GETTING TO MARSH HARBOUR
You have a choice of direct flights to Marsh Harbour from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The main carriers for direct flights to Marsh Harbour are American Eagle (from Miami), Silver Airways (from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando or West Palm Beach) and Bahamasair (from West Palm Beach).
You can also fly to Nassau from many US cities and then connect to Marsh Harbour on Bahamasair. Please note that some Florida departures are in the morning, which would mean an overnight stay in Florida if you are connecting from another city.
You can always contact us for assistance in finding flights or we can refer you to a travel agent who has arranged group travel to the Abaco islands for over 15 years.
WEATHER IN THE ABACOS
Follow this link for a chart showing average air and water temperatures in the Abacos by month:
There are WIFI hotspots on and near certain islands but we cannot tell you exactly how often. Cell phone service is available throughout the islands so there will always be the ability to communicate when necessary (check your service provider about roaming or other charges while in the Bahamas). You may want to listen to music in the evenings or use electronic devices while visiting the various islands but there will be limited ability to charge devices on the sailboat.
BUDGET AND MONEY
The Bahamian dollar is equivalent to the US dollar and both currencies are accepted interchangeably. But don’t go home with the Bahamian dollars because you won’t be able to change them once you are back in the USA. Most individuals spend $150 - 200 for personal expenses during the week such as food while traveling, taxi fare to and from the marina, souvenirs and emergencies – and your group may want to eat a meal or two out while visiting the local settlements.
SAFETY AND MEDICAL CONSIDERATIONS
You will need to let us know if you have any medical condition requiring medication and be sure that you bring an adequate supply. It will be difficult or impossible to obtain many medications once in the Abacos and on board the boat.
We emphasize safety precautions and try to minimize risk of injury on or off the boat. Most participants do not experience any injuries because they exercise appropriate safety precautions and we have not had any major injuries among our participants. You and your parents should be aware, however, that any sailing/boating/sea-based adventure can involve accidents, illness or injury. Possibilities include sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, asthma and even heart attacks. Sea creatures such as rays, sea urchins, anemones, coral, barracuda and sharks pose little or no threat if safe distances and respect are given them. We emphasize a no-touch/no-take policy with regard to the coral and creatures of the reef.
Please note that while there are medical clinics and personnel in the Abaco islands for treatment of minor problems and injuries, in the case of a major medical emergency, you would likely need to be transported by air back to the United States or to Nassau for treatment.
You or your parent or legal guardian will need to authorize us to arrange for any medical treatment in the event it becomes necessary. You will be asked to sign a release from liability as well as an agreement to cover any medical expenses that you may incur.
The Sea of Abaco is protected from the ocean swells by a chain of islands and the barrier coral reef. Sea sickness is rare here because of the flat seas. We don’t recommend taking sea sickness medication or arriving with a sea sickness patch unless you are extremely prone to sea sickness. The medications and patches have side effects including drowsiness and it is shame to miss out on activities that you would otherwise enjoy. You may want to pack Bonine or other medications “just in case.”
NO DRUG USE, SMOKING OR INTOXICATION
You will not be permitted to use tobacco products or illegal drugs on board the boats. The legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18. There are many places on the islands serving beer and alcohol, but you will not be permitted on board intoxicated. We will be obligated to take you off the boat if you do not abide these rules. You will be responsible to find and pay for an earlier flight home or pay for a hotel until your flight date.
All of your gear should fit into a 24-30” duffel or other soft bag. Your sleeping gear may be tied to your duffel bag. Please no suitcases or framed bags. Space is limited on a sailboat and you don’t need much for the week.
Water temperatures in winter months through mid-April average 70 to 75 degrees. Lots of “northerners” find the water to be fine for swimming during these months, but we usually use a shorty wet suit. Swimming and snorkeling are major parts of the trip so you want to make sure you are comfortable. There are several dive shops that rent wet suits for about $10 per day if you don’t want to buy and pack one.
A NOTE ON SUNBLOCK PRODUCTS
Probably the most common hazard on a sailing trip is sunburn. You will want to use a good sunblock to protect yourself but we want to also encourage you to wear a shirt at all times, especially when swimming and snorkeling. A long-sleeve SPF swim shirt is ideal.
We also want you to be aware that sunscreens contain ingredients that cause harmful algae blooms and coral bleaching. Researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide. In order to lessen the adverse impact on the coral reefs, you can take 2 positive actions. First, apply sunscreen at least ½ hour before entering the water so that it can be absorbed into your skin. Second, you can purchase reef-friendly sunscreens.