I’ve been struggling to write this, or write or post anything actually, here at HaveWind in the tragic aftermath of Dorian. I can only imagine what it is like right now, boots on the ground, with fresh water and supplies running low, people injured and unable to get medical help, not to mention the heartbreaking decimation of so many beautiful houses, marinas, and restaurants. Although Plaintiff’s Rest was mercifully spared, how can I post photos of us smiling, out on the boat, saying, look at us: “Just another great day sailing” [happy face] when so many others have lost so much? I just can’t. To be honest, other than sharing relief effort links and donating and contributing ourselves, I didn’t know what else to say. Hence the recent silence and the last photo I posted anywhere:
But, thankfully, this is why I have Phillip. My idea guy. This is what he said:
“Tell them the best thing they can do to help the Bahamas recover and rebuild is to continue visiting the islands that were spared.”
Brilliant. You can see why I love that man.
I realized how insightful he was and how right. Phillip was so right. Many of the Bahamians who lived and worked in the Abacos are going to start migrating down to Andros, Nassau, the Berries, Eleuthera, and the Exumas and surrounding islands in hopes of rebuilding and finding work. And, the economy in the Bahamas is supported almost entirely by tourism. If we don’t continue traveling to the Bahamian Islands that were spared and continue to contribute to their tourist economy there, they will likely not be able to survive. While the loss of the beautiful Abacos, which—up until Dorian—Phillip and I had been planning on cruising again this coming season, is a tragedy, there remains so many places south of the Abacos that are equally breathtaking and that need our support. This was a message we recently received from the Association of Bahamas Marinas:
Immediate relief efforts are imperative now to save lives and get people healthy and safe, and thankfully many people now are sharing various resources to help do that. Although it is exceedingly sad to know there are humans on the earth that prey on people trying to help in a time of tragedy like this, it is simply true, so please research relief organizations before donating. Also, many try to go straight to the hurricane site right after the storm to bring supplies, but that can put them in a terribly dangerous situation fraught with the potential for injury, disease, and crime. Donations to the organizations that are providing supplies to Bahamians in need or helping them evacuate is crucial right now. But, I agree with Phillip that—long-term—to help save the Bahamian economy, tourism must come back. If you had ever just fancied the idea to visit the Bahamas, please make it a priority to visit the spared islands in the coming years as they will need our tourist dollars to survive and rebuild.
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you all some previews of the other wondrous places south of the Abacos that Phillip and I visited the last time we were in the Bahamas, that were thankfully spared from Dorian and that we look forward to sharing in more detail with you in upcoming blog posts (full of fun travel stories) because I feel we have to continue focusing on that, too: the excitement and wonder of travel. Hurricanes are horrible, but they cannot be stopped or controlled. How we choose to spend our time, despite them, however, is something we are all able to control. Our collective decision to continue to bring tourism to the Bahamas can help bring the Abacos back. My good friend Pam Wall, whom I will be speaking with at Cruiser’s University at the upcoming Annapolis Boat Show (please sign up if you want to attend our “Old Salts, New Systems” talk and haven’t already! : ) initially inspired Phillip and I to travel to the Abacos back in 2015. Thankfully, we did in 2017-2018 and got to enjoy those wonderful islands before they were decimated. But, I will now join the chant Pam said so energetically to us to hopefully inspire you all this coming cruising season to:
GO TO THE BAHAMAS!
Andros, Nassau, the Berries, Eleuthera, and the Exumas and surrounding islands still have so much to offer and they desperately need your support. Tourism is their lifeblood. Keep it pumping! Here are some of the breathtaking sights, scenes, bites, and drinks that await. Phillip and I hope to see some of you there!
I wrote extensively about Andros last time, showcasing all of the wonderful tucked-away treats that often skipped-over island offered up for us. I’m so glad it was spared as we have plans to go back and stay in Fresh Water Creek and dive and spear-fish the great Andros Barrier Reef. The cost for cruising there (water and food) is much better as it is a bigger island, able to obtain and preserve more food and supplies.
Here are some resources for things to do and see in Andros: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/the-bahamas/out-islands/andros
The Berry Islands
If you recall Phillip and I sailed there previously on our way home from the Abacos and met the wildly-memorable Steve and Pat who inspired my “People with Gusto” article in SAIL Magazine. The Berries offered Phillip and I some of the best spearfishing we have done in the Bahamas, and some of the bluest waters.
They also have a world-class big fishing tournament. Learn more about all the wonderful things you can do and see in the Berries here: https://www.bahamas.com/islands/berry-islands
Phillip and wandered through the jaw-dropping Atlantis resort the last time we flew through Nassau and, for those of you who love the lavish, indulgent, resort-feel vacation, Nassau is an absolute dream. Five-star dining, incredible shopping, and all still with the mind-boggling green-blue beaches that you can only find in the Bahamas. We learned last time from our cab driver that Tiger Woods has his own golf course there, and restaurant that you can eat at.
Here are some more resources for all of the amazing things you can do in Nassau:
I also really liked what these fellow travel bloggers had to say about Nassau: https://finduslost.com/the-complete-nassau-bahamas-travel-guide/
Phillip and I stayed for a while in Harbour Island, in Eleuthera, hunkering down as a blow passed through, and we really loved the community, the restaurants, and … for us … the kite-surfing! I wrote a fun blog post previously about our passage through the Devil’s Backbone into Harbour Islandand all of the fun things Harbour Island had to offer, from the pink sand beach on the North (where you can ride horses on the beach!), to the snorkeling, shelling, eat at Sip-Sip on the Atlantic Coast, and so much more!
Here are some more resources for Eleuthera. Phillip and I barely scraped the surface exploring Harbour Island. Next time we plan to rent a car and drive around to experience the entire island:
Phillip and I have not personally been so I don’t have any personal photos to share, but I will tell you one of the reasons I knew I wanted to travel the Exumas and surrounding islands the next time we came to the Bahamas was because of a photo I saw that a friend posted of Cat Island!
Here are some resources for things to do at Cat Island:
A fellow travel blogger also put together this nice travel guide for Cat Island: https://www.outislandlifebahamas.com/2018/08/a-mini-travel-guide-to-cat-island/
Thankfully, Phillip were able to make a quick jaunt over, from Andros, to the Exumas the last time we were there. While we did not get to spend too much time exploring the Exumas (our plan is to do more this coming season), from what we saw we were spellbound. They really are telling you the truth when they say you’ve never seen beauty like the Exumas. We cannot wait to share more about these places we traveled to in the Exumas:
With its picturesque marina, fun, fascinating snorkeling, and wonderfully-decadent Xuma’s Restaurant:
Here is more information on what Highbourne Cay has to offer: https://highbournecaybahamas.com
They even offer a snorkeling and diving guide for the island: https://highbournecaybahamas.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/WTD_Highbourne.pdf
With its famous MacDuff’s Restaurantand sunken plane!
More info on Norman’s Cay:
Warderick Wells Cay
This was mine and Phillip’s favorite destination out of our entire trip to the Bahamas this last spring. Warderick Wells is a protected land and sea park so there is no fishing on the reefs, which means they are exquisite and so well-preserved! There’s also a friendly neighborhood nurse shark that visits every new boat that comes into the anchorage, as well as a fabulous walking trail with blow holes and a signing tree. I cannot wait to tell you more about this fabulous island, and the hilarious docking (or I guess you could call it balling … yeah you can make a comment about that ; ) balling debacle we had there! Good stories lie ahead my friends!
Here is some more information about the beauty and preserved sites Warderick Wells has to offer:
And, these are only three of the dozens of islands that make up the Exumas, each with something unique and magical to share. And, everyone who lives on those islands is hoping and praying for tourists just like you to come visit and keep bringing your support and important cruising dollars to their struggling economy. Why hesitate? So much beauty and awe awaits! We hope his can help encourage some followers to set their sights on the amazing islands that still remain. Our thoughts are with those in the Abacos working hard now to get safe, healthy, and out of there if need be. Dorian was such a devastating monster. But, the Bahamas will and can rebuild. With our help. Andros, Nassau, the Berries, Eleuthera, and the exquisite Exumas still await. Our message to offer the best Dorian relief is:
GO VISIT THE SPARED BAHAMAS!