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Old 16-09-2012, 20:01   #1
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Florida Keys to Exuma's

Hi all, I am trying to plan a trip to the Exuma's early November and I am looking for some advice. Some of the crew have a limited amount of time that they can be away from work, so here is the delema.

1. What is the best route to take from the Flordia Keys to the Exuma Islands and where would you clear customs?

2. What route would you take back from the Exumas to Florida Keys.

3. The female crew (our Wifes)only have 2 weeks to do it, so, would you have them fly there and join us or do you think 2 weeks would be long enough to complete the entire trip with us assuming good weather.

4. If we join our wifes there what would be the best island to have them fly into and then back from?

Thanks in advance, we just completed a trip in May to the Abaco's and found that the 2 week window just wasn't enough, so our wifes flew back early, which was fine, but I would like to have things worked out before hand if possible.
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Old 16-09-2012, 20:23   #2
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

there is a 'southerly' route that was outlined here a month or two ago that i had never even considered; it meant sailing across the stream to the southern end of andros island and then crossing the tongue of the ocean to the exumas. if you search for it on this board you may find more info about it.

the 'normal' course involves leaving the keys and riding the stream up to cat cay or bimini where you can check in. then cross the bank and the tongue to nassau. you could stop at nassau yacht haven for a few days while the wives fly into nassau. then head out the eastern end of new providence and down to the exumas. this would probably give the wives maximum 'exumas' time....
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Old 16-09-2012, 20:25   #3
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

I think you will find that, like the Abacos trip you mention, 2 weeks is scant time to make the Exumas and back. Depending on where you leave from the Keys and where you want to go in the Exumas. North End of Key Largo to the northern Exumas is about 250 nm. Key West to Georgetown about 400.

Most common route, cross to Bimine/Cat Cay, cross the banks to Chub, to Nassau, cross the banks again east of Nassau and south to the Exumas. Technically if you didn't stop anywhere I think you could wait to clear in at Georgetown but have heard recent reports of Bahamas requiring cruisers to stop at the first and nearest port in the Bahamas to clear in. To be safe I would stop at Bimini to clear.

Assuming middle Keys to Georgetown and average 6 kts and either dead into the wind or close hauled most of the way if you sailed and motored nonstop to Georgetown at least 2 1/2 days to get there, maybe a little less going back. So you have used about 5 days of 14 in getting to the Exumas and back. If you stop at all on the way you will have very little time in Georgetown. So you have to decide what you enjoy for a vacation, more sailing or more hanging out.
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Old 16-09-2012, 21:58   #4
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

Anytime ya have to be somewhere at a certian time ya start off with a problem !! theres noway to predict what may happen along the way! everytime Ive tryed to work with a absolute secdual Ive had problems!! better to just do the best ya can cus Plans just never go as Planned!! just my 2 cents
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Old 16-09-2012, 22:01   #5
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

Thanks for the advise so far. I was thinking along the same lines as you both have mentioned. Maybe pick the girls up in Nassau, then fly them back from Georgetown. Do you think sailing back from Georgetown to the Keys in mid November is a good Idea?
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Old 16-09-2012, 22:06   #6
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

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Anytime ya have to be somewhere at a certian time ya start off with a problem !! theres noway to predict what may happen along the way! everytime Ive tryed to work with a absolute secdual Ive had problems!! better to just do the best ya can cus Plans just never go as Planned!! just my 2 cents
Thanks for your input, we don't have an absolute scedule, and I think everyone understands that weather can not be predicted well that far out. With that said, I would like to have a plan A, and if we have to change it we can.
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Old 16-09-2012, 22:28   #7
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

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Thanks for the advise so far. I was thinking along the same lines as you both have mentioned. Maybe pick the girls up in Nassau, then fly them back from Georgetown. Do you think sailing back from Georgetown to the Keys in mid November is a good Idea?
Still early in the season so odds of a strong cold front would be reasonably low but not impossible. Most likely would be a great run but I would be ready to hole up somewhere if it gets nasty out.
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Old 17-09-2012, 10:23   #8
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

rocketman -

nassau has the best and most reliable air connections. for that reason i think you might not want to go as far as georgetown. consider nassau to allans to normans to warderick wells and maybe a bit further south. you'll want to stop at each place for a full day or two to really enjoy the place. allow yourself a few days to sail back up to nassau to see the wives off...
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Old 17-09-2012, 10:43   #9
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

fly the wives out of Georgetown. If the timing works out you can bypass Bimini, keep moving and check in at Chubb. Or, you could have the wives meet you at nassau by air... so they spend more time in the exumas. Having a schedule means having to create your own weather window to cross the stream... I've waited as much as 2 weeks to do that... but I'm pretty conserative too... hmmm.... is it possible for you to take the boat to Nassau ahead of time, leave it in a marina, then all fly back in to Nassau and go on the trip?
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Old 17-09-2012, 10:56   #10
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

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fly the wives out of Georgetown. If the timing works out you can bypass Bimini, keep moving and check in at Chubb.
Only if you have more money than brains. Very expensive.

Check in at Nassau. Best approach from Lower Keys, go to South Riding Rock, then across the Bank, into the Tongue at NW Channel Light and on to Nassau.
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Old 17-09-2012, 10:59   #11
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

My info may be a little old then. It's more expensive depending on where you check in?
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Old 17-09-2012, 11:07   #12
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

Chubb charges a fortune to tie up, even for a short time. Minimum 40 feet, nearly $5 a foot so there's $200 This has been the case for the last few years. Also have heard they sometimes charge for you to get to customs at the airport. etc.
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Old 17-09-2012, 11:19   #13
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

I guess it's been too long. crossing the banks took longer than I anticipated and had to enter Chub in the dark using the radar. anchored out and checked in with the dingy next morning... no issue... you have to go to the airport now?
I have no chart here... Chub is just past the cut (with the wreck exposed) you go through after you exit the banks right?
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Old 17-09-2012, 12:18   #14
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Re: Florida Keys to Exuma's

Chubb's a resort now! It's been upgraded. Mostly sportfish country now. No lowly sailboats.
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:48   #15
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Vasco is right, you will loose to much time checking in at Bimini. We leave Islamorada at first light, pass S riding rock just after lunch then anchor at Chubb by 11pm. Then on to Nassau the next morning. Depending on your boat your timing may be different, and you could go straight through with an overnight. But Nassau is the most efficient place to check in. Now as far as arranging flights to coincide with weather windows... Pay more for the ticket and buy at the last minute in and out of Nassau. Then do just the northern Exumas. Or if you really want to save time, keep going around the west end of Nassau and check in at Stainel Cay with the girls joining you there. That could be two nights depending on boat speed.
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