Bahamas Detour: Fort Lauderdale Supply Run

in Life at Sea / Sailing the World / USA
12 Comments
great exuma airport bahamas

My whirlwind weekend in Fort Lauderdale was supposed to involve just two days of West Marine shopping, Apple computer repairs, staying with friends, possibly getting a hair cut, and returning to George Town with all the spare parts we needed to comfortably head south immediately upon my return.

But when Ryan called to say the weather forecasts showed we probably couldn’t leave for another week, I wondered if I shouldn’t use my air miles to fly back to New York and find a new person to manage our rental property. Our log cabin in the Catskill Mountains had been a worry for us because our rental agent hadn’t returned our phone calls or emails in over two months and we hadn’t gotten a single booking during that time.

So, it was a busy week bouncing around Florida and New York, but the extended stay was worth it. Sure, I saw more of Wal-Mart and the Fort Lauderdale West Marine than I did my loved ones, but I was successful in picking up $1500 worth of essential parts and supplies, hiring the perfect manager for our rental property, catching up with my friends in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Albany, New York and I even spent a day with my parents. Since my dad recently fought and survived a rare and aggressive blood cancer, spending time with him has become increasingly important, but also more difficult since we’ve sailed away. My trip home was a welcome opportunity to see my family.

The problem I faced at the end of my hectic week, though, was how to lug my body weight in supplies to the airport and onto a plane barely large enough to carry mail, let alone passengers with over-sized cargo. And the other problem was how much all my extra luggage was going to cost me.

Fortunately, luck was on my side. When I dropped off my car at Fort Lauderdale Airport, an Avis employee saw me struggling with two over-sized bags, a backpack and a large fiberglass panel and offered to drive me to my terminal then drop my car back at Avis for me. I could have hugged the man on the spot.

Checking in to United Airlines was a different story, though; I was shocked to find out I’d have to pay $400 for any bag over 50 pounds. Since my suitcase weighed 80 pounds, I needed to find a way to make 30 pounds disappear. And fast. My flight was boarding in 20 minutes.

So I got down to business and did what every desperate, over-loaded traveler in the airport does when they’re faced with luggage surcharges; I pulled all my bags open and tore the packaging off everything I’d purchased. And then I pulled out my spare duffel and crammed it full of 24 package-less fuel filters. Once my carry-on duffel reached 30 pounds, I handed my 50-pound suitcase, 50-pound duffel bag and my fiberglass panel to the check-in clerk and walked away with my backpack and an enormous “carry-on” full of fuel filters.

I knew what was coming to me when I reached the security gate, though, and I felt bad for everyone in line behind me. There was no way my duffel bag was going to pass through the X-ray machine unnoticed. And sure enough, my bag was pulled aside for a search and I was asked a lot of questions about why I didn’t check the bag (“These are very delicate parts,” I lied), why I had so many fuel filters (“I live on a boat”), why my bag smelled like fuel (“I accidentally spilled fuel cleaner on it”) and whether the fuel cleaner was flammable (“Absolutely not,” I lied again).

I was thrilled to be subjected to just a few questions and sideways looks, though, before being allowed to board my flight to George Town with 24 fuel filters in an essentially flammable duffel bag. It all could have gone much worse.

Now I just had to get through Bahamian customs in George Town without paying import taxes. When I arrived, though, all I did was present my cruising permit and I was waved through to my taxi in no time at all.

I admit that just a week ago I was thrilled to leave our cramped little Hideaway and fly to the States for a much-needed break from boat life. But after a week of exhausting land life, I was now thrilled to be back on the boat, surrounded by the aquamarine waters of the Bahamas again. And while I was away, Ryan even varnished Hideaway’s floors, making it look newer, more spacious and more inviting than ever before.

It seems my trip home wasn’t merely a successful supply run. I can honestly say I’m ecstatic to be back in the Bahamas. And on a boat that is ready to sail south again.

Now, for that weather window…

united airlines flight george town bahamas fort lauderdale florida

My tiny plane from George Town to Fort Lauderdale.

view of exuma cays from air

View of the Exuma Cays from my airplane window.

exuma cays bahamas from the air

The water looks incredible even from the air.

mondo vacilando turf to surf nassau royale

Melody (s/v Vacilando), Emily and me catching up over a bottle of Nassau Royale

provisioning hideaway sailing

My heap of supplies from the Fort Lauderdale West Marine.

12 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own

  • Michel Guay March 16, 2013, 9:39 pm

    Oh my, so much to do in so little time. You certainly crammed in quite a bit in the time you were gone. Glad to see you got all your supplies back to the boat without too many problems.

    • Tasha March 18, 2013, 10:39 am

      It’s always an adventure! :-)

  • Phil Dolsen March 17, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I’m so glad that Nassau Royal Liquor is still available. I’m on my last half bottle and can’t get anymore here in Ohio. Glad you were able to stock up on supplies.

    Lorraine

    • Tasha March 18, 2013, 10:39 am

      That stuff is deliciously lethal. Makes my flip flops fall off :-)

  • Prosecco & Pampers March 18, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Every time I go to the US, I carry a nearly-empty suitcase with me and then have to sweat and worry during my return flight’s check-in about all the excess weight I’ve accumulated. I have no idea how that happens. But it does. Every. Time. :-)

    • Tasha March 19, 2013, 1:34 am

      It kind of feels like being in Peace Corps again! I remember when I tried to bring Kimchee in my checked baggage to Russia…and it leaked…everywhere. Seems like I’ll forever be lugging too much into other countries! :-)

  • Octopussy March 18, 2013, 7:13 pm

    I see at least one Bota Box there in the pile of supplies! ; )

    Good luck!
    Kim
    S/V Octopussy

    • Tasha March 19, 2013, 1:34 am

      Lol. They told me I could bring “one unit” of alcohol back with me. A box of wine worth 4 bottles? Yes, thank you!

  • Kerri Brooks March 22, 2013, 9:18 am

    Hi Tasha & Ryan! It was amazing to meet up with you guys and hang out again. Had so much fun in Georgetown and at Long Island. Sorry we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye in the morning. We did not get much sleep and pulled anchor early to head to the marina. In doing so, we bashed our dinghy and punctured a large hole it. Now we are also off to find a repair kit. Our littlest crew member was not a happy camper with all of the rocking and rolling and we had to move. Good luck heading to the DR. Too bad we do not have more time so that we could have joined you. Can’t wait to see all the beautiful pictures you had taken while we were together. Enjoy the adventure and we will keep following your blog! Cheers and happy sailing. Kerri, Ian and Macara – MV Knot Yet.

    • Tasha March 28, 2013, 7:07 pm

      Kerri, Ian and Macara!
      It was a wonderful day out on Long Island that ended in a sleepless night for us as well. We weren’t surprised to see you’d moved on the morning!

      Anyway, our paths will cross again, I’m sure…in the meantime, I wish you all calm waters!

      Xx

      Tasha

  • Gordon Knight April 4, 2013, 9:18 am

    I read your blog with interest and I wondered if you’d considered registering as a contributor to the World Cruising and Sailing Wiki (http://www.cruiserswiki.org/wiki/World_Cruising_and_Sailing_Wiki), where you could share the benefit of your cruising experiences with a wider audience.

    The Wiki, as you probably know, is a collaborative effort by cruisers all round the world to pass on their knowledge for the benefit of others who follow in their wake. Many sections are already the best online resource available, and with the help of more contributors such as you the Wiki could so easily become the most up to date and reliable source of information for cruisers everywhere.

    I hope you will consider registering and helping to update the pages in the sections where you cruise. If so, you would be welcome to post a link to your blog in the Personal Notes section of the relevant pages so that Wiki users can access your blog directly from the Wiki. This is easily done once you are logged in using the format * [http://www.(your blog URL) – your vessel’s name Cruising Blog].

    Contributing to the Wiki is simple once you get the hang of it and the Wiki sysops are happy to help new members in the early stages. It’s also very rewarding to know that your contributions will be helping other cruisers for many years to come – possibly long after your blog has been consigned to history!

    • Tasha April 4, 2013, 3:34 pm

      Hi Gordon!
      Thanks so much for the invite! I’d love to contribute!
      Tasha

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