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Old 12-09-2016, 19:15   #16
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Thumbs up Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

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Originally Posted by Hunter34StPete View Post
Great points on the Dry Tortugas vs the Bahamas. I'm sailing from Saint Petersburg, FL (Tampa). I'd like to go for a week down to the Dry Tortugas. When's the best time of the year to go? My motor runs strong and pushes through 6 knots in calm weather. Any special considerations to know? And don't hate me but my dingy situation are two Honda Aquatrax's. Tons of storage, quiet, very low drag in tow, and will go 200 miles on one tank of fuel at cruise.
Cool toys. If you hit weather, the towing could get really ugly with two of those behind you. The seas can get really confused.

As stated, any time of year works. Weather "tends" to be milder April-May but that can lead to motor-sailing (kids and schedules). Never turned the engine on in my Fall runs but I had plenty of time to wait for my weather. Riding a scrap of Genoa reaching @ 7.5-8 knots - that's sailing.
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Old 12-09-2016, 20:54   #17
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter34StPete View Post
Great points on the Dry Tortugas vs the Bahamas. I'm sailing from Saint Petersburg, FL (Tampa). I'd like to go for a week down to the Dry Tortugas. When's the best time of the year to go? My motor runs strong and pushes through 6 knots in calm weather. Any special considerations to know? And don't hate me but my dingy situation are two Honda Aquatrax's. Tons of storage, quiet, very low drag in tow, and will go 200 miles on one tank of fuel at cruise.
In general jetskis are banned in national parks. There have been threads at CF about boats towing jetskis being told they could not anchor in Everglades National Park.

You may want to read the FAQ for the DT.

"Are personal watercraft (e.g jet skis) allowed in Park?
The use of personal watercraft is prohibited inside the park and cannot be used as tenders. Visitors are allowed to beach their kayaks, canoes, small dinghys in the dinghy beach located at Loggerhead Key and Garden Key."

here is the link
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Old 12-09-2016, 22:21   #18
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

That's right! I've heard before you can't jet ski to Dry Tortugas from Key West. Yikes. I hadn't thought about that. So getting clever (please don't hate)....my davits can lift my smaller ski at 798lbs. If I were to go in this configuration with one ski I don't see a problem. If I do get caught while in the water what would the fine be? Several hundred dollars could be viewed to me as an expense for enjoying my trip.
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Old 14-09-2016, 10:14   #19
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

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That's right! I've heard before you can't jet ski to Dry Tortugas from Key West. Yikes. I hadn't thought about that. So getting clever (please don't hate)....my davits can lift my smaller ski at 798lbs. If I were to go in this configuration with one ski I don't see a problem. If I do get caught while in the water what would the fine be? Several hundred dollars could be viewed to me as an expense for enjoying my trip.
While you don't see a problem from what I understand the rangers do see a problem. While my experience with rangers has always been good I know of others who claim rangers had it out for them and went out of their way to find minor violations and enforce them.

The problem I suspect you would have is when you reach the DT you have to check in with the rangers and are required to anchor less than one mile from the ranger station. The rangers keep 24/7 watch for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Cubans frequently land at Loggerhead and the USCG then gets involved. So as soon as you checked in your jetski would be noticed even on davits. Not sure where you think you would be using it but it would be obvious as soon as it hit the water. It is not realistic to think you can get to the DT without passing through several other federally controlled areas where US Navy planes overfly, the USCG is looking for Cubans/Haitians, and the FWC is looking for what ever they look for; not to mention Fat Albert is always looking.

In previous CF threads about jetskis in the Everglades there was no fine; they just made the boat leave. As in leave right now. The OP in that thread was bashing the rangers because they made him leave in bad weather with a forecast that the weather would be getting worse.

Bottom line is it would be no fun to take a jetski to the DT and be told to go away right now and don't stop till you get to Key West which is probably the closest place to the DT that jetskis are allowed.
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Old 14-09-2016, 11:14   #20
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

If your going to the Dry Tortuga's, leave the Jet Skis at home, they won't even allow you to put them in the water.
I had to look up what a Honda Aquatrax was.

On edit, a Large as in probably 70' plus Charter Powerboat was there when I was, he had Jet Skis on the swim platform and no dinghy, they grudgingly allowed him to tie to the dock long enough to pick up his Charterer who I assume flew in on the Seaplane, this after quite a bit of pleading on the radio, of course he stayed tied to the dock for what seemed like hours.
I started to offer to pick him up in my dinghy.
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Old 14-09-2016, 21:48   #21
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Thank you for the great advice. That's why we're on here....to learn and get good ideas. Thank you all for the good points. As an engineer by trade Ill naturally keep coming up with alternatives so please don't read on if you've had enough. It makes sense the DT are that well enforced. Sounds like I should plan a Key West sail with just a day in the Tortugas and a nice 1/4 mile swim in from the boat. Too bad they are hating on the Skiis. Most efficient vessel after sailboats. I also have a 17' center console I can tow in their stead but on my tests my boat loses about 1.5 knots, burns more fuel, and in serious weather Id have to ditch the trailing vessel leaving me with just an onboard life raft and of course EPIRB.
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