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Old 28-06-2016, 09:36   #1
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Best months for Bahamas cruise?

I'm planning a trip from the West Central Florida coast to the Bahamas and maybe even further South. I'm not in a hurry and would rather take my time. I'm wondering what the best months would be for a trip considering the weather patterns in Florida. I'm looking at a 60-90 day window.
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Old 28-06-2016, 11:35   #2
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Welcome aboard! It’s nice there most of the time, but April to June is the best weather period we’ve had there. I’m sure the summer and fall are very nice, too, but the hurricane threat is a concern. A lot of cruisers go in the winter, but some years it has been just one storm front after another. Hope you go, and have a great time!
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Old 28-06-2016, 12:58   #3
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Winter sucks! Back to back cold fronts. In the summers it's nice. We had three hurricanes pass by. Plenty of places to tuck in.

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Old 28-06-2016, 13:07   #4
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

I'd also pick April - June as the best 3 continuous months, although I typically cruise the Bahamas in January as a warm destination to escape the midwest winter. (It's also open lobster season!) Winter cruising can vary depending on what part of the Bahamas you are in. The southern Exumas will typically have warmer water and milder cold fronts compared to the Abacos for example.

Winter cold fronts when not overly strong can also be used to make southerly progress. In the winter, you may also have to wait some time for a weather window to cross the gulf stream.
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Old 29-06-2016, 10:25   #5
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

For just sailing the winter months blow the hardest with more frontal passages in the north and fewer as you go south. For diving the summer months are the best. More buggy in the summer for sure. As for getting across the Gulf Stream summer is a non issue but winter frontal passages could keep you waiting for weeks. As you are in a smaller boat I would go Late April till it gets too hot and buggy for you. In any case have fun and be safe.
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Old 29-06-2016, 14:23   #6
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Here's hoping everybody's wrong as we plan to cross the Stream in mid-December/January in 2016/2017. Couldn't be worse than winter in way-upstate NY, right? When was the last time it snowed in the Bahamas?
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Old 29-06-2016, 14:41   #7
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Dec to feb crossing to the Bahamas when the wind has a north component is very uncomfortable. Go to t he keys instead.
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Old 29-06-2016, 14:47   #8
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

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Originally Posted by robgrant1 View Post
Here's hoping everybody's wrong as we plan to cross the Stream in mid-December/January in 2016/2017. Couldn't be worse than winter in way-upstate NY, right? When was the last time it snowed in the Bahamas?
We crossed Dec.15th of 2013. Checked in at Great Harbor, and waited a week for weather to Nassau. Then on down to Exuma. The cold fronts aren't so bad, but the west winds before can be, still it's nice to be warm. Personally, I'd prefer to be gone by June. The thunderstorms are scary! The good part about being there in June is you'll have the place to yourself almost. Last time anchored at Black Point in Late June, we were the only boat there. It was weird.

We plan to cross as early in December as we can this year.
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Old 29-06-2016, 14:49   #9
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

We've done Feb-Mar-Apr in the northern and central Bahamas. The fronts are farther apart later in the spring, and the weather can go sour suddenly that time of year, but overall it was glorious. And, it was not all that crowded. Just don't believe NOAA when they predict 2-3 foot seas and 20-30 knot winds - a meteorlogical combination that does not exist.
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Old 29-06-2016, 14:53   #10
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

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Dec to feb crossing to the Bahamas when the wind has a north component is very uncomfortable. Go to t he keys instead.
If we hang in the Keys, where would folks recommend?
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Old 10-07-2016, 00:48   #11
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Can't beat the Dry Tortugas. They're the American Bahamas.

The fronts actually create a very predictable weather pattern that clocks around.. Especially for short hops.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:29   #12
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Couple of problems with the Dry Tortugas, first they are dry, and no discharge, so your only staying a few days, our waste tank filling is what made us leave, still had plenty of water.
Also not a whole lot there, you have seen all there is to see in a few days, good place to see, just your there maybe a week?


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Old 10-07-2016, 07:35   #13
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

West End is a good starting point. It has a good marina and good community, and you can catch a bus down to Port Lacaya or rent a car. The marina at Port Lacaya is right in the middle of the shopping area the cruise boats dump their passengers into, and I don't recommend it. Another excellent destination is Great Harbour Cay Marina/Bullock Harbour - total weather protection, great community, nearby beaches and lagoons. At the north end, Spanish Wells is a larger community, and has complete boat yard facilities, but be careful if you've got more than five foot draft. We've stayed away from Nassau and North Bimini as being overloaded with tourists and megayachts, but that could be purely reputation - we have not tested those waters.
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Old 12-09-2016, 19:20   #14
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

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.
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Old 12-09-2016, 19:58   #15
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Re: Best months for Bahamas cruise?

Have sailed to the Bahamas year around.
As stated above, April to June is good.
You can be lucky any of the 12 months, but the winter cold fronts can be nasty.
No crossing if the wind is blowing 20 from the NE, waves 7-9' for a week or two.
So far I have done 29 Bahamas cruises and had to abort a few times.
Also been beaten up when I tried to push it.
It is like trying to time the stock market, sometimes you are lucky, other times you loose your arse..
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