut the power to the engine. The noise stopped.

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

The cracked elbow

Back to fixing the cracked elbow.

We thought that if we could manage to reduce the leakage of water we’d be able to use the engine for a short period. Simon wanted to sail as far as possible and then turn on the engine to maneuver through the rocks and set anchor. We used a special self bonding tape that’s used on leaky pipes for emergencies. And then a caulking that works under water for the seam of the crack. All we had to do is ensure enough water was going through the engine to keep it cool.

For a few hours we sailed through the Atlantic Ocean towards Georgetown. Before we got near land we tested the engine and elbow.

Everything worked. The elbow dripped a little bit but that was okay.

To enter the anchorage we had to turn to starboard (right) and then turn to starboard again. We had to do various zig zags to avoid shallows and rocks. Thankfully our engine was still working.

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

The start of our passage towards Georgetown, The Bahamas. The + are all rocks.

As we approached the rocks and necessary turns, we went to start the engine. It didn’t start.

The starter wouldn’t turn over. Furthermore, Andrew could smell a burning smell. We turned everything off. I thought to myself, ‘we’re going to have to anchor by sail in a bay we’ve never been to. But first we have to navigate through a minefield of shallows and rocks.’ (Side note: I’m still feeling ill writing this and it’s several hours after it happened).

As we entered the channel (err…it’s not a channel, but more of a waterway leading between islands), I kept telling Simon where the rocks where. I used the plotter and he was using the Navionics App on his iPad. As one of the first rocks approached, I said, ‘we’re getting close, we’re getting close….’ It’s an ‘+’ on the screen. Simon calmly said, ‘it’s okay…’ We went right next to the ‘+’ and I was seriously holding my breath.

Thankfully, we managed to sail around the the rest of the rocks without getting too close.

Realizing we had a phone/Internet connection, and with a few minutes to spare I tried to look up how to jump start a starter motor. We all knew about a trick you can do with a screwdriver to create an arc to start it. Andrew tried it. I saw sparks fly but nothing happened.

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

Simon and Andrew working on the problem

Eventually the time came to anchor under sail power only.

As we made our way down the passage Simon explained that I’d control the headsail. Andrew would be ready on the anchor and Simon would get us to a place where the ocean floor holding was listed as ‘Good.’ When we anchored it had to dig in. If it didn’t dig in we were in trouble. Big trouble.

Simon eased my fears by reminding me, ‘Kim, we have the best anchor in the world.’ (If you don’t have a Mantus Anchor already, get one. We’ve used it for the last couple months and we’ve never experienced a better anchor. It sets instantly.)

Upon approaching the anchor site there was only one other boat. We found a place to anchor just before the very popular bay near Georgetown. Simon powered up the sail and then headed a bit into wind (which reduces your speed). He then did that one last time to get enough power to head towards land. As soon as he made the final turn, the sail depowered and I furled it in.

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

Our only power – our headsail!

Andrew dropped the anchor.

Once the sail was furled in, I joined Andrew to help with the anchor. And of course, the chain was twisted and didn’t come out of the windless very well. We were all frazzled. It took us a bit longer than usual, but after we had 15 meter (in 7 meters depth) I noticed that the Mantus had dug in. We let out 35 meters.

It was nice to be anchored, but I couldn’t help but worry that our engine couldn’t start.

Andrew got on the phone to his brother, Toby, who has an extensive background in engine mechanics. Toby talked us through the starter motor, what had happened and how to rectify the situation. Within an hour, the starter was jumpstarted and the engine was on. The starter has melted itself to the ‘on’ position so we need to use it to start the engine and the remove the electricity to it. Toby is currently in France on a ski trip and we rang him quite late at night!

Sailing in The Bahamas Engine Failure

YES! I did get seasick but not too bad.

So…now that we’re anchored and we can start our engine, how do I feel?!

Well, it took me a while to stop shaking. But after I stopped shaking I started to relax and reminded myself that everything turned out okay. And as I was pondering everything, Andrew came up and gave me a hug. He explained that it was a good day for learning. Now I have even more experience. Now I have more confidence about engine breaks, anchoring without power and dealing with slight emergencies.

And Simon came up a bit later, also giving me a hug, saying that he wasn’t worried. He knew we could all work together to find a way to safety.

When you’re in the thick of ‘crisis’ it’s hard to look at it from a more elevated perspective. At one point during the day I did ask myself, ‘how much more of this can I take?’ But, heck… I’m out living life. A couple days ago I swam with pigs. Yesterday I sat amongst 100’s of iguana’s. Today, I worked with my family to stop us from sinking and finding a way to find a safe anchorage. It’s better than what I did before I lived on a boat.

Please share this story with your friends on twitter…

What happens when your sailboat floods with water and then your engine fails? Read this story.Click To Tweet

~~~

If you enjoy reading about our exploits – the good, bad and ugly – make sure to read my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles: Trading in the Rat Race for a Sail Around The World.’

You can get the digital version of my book right now in my online shop by clicking below. Or, if you’d like the hardcopy, I sell it in my Etsy store (by doing it that way you save on postage fees). I also sell it over Amazon – just do a search for the title.

Changing Lifestyles READER REVIEW
“I finished your book this week and absolutely loved it! It was great to read about your early days in many places we also sailed. I loved the way you combined your blogs/real life scenarios with advise on boat maintenance, letting go of your previous life and about your honestly throughout. I enjoy your style of writing Kim, and I loved the little Sienna quotes.” Jayne Eames-Thornton, s/v Delphinus

Sailing in the Bahamas engine failure

The post Sailing in The Bahamas – Engine Failure appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Thunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach in The Bahamas

Join us for a swim in one of most magical attractions – Thunderball Grotto Bahamas. Determine if you know how to treat your anchor and ground tackle with respect. And sail with us from Pig Beach to Iguana Beach where we become surrounded by hundreds of lizards. Read on…

While anchored off Pig Beach we were a short distance away from one of the Bahamas best natural attractions – Thunderball Grotto. Not only is the grotto full of colored coral reefs, high caverns and beautiful fish but we also happened upon a nurse shark!

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

Upon arrival by dinghy to the grotto, your eyes would tell you that it’s just a tiny island or perhaps a big rocky area that has grown out of the sea. Surrounded by other islands it really doesn’t look like much of anything.

The grotto’s charm is heightened by the small, almost hidden entrance.

It is advised to enter at low or slack tide. We went several times and therefore were able to sample the grotto under different conditions. At slack tide, or when the tide is not running, you’ll easily enjoy the view. Unfortunately, everyone in the surrounding area is also there to enjoy the easy swim.

We also went during a running tide making our swim maneuvers a bit more strained but it was worth it to see the Grotto without loads of other tourists. We also went in sun and rain – both offering great views. In fact, during the rainy times it can be the best time to visit tourist attractions – we’re often the only people there!

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

We anchored Britican at the anchor and took the dinghy to Thunderball Grotto

One of the guide books I read mentioned that you can’t snorkel at high tide – the water is too high. This was not our experience but to avoid disappointment, go when the tide is lower rather than higher.

The Grotto got its name from the 1965 James Bond spy film “Thunderball,” which was filmed there. It was also the site of another James Bond film, “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, also based on the Thunderball novel. “Splash” starring Tom Hanks and “Into the Blue” with Jessica Alba and Paul Walker where also filmed at Thunderball Grotto. And as a side note Johnny Depp, Oprah and Faith Hill all have islands nearby.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

If you can spot a bit of rope hanging down – that’s where you can enter Thunderball Grotto

There are several entrances where people can swim through the holes to get into the cavern inside.

Some of the tunnels are underwater and you have to swim through a short overhang and hold your breath for a few seconds until you come out the other end. Everywhere that I went I could freely use my snorkel. The only thing that bothered me slightly was that I had to be careful not to bump my head on the rock above me.

Our seven-year-old daughter, Sienna, enjoyed the Grotto immensely. She would have benefited from having a wet suit, as the water was cool during the month of February. I was slightly worried with the current on one occasion but my husband and I simply took turns holding onto Sienna.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

And what’s this about the shark?

Unbelievably I’ve seen sharks at every anchorage we’ve had in the Bahamas. After sailing around this planet for four years I’ve only ever saw one shark and it was a sleeping nurse shark. I saw my first shark during a dive so I just assumed they stayed deep.

Well…in the Bahamas if you don’t see a shark every day you’re just not looking.

Simon swam with a 15’ Hammerhead shark the first day we arrived in the Bahamas (make sure to read/watch Swimming With The Pigs In The Bahamas). At Cape Eleuthera Marina I saw three bull sharks; those are the one’s you need to watch out for. And in and around Pig Beach we saw several nurse sharks.

Nurse sharks won’t hurt you. In fact, I’m not even sure they have teeth. They seem to have more of a sucker mouth. Regardless, their eyes are white and it really freaks me out when I look at them.

Back to Thunderball Grotto…

There’s great fish, amazing views from inside the cavern and if you’re very adventurous you can climb to the top of the rocky island and jump into the middle of the Grotto. The drop is around 20’ to 25’. Both my husband and our volunteer crew member, Andrew, did the jump several times. If you ask them what it was like they’d both agree that it was a rush.

When visiting the caverns, bring some bread in a bag. If you feed the fish you can create a flurry of beautiful colors and movements.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

Thunderball Grotto Takeaways

  • Check the tide before you go and if you want an easier time, go when it’s not running (1/2 hour either side of slack tide). It’s also easier if you have flippers. And this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – if it’s rough weather, there’s a swell or you see lightening it’s not the place to go.
  • If you get cold easily (like me), wear a wetsuit. It will allow you to stay longer.
  • If the weather is not-so-good, go as it’s still worth it. In fact, if it’s raining you’ll probably be the only one there!
  • Bring your GoPro or similar underwater camera.
  • Make sure your dinghy anchor is in the dinghy as you’ll have to anchor in about 15’ of water.
  • On the dinghy ride to the Grotto keep an eye out for sea creatures. We happened upon several very large stingrays and some more sharks.
  • Before you go, watch all the movies that have Thunderball Grotto in them.



After thoroughly enjoying Pig Beach and Thunderball Grotto for three days we lifted anchor and sailed down to Leaf Cay. Just off of Leaf Cay there’s a beach filled with Iguanas. We had to investigate.

Our passage from the pigs to the iguana’s was relatively uneventful. We had to motor most of the time due to lack of wind. Sailors don’t like to motor but in some cases it can be just as scenic and relaxing.

On this particular day we motored out as the radiant sun was rising.

In the video I explained how we pull our anchor up. If you’re not an avid sailor you might think that pulling up an anchor is one of the easy tasks. Well, it’s not. I’ve seen so many inexperienced boaters think that you press a button, up comes the anchor and jobs done.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

Your anchor and your windlass, the mechanism that pulls or winches up the anchor, are precious pieces of kit. Treat them poorly and you’ll suffer! What is poor treatment?

  • Putting the winch under too much load forcing the anchor out of the mud/sand. The anchor needs to be eased up rather than forced up. You can also put the windlass under too much stress if you fail to move the boat over the top of the anchor. The windlass should not be used to reel you in. The Captain needs to move the boat to a position where it makes the windlass’s job easy.
  • Failing to use a bridle or snubber. The bridle or snubber take the weight of the chain/anchor and pull of the boat off the windless and displace it to the whole boat. This ultimately relieves the windless from being the only mechanism holding the boat to the anchor. When I see people anchor without a snubber I shake my head in disbelief. Usually the boat owner just doesn’t know any better.
  • Finally, it’s poor treatment to your ground tackle if you allow the anchor to come flying up to the bow of the boat and through the anchor chain plate without caressing it in. Going full speed ramming the anchor back on the bow is not a good idea. The anchor can hit the hull or the furling/forestay gear.

After softly caressing our anchor back onto the boat, we motored towards Iguana Beach.

The waters were shallow as we made our way into the area. Andrew stood on the bow making sure we didn’t pass any coral heads or get too shallow.

When a suitable anchoring spot was discovered, we set down the anchor, hopped in the dinghy and went out in search of Iguanas.

To our delight we were the only people on Iguana Beach. At first it looked fake as the iguana’s lined the beach but didn’t move. They were all frozen. We didn’t know what to expect when we pulled the dinghy up on the beach.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

Would the Iguana’s come up to us? Would the run away?

As we walked along the beach they started to move and act as if our presence wasn’t a big deal. I assume that tourist boats probably frequent the beach and feed them. Simon was able to scratch their heads and one of them ran over my feet! I screamed – of course. I’m such a scaredy cat.

Within 30 seconds of being on the beach, however, we all started itching. There was an onslaught of sand fleas eating us up. We could barely go one second without slapping them off or itching.

Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

Thunderball Grotto Bahamas

Right across from Iguana Beach there’s a snorkeling spot so we all headed for refuge from the fleas.

The snorkeling was ‘okay’ but the tide was just too fast. I couldn’t hold Sienna and swim fast enough to beat it. Andrew went up ahead and when he returned, Simon and I went to take a look. There were some really nice coral formations and lovely fish.

After a full day, we were all tired, hungry and ready for ‘family movie night.’ We ate beef stew that I made in the Solar Cooker (and froze) while watching Guardians of the Galaxy II. Can you think of a more perfect day?

Little did we know, however, that disaster and I mean DISASTER would strike the following day. While leaving Iguana Beach we started taking on water. And it wasn’t just a little water – it was Niagara Falls.

Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get notification of my next article about our disaster. Perhaps if you learn by our mishaps you can avoid them when you’re out sailing?!

Thunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach Video

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)

The post Thunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach in The Bahamas appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas

Swimming With Pigs In The BahamasAfter enjoying a fantastic meal, jumping along to a Junkanoo and getting a Bahamas SIM card we left Governor’s Harbor and made our way to the next destination – Cape Eleuthera Marina. We were all excited about swimming with pigs in the Bahamas. When planning our passage we initially wanted to sail straight to Pig Beach in Exuma but the distance was too far. We always plan our trips so that we enter a mooring during day light.

Instead of making the 12 hour sail to Pig Beach we made a pit stop enjoying a night’s stay at the beautiful Cape Eleuthera Marina. When we arrived a kind attendant helped us tie up the boat on the end of a T-dock. We all got of and were blown away with the beauty of the area. (Read more below the video…)

Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas

The marina sits on a peninsula so there were beaches in almost every direction.

We noticed big tall palm trees, dark blue ocean waters and cute cottages around the marina property. It was amazingly quiet. Perhaps January is quiet season or it simply is a quiet marina?!

With our laundry in hand, we made our way to the marina office to book in and pay our fees. At the time of our visit these were the prices we paid:

  • Dockage: $2.25 / foot / night
  • Water: $0.35 / gallon
  • Electricity: $0.50 / KWH

Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

Not a cheap night’s stay but we made the most of it.

We did our laundry, got rid of our trash and took a tour of the property. There is a beautiful beach, well kept pool and a dive school. The marina and surrounding cottages/town houses looked in top shape. There was a very luxurious feel to the place.

Near the beach and pool is a restaurant however it’s not opened on a Monday, the day we arrived. We always look forward to having a beverage and enjoying the views but we timed or visit wrong. With the restaurant closed.

Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

Unfortunately the bathrooms and laundry facilities weren’t that great.

The bathrooms, although roomy, were outdated. And the coin operated dryer’s never managed to really dry our clothes.

After a lovely nights sleep, we left the marina early in the morning and headed south to the Exumas. We sailed for the first five hours, had to motor for a while and then eventually sailed again. Just before arriving at Pig Beach we had to go over a very shallow area.

I held my breath as Simon navigated back and forth through the shallows.

When I saw 0.9 meters below the keel I became very anxious. Simon and I usually anchor in 10 meters so we felt out of our comfort zone being so shallow. We just didn’t have a choice.




We anchored and then the heavens opened up. The rain was cold so Sienna and I went down below to do her homeschooling. We all decided that we’d taking the dinghy to pig beach in the morning.

With our awesome Internet package of unlimited gigs on the Aliv plan ($30 USD/week), we decided to stream Amazon Prime. Andrew, Simon and I watched Grand Tour. It was the first time in four years of living aboard that we had good enough wifi to stream a TV program. It was great to see something new! Usually we have to pull out our movie hard drive and pick something we haven’t seen in a long time.

The next day we all got up and were eager to see the pigs.

Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

It was still raining but we didn’t care. We all got into the dinghy and headed for the beach. To my utter amazement the beach was filled with pigs – BIG PIGS. As we slowly approached the beach, the pigs started swimming out to the dinghy.

We fed them carrots and they absolutely loved them.

Some of the pigs managed to get up on our dinghy and reach in to grab more carrots. They would then slide off with there hooves dragging along the side of the boat. I was so funny.

There must have been around 15 big pigs and then out came around 15 babies. The babies were all adorable! We spent two days on Pig Beach enjoying the snorts and grunts.

Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

Just a bit of background…

Pig Beach or Pig Island or Major Cay or officially Big Major Cay is an uninhabited island (or cay) located in Exuma, the Bahamas. The island takes its unofficial name from the fact that it is populated by a colony of feral pigs that live on the island.

Legend has it that the pigs are said to have been dropped off on Big Major Cay by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them. The sailors, though, never returned; the pigs survived on excess food dumped from passing ships.

Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore. Others suggest that the pigs were part of a business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas. The pigs are now fed by locals and tourists.

Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

My take on Pig Beach?!

I think that there might have been pigs dropped off by sailors a long time ago. When we were in Bermuda there is a similar tale. The stories mention sailors throwing a few pigs off the boat knowing that when they came back there would be food for them. Although there’s probably a bit of truth to the pigs I now think it’s a tourist attraction.

On every island we visited there were claims that we could swim with pigs.

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

    • Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island Part 1 of 2
    • Bahamas Sailing Trip – Royal Island Part 2 0f 2
    • Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)


The post Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour

Sailing The Bahamas - Governors HarbourAfter our lovely stay in Royal Island, we pulled up our anchor and headed for Governor’s Harbor on the island of Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Following the inward track we made on our plotter, we motored out the same way knowing that we’d avoid all the rocks and shallows. Once we were clear of obstructions, we pulled out the sail and enjoyed the quietness and freedom that our sailboat provides. (Note: the Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour Video is down below)

One of the best parts of sailing is when the engine goes off, the winches are done doing their job and the boat moves effortlessly slicing through the waves. There’s the sound of sea foam spraying from the hull and the wind propelling the sail.

And in The Bahamas, the most noticeable attribute are the amazingly variety of blue waters that can be seen in every direction. Gradients from dark blue, green blue and baby blue line the horizon. As my eyes soak in the colors, I smile and feel as if some sort of mental therapy is being conducted unconsciously.

For five hours we sailed comfortably.

Once we turned east, however, the wind was on our nose and we were hitting the waves head on. For an hour we motored but the wind changed in our favor and we eventually managed to get the sail back out. After ten hours we pulled into Governor’s Harbour, the old Capital city.




Upon closer inspection we discovered five mooring balls. We tried to ring the marina listed in our charts but failed to get a response. Considering that the area had ‘poor holding’ we decided to grab a ball. There have been several times that we’ve failed to find a contact for a mooring ball. What we usually do is tie onto the ball, drop our dinghy and then visit boats next to us to find out who to contact and whether or not the ball is private or public.

In other parts of the world, it’s common for mooring balls to have a phone number, or VHF channel, on them so you can contact the owner.

In Governor’s Harbour we sent Andrew, our volunteer crew member, over to a Canadian boat to get the scoop. Upon his return we discovered that the Canadians were also having trouble getting in touch with the marina. We assumed we were okay to stay so we headed to town for Wifi, dinner and some drinks.

While walking through the town we discovered colorful homes and businesses in addition to a variety of churches.

Fodor’s Travel website offers a nice description of the town:

Governor’s Harbour, the capital of Eleuthera and home to government offices, is the largest town on the island and one of the prettiest. Victorian-era houses were built on Buccaneer Hill, which overlooks the harbor, bordered on the south by a narrow peninsula and Cupid’s Cay at the tip. To fully understand its appeal, you have to settle in for a few days and explore on foot—if you don’t mind the steep climb up the narrow lanes.

The town is a step into a gentler, more genteel time.

Everyone says hello, and entertainment means wading into the harbor to cast a line. Or taking a painting class at the 19th-century pink library on Monday mornings. You can see a current movie at the balconied Globe Princess. It is the only theater on the island, which also serves the best hamburgers in town. Or swim at the gorgeous beaches on either side of town, which stretch from the pink sands of the ocean to the white sands of the Bight of Eleuthera. There are three banks, a few grocery stores, and some of the island’s wealthiest residents, who prefer the quiet of Eleuthera to the fashionable party scene of Harbour Island. Source: Fodor’s Travel

Simon, Sienna, Andrew and I walked to a restaurant, enjoyed fish curry and spent some time on the Internet. While eating our waiter told us about a Junkanoo starting at 7pm. Not knowing what a Junkanoo was, we followed the sound of loud music to find a festival.

There was arts, crafts, street food and drinks.

To our delight we then watched a parade, similar to a Caribbean Carnival. There were groups, or bands, displaying incredible costumes, expressive dance moves and hypnotic beats.

We returned to the boat and started planning our passage from Governor’s Harbour to Pig Beach. After hearing so many stories about the wild pigs we were excited to have a go!

Subscribe to my newsletter to get notification of my next article and video on Cape Eleuthera Marina and Pig Beach.

Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour Video

Enjoy more of our season five 2018 articles and episodes here:

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)


The post Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Bahamas Sailing Trip – Royal Island Part 2 of 2

For day two on our Bahamas sailing trip anchorage, the winds came. The sun was out but it blew a gale for the whole day. We had a constant 30 knots with guts of 45 knots. After being in a marina for quite some time I needed to renew my anchor faith!

Interestingly, I thought back to the first several times we anchored during a storm. I couldn’t help but sit on deck to make sure that we were staying put. If you haven’t read about our voyage from Fort Lauderdale to The Bahamas, make sure to read (and watch the video) entitled Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island.

This time around I felt much calmer.

Bahamas Sailing Trip

Bahamas Sailing Trip – Anchorage at Royal Island

No, I wasn’t worry-free but I wasn’t consumed by the storm like I was in the past.

I spent quite a bit of time on homeschooling so to occupy Sienna. I knew that we’d be on the boat for at least a couple days. We did our first art project from a 2nd grade Art curriculum I purchased from the website Teachers pay Teachers (a great resource for teachers and homeschoolers).

The project was to make a ’Tree of Life,’ based on Gustuv Klimpt’s original. We watched a short 5 minute biography that I previously downloaded from YouTube on Klimpt, using a YouTube downloader app, and then went to work to make our tree.

Bahamas Sailing Trip

When considering homeschooling for Sienna I’ve been so focused on making sure I get materials that work for her. I’ve researched methods, different curriculum and various options. Not once have I considered the benefits that I would gain from being a teacher.

Well, it’s been a long time in coming but now I’m having a blast.

I’m learning all sorts of things I missed when I was younger. I feel like I’m using my brain in a way that I haven’t in quite some time. It’s great.

And I can’t tell you how amazing it is to watch Sienna progress. I can see her struggle with things and I support her through her challenges. When she comes out the other end and masters something new we both get so excited. I feel like it’s been a long road to get to where we are but it is amazingly fulfilling.

With Sienna’s homeschooling done, I handed her over to Simon.

The two of them built three forts in the saloon and then watched a movie. It’s now been a couple week since Sienna has had interaction with other children so it’s now a priority to find some kids. We noted that there’s two boys on the boat down at the other end of the harbor so when the wind dies down I’ll send Simon down to invite them over.

While Simon and Sienna were playing, I spent three hours transferring my photos from my iPhone and Camera to a hard drive. I then managed to line up the raw videos for our Fort Lauderdale to Royal Island journey. The time it takes to organize photo’s and videos is painstakingly long and tedious. But on the other hand I think, ‘what else do I have to do with my time?’ Hehehehe.

As the sun set, Andrew, Simon and I had a beverage in the cockpit enjoying the winds and choppy waters.

The glow of the sun and angry tropical turquoise waters made quite a contrast. Behind the sprayhood we could sit in t-shirt and shorts but once out in the wind there was a bit of coolness in the air. We retired down to the saloon for dinner. I made Italian sausage and cabbage stew; a nice hearty meal for a stormy night.

The boys sat in the saloon watching a war moving and Sienna and I watched ’Stork.’ It was another lovely day being at anchor off a remote island in the Bahamas.

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

For our last day anchored in Royal Island Harbor, our friends Tom and Tammy, on Mac, offered to take us to Spanish Wells so that we could book in. The duo wanted to get some provisions and they knew we couldn’t get Britican close enough to anchor (too shallow).

At 8:30am we left Britican anchored in the harbor and the six of us set off on the Cat.

What a treat we had! It was the first time I’ve enjoyed a motor and a sail on a Catamaran and it wasn’t just any Catamaran – it was an Outremere 49. Overall, I felt the boat was humungous. It felt like a floating island. But it was very stable and an extremely comfortable ride. We didn’t have many waves and the winds had died down so I can’t comment what it would be like to sail the boat in harsher conditions.

Overall, however, I was pleasantly impressed.

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

Previous to owning the Catameran, Tom and Tammy owned a monohull, sailing the Pacific. I was eager to ask them what they liked/disliked. As I expected, they both explained that there’s pro’s and con’s in both and various compromises. There’s always compromises!

Tammy explained that the Cat isn’t as comfortable as the Monohull (I’m talking inside comfort rather than sailing comfort). She liked the smallness of the mono as she could curl up in one of it’s small spaces. The Cat, however, is wide open and less ‘homey’ (home is my interpretation). But of course, the wide open space of the kitchen/dinning area and then outdoor patio is fantastic. So much space!

And Tammy doesn’t get seasick in the Cat whereas she did when she was in the Mono. Now that’s a massive positive if you ask me.

Tom commented that he thought it would be easier to go from sailing a Cat to a Mono. After taking command of the boat, he realized Cats are quite a different game. Tom was eager to get to destinations quicker and with a Cat he can certainly do that!

They also mentioned that having a Cat can be difficult – many marina slips along the east coast of America aren’t wide enough to hold them. Further, they often get charged more than Mono’s.

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

Tammy also brought up a really interesting issue with night watches.

Due to the set-up of a catamaran you can’t simply hang your head around the side and get a clear view. You really have to get up, walk over to one side and look out and then walk over to the other side and look out. But perhaps that’s a good thing?! Every 15 minutes you have to go for a little walk 🙂

One point that slightly upset me; Tammy explained that she’s experienced a reduction of Monohull boaters paying them a visit when anchored. If you’ve never anchored in a bay with cruisers, it’s usually protocol that you’ll whiz by your neighbor in your dinghy and start up a conversation – especially is there’s only a few boats in the bay. When Tom & Tammy had a mono they had more mono visitors.

So I wonder…Is there really that much of a divide between Cat and Mono owners?!

Do Mono owners dislike Cat owners (and vice versa)? What’s up with us humans?! Are we innately programmed to form a group that’s similar and then shun those that fall outside the perimeters of the group?!

From my perspective, we are all boaters. Whether you have a mono, cat or motorboat we have a love for the water. So…my message is this: When you’re anchored in a bay, make an effort to say ‘hi’ to your neighbor in whatever boat he or she is in 😉 Let’s not let our innate tendencies to come out!

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

Back to our Outremere Catamaran trip to Spanish Wells

The trip was super pleasant. It was simply nice to let others do all the work and not have any responsibility for a change. I enjoyed not having to look at the plotter for shallows and Simon was able to sit down and just enjoy the surroundings. Andrew found a chair above an outside hull and took full command of it. And Sienna enjoyed playing with Mac, the lovely 10 year old cat.

We all chatted and swapped various stories.

When the time came to Anchor, Tom and Tammy went to work. With the use of marriage savers, or electronic headsets the couple calmly communicated the situation and their actions. Tammy would describe what the boat was doing in relation to the anchor chain and Tom would control the boat accordingly. After around ten minutes the anchor would be out and set well. The two are a great team.

Simon, Sienna, Andrew and I all piled in the dinghy with five days of trash and all our computers/iPhones/etc.

We headed for the dinghy dock to clear Customs, get some bread and milk and find WIFI.

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

Customs is a few buildings down from the dinghy dock. It’s a beige building that has pallets and boxes around it and in it. When you walk in the door it’s a big concrete floor with pallets of food and other goods that must have been imported in.

At the back of the building there’s an office room with a few people working.

We were slightly concerned that our boat wasn’t anchored outside the area. Britican was actually five miles away. We had heard that sometimes the Customs Officials want to see the boat. Lucky for us, there was no issue.

We all had to fill out one form that gave our personal details – name, birthdate, citizenship, passport number, port of destination/arrival. How long we’d stay, where we’d stay and so forth.

Simon and I then filled out three other pieces of paper.

One was a crew list. The Bahamas have not gone electronic yet so there’s no online crew system. Another was the details of the boat – length, weight, tonnage, registration number, home port, and so forth. And then there was one other piece of paper that seemed to be a combination of all the others.

Bahamas Sailing Trip 2

It took around fifteen minutes to fill them all out.

Once we handed everything in, Simon paid $320 for a cruising and fishing permit and we were good to go. The cost is $300 but we were charged and extra $20 for our crew member. I’m not sure why that was the case?!

Next stop was the small grocery store to determine if a longer hike was required to visit the larger grocery store. All we wanted was bread, milk, eggs and any good looking fruit or veg. When I walked in and enquired about milk, the attendants response was, ‘No, we don’t have fresh milk – only long life. The ship that brings our milk hasn’t left America yet so we don’t expect it for another few days.’

After a nose around I found eggs, bread and some lettuce.

We eventually purchased a dozen eggs, three cartons of long-life milk, three loaves of long-life bread (like Wonder Bread) and some romaine lettuce for $30. Not too bad.

Not wanting to buy the food until we returned to the Cat, we then went to a little snack shop three doors down that said, ‘Free Wifi’.

The four of us ordered a sandwich and eagerly got out our iPads, iPhones and computers. It had been days since being online and we were all feeling it. We wanted to know how bad the storm was that hit the east coast of America. We needed to discover what was going on in the world. And I had hundreds of YouTube comments to reply to in addition to blog comments, emails and messenger conversations.

I instantly felt overwhelmed. With limited time, I did what I could do.

Tom and Tammy eventually joined us, ate lunch and then we all headed back to Mac, the Cat (the boat and the real living cat). Our journey on the way back was serene.

The water was tropical blue, the sun was beaming and the island was full of greenery.

Our hosts were incredibly kind, knowledgeable sharing people. We really enjoyed spending time with them. Hopefully we’ll see them many more times in future anchorages.

Once back in Royal Island Harbor, Simon dropped Sienna and I off on Britican and then took Andrew to the island so he could explore. Ten minutes later I heard Simon yell out, “Kim. Sienna. I have a surprise.” I really didn’t know what he might have.

Can you believe that sitting next to him in the dinghy was an 8 year old girl?

The bay was empty of all boats except for Mac, Britican and one other sailboat. How did Simon find this kid?!




Florianna was on the boat next to us. She’s spending two months with his father sailing the Bahamas, something he’d promised her that he do. Florianna’s father, Jim, is the saltiest sea dog that I’ve ever met. Not only has he sailed around the world three times, but he’s gone up and down and stayed on board during the Cat 5 Hurricane that hit the Caribbean in 1992 (and wiped it out).

Within seconds, Sienna and Florianna were best friends.

Sienna gave her new friend a tour, they then decided to build a fort and eventually I found the two in Sienna’s bedroom sharing stories. The girls had an instant bond – it was amazing. Having so much fun, they asked if they could have a sleep over.

Simon took the dinghy over to Jim’s and asked if he minded. Sim also invited Jim over for dinner. Everything was set. Florianna would stay and Jim would join us for battered fish, peas and mashed potatoes.

While the children played, Simon, Andrew and I just listened to Jim tell stories.

After Jim returned from serving in the Vietnam War he followed the story about the boy turned man that sailed around the world on the boat called Dove. (If you haven’t read the book, Dove, it’s worth reading. It’s a great love story set to sailing around the world).

Jim decided that he wanted to follow in the mans footsteps so he bought a boat.

This guy really needs to write a book! We were in awe of all his stories. And he never came across as being arrogant or ‘look-at-me-I-know-it-all.’ He seemed very realistic, practical and very knowledgable. Of course, we all thought he must be nuts to have done some of the things he’s done, but then again…I’m sure may people say the same about us.

Having dinner and a beer with Jim was such a treat.

And to have Florianna join us for a night was magical. I couldn’t believe that just the other day I made a mental note, ‘Sienna needs a friend to play with,’ and out of know where the friend arrives. Thank you Universe 🙂

The next morning Simon and Sienna took Florianna home and we made the boat ready to leave. Our next destination was variable. We wanted to get out and experience the sea state and see where the wind would take us. At first we had one destination in mind, it changed to something else and then back again.

As fate would have it, we went to a harbor offering great mooring balls (as the holding wasn’t good), a fabulous restaurant full of character, good food and WIFI and a Juggernaut, or local customary Bahamian dance (or jump up).

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Bahamas Sailing Trip Video – Sailing To The Bahamas – Royal Island

If you enjoyed this article & video, check out these from our 2017 season:

  • 1. Sailing to Florida – Amelia Island
  • 2. Sailing Florida – St Augustine
  • 3. Sailing Florida – Cape Canaveral
  • 4. Sailing Florida – West Palm Beach
  • 5. 10 Reasons to sail down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)
  • 6. Sailboat Windlass Woes

Also, enjoy our 2018 season articles and episodes here:

  • Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)


The post Bahamas Sailing Trip – Royal Island Part 2 of 2 appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island

It’s 4:28am on the 4th of January. Our Bahamas sailing trip has taken us to the Royal Island Harbor. The wind is howling. One of our cockpit sun cover straps is sporadically flapping making a strong humming sound. The waves are lapping against the hull with an occasional ‘clap’ causing my adrenaline to surge. It’s that odd wave that hits the hull sideways making a strong statement that always wakes me up (even when I’m already awake).

(Side Note: make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch our Florida to Bahamas voyage video!)

Every few minutes the boat tilts sideways as the wind pushes her over.

When the wind is at it’s strongest the whole boat shakes as if Britican is shivering. Interestingly, however, although the wind is coming from the northwest it’s not that cold. When protected from the wind we are all in our shorts and t-shirts.

Friends back home in Charleston, our last long-term port, messaged us over the satellite telling us that they got hit with 4” of snow. Snow in South Carolina is a major event. Surely the whole city is completely shut down. I wonder if the snow is part of the same weather system that we’re getting?

Bahamas Sailing Trip

Britican anchored in Royal Island Harbour, The Bahamas

Today will mark our third day anchored in Royal Island Harbor, The Bahamas.

After our 36 hour voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida across the Gulf Stream and into The Bahamas, we arrived around 9am and it was as calm as could be. On day two the wind started to increase and now we’re on the final day of the storm system – I hope.

Upon our arrival I felt elated to drop the anchor, survey the quiet bay and feel a massive sense of calm come over me. Coming from the busy New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale, this mooring couldn’t be any further from what we left. Furthermore, all the Sailboat Windlass Woes we had in Florida dropped away. The new windlass worked perfectly!

In Fort Lauderdale we were moored alongside a river bank between two bridges that lifted on demand.

Each time they lifted bells and alarms went off. The traffic down the river was manic. We had day-trip cruises, massive gin palaces, sailboats of all kinds and small day boats. There was even a floating tiki bar that went past us several times a day and a massive great big floating diesel station. And if the river traffic wasn’t enough, every dog owner, tourist and homeless person walked past the boat.

It was a great experience and one that really helped me to contrast a city mooring with dropping the hook off a small remote island.

Bahamas Sailing Trip

The red marker shows where Britican anchored

We sailed for two nights from Florida to arrive at our destination.

Rather, I should say that we motored half and sailed half. Just before entering the area outside the harbor, Simon gave our volunteer crew member, Andrew, some lessons on tacking. Until now we’ve been downwind sailing with no tacking required. For five weeks Andrew has not had to work, at sailing – that is!

The lessons took place to waste a bit of time. Sim wanted the sun to be a bit higher so we could see the ocean floor. The entrance to the harbor was littered with rocks so we needed to take it slow, stay on the recommended navigation line and have someone keep a look out.



Andrew and Sienna stood at the bow keeping an eye on the ocean floor.

The shortest depth our reader reported was 3.5 meters or around 11’. With our keel at 7.5’ we didn’t have anything to worry about. As we entered the harbor we had to keep left around a tiny island and proceed through the middle of a very small entrance. Once we got into the harbor we discovered one motorboat (similar to a Hatteras), one Catamaran, of whom the occupants yelled out ‘welcome’ upon our arrival, and a couple other sailboats at the other end of the bay. One other boat came in after us.

Regarding the land, we could see two jetties with boats and some sort of storehouse or mobile trailer storage units.

Before entering the harbor there’s a large hotel. In our pilot guide it notes that it went bankrupt when first built and then it reopened in 2010 and went bankrupt again. We noticed people on the grounds and it looked like it might be being used?!

There is a road on the island but I’m not sure if there’s anything other than the properties on the harbor and the hotel. There are certainly no stores, bars or restaurants.

Bahamas Sailing Trip

Royal Island is an almost deserted island!

The land isn’t too high. It’s rather flat but not flat enough to see across to the other side of the island. The bay is lined with trees, coastal edges and a tiny bit of beach in some areas. Otherwise, there’s nothing else. The only sounds you can hear are birds, a jumping fish, a small airplane in the far distance and the wind.

After anchoring, Simon went for a swim to ensure our Mantus Anchor was set. It was set so well that Simon couldn’t find it! We think the sand is quite fluffy and it’s buried right in and covered. With our SARS Excel anchor that we used for four years I always felt confident with it. I could feel it drag for a bit and then bite in. There was only a few occasions when we couldn’t get it to dig in due to poor holding but as a whole I felt it was a good anchor.

With our Mantus, however, it’s one step above the Excel.

There’s absolutely no dragging or lag between dropping and it setting. It goes down to the seabed and as soon as it touches, it immediately beds itself in.

When I drop the anchor, I let it first hit the seabed and then tell Simon to put the engine in reverse so that the chain is fed out rather than dumping on itself. As usual, I performed the same action with the new Mantus. Once I let out the amount of chain necessary, I told Simon to stop. I then had him pull back to bed the anchor in. What I do is put my foot on the chain to feel the anchor drag a bit and then I feel the anchor stop, the chain pull tight and the boat come to a holding pattern (even under substantial revs in reverse).

With the Mantus, my foot felt absolutely no drag.

The chain pulled out immediately and we were done and dusted. With the Excel I sometimes worried that it wasn’t properly bedded in. With the Mantus, there’s no doubt in my mind. Check out guide to figuring out the Best Anchor For Your Sailboat here. OR…just save yourself time and energy and buy a Mantus here.

As we were tidying up the boat we suddenly noticed a massive commotion around 100’ from the boat. And then we all saw it. We saw a shark fin. Yes – a shark fin. And then we saw a shark tail. Simon yelled out, ‘I think it’s a Thresher Shark.’ He then made a comment that they’re nothing to worry about, jumped off the boat and started swimming towards it with his snorkeling gear on.

I video’d the whole thing (make sure to watch the video to see all the action!).

The more I saw of the shark the more I found myself concerned. It looked larger and larger. At first I thought that perhaps there were a couple sharks as I kept seeing a fin, tail…and then I thought, ‘was that an eyeball?’

Simon got close to the shark. I then heard him scream out a bit through his snorkel. Instantly I can tell that he had a nervous laugh. I think he yelled out, ‘Oh my god!’. Then I witnessed him making a 180 turn and swimming quit quickly back to the boat.

It was a Great Hammerhead shark and we estimate that it was at least 12’ – 15’ long and it was feeding on something.

We think it might have been a stingray that he was chomping down on?!

Bahamas Sailing Trip

Sailing vessel Mac in the background

After the excitement wore off a bit, our neighbors Tom and Tammy, on s/v Mac, came over to introduce themselves and say ‘hi’. Being in the anchorage for longer, they told us that there’s some manatee’s and big sting rays in the bay too. We’ll have to keep and eye out for them. (That aside…I’m not sure I can go swimming knowing that there’s a hammerhead shark near me).

Tom and Tammy came aboard and we had a lovely chat. It felt so nice to be back sailing and near other cruisers. We’ve never met cruisers that we haven’t liked. The community is very like minded and we all have very interesting stories to share with each other. And it’s such a small world with cruisers. Come to find out, I’ve been following Tammy’s Instagram account for a long time so I already knew her over social media. Check her out on Instagram under the name SeasickAndBroke.

We all chatted about our past sailing escapades, the local area, where to get bread and the impending storm in addition to solar cooking and future sailing plans.

After our new friends left, Simon and Andrew went out to find a lobster for dinner. They returned empty handed but had stories about finding the largest lobster they’ve ever seen! Sienna and I did homeschooling and ate some lunch. With the boat cleaned up we all just lazed about looking at our new view feeling very calm and relaxed.

For dinner I made a spiraled zucchini pesto salad, capreese salad and quiche. The quiche was store bought (one of my freezer goodies) but tasted really good. We then pulled the big TV out and watched Guardians of the Galaxy II.

I couldn’t help but say to myself over and over, ‘I love my life.’

To make sure you’re notified that a new article and video has come out please sign up to our weekly newsletter here.

Bahamas Sailing Trip Video – Sailing To The Bahamas – Royal Island

If you enjoyed this article & video, check out these:

Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.

Visit our Sailing Britican sailing guides books shop if you’re thinking of buying a boat, are in the process of buying a boat or if you own a boat! All guides are digital. Some hard copy versions are found in our Etsy shop and on Amazon. The guides will help you to save money, avoid making mistakes and ultimately allow you to get out sailing quicker.

Check out our one-of-a-kind nautical t-shirts and other sailing gifts at our Sailing Britican Etsy shop. We have great stuff for men, women and children. Grab a t-shirt, bathing suit cover-up, spices for sailors, nautical pillow covers and more!

Profits from the guides and t-shirts are allowing us to keep this website going but it’s not enough!

If you enjoy what we offer please support us. Buy a guide/guides, a t-shirt, become a Patreon Patron (click the link for more information).

Or donate to the cause  below through Paypal (see button below). Proceeds from the guides, Etsy shop and Patreon supports are keeping these articles and videos free. If you like what you see and want us to continue please support Britican today. (And if you already have, thank you very much!)


The post Bahamas Sailing Trip – First Stop Royal Island appeared first on Sailing Britican.

Best Lentil Soup Recipe for Sailors – Slow or Solar Cooker

Best Lentil Soup RecipeAre you looking for a easy tasty satisfying recipe? Here’s the best lentil soup recipe for sailors. I have to admit that the first time I had lentils I was in my 30’s. It just wasn’t something that my family ate. Furthermore, I thought that it was one of those foods that only vegetarians ate.  I envisioned it being bland and boring.

Being a liveaboard sailor now for over four years, I’ve come to respect any food that is tasty, easy to cook and fills me up. Furthermore, when I’m on a night or anchor watch, I value meals that feel comforting. To my surprise, lentil dishes fit the bill.

Lentils are healthy and filling!

Interestingly, lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins.  They are also low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils contains only 230 calories. AND they’re tasty and filling.

Considering that I like to devoid myself of any responsibility past 3pm in the afternoon, I  prepare dinner in the morning, having it slow cook all day. When my family is hungry, they can help themselves to a meal that is ready. The best lentil soup recipe is ‘the best’ because it’s easy to make, takes minutes to prepare, fills you up and can cook on low power to no power (solar oven) all day long.

If you’re not already cooking with a solar cooker, make sure to read my article, 10 Benefits of Solar Cooking.

The Best Lentil Soup Recipe for Sailors – Slowcooker or Solar Cooker

  • A medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups of lentils
  • 6 cups of stock (vegetable, chicken, etc.)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of Cumin, Coriander & Ground Cardomon
  • Optional: Chili pepper flakes, bacon bits/lardons
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Either sauté the onion, celery, carrots in olive oil or add those four ingredients to a slow or solar cooker for 30 minutes. Once they’ve softened a bit, add everything else. Cook for six to eight hours on low.

Easy Lentil Soup Video


Any questions or comments, please leave them below. Check out some of my other solar cooking recipes here:

Solar Cooking Resources

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