This week’s guest interview on “Where Is…?” is a little bit different. Not only is Betsi an avid globetrotter…she does most of her travelling with her very mode of transport! Travelling alongside her husband Jim on their 47’ sailing catamaran (named Indigo) Betsi’s wanderlust has taken her to 23 countries on five continents – Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America and spanned 35 years of travel. Today she takes us to the exotic Bahamas.
Hi Betsi! I love your travelling style! Can you tell us a little more about your trip to the Bahamas?
We are sailing through the islands of the Abacos in the Bahamas on Indigo. Currently our two dogs, Kiwi and Bentley are with us. This has been an extended sailing trip for us – we have spent 12 weeks out and are now heading back to Florida – only for a little while before our next trips to Canada and then Panama.
What is the weather like at this time of year?
Going over to the Bahamas in the summer is HOT! Even though we live land-based in South Florida, I thought the Bahamas was much more hot and humid. On the flip side though, that makes it perfect to slide into the crystal clear water and play or snorkel or dive. That was pretty much how we spent most afternoons – just hanging out in the gin-clear water.
Nothing quite like a good dip in the ocean to cool you down. What’s the accommodation like?
Since we stayed on Indigo, we didn’t need land based lodging. Out of all of the islands and cays that we visited throughout the Abacos chain, there were three that stood out – and all for different reasons.
Hands down, for us, we loved Man-o-War Cay. It had such a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. There are a handful of shops and boutiques, but the draw for me was the Low Place beach. We found ourselves there every afternoon, just swimming into shore and finding the perfect place to just sit in the water and relax. Or swim lazily with the native sea turtles and rays that are always around.
Green Turtle Cay was quaint and filled with lots of history of the loyalists who settled the Bahamas. It had nice beaches, but they were wilder and more untamed. But that being said, Green Turtle Cay is a magical place that just pulls you in to experience her history and culture.
Marsh Harbour is the complete extreme – vibrant night life, lots of shops and a very busy downtown. This is definitely the place to do any type of shopping – there is something for everyone!
What have been your highlights so far?
Since we were sailing, we really did not do any tours per se, but we did rent a car for a couple of days in Marsh Harbour and drove the entire length of Great Abaco – all 90 miles. We stopped in some really cool settlements (that’s what they call towns in the Bahamas). We like Cherokee Sound – there was nothing in town really except for a smattering of houses. Most of the men work down in Marsh Harbour or they are fishermen. Cherokee Sound sits right on the Sea Abaco and has some amazing views!
Can you suggest any other things to do or avoid?
Very few of the guidebooks / cruising guides we looked at covered Man-o-War Cay at all. One guidebook mentioned it, but didn’t have a whole lot of details. But because it piqued our interest, we decided to make it a stop. And we are so glad we did – from the moment we tied up we just felt like we had come home – this is where we spent a good portion of our time. On a side note – there are lots of vacation cottages on Man-o-War and the best time to visit is in the Fall or Spring – these are their low seasons, but the weather is still great! One place within the Bahamas I would not recommend visiting is Grand Bahama Island. Over the past few years it has really deteriorated and crime has increased.
What three must-have items would you recommend for anyone doing a sailing trip?
For our sailing travels, which all seem to center around warm weather, you can usually always find me in my UVSkinz clothing. For packing, I am loving Travis Travel Gear Space Saving Bags and Bago Packing Cubes. These make my packing so much easier!
And finally, what has been your favourite destination so far?
My all-time favorite destination is Panama. We have been twice before, and are now going back a third time. I love the different environments – Panama City is urban; you have the coasts – Atlantic and Pacific side – for fishing or beach days; the highlands offer agriculture – farming and coffee plantations, volcanoes and mountains; and finally the rain forest between the coast and the highlands. It is just a beautiful country, with beautiful, friendly people.