Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2022 Salary Survey

Dreams can come true aboard a Riviera 505 SUV in the Bahamas

by Riviera Australia 11 Aug 2022 10:22 PDT

A two-month sojourn in the Bahamas has seen Brian and Lisa Sims' dreams come true. Recently retired with a new 505 SUV underfoot and the Caribbean on their doorstep, the couple are overjoyed.

"You know," says Brian, "we've been dreaming about this for more than 20 years. We used to sit on the bed and look at boats on the computer. When we were fortunate enough to sell the company, it became a real possibility to choose exactly what we wanted. I feel like the happiest, luckiest man in the world."

The Sims took possession of Whatever Bytes, a Riviera 505 SUV, in September last year. After some modifications to suit Brian and Lisa's passion for fishing, they set off on November 10 for the first Bahamian adventure with their deckhand-friend Bob and their beloved German Shepherds Buster and Maui.

"We had outriggers put on the side of the hardtop so when we're running lines there's no issue with turning and getting caught up. We also added another seven-inch Volvo Garmin screen in the cockpit and outlets for electric fishing reels, which makes the deep drops much easier. We'll be getting an ice chipper as well because getting ice in the Bahamas can be tricky. We got a compressor for scuba tanks and more storage for oil as we plan to spend a lot of time at anchor so will be running the generator a lot. On this first trip, we put 650 hours on the generator."

From their homeport in Punta Gorda, Florida, the party of three and canine companions cruised to Marathon and then on to Key Largo, staying mostly at anchor along the way. Through the inter-coastal waterways, they came out at Key Largo and hopped across to Bimini in the Bahamas.

"We stayed there for a few days and fished for wahoo, which I hadn't fished for before, so we were getting hits but kept losing the fish. We talked to the Bahamians and figured out the set-up that I needed, but there was nowhere to buy anything. We did manage to get some lures from the locals, and then we had the wahoo hitting the lures at 65mph! We'd planned to stay for a week, but a good weather window opened up, so we headed over to Chub Cay where we really started to have a lot of good luck fishing... wahoo! I've got rod holders on the dinghy as well, so we mucked about and had a good week there before a 30-mile run down to Nassau on a beautiful morning."

Based at the Atlantis Marina in Nassau for Thanksgiving, the crew sourced more fishing gear, did the 'tourist thing', hung out and recharged for a few days. Having spent a few weeks on the water, Brian and Lisa decided to send Bob back home and try things out on their own.

"It was great; by then we'd handled different situations and the Riviera, in a lot of ways, is easier to handle and dock than our previous 34-foot, mostly because of the joystick. That was one of the things that I'd researched and wanted - pod drives," says Brian.

After the hustle and bustle of Nassau, the Sims cruised south-east to the Exumas. "We were ready to go and stay on anchor, away from everybody and everything, and try it out alone. We cruised down to Highborne Cay - what a beautiful place with crystal-clear water and miles of private beaches for us and the dogs. We'd get up, cook breakfast, dinghy to the beach and play with the dogs, go snorkelling, exploring, play games and just enjoy it; it was idyllic."

Brian admits the luxury and comfort of the 505 SUV is affording them a life they'd not imagined possible on the water. "We even love the galley, the washing machine and the dryer! We're really enjoying the dogs on the boat, the sunrises and sunsets. We follow the sun; if it's up we are too, and when it's down, we go down. It's a simple, pleasurable life; the lifestyle we like. And on the docks, we have fun meeting new friends, playing games, sharing meals and exploring new places together."

The couple continued to Norman's Cay and then Hawksbill Cay with fewer boats in sight each day. "We made it from there to Staniel Cay, Farmers Cay and down to Great Exuma where we met Rick from Sailing Salacia Star, a new buddy on a sailboat from Australia. Yes, we tried Vegemite and it wasn't bad; I'd eat it again!"

There were mixed emotions on the cruise home. They struck good conditions for the most part, with the exception of a few hours of five-foot seas, which the dogs were not thrilled about. More than a thousand nautical miles later, the Sims arrived back at homeport, confident on Whatever Bytes and ready to continue exploring.

"At first, we didn't think we could live full time on a boat," says Brian. "But now we've spent some time on the Riviera, we really feel that we can. Even when we've had a party of friends onboard, there's space for everyone, with the mezzanine opening out into the cockpit, it's so spacious and inside it's full of light; you don't feel enclosed at all. The full-beam master stateroom also makes a huge difference. I'm 6'4" and over 200 pounds and the shower is still big enough for me; I don't feel cramped at all. So, I've rented the house out and now we live on the boat."

Perhaps equally as important, the dogs appear to enjoy boat life. "I was worried about how the dogs would do and if there would be enough room for them. But after living with them on Whatever Bytes for several months, they have adjusted and have plenty of room to play and enjoy themselves, even when taking a relaxing day sitting on the boat. They love the water and always want to watch for fish or sharks from the back of the boat. Sometimes on the dinghy they will get excited and just jump in before we land at the beach and swim in."

Over the summer months, the Sims will travel up the east coast of the US through Florida and into Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New York and Boston. "Maybe three or four months and then possibly, we'll head down to Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands," says Brian.

Related Articles

Riviera to premiere 46 Sports Motor Yacht
At the Miami International Boat Show Riviera, will proudly host the World Boat Show Premiere of the exceptional new 46 Sports Motor Yacht in a four-yacht showcase at the Miami International Boat Show at One Herald Plaza, from February 15 to 19. Posted on 2 Jan
Riviera reveals spectacular new Sports Motor Yacht
The Riviera 46 Sports Motor Yacht world premiere Riviera, Australia's premium luxury motor yacht builder, has proudly launched its outstanding new 46 Sports Motor Yacht at a spectacular event on Australia's Gold Coast. Posted on 12 Dec 2022
Embracing both USA coasts and creating memories
Once a Riviera joins a family it becomes an integral part of their life Once a Riviera joins a family it becomes an integral part of their life. Near nature and far from modern-day distractions, families form ever deeper bonds through shared experiences. This couldn't be truer for the Richardson family. Posted on 13 Nov 2022
Riviera premieres three exceptional new yachts
The Americas premiere of three exceptional models among a diverse 10-yacht showcase Riviera, is proud to announce the Americas premiere of three exceptional models among a diverse 10-yacht showcase at the world's largest boat show, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, from October 26 to 30. Posted on 2 Sep 2022
Alaskan odyssey aboard a Riviera 545 SUV
The Holts departed The Luff Boat's Seattle home port on June 5, 2021 Huge tides cause wild currents; the logging industry loses loads of logs to the waterway and, when it comes time to explore the far reaches of Alaska, there are icebergs to avoid. Posted on 14 Jul 2022
A world of boating in the Chesapeake Bay
Twelve major rivers and more than 100,000 smaller tributaries Twelve major rivers and more than 100,000 smaller tributaries empty into what is the third-largest estuary in the world and the largest in the US. Posted on 14 Jun 2022
World premiere - Riviera 465 SUV
Riviera's design team has excelled with the development of this new model Riviera, Australia's premium luxury motor yacht builder, has proudly held today the World Premiere of its brilliant new 465 SUV at the opening of the 2022 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. Posted on 19 May 2022
Offshore adventures aboard a Riviera 525 SUV
Channel Islands provide a marine playground for Lance, his wife Caroline and their son Kyle. Pinning down Lance Merker for a chat is no mean feat. The Merker family's Riviera 525 SUV gives them the offshore capability to be conveniently out of phone range for the better part of each week. Posted on 6 May 2022
A practical romance with a Belize 66 Daybridge
The Surkovics have recently acquired a Belize 66 Daybridge. On the water as in life, Admir and Branka Surkovic complement each other. Branka's adventurous spirit sees them seeking far horizons, while Admir, with his technical background, brings the practicality required to get there. Posted on 30 Mar 2022
Friendship shines at Riviera Rendezvous
Greg and Christine Hill on their 4800 Sport Yacht Contrails were delighted to visit St Michaels After an extended hiatus for major events, Maryland's Riviera family rallied later in 2021 to reunite for a social weekend in the 'heart and soul' of the Chesapeake Bay, the quaint historic town of St Michaels on the east coast of the US. Posted on 15 Feb 2022
Maritimo 2022Mar - S75 FOOTERMarine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 2