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Old 24-08-2016, 08:28   #46
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Regarding Memory Rock and checking in at Green Turtle:

Please see the many posts indicating that the Bahamian government prefers people check in at West End and not cross the banks to check in at Green Turtle.

)
Seen a couple of posts with third hand info on this, but have not seen anything posted by the Bahamian Govt on stipulating you cant x banks and check in at Green Turtle.
Numerous vessels, private and commercial, bypass West End and proceed direct to Abaco, likewise bypass Grand Bahama and Bimini, and check in at Great Harbour, or Chubb, or Nassau. Norm is as long as you don't fish, have Q flag up and don't touch ground your OK.

From Noonsite:

"Arrival
Entry into the Bahamas must be made at one of the official Ports of Entry, and the yellow Q flag should be flown within three miles of the port. Notify Customs of your arrival and no one should go ashore until pratique has been granted. Clearance must be done on arrival (within 24 hours) and Customs and Immigration will come to your vessel. Everyone on board must have a passport and fill out an immigration card.

This is the link to the Clearance Forms.

Regular hours for Bahamas Customs and Immigration Officers are 09:00-16:00 weekdays. Officers are on call during holidays and weekends. There is no overtime charge.

The Bahamas can be transited without clearing in until arrival at a Port of Entry at a convenient time, but during transit do not enter a port or go ashore."
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:31   #47
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by Panacea2183 View Post
Steve Dodge cruising guide to the Abacos is an excellent resource.
Explorer charts
Garmin Blue charts are spot on, you can down load Blue chart mobile for iPad for free and the charts are only about $40.00 for all oft the US and Bahamas.
Everyone I talked to in the Bahamas says stay away from Navionics for the Bahamas many horror stories grounding ect.
The Dodge Cruising Guide is your one stop answer. That and a chartplotter and you're good to go in the Abacos.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:31   #48
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Last New Years Eve we bypassed West End and went directly to Sale Cay. Continued to Spanish Cay the next day to check in. No problems at all. Spent some time at Green Turtle and met lots of people who had checked in there and had skipped West End. So there doesnt seem to be any issue at all with doing this - And also there is nothing about West End that makes me want to stop there. Green Turtle, on the other hand, is a nice place.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:35   #49
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
Last New Years Eve we bypassed West End and went directly to Sale Cay. Continued to Spanish Cay the next day to check in. No problems at all. Spent some time at Green Turtle and met lots of people who had checked in there and had skipped West End. So there doesnt seem to be any issue at all with doing this - And also there is nothing about West End that makes me want to stop there. Green Turtle, on the other hand, is a nice place.
Absolutely bang on. West end expensive and easy to get trapped by weather.
New Plymouth on Green Turtle amazing place.
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Old 24-08-2016, 18:35   #50
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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We have gone from Hillsboro Inlet to West end and then the Abacoa's about 15 times. There is a good anchorage outside of the inlet bridge for staging. We usually leave at 4am for an arrival at West End in the early afternoon. The inlet bridge opens every 15 minutes, 24/7. Considering the Gulf stream affect and our speed of 5-6 knts, we steer (Compass) 92' all the way across. This gives you a good arc directly to Westend. It takes about 10.5 hrs. From Hillsboro and pts south, you get the benefit of the Gulf stream. If your intent is to go to Freeport, then it's a 30 nm sail arout the tip of Grand Bahama Is to Freeport. Bob
Thanks for this info. This would work for us. and our boat speed is the same as yours. We plan to take our time going around to Marsh Harbour and hang out there for a couple of months and do short trips out of a marina. Enough of sleepless nights in blowing conditions at anchor!

Where did you find the info about the bridge being 24/7?
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Old 25-08-2016, 03:13   #51
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Somewhere online is an ICW bridge schedule.

However, this is my "home bridge"-the one I always use to access the ocean.
I've been under it 20 times a-or more. Note-it may open on demand after 6pm
Good trip. Bob
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Old 25-08-2016, 03:20   #52
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by roberttigar View Post
Somewhere online is an ICW bridge schedule.

However, this is my "home bridge"-the one I always use to access the ocean.
I've been under it 20 times a-or more. Note-it may open on demand after 6pm
Good trip. Bob
I always thought that the Hilsboro inlet was way too shallow and shoaling for a 6' draft sailboat to use safely? Am I mistaken?
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Old 25-08-2016, 03:27   #53
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

I believe tha ther average dept is about 10' between the bouys. It is dredged on a regular basis. I guy in our sailing club is on the inlet Board. He sends out monthly charrts showing the latest depths. Send an email to me at bjtigar@att.net and I'll send a copy of the next one I ereceive. Bob
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Old 25-08-2016, 05:56   #54
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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To steer the thread back again, I'm still looking for the best chart books/guides/small scale paper charts of the Abacos/Bahamas for voyage planning. Any suggestions?
===

The Explorer Chart books are the gold standard for Bahamian navigation. They also offer a fair amount of local knowledge. There are three different books to cover all of the Bahamas. The one for the Abacos is here:

https://www.amazon.com/Explorer-Char.../dp/0982877544

You can also buy them at most West Marine stores if you want to see what you're getting. Depending on what chart plotter you have, you may also be able to get the Explorer charts in electronic format. I find that to be very useful.

The best cruising guide is probably Steve Dodge's book, also available at Amazon.
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Old 25-08-2016, 07:54   #55
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Steve Dodge's guide is excellent for the Abacos.
Steve Pavilidis' guide(s) to the rest of the Bahamas are also excellent.
And, as previously mentioned. the Explorer chart kit(s) are the chart gold standard for the Bahamas.
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Old 25-08-2016, 08:37   #56
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by bvander View Post
Seen a couple of posts with third hand info on this, but have not seen anything posted by the Bahamian Govt on stipulating you cant x banks and check in at Green Turtle.
From the Bahamas government:

"Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry."

Boating Entering/Exiting Policies | The Official Site of The Bahamas

There are first hand accounts posted in the forums here of people who have failed to check in at WE being turned around and told to go back and clear in. It certainly doesn't happen to everyone, but their policy of checking in at the nearest designated port of entry is clearly stated, and some boats violating this have in fact stopped and told to turn around and go back to West End to clear in their in accordance with official policy.
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Old 25-08-2016, 08:54   #57
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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I always thought that the Hilsboro inlet was way too shallow and shoaling for a 6' draft sailboat to use safely? Am I mistaken?

My nephew is a 5th generation Coast Guard who works in Palm Beach. He told me to not use Hillsboro inlet or Boca Raton with sailboat draft. He said they are small boat inlets. Tricky currents, shoals up quickly, not much room to turn if in trouble and breaks across the bar during cold fronts. A good cold front could fill them in very quickly. With a cold front and not really knowing the inlets condition it's Port Canaveral, Palm Beach (Lake Worth) or Port Everglades for me with a boat over 30ft. I know there is a sailing club at Hillsboro Inlet so some locals do use it regularly in settled conditions. Of course you can always follow the catamaran dive boat in.

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Old 25-08-2016, 09:34   #58
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Quote:
Originally Posted by roberttigar View Post
Somewhere online is an ICW bridge schedule.

However, this is my "home bridge"-the one I always use to access the ocean.
I've been under it 20 times a-or more. Note-it may open on demand after 6pm
Good trip. Bob
Thanks for the great info. I spoke with Lighthouse Point marina re transient slips availability and it could be questionable about the time we might need it. Is the little area nearby( just off the intracoastal) called Lake Placid okay to anchor in for a couple of days or so if necessary?
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Old 25-08-2016, 10:11   #59
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Lake Placid is that area outside of the inlet bridge. Its perfect to anchor. Open to the SE. There is a chop caused by whatever winds are present and rthe normal change of tides every 6 hours. The channel is clearly marked with some markers even having lites. Good holding and about 10' deep. Bob
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