Cost to Cruise: December

Boilerplate Disclaimer: This is not what it will cost you to go cruising.

Sunrises: free. Also, sunsets. Shroud Cay, Bahamas
Sunrises: free. Also, sunsets. Shroud Cay, Bahamas

People’s constant advice, discussing cruising finances, always seems to be: It’ll cost what you have. We did not find this helpful in our planning, however true it may be. What we’re trying to show is the cost to us, more or less, for one month to go cruising. We’re going for monthly expenses, because they’re easier for us to track; so you won’t see the boat insurance amortized, you’ll just see that expense when we pay it. It won’t be what you’ll spend, but it was the kind of information that helped us out when we were trying to wrap our heads around that magical number for our cruising kitty.

Kapow!! Take that, cruising budget!! December for the win!

Marinas: $120 
Grocery: $285.20 
Restaurant: $291.04 
Supplies: $21 
Booze: $15 
Ice Cream: $4 
Laundry: $26 
Transportation: $0 
Communications: $182 
Entertainment: $0 
Pump Out: $0
Boat Parts: $323.54 
Fuel: $104.70 diesel; $0 stove fuel; $15.36 dinghy 
Immigration/Customs: $320
Water: $6.45
Garbage Disposal: $4
Bank Fees: $3.23
Grand Total: $1721.52

Of course, the above glory is only made possible through the outrageous provisioning of November. Still. Feelin’ pretty good.

Of particular note:

  • “Marina” implies a level of luxury not to be had by us; the fees in that category were for mooring balls in the Land and Sea Park, which we were happy to pay
  • I’m confident we paid more in bank fees, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Let me recommend for everyone the Charles Schwab checking account; no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees of any kind, worldwide–we are fans
  • Communications includes the data and voice for our sat phone, and a Bahamas SIM card for the smart phone that has proved invaluable; downloading Predict Wind forecasts on the cell phone has been much more convenient for us than using the Iridium GO. Surely that will change–I’m looking at you, Cuba–but we’ve been really happy with the convenience of prepaid data here in the Bahamas

I also want to talk a bit about water. We chose not to install a watermaker before we left on our trip; they are extremely expensive, take up a lot of room, require lots of energy to run, and break down on the regular. We’ve been traveling with boats that have water makers, and I won’t pretend that we haven’t been jealous; we haven’t been alongside a dock of any kind since we checked in at West End on December 2, so it’s been lots of dinghy runs with jerry cans to fill up our tanks. But while we’ve had days of concern, where we’ve felt like we’re running low, we’ve been fine for water. We were told it would be a real problem for us, but it hasn’t.

The biggest reason for our success: foot pumps. Our boat friends with pressurized water pumps (i.e., their faucets work like yours at home) tear through their water at about four times our rate. Not only does using a foot pump make you think about your water use, it also lets you control the flow really easily. The salt water pump in the galley sink is huge for us, as well; if we had to wash the dishes off the stern step to conserve fresh water, we’d probably have lost a lot of forks by now.

We might be changing our tune in the San Blas, and I know water’s an issue in the Sea of Cortez, but for the Bahamas, we were never concerned about being able to resupply. Water generally costs between forty and fifty cents a gallon, but there’s high-quality RO water available for free in places like Black Point and Georgetown. We filled our tanks and jerry jugs in Vero Beach, and didn’t pick up any more fresh water until Staniel Cay–21 days later, after using about 100 gallons. If you’re thinking of cruising the Bahamas, and are under the impression that a watermaker is a requirement, just keep in mind how much water you can buy for that $2000.

Our budget for next month has, sadly, no hope of remaining so low; the customs fees for Cuba are wicked, and we plan to be doing some overland travel, so we anticipate transportation and restaurant increases, plus something along the lines of housing. We’re mostly excited about all of the possibilities for showers.

One Comment on “Cost to Cruise: December

  1. Thinking about you a lot lately… Hope all is going well. Your Wisconsin senator is reeking havoc.. The marches will still be going when you get back. Love to all, vicky

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