Ahh. Vacation. Seems a little odd when we live on a boat. But time off the boat makes the time on the boat all the sweeter. You can play, too. We're thinking more seriously about the "Guests in the Bahamas" alternatives.
We visited our kids for the pan-holiday celebration: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King and The Commodore's Birthday.
Also, our first AirBnB stay. It worked out great. Our host was great and his finished garage was ideal for our comings-and-goings.
What a contrast: Vegas has unlimited free parking paid for by gamblers LA has no parking unless you're clever and lucky or want to pay a valet.
That was our whirlwind tour of the west. We're talking about having the kids visit us in 2015 for the next pan-Holiday celebration.
Here's how we think the "Red Ranger in the Bahamas" can work. If we meet you in Staniel Cay, then you have a choice of where to stay. Red Ranger has room for a couple in the V-berth and another couple in the saloon. You can stay at a vacation house rental, if you don't want to stay on the boat.
AirBnB has a few places near Georgetown on Exuma Cay itself. Plus a few whole villa rentals ($700/night) scattered around the Exumas. $700 a night seems hefty until you split it four or six ways.
We really liked Staniel Cay. There's good snorkeling. Good day sailing. A good bar. Good beaches to walk on. A bakery.
For folks who are interested in a more nautical vacation, we can do a variety of longer one-ways or round-trips. So far, we've discovered two comfy one-week trips.
Sailing from Nassau to Staniel Cay allows you to fly to Nassau, sail to Staniel Cay and then fly out of Staniel to return to the US. The trip is short enough that the odds of missing the return flight are quite low. It's still possible that weather could be so awful that we can't make it. Last year, we dawdled down there between February 20th and February 28th.
A Staniel to Nassau trip allows you to fly to Staniel Cay, sail to Nassau and then bask into the warm glow of the Atlantis Resort Casino to wash off the salt before flying back to the US. Last year we did this between March 6th and March 13th.
We have reason to believe that we can do this again.
Tilt says: "People ask why we're going back to the Bahamas. Really. They ask. The fact that we've done it eight times before ought to be all the answer anyone needs."
The two-week trip is Nassau to Staniel Cay and then back again. It took us almost a month last year, but we stopped at a lot of places along the way. Doing it in two weeks just means fewer stops, more sailing. Depending on the weather, it may also mean stopping short of Staniel Cay in order to make it back to Nassau to make air connections.
If you want to visit these spots vicariously via Google Earth, here's our Winter 2012-2013 Anchorages — This is a .kml file that you can use with Google Earth to see all of our anchorages from our first Bahamas trip. This also includes the midnight positions from our offshore legs. file with the anchorages. When you click the link, your browser should try to download the file; open it with Google Earth. Or, you can control-click the link, save the URL and paste this into Google Earth.
Apparently, the weather is more clement in March and April than it is in February. Email or call. The most important rule is that Red Ranger has to be there before you even get on a plane; allow for some last-minute jockeying around if the weather doesn't cooperate.
Ready to Go
Now that we're back on Red Ranger we can install the Alpenglow light in the main saloon.
The cave-like Red Ranger is gone. It's a different boat.
We'll get a few more 1# propane cans for our cabin heater, top off the water, and head down to Green Cove Springs for a few days. Then to St. Augustine for a while. Then Vero Beach. Then the Miami area: No Name Harbor and Dinner Key.
Somewhere along the way, we'll reconnect with our burned up inverter and reinstall that.