Plan Your Trip
Share Your Preferences
In order to make your stay onboard Ubuntu as enjoyable as possible, please download the Ubuntu Preference Form to collect and send your group’s preferences to us.
Please contact all members of your party for their input, if possible. We like to ensure that everyone’s favorites and preferences are taken into account. Once you complete the form, email it to us to allow us time to plan around your preferences and needs.
What to Bring
Most of your day onboard Ubuntu will be spent in a swimsuit or light clothing. Dress codes ashore are casual. There are limited storage areas aboard any sailboat, so pack lightly in a duffel or other soft bag (no hard cases or framed bags, please).
Please mark all luggage with your appropriate contact information. It’s a good idea to pack a spare change of clothes and all medications in your carry-on in the event of delayed luggage.
Here is a list of what we recommend to make your trip more comfortable:
- 2 swimsuits
- Flip flops or sandals for going ashore (we’re barefoot onboard)
- 2-3 pairs of shorts and/or sundresses
- 3-4 short- and long-sleeve shirts (light material)
- 1 pair lightweight long pants
- 1-2 lightweight UV shirts (great sun protection in the water)
- Breathable lightweight rain jacket
- Sweatshirt / jacket (especially if you sleep under the stars)
- 1 comfortable set of sleepwear
- Hat (wide-brimmed offers the most sun protection)
- 1 pair of socks (for better fit of fins, if need be, or cold toes at night)
- Passport (valid and current)
- Visa (if required for your country)
- Prescription medications (bring in your carry-on)
- Wide-mouth water bottle (a carabineer is a good idea to hang it from the lifelines while underway)
- Head-type flashlight (for night reading or moving about if everyone else is asleep)
- 1-2 lightweight quick-drying towels
- Insect repellent and bite relief stick
- Waterproof sunscreen (by using an SPF swim shirt you will reduce the amount of sunscreen that enters the ocean)
- Light sleeping bag or blanket and sleeping pad (for groups of more than 4)
- Small pillow (for high school youth groups)
- Camera and charger (regular or underwater)
- Extra batteries
- Chargers for smart phones etc. Please note: We generate most of our electricity through solar and wind power, so charging times may be limited.
- A book (maybe one you haven't had a chance to finish!)
- Personal snorkeling gear (or you are welcome to use the gear on board)
- Wet suit (3 mil is adequate and a shorty works well) from Dec - March, when water can be in the low 70s F (low 20s C). There are several dive shops that rent wet suits for about $10 per day, if you don’t want to buy and pack one (you would need to rent one for the week).
What Not to Pack
We want you to have the best vacation possible, so please only bring over-the-counter medications and those you have prescriptions for. Illicit drugs are forbidden aboard Ubuntu. The Bahamas have a very strict zero-tolerance policy on drugs with steep consequences.
Weather in the Abacos
The beauty of the islands is the prevailing winds which allow for some great sailing. The winds tend to move any inclement weather through relatively fast. Rarely have we experienced a full week of rain.
Before You Go...
CREDIT CARDS: Notify your credit card companies and debit card banks that you will be vacationing out of the country so that transactions in the Bahamas aren’t labeled fraudulent and your credit cards frozen. Often automated fraud prevention will block transactions anyway, so be sure to bring phone numbers and website addresses so you may quickly contact the bank to remove the block.
CELL PHONES: Check your cell phone service provider about roaming or other charges while in the Bahamas. They can be expensive. Cell phone service is available throughout the islands so there will always be the ability to communicate when necessary. (There are intermittent WIFI hotspots on and near certain islands — though sometimes it’s more relaxing to be out of reach!)
VISAS: For international travelers other than US citizens, check to see whether a visa is required to visit the Bahamas: Visa requirements for foreign visitors
While swimsuit attire is perfectly acceptable on the beaches and aboard Ubuntu, if you’re journeying anywhere else in the islands, you are encouraged to dress casually, but covered.
The island locals customarily greet each other and visitors as they enter their shops or in conversations with “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good evening,” depending on the time of day. These pleasantries reflect one of the warm and friendly traditions of the islands.
The Bahamian dollar is equivalent to the US dollar and both currencies are accepted here interchangeably. Don’t go home with Bahamian dollars because you won’t be able to change them once you are back in the US.
It’s a good idea to have cash on hand because debit and credit cards are not always accepted, and ATMs are not always conveniently located.
A tip to parents of those under 18: Most kids spend $200-250 for personal expenses during the week, such as food while traveling, taxi fare to and from the marina and airport, gifts, souvenirs and emergencies.
Tipping in the Bahamas
Tipping at restaurants in the Bahamas is similar to that in the U.S. in that 15% is typically customary for good service. However, check beforehand to see if it is automatically included in your bill. We have been informed that at some establishments the server doesn’t see any of the tip, so a simple solution is to tip using cash. With taxis and at bars, tipping is generally 10-15% and is not included in your bill.
If you had a great experience on Ubuntu, we, too, appreciate being appreciated! We also appreciate hearing if there are any issues, preferably in the moment so that we can address them.
Medical and Safety Considerations
Let us know if you have any medical condition requiring medication and be sure that you bring an adequate supply. It will be difficult or impossible to obtain many medications once in the Bahamas and on board the boat.
Please note that while there are medical clinics and personnel in the Abaco islands for treatment of minor problems and injuries, in the case of a major medical emergency, you would likely need to be transported by air back to the United States or to Nassau for treatment.
In terms of safety, sea creatures pose little or no threat if safe distances and respect are given them. We snorkel regularly with rays, sea urchins, anemones, coral, barracuda and sharks. We have a no-touch/no-take policy with regard to the coral and creatures of the reef.
Sunblock Products and the Environment
Probably the most common hazard on a sailing trip is sunburn. You will want to use a good sunblock to protect yourself – and we encourage you to wear a shirt at all times, especially when swimming and snorkeling. A long-sleeve UV swim shirt is ideal for the water.
We also want you to be aware that sunscreens contain ingredients that cause harmful algae blooms and coral bleaching. Researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide.
Here are 3 positive actions you can take to lessen an adverse impact on the coral reefs:
- Wear a UV swim shirt to decrease your use of sunscreen.
- Apply sunscreen at least ½ hour before entering the water so that it can be absorbed into your skin.
- Purchase reef-friendly sunscreens.
The Sea of Abaco is protected from the ocean swells by a chain of islands and the barrier coral reef. Sea sickness is rare here because of the flat seas. However, in a storm the sea can get lively. We don’t recommend taking sea sickness medication before arriving unless you are extremely prone to motion sickness. The medications and patches have side effects, including drowsiness, and it is a shame to miss out on activities that you would otherwise enjoy. If you do feel motion sickness, the patches are probably the simplest solution and are very effective once they kick in. However, any solution takes 30 minutes to an hour before you will feel a benefit.
Great Abaco, Bahamas, has two airports you can utilize, Marsh Harbour, MHH, and Treasure Cay, TCB. We can accommodate you at either one. We recommend that you research travel dates and costs prior to booking in order to estimate total costs for the trip.
AIRLINES: Skyscanner is a great search engine for travel. The following airlines service both Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay.
ARRIVAL IN GREAT ABACO: We will have your arrival information so can track your flight. Please text us prior to takeoff. Upon landing in Marsh Harbour, you will get a taxi to the Conch Inn Marina. Then you’ll step aboard Ubuntu and your adventure will begin!
Should you choose to fly into Treasure Cay, you can get a taxi to Treasure Cay Resort & Marina where we will meet you. We charge a $300 fee for this option. Although you can get a taxi to Marsh Harbour, it will cost almost as much and add approximately an hour each way to your travel time.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We suggest that you consider purchasing travel insurance for protection against cancellation penalties in the event of unforeseeable circumstances, including health and weather issues. InsureMyTrip is a website that allows you to search for the best match for your needs.