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  #1  
Old 10-20-2010
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GEORGE TOWN Help!

NOt sure where I should be posting so apologies in advance.

Greetings and so, so happy to find this Forum!

Looking to cruise the Exumas starting next month. I am told Georgetown is a good spot to be around other cruisers and that this helps keep things cheap. I am hoping to stay 4-5 months.

Does anyone have any good (and realistic) tips on how to stay down there as long as possible as CHEAPLY as possible?

Needs:
1. Cheap potable water (I try to catch as much as possible but do not want to rely solely on my rain catch).
2. Ways to make money.
3. Is this particular cruising community one that likes to barter? (For example, I clean the bottom of your boat in trade for food).
4. How much can I rely on living off of the sea, wild berries, fruits etc.?
5. Are there good, local "cheap eats" on land where you can get one big meal that can hold you over for a couple of days?
Please share any and all tips, ideas etc. I am all ears. I am determined to make this journey a success regardless of my lack of financial resources.
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I would point out that working in the Bahamas, even for barter, would likely get you into trouble, especially if you step on the toes of local businesses. There are already several divers down there that clean hulls and charge relatively reasonable prices for it.

As for water... there are some places where the water is free. However, I think having a watermaker makes a lot more sense. You don't say what size/make boat you're going to be doing this on. A hand-powered watermaker like the PowerSurvivor 35 or 40 would probably suffice for a single person. Both of those units can be also powered electrically, but that would require your boat to have some fairly significant passive recharging capability.

Living off the sea is not a great idea. While you can supplement your protein in your diet that way, a lot of the essential nutrients are likely to be missed without a decent supply of other foods.

If you eat like the natives, you can often supply yourself for relatively little money compared to eating like the tourists. Simple foods, like rice, grains, beans, etc., are pretty cheap and keep a long time. Stocking up on rice, grains, beans and pasta before setting off might be a good idea.
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This is great info. Do you know where there are "Happy Hours"? Does anyone have a list? Is the food good and can one fill their tummy at one of these without being too obvious? Taht sounds like a good resource. A couple of years ago in the Keys we were able to do pretty good to save money for a couple days by stopping at bars and enjoying free nuts, popcorn, chips etc. One bar even did meatballs at their Happy Hour and that really made a positive difference. Also provided a good opportunity to freshen up in the washroom before heading back to the vessel.
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If you're going to be staying in a harbor (like Georgetown!) you should not be counting on a watermaker - they need very clean source water. But you can get cheap/free water in G'town, so no problem there.

As Sailingdog says, cutting in on the local business folks can be problematic. You can barter with other cruisers, but probably not hull cleaning - water is so clear most folks can do their own. A skill (like refrigeration, diesel mechanic) is far more likely to be in demand. But, in my experience, its easier to trade for other boat maintenance tasks with other cruisers than for food. Food is pricey in the Bahamas, because everything needs to be imported. Bring what you'd want with you from the States - invest in a vacuum-packer; buy (cheese, for example) in huge blocks and shrink-wrap it yourself. Paper products are also really pricey, again, bring what you want from the States. In G'town you can find whatever you want, unlike some of the smaller islands of the exumas where it simply isn't available, but you'll pay for it. Do like Sailingdog says and plan to eat like a local if you want to keep your costs somewhat down.
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I must first and foremostly thank you for this great and fantastic information. There is some very helpful data here. I definitely see myself heading for the Jumentos as part of my plan and maybe I can stretch this thing out even longer than I had imagined. I will be growing tomatoes and doing fresh sprouts on my boat. Last year I did 5 days of just rainwater and sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean, clover, radish, pea shoots) supplemented by a couple spoonfuls of canned tuna each day. I will also have a breadmaker on board.

Are there any cruisers out there that have a list of the various Happy Hours and locations? If there is a good number I can potentially alternate which ones I attend, wear a hat one day, none the other, shades one day, no shades w/ baseball hat the next etc.

I am getting pumped. I was also just turned onto a great book called: SPENDING NOTHING AND LIVING HIGH IN THE BAHAMAS by Ron Allen. There are some really great ideas in here.

Some that stood out were:
1. Finding things on remote beaches to trade and barter with - shells, bottles, old shoes, buttons. You would be surprised at the things you can find whilst beachcombing.
2. When you find bottles they often have refreshing rainwater in them - an easy way to get necessary fluids into the system.
3. Taking pieces of driftwood, coating them with Elmer's glue and decorating them with the smaller, pretty shells that one finds on remote beaches. Mr. Allen stated that they would trade these for food with other cruisers.
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Eyrka...is the water at Georgetown really so bad that a watermaker is redundant?
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I am not seeing happy hour as a viable food source in the Bahamas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BGallinger View Post
Eyrka...is the water at Georgetown really so bad that a watermaker is redundant?
Believe what Eryka meant is that you can get water free at georgetown, so the watermaker is redundant...not that the water there was so bad as to require one.

BTW, using a watermaker in a public, civilized harbor is one very good way to kill it quickly.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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A friend said the Piece of Plenty had Happy Hour 2-3 times a week and he was always able to get stuffed enough that he was not hungry for a day. He also said that as you hang out if you get friendly with folks and tell good jokes you can end up having 3-4 beers bought for you!
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I also agree that going to happy hours to eat the free bar munchies is probably not a great way to go about this...

Quote:
Some that stood out were:
1. Finding things on remote beaches to trade and barter with - shells, bottles, old shoes, buttons. You would be surprised at the things you can find whilst beachcombing.
Most things you find on beaches won't be worth much unless you add value to them in some way. Sea glass is a perfect example... while, by itself it isn've very valuable, if you make it into items, like jewelry, you can often make a fairly significant profit on it.
Quote:
2. When you find bottles they often have refreshing rainwater in them - an easy way to get necessary fluids into the system.
Personally, I think it is really quite stupid to drink anything out of a bottle you've found. You have no idea what the bottle has been used for, or what contaminants could be in it.

Quote:
3. Taking pieces of driftwood, coating them with Elmer's glue and decorating them with the smaller, pretty shells that one finds on remote beaches. Mr. Allen stated that they would trade these for food with other cruisers.
This is an example of adding value, but I don't see that being all that valuable a way of making money. BTW, you need to be careful as some of the very pretty shells, particularly the cone shells, can contain a mollusk with a very nasty sting. While most are no worse than a bee sting, some can be potentially fatal. This is one species of cone shell below:

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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