Where can I visit in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian?

The best thing you can currently do for the Bahamas to simply visit the Bahamas

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

Where did Dorian hit?

Hurricane Dorian made landfall across the Bahamas, hitting the northern portion of the region the hardest. Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands were the worst affected islands. However, many of the islands that make up the 259,000 square kilometers of the Bahamas were not affected. 

The Exumas escaped the worst of the storm, reporting only heavy winds and rain in the north of the region with no serious damage to infrastructure. Highbourne Cay, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and Compass Cay Marina and others remain open for business. The Exumas offers plenty to see and do when exploring the area by yacht, including the famous Pig Beach, the Thunderball Grotto and Pablo Escobar’s Sunken Plane.

Pig Beach

Where?

While there are several islands in the Bahamas with a wild pig population, Exuma is the most well known. The island is located in the southern Bahamas, outside of the reach of Hurricane Dorian. Pig Beach is located on Big Major Cay and allows charter guests to swim with swimming pigs in unrivaled surroundings.

How?

Easily accessible by yacht from Nassau, this unique destination has become one of the most exclusive spots to experience in the Bahamas and is protected from natural storms, offering attractive tranquility throughout the year.

Why?

Rumored to have been left by passing sailors, the pigs are renowned for being approachable to all the visitors to the cay. Graciously accepting carrots and attention, these remarkably singular animals make for a fantastic company and even better photo opportunities.

Thunderball Grotto

Where?

Hidden away in the rocky Staniel Cay, the Thunderball Grotto is an extensive cave system that has been carved away by the ocean waters over the years to form this hidden oasis. Thunderball Grotto over the years, and it even received its name in the 1960s when the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed there and was later returned to for Never Say Never Again.

How?

Part of the Exuma Cays, the Thunderball Grotto is easily accessible by yacht and can be enjoyed as part of an itinerary which includes Pig Beach. Perfect for many group configurations, Thunderball Grotto is an unmissable attraction for anyone taking a Bahamas yacht charter vacation.

Snorkeling paradise!

Accessed by interior entrance points leading off from the beach, the underwater caves surround a hollow center that makes the destination a veritable haven for intrepid divers.

Wildlife

Populated by exotic fish, the wide tunnels are illuminated by the rays of sunlight reflecting around the center, making a diving excursion here an experience that’s as colourful as it is unique. James Bond fans and non-fans alike, be sure to visit this fantastic destination.

Pablo Escobar’s Plane

Where?

Norman’s Cay is relatively inaccessible without a yacht, nestled about as far away from anything significant as you can get. Just offshore, however, you will come across a sunken WWII-era military transport plane that was once flipped to fuel Pablo Escobar’s expanding cocaine trade to the USA. Fortunately, there were no casualties, and the passengers even managed to rescue their cargo before the plane came to its final resting place on a sandbar.

Wildlife

Quite unlike any other wreck dive, the former smuggler’s plane provides an intimate glimpse into a criminal underworld. Now populated by various species of fish and coral, exploring the compartments of the submerged plane makes for a truly kaleidoscopic experience. Ideal for beginners and more experienced snorkelers, the plane is only ten feet below the waterline. The warm and bright water is perfect for swimming in, and the nearby beach is perfect place to dry off.

Get in touch with one of our expert brokers today for your unparalleled charter around the stunning Exumas!

Pigs in Paradise

*******The pigs were completely untouched by Hurricane Dorian*******

Broker Alice shares her insight and experience of her time spent swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas. 

Pig Beach – what and where?

The pigs greeting Broker Alice as she arrives via yacht.

The Bahamas comprises of an archipelago of over 400 islands. The most popular destination in this island chain has become the mysterious pig beach. Thanks to social media platforms and to holiday experiences become increasingly popular in the media. The swimming pigs of the Bahamas are now known as one of the best tourist experiences. An Instagram must is to get a selfie with the swimming pigs.

Swimming pigs!

Stunning wildlife

Nestled at the heart of the Exuma islands at Big Major Cay, a large family of swimming pigs awaits your arrival. Remember to bring some food! The island of Big Major Cay is inhabited only by pigs, there are no humans living on this island. 

As an experience, arriving at the beach is just as surreal as it sounds and one not to be missed on your Bahamas yacht charter. Although there is a lot of wildlife in the Exumas, the pigs are the rarest kind of wildlife known to the ocean.

Pig history: how did they get there?

The increase in ‘pig popularity’ has led to the big question surrounding the swimming piggies- just how did they end up on a beach? Tourists, boat captains, zoologists, and historians ask themselves this question every day.

Pig Myths: the good, the bad and the ugly.

  • The pigs were brought to the island to be eaten by hungry sailors in the late 1700’s. The sailors didn’t manage to catch all of the pigs to eat and created the pig family on the beach.
  • 2- The pigs were the only survivors from a shipwreck and managed to find their swimming capabilities once they were put in the ocean for the first time.
  • 3- The pigs are native to the island and love the beach and sea! They are truly the pigs of paradise. 

The mandatory Pig Selfie in the Exumas

Team the swimming pigs with other adventures in the Exumas and spend time seeing some incredible things! From wild iguanas, Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane, James Bond’s Thunderball Grotto to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for an unforgettable conch lunch – Get the pigs ticked off the bucket list this summer and charter a yacht in the Exumas with Boatbookings! 

Where to eat in Korcula

Korcula

Korcula Island is one of the greenest islands in the Adriatic Sea and one of the most popular travel destinations in this region of Croatia. The town itself is a picturesque Dalmatian city between the sea and a striking range of mountains and has been described as a calmer Hvar. The charming old summer resort town has lots of history, well-preserved fortress walls, bustling outdoor markets, ancient churches, quaint hotels, flower-lined streets, and stunning quiet bays. Korcula was the birthplace of Marco Polo and offers many festival traditions throughout the summer.

Pensatore

This local restaurant is situated at a premium spot on Korcula’s old town promenade with breathtaking views overlooking the panorama of Pelješac channel. The terrace offers breathtaking views while enjoying delicious food using fresh, organic, local ingredients. Pensatore is known for providing top-class cooked lamb (janjetina na leso)as well as modern twists on traditional Dalmatian specialties, making them more attractive to numerous tourists who like contemporary approaches in cooking.

Atrij Zrnovo

Enjoy dinner here under the trees on a hot summer night. If you are looking for good pizza, be sure to visit Atrij Zrnovo! However, diners also say that they serve possibly the best traditional food on the island. Be sure to try the incredible house specialty, Žrnovski Makaruni with meat sauce – the food here is made with love!

Pizzeria Torkul

Located in Lumbarda, this seaside restaurant is rich in history that dates back over 100 years and offers a calm atmosphere on the terrace with a beautiful view of the sea. The pizzeria is located in a former olive oil mill, the millstone is inside the restaurant complimenting the typical Croatian style. The pizzas are prepared in a genuine wood furnace, giving them an authentic taste and making Torkul and must stop.

Radiona

Bistro Radiona is located on the beautiful waterfront promenade overlooking the harbour. Celebrating the finest Croatian ingredients, from oysters and mussels from Mali Ston, Istrian truffles or black Slavonian pork, they create simple but delicious dishes. Enjoy an authentic Kor?ula atmosphere with good homemade specialties and some of the best wines from the island and surrounding areas.

Get in touch with one of us today to ensure you can involve at least one of these restaurants in the itinerary!

The effects of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas

After visiting the Bahamas in January 2019, I was so impressed by the beautiful shores, incredible sailing conditions and sandy white beaches. The most striking part of the Abacos Islands are the beautiful people who call these islands home. The landscape, culture and sense of community make the Abacos Islands one of the most striking sailing destinations on this globe.

The effects of the Dorian

Devastatingly, the Abacos Islands of the Bahamas have suffered great loss and tragedy following the 185 mile an hour hurricane on the 1st of September that ripped away the lives and community of the Abacos Islands. Lives and jobs have been destroyed which risks in damaging the entire spirit and livelihood of many islands in the Abacos. 

After visiting the Bahamas in January 2019, I was so impressed by the beautiful shores, incredible sailing conditions and sandy white-beaches however the most striking part of the Abacos Islands are the beautiful people who call these islands home. The landscape, culture and sense of community makes the Abacos Islands one of the most striking destinations on this globe.

Broker, Alice’s photographs of the Abacos and Marsh Harbour prior to destruction by the hurricane 

When will it be back to normal?

Almost 90% of the infrastructure in the Abacos Islands has been destroyed in the force 5 hurricane. Not only homes, business and boats, but human life has also been lost due to the devastating hurricane Dorian.

The likelihood is that by April 2020 the Abacos infrastructure will be on its way back to normality. The best thing to do to support the people of the Abacos is to visit this destination to promote jobs and the economy to help save the Abacos Islands and the long-standing community within Bahamian paradise. 

What is being done to help the situation in the Bahamas? 

Image result for bahamas aid

The USAID has reported to allocate $2.8 million in emergency supplies alongside the Red Cross. The UK Royal Navy will aim to evacuate Abacos sufferers to Nassau. If you are looking to fly to help this situation, the flight to Marsh harbor would be required. 

Image result for bahamas aid

How can you help the situation in the Abacos?

To support the Bahamas, do not stop visiting the island as the islands of the Exumas. They have not been greatly affected by hurricane damage and rely on tourism to thrive.

Pre-planning spared most of the boats in the Abacos and these boats were safely moved to the Exumas. Most of the Bahamas is safe to visit with minimalistic damage. The Abacos are the main sufferers of this natural disaster. 

What do the Bahamas look like now after Dorian?

Some up to date pictures of Nassau and Normans Cay. While not trying to detract from the awful state of the Northern islands such as the Abacos and Marsh Harbour area, we must bear in mind that the majority of the Bahamas is open for business. The more we continue to visit the country as normal, the quicker it will heal as a nation. It is a win-win!

Normans Cay 6th September 2019
September 6th September 2019 Normans Cay
Normans Cay 6th September 2019
The Bahamas
Nassau not overcrowded
Nassau untouched
Sunshine as normal
Nassau, the capital has been completely untouched.
Yachts rearing to get out!
Airports are not overcrowded
Business as usual
Airports not struggling with the diverted traffic

Autumn, I’m falling for you.

The joys of summer, overcrowded ports, expensive prices, stressed out waiters, delayed planes? These are surely the worst parts of a summer holiday or charter in the Mediterranean. Forget the worst aspects of a yacht charter and look at a charter for the Autumn. 

Autumn sailing > Summer sailing

Sailing across the Mediterranean in Turkey, Croatia or Greece can be a better experience than a yacht rental at the peak of the summer season. These countries offer very mild weather in the Autumn and the wind tends to drop off from the high winds in August.

Warm waters and low season prices

The Mediterranean climate allows for warm September waters for swimming, private bays for swimming and more available yachts available last minute. The experience is different from that of the high season summer experience with a more relaxed atmosphere on every island. It is also easier to see a local way of life and to be able to make a reservation at your favourite restaurant on the day, rather than the week before!

Alice’s best places to charter a yacht this Autumn

Croatia

Split- Dubrovnik 

This one-way itinerary provides the opportunity to see the two historically fuelled cities of Split and Dubrovnik. Sailing between the two cities has scope for everyone, from partying at all night clubs in Hvar to exploring the national park at Mijet near to Dubrovnik this itinerary has something in there for everyone. It is very difficult to get a one-way charter during the peak of the high season however during the Autumn, many owners take the boats from Split to Dubrovnik and would be very happy to accommodate a one way. Your broker will organise this bespoke yacht charter for you and plan your itinerary.

Greece

The Cyclades Islands 

Contrary to popular opinion, the Cyclades are not the place to go to in the summer. The prevalent Meltemi wind dominates the Cyclades and often makes it very difficult to travel between islands. Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, and Ios are without a doubt the most breathtaking islands in Greece however it is difficult to get the right winds in summer to have an enjoyable charter. with the heavy winds in June, July and August. By late September, the winds have died down, the tourists have disappeared and the striking white roofs can be enjoyed from your yacht. Catamarans are widely available and are significantly less experience.

Sardinia 

Known as one of the most glamorous places in the globe, the Costa Smerelda is the new place for the A-listers and yacht charters! Boutiques, 5* hotels and some of the finest Italian restaurants are available in Sardinia. You can also hop over to southern Corsica and visit the striking port of Bonifacio. This is a perfect Autumnal destination due to the quieter ports, less crowded beaches and extremely blue waters at this time of year. Sardinia converts into more of a traditional experience during the Autumn.

Contact one of our expert brokers to plan your Autumn charter today! 

How did Hurricane Dorian start?

In 2019, Storm Dorian destroyed the Abacos and Grand Bahama before skirting up the eastern seaboard making landfall on the eastern tip of Canada. Please see our “Bahamas after Dorian” page for current status of chartering and sailing in the Bahamas.

How did Dorian form?

Dorian forming

Dorian was formed on the 24th of August by a tropical wave. A tropical wave is a low pressure, orientated from North to South which moves eastwards. This then combined with the high air pressure which lies in the doldrums or Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), located close to the termal equator.

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Tropical waves explained

Tropical wave formation

Tropical waves in the Atlantic develop from disruptions, which develop as far east as Sudan. They then drift across the continent into the Atlantic. These waves are either formed or enhanced by African Easterly Jet (The African easterly jet is a region of the lowest layer of the earth atmosphere, over West Africa where the seasonal mean wind speed is at a maximum and the wind is easterly).

The clockwise circulation of the large transoceanic high-pressure cell or anticyclone centered near the Azores islands, labeled the Azores high above image produces easterly waves away from the coastal areas of Africa towards North America.

When was Dorian at her peak intensity?

Peak intensity over the Abaco Islands on September 1.

Dorian intensified while moving toward the Abacos and close by islands, before becoming a hurricane on August 28th. The rapid intensification of Dorian meant that on August 31st, she was placed into Category 4 – a major hurricane. Less than 24 hours later, Dorian reached Category 5 intensity, peaking with winds of 185 mph and gusts of much more. A minimum central pressure of 910 millibars, the ‘normal’ atmosphere is 1013.13 mbar a huge decrease of pressure meant that she would become to be one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the Bahamas.

Click here to donate through PayPal Via Global Empowerment Mission.

Why was Dorian moving so slowly?

The high pressure blocks the hurricane.

This question is not to be confused with her wind and gust level. This is in relation to her track. Dorian stalled over the Bahamas for roughly 24 hours, 24 hours of heavy rain and gusts which lead to a 24ft storm surge.

Dorian in the Southern hemisphere over the Bahamas.

Data has shown that she was traveling as little as 1 mph. This is due to a rare natural phenomenon called the Bermuda high. As the name states, this is a high-pressure atmospheric system. Until the Bermuda high relinquished its ‘hold’ over Dorian, a low-pressure system moved across releasing Dorian, thus allowing her to move in a northerly direction

How can you help?

You can support the relief effort here
Send/order any of these items listed below, to this address:
Global Empowerment Mission
340 NE 59th Terrace,
Miami, FL 33137

  • Life Jackets/Floatation Device
  • Large sturdy waterproof bags
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Solar fans/lights
  • Large tarps
  • Chain saws
  • Generators
  • Fuel/oil for generators
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Dry formula and dry milk products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Mold remediation items
  • Hygiene products
  • Feminine products
  • First aid items and kits
  • Advil, Tylenol etc for adults and children
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medical gloves
  • Masks
  • Diapers and Wipes
  • Baby food and formula
  • Pedialite (powder packs)
  • Gator aide/Electrolites/hydration powder
  • Rehydration salts
  • Tents
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (especially D)
  • Matches/lighters
  • Repellent
  • Solar battery and solar chargers
  • 30 gallon or larger storage containers with lids
  • Plastic wrap
  • Duct tape / packing tape
  • Hand saws
  • Work gloves
  • Can openers
  • Sanitizer/Sanitizer wipes
  • Water purification devices
  • Disposable plates and cups
  • Camp stoves
  • Butane tanks
  • Utensils
  • Nails
  • Wrenches/Hammers/Tools
  • Candles
  • Pet food canned and dry
  • Toilet paper

At this time we are in the Search, Rescue and Recovery phase and currently NOT accepting: Clothing, furniture, bedding, toys, charcoal and wood.

To the people of the Bahamas, on behalf of Boatbookings, we look forward to seeing your recovery and booking many more life-changing and memorable charters in your stunning country. You are all in our prayers.

Enjoy a stop-off at Sea Containers house prior to your charter.

Travelling

If you are traveling in from the Americas or further afield it might be worth adding a London stopover to combat the dreaded jet lag. Sea Containers will get you into the spirit of your charter which is a nautical-themed 4* hotel. Conveniently located just a short 7-minute walk from the well-connected Blackfriars station, this hotel is ideally located for an easy commute from one of the 5 airports based in and on the outskirts of London.

The reception area of Sea Containers

Architecture

Sea Containers House immediately immerses you in architectural brilliance. With the opening reception hallway resembling a brushed copper hull, it’ll get anybody in the mood for life at sea. The copper colouring provides warmth to the expansive reception area that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a metal heavy interior.

12th Knot Bar, top floor.

12th Knot

The upmarket hotel is furnished in an industrial come nautical way which fits in perfects to the industrial history of London. Overlooking one of the most famous rivers in the world, watch the clipper yachts and cargo boats drift by while relaxing in the 12th Knot Bar, situated in the top floor of this impressively built building. Look east and soak up the London Skyline.

Sea Containers Resturant bar area

Immerse yourself in luxury with an extensive, well thought out menu that matches the seasons perfectly. With breakfast, lunch, and dinner available all under one roof – you cannot go hungry. With reasonably priced dishes, small plates, and sharing plates alike providing a great range of culinary delights. From Ceviche Tacos, seabass, coriander salsa to Whole Roasted Corn-fed Chicken, confit onions there will be something for everyone.

Stopping off in London is the best place to enjoy a varied, culturally vibrant city with fantastic links to the rest of the world. With direct flights to thousands of yachting hot spots around the world including, Greece, Croatia, Caribbean, Italy, and Asia it’s the perfect hub to start your holiday from.

Reception area, Sea Containers house.

Get in touch with us today to experience London before you embark on your charter. Wherever you are in the world, be sure that Boatbookings can provide a door to door service.

Top 10 tips for your bareboat yacht charter

Top 10 tips for a bareboat yacht charter with Boatbookings Broker Alice shares her top 10 tips prior to doing a bareboat yacht charter. Including the do’s and don’t to make sure that you have a great charter on the water.

1- Bring a hard copy of your sailing certifications.

A hard copy of the relevant sailing certifications is due upon embarkation of the yacht in any country. If you cannot bring the sailing certifications with you, you may not be allowed on the boat.

Note that the specifications for sailing certifications vary from country to country. 

European requirements for a yacht charter: 

  • Croatia: Day Skipper/ ICC/ International equivalent + valid VHF licence for smaller catamarans and most monohulls. For larger catamarans in Croatia, the yacht master certification is sometimes required. Greece:
  • Greece: Day Skipper and ICC are often required.
  • Mediterranean: Day skipper (or equivalent)/ ICC.
  • Caribbean: Detailed sailing resume with charter experience on similar sized vessels.
  • Asia: Detailed resume alongside qualifications in certain areas.

Bring soft bag luggage onto the boat.

This is not a mandatory requirement for a bareboat charter however it certainly helps with space onboard. Typically on a monohull or a catamaran, the cabins are not oversized so taking a soft bag does help with storage onboard. It also saves the decks and prevents any harm or damage being caused to the boat.

3- Be aware of extra costs 

The bareboat concept is essentially just the boat. Other costs such as cleaning, a starter pack, and a handling fee are usually covered in the charter fee. Mooring fees differ from port to port however can range for a bareboat from €25- €60 per night. These are payable in cash on spot so remember to take cash with you.

4- If you have chosen a skipper- trust the skipper’s knowledge. 

Although your broker can give you an insight into the best boats, destinations, restaurants, bars and sailing grounds for your charter the skipper is the best person for itinerary discussion. Upon embarkation, you will be given both a safety briefing and an itinerary briefing for the charter. Be aware that a 10% gratuity of the charter fee is usually given at the client’s discretion.

5-  All bareboat charters in the Mediterranean run on a Saturday – Saturday basis. This is not the same for the Americas, the Caribbean or Asia. 

Most of the boats are chartered on a back to back basis throughout the summer (high) season in the Mediterranean. Embarkation time is at 1700H to set sail the following morning. Disembarkation is usually early morning and requires the charter vessel to be back in port the prior evening.

Mediterranean charters also solely run on a weekly basis and cannot do 10-day charters in high season. Most reputable yacht charter bases only run charters on a Saturday- Saturday basis.

In the Caribbean and Asia, charters do not run on a Saturday- Saturday basis. You can rent a boat for any period of time in these charter destinations.  

6-  Using the base manager as a go-to throughout the week. 

The base managers are always a phone call away throughout the week. If you require any assistance with regards to the boat, breakdowns and general maintenance issues throughout the week keep the base manager as your first port of call. Upon embarkation, if any issues are encountered, the base manager must be made aware of this.

7- Reserving moorings for the charter. 

This is up to you to organise if you have specific marinas you wish to stay in. In the majority of cases, you can just check-in and out of the marinas however, it is sometimes recommended to reserve a berthing spot. Marinas in Croatia are continuously busier and you need to be there pretty early on in the day to get a spot in your preferred marina.

8- Transportation to and from the boat. 

Boatbookings can only assist with this service if the base provides it. The Boatbookings charter brokers organise the boat, not the transportation to and from the boat for bareboat charters. Taxis are always available from the airport and some locations have UBER as an option. 

Uber is a great option in the South of France and Croatia for your yacht charter. Be sure to check out Uber Boat in Croatia and to look at Uber Copter in the South of France to get you to your charter. 

9- Provisions 

Some bases provide the service to do online provisioning prior to embarkation. This is not always the case and varies on a base-base basis. There is always the option of heading to a supermarket prior to embarkation on the yacht. It is advisable to buy basic provisions such as sunscreen, toilet roll, cleaning products, drinking water, and dry foods.

10- Take photographs and make memories for a lifetime. 

Catch sunsets, swim in the clearest waters in the world and make memories with friends and family that are unforgettable. No matter what size the boat is, the waters and destinations are all the same and pave for the best holiday that the globe has to offer. Be sure to invest in an underwater GoPro before heading on the charter. 

Get in touch today for any bareboat/crewed charter requests.

Where shall I eat in Hvar ?

Hvar has witnessed countless invasions over the centuries, resulting in a rich cultural, archaeological and architectural heritage. Thought to be one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world, Hvar lies a 2-hour yacht trip away from the historic town of Split situated on the southwestern coast of Croatia.

Hvar Town is the busiest destination on the island attracting thousands during the height of summer, not only for its rich culture but also for its vibrant nightlife scene.

Konoba Lambik

Konoba Lambik is situated in the little town Milna 3km from Hvar Centre, situated in a valley surrounded by olive trees. The restaurant attracts returning clients every year, who are never disappointed! This restaurant is considered by some to be one of the absolute best restaurants on the island of Hvar, especially if you like fresh fish! It can hardly get better than sitting under an olive grove eating fresh food prepared by the owners, accompanied by excellent wine. The service is also fantastic, so make sure to reserve to avoid missing out!

Dalmatino

Steak & Fish House Dalmatino will provide you with a feeling you have found a well-hidden treasure! Dalmatino is tranquil, an escape from urban city life, yet only just a few steps from the main square. Enjoy a glass of the famous “Hvarski Plavac”, rich with fruity notes, perfectly combined with your chosen meal.

Konoba Vrisnik

Konoba Vrisnik’s charming atmosphere perfectly compliments the top-notch service. Located at the bottom of the steep hill leading up to the village of Vrisnik, tables are outdoors. The octopus is soft as butter and melts in your mouth! Be sure to try “hobotnica ispod peke”, which you must order 3 hours in advance, and “hobotnica na toc”. If you want something else, try the fresh fish grilled over an open fire or the beef with fig sauce. Their house wine is made by the owner so you can be sure you are drinking proper local wine! Book a table before 7 pm to enjoy the sunset.

Get in touch today to find out how you could be eating at one of these stunning restaurants.