Best Stops on the Waterway:
- River Dunes Marina near Oriental, NC — They offered $1 per foot with floating docks, steam showers, beautiful pool and courtesy car
- Wrightsville Beach – I love the anchorage near the bridge and it’s a short ride to the dinghy dock and only 1 block from the beach
- St. James Plantation – Just past Southport…$.75 per foot, nice restaurant.
- Charleston – Incredible restaurants! Great city for walking around.
- Thunderbolt- Great seafood restaurant and ship’s chandlery nearby. You can buy fresh shrimp right off the boats!
- Cumberland Island–The most beautiful spot on the ICW. Walking trails, ruins, pristine beaches and lots of wildlife.
- St. Augustine – We stay at Camachee Cove where they’re always friendly and accommodating. We use their courtesy car to shop and tour.
- Vero Beach – It’s so easy to stay here. The moorings are well-protected and cheap. Free bus service!
Best New Places in the Bahamas:
- Sampson Cay – We stayed in the marina before when the weather was bad but this year we anchored outside of the marina many times. They have the easiest access for fuel/water, ship’s store, good restaurant and free trash (make sure you separate your recyclables)
- Compass Cay – We anchored nearby and took the dinghies in. They charge a dinghy landing fee if you only come ashore and don’t eat at the restaurant. Plan to come in for lunch and take a hike around the island. You can also pet the sharks!
- Emerald Bay – We stayed in the marina so we could meet up with friends flying in. While it’s true that it’s very surgey there with a NE wind, it wasn’t terrible. For $1 per foot (no electricity) you get free laundry, great cruiser’s lounge, liquor/grocery/ATM within walking distance. You can visit the Sandal’s beach and have lunch by the pool at the resort next door (too bad they won’t let you use the pool–bad cruisers spoiled it for all of us.)
Best New Equipment:
- Single Side Band (SSB) radio – It was expensive but worth it. Allows for communication when out of range of cell phones and VHF. Can get text emails, weather forecasts. Can communicate with Chris Parker for weather routing.
- Cushions – New cabin and cockpit cushions were worth it! We got a memory foam layer on the V-berth. Spring for the ultra-suede–it’s so durable and comfortable–worth it!
- Water pipes – Skip replaced all of the plumbing with PEX. No more clamps coming loose and emptying a whole tank of water in the bilge.
- Holding tank vent filter – It really works–no more warning those in the cockpit that you’re going to flush!
- Tempering valve for hot water heater – Prevents scalding hot water from coming out of the taps.
- Canon D10 underwater camera – I loved taking underwater photos with this camera. I also didn’t have to worry as much about keeping it dry when traveling by dinghy.
Skip is the official cheeseburger rater for the Bahamas. He chose the one from Compass Cay as the best this year. They didn’t have any bacon so we brought our own. Hopefully, we convinced them that they must have bacon!
Coral Gardens near Cambridge Cay – Spectacular elk horn coral. It wasn’t even the best day because it was cloudy and it was still breathtaking. You need to go when the seas are calm.
Dark and Stormy – Dark rum, ginger beer and squeeze of lime
Pineapple rum – either straight up or with tonic. You can only find it in the Bahamas!
Taste and Sea – New restaurant in Staniel Cay right on the water. The Bahamian food was delicious. Much better service and food than at the STYC.
Santana’s Grill – We found this roadside restaurant on Little Exuma by car. It was so good, we went back again. The most amazing lobster tempura over the best peas and rice we’ve tasted.
Beaches – He loves them all! His favorites are Honeymoon beach on Cambridge Cay and Tababuia beach on Warderick Wells off Emerald Bay. Both have shade trees and calm waters for wading and swimming.
Barking – Dolphins, birds and pretty much anything that moves!