Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break Was Awesome !!!!!

We all had a great time.  This was our longest stay yet and was still entirely way too short!  I'm so glad we were able to share Treasure Cay with some of our family.  They were so impressed that when they got home they started trying to figure out how soon we all could go back!  Here is what really made positive impressions on them:  the beach, the people, the great food at the Bahama Beach Club, the beach, the grocery store, the amazing blue water, the beach, the ease of travel to get there, the weather, the condos, and of course the beach!

The weather was really nice for our whole stay.  The winds had picked up later in the week, but Treasure Cay beach is normally situated quite pleasantly in the lee.  A front came through on Thursday which brought a little rain and some cool temperatures, but by mid-day Friday, it was clear and sunny.  The only issue the wind really caused was for one of my dive trips to be cancelled.  I got to go a least one day, so I was happy.

The Sanddollar Dreams condo is still perfect.  This has now been our second stay there and we still feel it is truly the best place to be in Treasure Cay.  Not that you would find any crowds there, but it is just far enough away from the "center" of town to give you more privacy and you are just a quick cart ride away from any place you want to go.

If you pick up the local paper, The Abaconian, you will find the local tide tables.  We spent part of every day around low tide out at Sandy Point.  Abby and I enjoyed snorkeling again, my dad looked for shells, and some just sat in the shallows soaking it all in!  It's has something for everyone.

Abby was so excited to get her hair braided Island Style!  If you go down to the bike shop, you can find a really nice lady to do your hair.  Abby managed to keep it for over a week and it really made for telling stories when she got back to school.  I also went in to the hardware store for the first time this trip.  I was surprised to find a nice selection of gift/tourist items that are at quite a discount compared to some of the other shops.  There aren't a lot of choices on where to shop in Treasure Cay, but I'll save money when I can!

Every once in a while we would just take the golf carts and cruise around to check out the area and some of the beachfront homes.  I found this "little" gem, Camelot, not far from our condo.  It is only $4.9 million; anyone want to float me a loan?  I'll let you stay in the guest house.....

We all left for our homes on Saturday.  We took off around 11:00 am for Fort Pierce, FL (KFPR) and our family caught the 4:00 pm American Eagle flight to Miami.  We really lucked out with the flying weather for this trip.  During our stay is when Florida was ravaged by storms for a few days that included the tornado that hit Sun' n Fun.  Luckily we never saw any of that severe weather.

The flight to Fort Pierce was perfect.  Since this was our first flight to the Bahamas in the Lance, one of my focal points was the fuel management/planning for this over-the-water trip.  We were lucky on our very first trip in the Arrow to get avgas in Treasure Cay, but it has not been available since  If you need fuel, Marsh Harbor is the closest airport with avgas.  We did that before, and even though it is only about a 10 minute flight, it will easily add an hour to your travelling day.  We loaded up the plane to max gross weight and departed Jacksonville with 85 usable gallons on board and landed with about 45 gallons remaining.  That left us with about 2 1/2 hours on board taking in to account another take off and full power climb to cruise altitude; more than enough fuel to legally and safely make the little over hour flight to Fort Pierce to clear customs.

We departed VFR out of Treasure Cay (MYAT) and set our heading for the Freeport VOR.  As we climbed through 6000 feet I was able to easily pick up our IFR clearance from Miami Center and we were quickly cleared as filed to KFPR at 8000 feet.  Departing MYAT, I file direct ZFP BR62V ANGEE direct and it works every time.  I know I could probably get direct ANGEE from Treasure Cay, but I still like flying over Grand Bahama Island before getting out over open water.  It also seems to be standard to get an initial decent clearance to be at 4000 feet, 20 miles southeast of ANGEE.  The VNAV function on the GNS 530 makes this a no brainer.  It wasn't long after passing West End that we could see the Florida coast line.  Visibility on this trip was great!

We cleared Customs without issue and then enjoyed a nice lunch at the Airport Tiki.  It looks like there is only one FBO left at Fort Pierce so without any competition, the gas prices were pretty steep.  The good part is, they do provide a good service.  They will tow your plane from the Customs ramp to their ramp and our plane was promptly fueled as requested so when we were done with lunch, we were off on the last leg home without delay.

A few items of note I learned from this trip:

1.  I'm still really glad we got the Lance for so many reasons.  She took good care of us.
2.  Don't bring liquor with you.  Buy it in the Bahamas.  It was even cheaper than the Duty Free store my dad used in Miami.  A "Costco" size bottle of Bacardi rum is $15.  Gotta love it!
3.  It is now $20 per person departure tax.  Used to be $15.  It is still free for kids under 6.
4.  Having our Bahamas Immigration Cards filled out prior to arrival sure made made things quick and easy.  We got a new stack of cards on our way out, all you have to do is ask!
5.  Get in touch with dive shop as soon as you can if you want to dive.  Their trips can fill up quick.   You can even email them before you arrive to set things up.  I'll do that next time.
6.  eAPIS was a little easier to use than last year since now you can save passenger information for future manifests.


  1. You are such a wonderful writer... made me want to go there!

  2. Hi! Just discovered your blog, looking forward to checking it out. I'm hoping to get the time and financial means to explore the wonders of flying soon...

  3. Great pics! Mary and I look forawrd to making this trip.

    Excellent write up as that water looks awesome.

  4. Years ago when I went to Michigan State and belonged to the Winged Spartans Flying Club we would take a Cessna 172 every spring break and fly to the Bahamas for a break.

    I loved just sitting on the beaches with my pilot sunglasses on and chilling out.

    Haven't been there in a while; need to go back!


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