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Old 01-04-2015, 22:09   #1
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Another Bahamas cruising route thread

I'll keep it short. We have about two months. I'm tossing around two routes. Slow cruising sailboat.

1. Leave lake worth, head to west end, great sale, sea of Abacos, back to ft Pierce etc up to Jacksonville to have the boat hauled by June 1

2. Motor down the icw, cross to bimini, berries, up to Abacos by way of mores and the bight of Abacos, sea of Abacos, then back across the stream to either ft Pierce or straight to st John's River Jacksonville etc.

Does the second route have enough attractions to warrant the extra time spent getting down the icw etc? Or should we just stick to the leisurely northern rt. check out the Abacos and save the rest of the bahamas for next year?

I'm so bummed having just missed this awesome weather window. I was stuck inside doing taxes! A sailors worst nightmare. Hoping to squeeze over there on Saturday if the forecast holds.


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Old 02-04-2015, 09:10   #2
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

My vote would be for the leisurely northern route. But, "leisurely" accurately describes my sailing philosophy.

Either way, enjoy the northern Bahamas.


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Old 02-04-2015, 12:16   #3
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

We are thinking of the Bimini, Berrys, then South to Exumas and back in two months time! Delayed in leaving earlier too just different reason. Anyone have thoughts on that plan?

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Old 02-04-2015, 12:55   #4
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

I'm a big fan of the Berry Islands and think they are worth seeing if you like remote, scenic areas. Abaco has more activity if you seek that. Bimini is ok and Gun/Cat keys are very nice.

The Bight of Abaco isn't much to see until you get to the north end which is pretty. It is a very shallow passage around Little Abaco to get to/from the Bight. We did it with 4.5ft draft at mid to rising tide but the charts show 3-4ft. We were in a hurry to get to the Berries and meet up with guests and were running late after being holed up for two days due to TS Beryl in 2012 (schedules!! Ugh)
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Old 02-04-2015, 15:34   #5
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

Are we crazy to try and get across from the Lake Worth inlet in a slow sailboat? It looks like we will be fighting against it a bit!


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Old 02-04-2015, 15:42   #6
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

I don't think so! Port of Palm Beach is where we live and have crossed from here 3-4 times. Jumping to West End is easy, just wait for a window. Then we have 1) crossed to Sale key and the North Abaco or 2) sailed a second day to the Gingerbreads and up to Great Harbour for any supplies. From there, sail the Berries around White Key which is really pretty. Our next trip will continue on to the Exhumas for a week, then back to Bimini and up Lake Worth(home). But we need 3 weeks of vacation for that so have not yet made it.
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Old 02-04-2015, 15:43   #7
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

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Originally Posted by MotuIti View Post
We are thinking of the Bimini, Berrys, then South to Exumas and back in two months time! Delayed in leaving earlier too just different reason. Anyone have thoughts on that plan?

Thanks,
Ken
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Sounds like a great plan.
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Old 02-04-2015, 16:17   #8
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

How long do you like to anchor in one place? If the answer is "less than a week" then I think you will want more variety than the Abaco's in a two month trip. The Berry's would be perfect addition - maybe even Eleuthera.

As to your route, it's all about weather and not some plan made at a computer. Wait for "great" weather not just "good" to cross the stream for the first time. And once in the Bahamas don't lock into any schedule. This winter's winds saw a lot of people deciding to cut short their Exumas time.

If you are in Fort Worth and get a perfect day to cross - grab it. Go for West End. You will have a longer day because of the current - but it's easy to calculate the extra miles. From West End you can still go up to the Berry Islands.

If the weather's not great, then take the "I don't care about weather" choice of the ICW to Fort Lauderdale. If the weather's good the next day then you can go for either West End or Bimini. And if the weather's still not right, take the ICW to Miami if you want Bimini or wait there for a West End trip.

To Ken's question, I think that's a great plan but stay open to leaving the Exumas and doing either Eleuthrera or a few weeks in the Abacos on your way back. See how you feel after the first month (and the weather, of course). It all depends whether you like to move around or settle in at one harbor.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:27   #9
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

The 2nd route down to Miami and then across to Bimini will take you to Ft.Lauderdale which is a great place to spend a day or so, maybe longer.
Then it is about 4 hours down to Miami, another good place to spend a day or so, Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Marina, the Grove..........
The out of Government Cut on a course of 129 degrees ( if memory serves...) and overnight to Bimini.............
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:29   #10
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

We are docked in lantana/ lake worth. We have a forecast for SE 5-10 tomorrow. I'm wondering if it would be worth making the trip tonight to ft Lauderdale to cross to the west end tomorrow vs heading over from west palm. I haven't done the set and drift calculations yet but how far off am I going to have to steer to cross from west palm 15 deg or so? Does it add a lot of time fighting the current taking that route?


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Old 03-04-2015, 09:37   #11
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

I think what I'm trying to ask is despite the added miles, does crossing from ft Lauderdale to west end make for a shorter trip than crossing from west palm due to the lift from the Gulf Stream?


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Old 03-04-2015, 09:45   #12
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

Ft.Lauderdale is a great place to visit, stay at the Las Solas Marina (los solas?) and walk the one block to the restaurants on the beach, take the water taxi and see Ft.Lauderdale from the water, all outstanding.
Leave for West End at about 8pm from Port Everglades ( Ft.Lauderdale), course of 089-090 and arrive at daybreak. You want to be there when the sun is up so you can see the bottom, water depth is 12 feet or so. I assume you draw 4 feet or so, if you have a deep keel you may have to go up to Memory Rock and enter onto the banks from there.
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:51   #13
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

I have only done Ft.Lauderdale to West End and that took about 10 hours or so motor sailing at 2800 RPM, leave at 8pm, arrive 6ish or so.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:00   #14
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

We have motored in a sailboat from Palm Beach to Lucaya twice, and that is a wonderful entry point for the Bahamas. It is about 14 hours, so we usually leave with the tide before midnight. You can check in at the marina and it is interesting to hang around there and visit the market set up for the cruise ships.

From there, one day gets you to the Berries, and what a delightful, remote place it is. You can spend some time there, puttering about, and then go to the Exumas. We find the Exumas very delightful and laid back.

When you get ready to leave, you can take the Decca Channel to Tongue of the Ocean and run up past Andros and past Great Isaac back to Palm Beach, or go the other way around the Berries and out the Northwest Providence Channel. You can sail non-stop all the way if the weather works.

Just a note, if you take the Decca Channel, you will think you have been transported to a "Lost" episode!

Hope you have a great trip.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:46   #15
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Re: Another bahamas cruising route thread

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Ft.Lauderdale is a great place to visit, stay at the Las Solas Marina (los solas?)
Las Olas. Spanish for "the waves". Nice place last time I stayed there but it was many years back. Good to hear it's still a good spot.
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