My husband JC (James Castwell), and I are
headed to warm southern climes flying out
of the wet, cold (well not THAT cold)
Northwest on the 11th of February for the
at Emerald Palms on South Andros Island, Bahamas.
We've made this trip a few times so other than
the airlines misplacing our baggage again, there
aren't too many surprises.
We did actually have a surprise - the cost of
airline tickets was about $400 less for the two
of us than it was in November of 2003. Our travel
agent found that one on American Airlines.
We are doing it a bit differently this time. We
are flying out of SeaTac (Seattle) the morning of
the 11th, to Dallas, Miami and on to Nassau. We
will stay overnight at the Wyndham Hotel on Cable
Beach and then fly on to S. Andros on the afternoon
flight (Western Air) arriving at the S.Andros (Congo
Town) airport about 3:00 p.m. In time to unpack and
still have time for a swim or Jacuzzi soak before dinner.
We do go prepared. Regardless of how many bags we have,
although it is usually just two, I put all our necessary
meds in my purse. It is recommended when traveling out
of the US you have meds in the original container. I
assume that is so you can't be accused of having 'drugs'.
However, since we are going to the Bahamas, we've found
we can carry a container which has the little divisions
for each day without a problem.
Our friend Stephie mentioned she always rolls up a
light sun dress and puts that in her purse as well.
She was stranded without baggage at least once and
found the dress worked well as survival gear. My
purse isn't big enough for a complete change of
clothes for both of us, but I'm honestly tying to
find a way to cover us both if we run into a bad
There are some things anyone traveling to southern
regions to fish should be aware of. This includes
the FAOL folks headed to the
Florida Fish-In next month. One of the main
reasons we all want to go south is it's warm!
Sunshine! Sunburn? There are loads of
sunscreen/sunblocks on the market and we've used
a bunch. The very best we have found is an
Australian product, BullFrog. Especially
valuable because it is water resistant - important
for fly fishers. The only time I've experienced
a problem is when I've missed places. (Ear lobs
are easy to miss.) Highly recommended and
Something else you might consider is clothing which
blocks the sun. We both have shirts and pants which
do this, and if you are a person who burns very easily
you should consider this also. Several companies
sell especially long sleeved shirts which will help
protect you. Sun gloves are another item you should
I had an experience many years ago where I got sun burned
mostly on my hands, neck and ankles which were not
covered. I ended up standing in a cold shower,
drinking hot coffee. A call to the emergency room
at the local hospital sent my then husband to the
drugstore for some topic ointment. The next day,
without sun gloves, I burned on top of the burn.
It was an extremely painful experience. Avoid it.
If I had sun gloves, even after the first burn, I
could have avoided at least part of the pain.
Lightweight, hand-washable clothing is a must. Some
places to have laundry service (including Emerald Palms)
but if your flats pants/shorts are soaked with saltwater,
it is a good idea to at least rinse them out.
JC and I both bought prescription Action Optics
Polarized sunglasses, ours are the Aviator style
in a copper which work for both bright light flats
conditions and freestone streams. We went to the
Bahamas one year with blue tint sunglasses and just
could not see the fish! We ended up buying clip-ons
from the little fly shop in the amber tone. Nothing
like doing it wrong to learn how to do it right.
We will be field testing some zip-off flats pants/shorts
which we bought from Redington on this trip too. We do
have other flats pants, but it will be fun to try these.
I can see a potential problem of the zipped-off pant legs
blowing out of a boat - but since I see the problem, maybe
I'll be smart enough to stow them properly. I suspect
replacing one pant leg is not an option.
Bugs can be a problem anywhere, but we have the absolute
best solution. We tried it on S. Andros twice and it
just works. Available in either cream or spray it is
3M Ultrathon. In fact, the little 'gift shop' which will
be at Emerald Palms has it on order, (we left some for the
local folks there to test - they love it!)
My dad used to say, "Take half the clothes and twice
the money." We've really cut down on the amount of
clothing we take, but having some extra cash really
is smart, even in these days of multiple card cards.
We don't drive to our airport at SeaTac. There is a
mini-bus which takes about the same time as driving,
and we've had the car damaged twice in "secure parking
lots," besides that there is a lot of construction at
the airport and it's a mess.
A friend in the travel business recommended having
at least $10 in one dollar bills in your pocket.
Tips for curb-side check-ins, (a dollar per bag
minimum) bell hops at hotels and such.
An odd side note, I tried to get a bottle of Pepsi
at the terminal in Nassau. I fed in my Bahamian
dollar bill. It was rejected. The machine only
took American money. Don't you love it!
Another friend always takes a good book for reading
on the plane or while waiting for connecting flights.
Once he finishes the book he leaves it at the resort
for another reader. Nice idea don't you think?
Another little thing we do is to take a box of nice
cookies in our bag. Coffee or tea is available at
nearly every resort or lodge, but if you come in from
fishing and have the nibbles, the kitchen may not be
prepared to just whip up a snack for you. (And there
are those who have mid-night munchies at bedtime).
I'm back in the gathering mode again. Getting out
the clothing we will take and making sure everything
is ready to go.
JC does the gear gathering. He just got some new fly
boxes (C&F of course) and ordered in some dumb-bell
eyes for weighted bonefish flies from Bob at Hook and
Hackle. He hasn't tied them up yet, but he has a little
time. It won't be long before the rod bag is on the
davenport in the living room and the pile begins to grow.
The rods we are taking will be two 9ft. 8 wt, Sage Xi2
for the main rods, and two other rods which we will be
trying out for manufacturers who have asked for our opinions.
Lines will be Scientific Anglers Mastery Bonefish lines.
We will also be testing a line cleaner/treatment which
we will report on when we get back.
Our little dog eyes the pile and resigns himself to
another vacation at Club Vet. He has this all
figured out - and no objections from him. We've
been fortunate to find a place locally where the
care is excellent. His shots are all in order,
another of those details for travelers to attend
We did buy a new wireless laptop computer, and I
will be making the Sunday night changeover to the
new issue from Emerald Palms. They have their own
satellite uplink so will not be a difficult thing
to do. With a little luck we may be able to report
in to the Chat room or Bulletin Board. I haven't
exactly made friends with the new puter yet, but
JC did buy me a little mouse to plug in just in
case. (A few years ago I actually carried a full-sized
keyboard too - I'm getting better.)
I'm looking forward to the trip - it's a lovely place
with great fishing, terrific food and really super people.
It might even keep me going until the Central Washington
By the way, there is still time if you would like
to join us! ~ The LadyFisher
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