Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 22-12-2014, 07:20   #1
Registered User
 
S/V Willow's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Working on the new boat getting ready for first shake down cruise. Currently on the east coast of the US.
Boat: Peterson 44.
Posts: 131
Images: 1
Best Bahamas guide

We are hoping to head for the Bahamas in the new year and want to know what is the best guide book for the area? We have a problem in that we draw 6.5' and are getting sick of people telling us that we just can't do the Bahamas or Caribbean - we know that we will anchor out further than most but avoiding all hysteria we just want to know what everyone thinks is the best guide. Yes we have both electronic and paper charts but a guide does help with local knowledge, ports of entry, anchorages, refueling, provisioning and advice so what does everyone think?
__________________

__________________
S/V Willow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 07:33   #2
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,400
Images: 115
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Explorer Charts, they are both a guide and charts.
Kept me of the rocks for years they have.
__________________

__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 07:51   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Winters cruising; summers Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Catana 471
Posts: 1,239
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Ditto the Explorer charts in the Bahamas. There is no second as far as combo charts and minimal guide is concerned.

For more in-depth guides, I recommend the books by Stephen Pavlidis. Way better than the many other guides I have consulted - unless you want to stay on the beaten path. In that case, any guide will get you to the next marina....

As for your draft, you'll do fine. Yes, there are some places you cannot go, but just exercise good planning and caution.

2 Hulls Dave
__________________
2Hulls is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 07:57   #4
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Dont even think of going to the Bahamas without the Explorer Charts. Forget the fact that you may have them on your GPS. They are not only useful enroute but they are excellent for planning your next run, better than paging through your GPS. They also contain a wealth of information in addition to the charts. Absolutely indispensable.

Having said that, if you're going to the Abacos (and you should, your wife will love them) you might also want to get the Steve Dodge Cruising Guide to Abaco. It has charts and routes and a much more detailed description of the places and people, so when you get there you wont feel like such a stranger. And lots of aerial photos showing entrances and anchoages, which I find very useful.

Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks

The Cruising Guide To Abaco 2015 - Webshop
__________________
Take two at low eight
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 08:24   #5
Registered User
 
S/V Willow's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Working on the new boat getting ready for first shake down cruise. Currently on the east coast of the US.
Boat: Peterson 44.
Posts: 131
Images: 1
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Thank you everyone for such quick replies. OK that is fairly unanimous so we know what we are looking for now. Oh and btw - I AM the wife!
__________________
S/V Willow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 08:33   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
FSMike's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Bahamas/Florida
Boat: Solaris Sunstar 36' catamaran
Posts: 2,654
Images: 5
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Like the previous posters have said -

The Explorer Chart kits for everywhere
Steve Dodge's guide to the Abacos
Steve Pavlidis' various guides to the rest of the Bahamas.

With your draft a rib fast enough to plane will come in handy.

Have a great time. I hope to be in the Exumas in about a month.
__________________
Sail Fast Live Slow
FSMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 11:36   #7
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Best Bahamas guide

S/V Willow,
1) First off, a 6.5' draft is NOT a problem in the Bahamas....I know 'cause not only is that my darft now, but has been 6' to 6.5' since the 1970's!!! (and this was decades before GPS and "Explorer's Charts"!!!)

So, no worries there for you!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Willow View Post
We are hoping to head for the Bahamas in the new year and want to know what is the best guide book for the area? We have a problem in that we draw 6.5' and are getting sick of people telling us that we just can't do the Bahamas or Caribbean - we know that we will anchor out further than most...
And, it is doubtful that you anchor "farther out" than others, too much....you'll get used to sailing and anchoring with 3' of water under your keel!!!
(although having a deeper draft than those on multihulls CAN be an advantage in anchoring, as it gives you a built-in excuse to stay away from the crowd without seeming to be "anti-social"!!!)

And, certainly no worries in the Caribbean either....with the exception of crossing a river bar in Cent America, draft is not an issue in the Caribbean!!!






2) As for "Guide Books"....yes, everyone will tell 'ya that you need Explorer's Charts, and yes they are good and I also recommend them for those new to the Bahamas....(but, please understand that was a thriving cruising community and with many 1000's of deep draft sailboats plying the waters of the Bahamas for decades before the Explorer's Charts, doing so safely, without major incident, does prove that they are not a necessity...)
But, these recommendations do not answer your question about Guide Books....of which there are really only two viable / well-done choices...
Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Willow View Post
....but avoiding all hysteria we just want to know what everyone thinks is the best guide. Yes we have both electronic and paper charts but a guide does help with local knowledge, ports of entry, anchorages, refueling, provisioning and advice so what does everyone think?
"The Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas" has been published annually since before I was born!!!
And, I first used this guide as a kid in 1965....and have used one, many, many times, over the years since then!!

Their great sketch charts and chartlets will get you thru cuts, and into harbors with ease....and the tide tables and current charts are accurate....(although some of the shoreside facility info isn't updated as often as some would like, fact is there is always someone around on-shore or on the VHF to point you in the right direction for what you want...)

There are some B&W aerial photographs, but no hi-res full-color stuff....but, what you get is exactly what you need!!!
Not superfluous stuff that looks good on a bookshelf, but is practically useless in a windy cockpit!!!

And, then there is the little secret....its spiral-wound open-book design....which allows you to easily use the darn thing in the cockpit (or even in a dinghy, exploring), and actually SEE what the guide is talking about or showing you in a sketch chart, etc..

"The Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas", is THE guide to have on-board!!
If you can only afford one book, make it this one!!

2015 annual edition Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas, Yachtsmans Guide

Bluewater Books & Charts - 2015 Yachtsmans Guide To The Bahamas




The other cruising guides to look at might be Steve Pavlidis' books....they're very well written and have lots of nice photos, etc...but don't have the user-friendliness of the "Yachtsman's Guides"...
Bahamas | Cruising Guides



3) In addition to the answers to your questions, please allow me to add a few suggestions....
a) Make sure your depthsounder is working well, and that you have it calibrated to show the actual water depth, just like the soundings shown on the charts, NOT showing "water-under-the-keel", as I've seen some have...

b) Make sure your main VHF-DSC radio is working well, and your coax/antenna is good....
This will be your primary means of communications (both safety and routine), and is somewhere that you do NOT want to scrimp and try to save money at...
Oh, and please have a valid license and MMSI# (programmed into the radio), and hopefully a GPS connected to the radio at all times as well...

c) use polarized sunglasses ALL the time during the day, and use your charts (paper charts), your depthsounder, and you eyes, to learn to "read the water depths"....
It doesn't take long to learn, and then you'll wonder why all those "others" were telling 'ya that you can't do the Bahamas with a 6.5' draft!!!


I could go on, but don't want to drift off topic too much!!
Have fun!!



I hope this helps...

Fair winds and have fun!!

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 11:48   #8
Registered User
 
S/V Willow's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Working on the new boat getting ready for first shake down cruise. Currently on the east coast of the US.
Boat: Peterson 44.
Posts: 131
Images: 1
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Thanks John - thats the sort of inside information that is really useful. Will take a closer look at that. So nice to hear that draft is (once again) being over dramatised. We sailed Fiji and New Cal with no problems at all but this is a new adventure and not being from here means we are always looking for genuine information.

Besides we too actually like being further out - more breeze in the heat and less bugs! Usually quieter too - the Whitsundays taught us early on to stay away from charter vessels as they are noisy and (can be) unreliable with anchoring. So Bahamas here we come!
Fiona
__________________
S/V Willow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 11:51   #9
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Fiona,
I just edited / added a few things above....please have a look at them as well...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 12:35   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Yep, explorers are great. We did the Bahamas with 6-5 draft. Didn't really have a problem but I'm a pretty careful guy. Many places we just anchored with everyone else. But did have to take some care entering some places etc.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 12:59   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Winters cruising; summers Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Catana 471
Posts: 1,239
Re: Best Bahamas guide

As I stated earlier, your draft will mostly not be a problem, but there are some places where you won't be able to, or won't want to try, to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
So, no worries there for you!!! And, it is doubtful that you anchor "farther out" than others, too much....you'll get used to sailing and anchoring with 3' of water under your keel!!!
So I disagree with "no worries". Here are just a few places you can't go: Hog Cay Cut for that shortcut from G'town to the Jumentos; French Wells at Crooked Island; Dollar Harbour, Long Island; and much of the Bight of Acklins. In the Bight of Acklins you have to get "Acklinated" to a routine of miles of 6-8' water or less.

The good news is that you'll be able to see it all........

2 Hulls Dave
__________________
2Hulls is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 16:35   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
As I stated earlier, your draft will mostly not be a problem, but there are some places where you won't be able to, or won't want to try, to go.



So I disagree with "no worries". Here are just a few places you can't go: Hog Cay Cut for that shortcut from G'town to the Jumentos; French Wells at Crooked Island; Dollar Harbour, Long Island; and much of the Bight of Acklins. In the Bight of Acklins you have to get "Acklinated" to a routine of miles of 6-8' water or less.

The good news is that you'll be able to see it all........

2 Hulls Dave
Yes be careful.... I think we took Little Farmer's (with the 6-5 draft) to get down to G Town... I took the same cut with the Catamaran also... things just get real shallow looking further down than that.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 17:05   #13
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: Best Bahamas guide

I'm going to have to disagree a bit with ka4wja, which pains me because he is apparently an old bahama hand and I have to consider everything he has to say. The Yachtsmans Guide to the Bahamas used to be the best, nay, the only cruising guide to that area. I know because when I first decided to go there I also bought the guide - the 1957 edition, which I still have. But over the years it's kind of fallen behind the other guides. Doesn't seem to be as current or updated as often as the other guides. The last time I bought it was 2005.

I also like Steve Pavlidis' books. They make wonderful reading. The problem I have with them is that the information you need Right Now seems to be buried in with his text. A good read, but not so good for immediate navigation.

I also think ka4wja is a ham operator. So he has a license. Nobody else I know has a license, and i've never been asked for one.

I agree with everything else he said, although i've never had more than a 5 ft draft so can't comment on that. Also, keep your VHF on 24/7. I started out years ago not doing that but learned along the way...
__________________
Take two at low eight
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 17:16   #14
RTB
Registered User
 
RTB's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home port Kemah, TX Currently in Brunswick Georgia
Boat: Hunter 36
Posts: 1,509
Images: 2
Re: Best Bahamas guide

The bad thing after returning from the Bahamas, you really miss being able to plan your trip using the Explorer Charts.

Ralph
RTB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2014, 17:42   #15
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Best Bahamas guide

Okay, I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong...
I should not have used "no worries", but should have written "few worries", but keep an eye on the water (and the other eye on the depthsounder and chart!)
And, I suppose novices should be careful in the Acklins Bight, but it is doable....
(remember there are two types of sailors in the Bahamas....the ones that have run aground, and the ones that have lied about it!!!)




Now, as for what guide is best....it's sort of subjective, but I stand by my earlier words....
As I wrote earlier, "The Yachtsman;s Guide to the Bahamas", isn't updated too often (it's mostly the shoreside facility stuff, that gets left the same for a few years), but the entrance descriptions, chartlets, and sketch charts ARE pretty darn accurate...
And, the important info is right there, not hidden in the great writing (as has been pointed out, regarding Steve P's guides)

Now as for disagreeing with me....no worries there, we all have different thoughts/ideas/opinions...
And, at least we agree about Steve Pavlidis' guides....his writing is great, but darn near impossible to use as a "guide" to enter a cut "live", etc...

Fair winds...


C6A/KA4WJA, when in Bahamas...

John
s/v Annie Laurie


P.S. Some of my foundest memories were from Landrail Point...or Warderrick Wells (where we'd anchor for a week, snorkeling and getting fresh lobsters every day...and never see another sole for a week....and then usually just a Bahamian local fisherman or Bahamian Defense Force sailor...
Ah, those were the days!!
__________________

__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Bahamas

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Baja Mexico Guide books & Charts, South Pacific Guide Books and general sailing books dheaslip Classifieds Archive 3 10-04-2014 03:32
For Sale: Skipper Bob Gulf Coast Guide/San Francisco Guide yachtfinder Classifieds Archive 0 21-04-2012 16:45
Best Cruising Guide for Bahamas Benebobby Atlantic & the Caribbean 13 05-05-2011 06:41
Best Software / Maps for Bahamas & Best Book ? dreamer2010 Navigation 2 18-09-2010 15:42
The Exuma Guide or Yachtsman's Guide rleslie Navigation 5 05-09-2007 18:02



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:26.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.