Bahamas Tall Ship
The area that your program will take place in is Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas. The Abacos are a cluster of islands located due east of West Palm Beach, Florida, and are known enthusiastically as "The Family Islands." There are a large number of opportunities for snorkeling, sailing, and fishing. The smaller islands surrounding Great Abaco are called "cays" (pronounced "keys") and are known as one of the premier sailing destinations of the world. Boaters often spend months here because of the beautiful turquoise waters around the Marsh Harbour area. The history of these islands is unique. The Spaniards were the first Europeans to explore the Abacos, but the Lucayan Indians were native to the area and disappeared soon after the arrival of the Europeans.
In the 1500's the British colonized the larger Bahamas Islands. During the 1700's piracy prevailed in the area because it was well suited to that trade, with its numerous coves, cays, and other small islands. The Abacos became inhabited during the 1800's as settlers who were loyal to the British Crown arrived from the United States. In 1977, 230 of Man-O-War Cay's population of 235 could trace their ancestry to a single couple who settled the island one hundred fifty years earlier. Wrecking, a term used to describe the salvaging of ships that wrecked on the numerous reefs surrounding the Bahamas, became a major industry in the 1800's. The area abounds with stories of pirates, colonists, and wreckers, which gives this area its natural flair for high adventure.
The boat assignments will be made just prior to your arrival.
- Day 1:
- After your crew clears Customs at the Marsh Harbour airport, a cab will be waiting to take you to Conch Inn Marina. A Sea Base staff member will greet you there and will pay for the cab. Once you arrive at the marina you will load gear onto the boat and have a swim review. There will be a chart talk with your captain to discuss safety, local customs, and the float plan. You will sleep every night on your vessel.
- Day 2-6:
- Set sail for high adventure! You will snorkel in pristine reefs such as Fowl Cay Preserve and the Northeast End of Great Guana Cay. You will troll with fishing lures for snapper, grouper, barracuda, and shark. Fresh fish is a nice addition to the meals that your crew will cook in the ship's galley. The captain will educate the crew in seamanship and leave the basic ship work to you. Teamwork within the crew will allow you to sail to different Bahamian Cays and settlements such as Hope Town and Man-O-War Cay. Exploring these sites and learning new cultures will really be exciting. Keep in mind the weather and the crew's ability plays a large part in the flexibility of the schedule. This is not a pleasure cruise, but rather a working, sailing journey that involves teamwork, education, and safety for scouts and leaders alike. In addition to sailing duties, all scouts and leaders will clean the vessel including the head (toilet) and stand anchor watches at night.
- Day 7:
- You will return to the Conch Inn Marina in the early morning to clean your boat and pack. This is your departure day. After noon, your crew will grab a cab to the airport (Sea Base pays for the cab), and remember you will be responsible for the $15.00 per person Departure Tax.
Each crew participant will need to tie several different types of knots while sailing. These knots include a clove hitch, bowline, and a reef knot. To learn and practice these knots, refer to the Boy Scout Handbook, and Chapman's Guide to Piloting.
Extra Expenses (Money)
Although your fees cover all program expenses, you will want to bring some extra spending money. You may want to spend money for sodas and coin operated telephones. Your itinerary may or may not include a side trip to some local attractions or souvenir shops, or even dining out one evening. Please consider all these factors when planning your budget. For example, a meal in Hope Town may be 60% higher in cost than in the Midwest. Note: Participants in the Bahamas Adventure must allocate an additional $15.00 for Departure Tax.
IMPORTANT! CLEARING CUSTOMS
Every participant must have a valid current US Passport. This is a change from previous years. Without proper identification you will not be allowed to enter the Bahamas and you will be sent home.
Every person MUST obtain a current United States Passport. Visit http://www.travel.state.gov/ for more information on obtaining a passport.
What to Bring
- 1 Set Class A or B uniforms
- Several T-shirts
- Lightweight rain gear
- Sunglasses with strap (Polarized are best)
- 1 pair tennis shoes (non marking soles)
- 16 oz of Non-Oily sunscreen (SPF 30+)
- 1-2 pairs of shorts
- Pants, long-sleeve shirt & light jacket (December & Spring only)
- Toiletry kit
- Wide brimmed hat
- 2 - 3 pair of Socks
- Large-mouth water bottle with carabiner, (If you like coffee, a mug in addition is good)
- One sheet and warm blanket or a sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad - Backpacking type
- Swim trunks (boys) One piece suit (girls)
- 2 towels and a small pillow
- Bug spray
- Prescription Medication
- Proof of age/photo ID
- Copy of Medical Insurance information
- Camera (waterproof if possible)
- Personal snorkel gear
- Extra money ($100-$150)
- Bonine (for seasickness)
- Skin so soft lotion
DO NOT BRING
- Walkman/MP3 player
NOTE: Sea Base will supply fishing gear
NOTE: Make sure you can successfully pass the BSA Swim Test.
NOTE: Make sure your name is on the crew roster your leader is going to send us.
NOTE: Don't forget to bring a photocopy of front and back of insurance card.
NOTE: Save $15 cash for your departure tax. (USAir includes this in their ticket price)
Packing your Gear
All your gear must fit in a 24" duffel bag. No suitcases or frame backpacks can be used. You will be living on a sailing vessel during the entire adventure. Space is limited so you must only bring what you need. **REMEMBER:** There is no storage available for your crew. All belongings will have to go with you on the vessel, which are tight quarters. Keep this in mind and travel light!
Do not send mail. Sea Base offers programs to hundreds of Scouts on the sea, on the land, and on an island. We cannot deliver mail from home to Scouts unless it is mail of urgency, i.e. glasses, medicine, etc. left at home. In case of an extreme emergency, contact can be made with the following numbers: 305-664-4173 Days or 305-664-7766 Nights.
Being Physically Fit
Every scout and leader in the Bahamas Sea Base High Adventure program needs to be physically fit for the strenuous demands that will be placed on their body. Get in shape! Stay in shape! You will be in the water a great deal, so go swimming with your crew at your local pool often. Do some light exercise to increase your stamina. You will be frequently lifting your body in and out of the water on to boats and docks. Remember: those over 300 pounds are ineligible to participate in Florida Sea Base High Adventures.
B.S.A. Swim Test
Every crew participant must pass the B.S.A. swim test prior to his or her adventure arrival. Upon your arrival to Marsh Harbour, your swimming skills will be assessed in a swim review. You have dedicated a lot of your personal time and resources to come to Sea Base. Get the most out of your experience by being ready - physically and mentally.