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Old 06-12-2017, 09:49   #1
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Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

So I'm looking at a passage from New Providence to the Exumas. The "standard" routes looks like Porgee Rock east of Nassau to Roberts Cay and points south to Normans Cay. However, these run right over Middle Ground and Yellow Bank, with caution about coral heads shallower than 1.5 meters.

I draw 6' and will be sailing solo. I'm thinking it would be entirely more palatable to head south around White Bank and then east, but it's the long way around.

Any advice from anyone who's made this trip with >/= 6' draft?

Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:23   #2
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

I've made the trip a half dozen time back and forth from Nassau to Allens/Highborne with a 5' draft. Five times straight through across the Yellow Bank and never saw less than about nine feet. Once around White Bank when it was sort of sloppy out.

Regardless of route I think the more important factor is weather, and how it affects your ability to spot the coral heads in the water since they are the problem, not the depth.

Keep in mind that when you start out in the morning from Nassau the sun is in the east so visibility looking into the water is poor because of glare of the sun on the water. Hopefully you timed your trip so that it is mid day and the sun is overhead when you get to the thickest of the coral heads.

The one time I went around White Bank visibility was very poor due to overcast skies and waves so I ended up not feeling any safer because you couldn't see anything until you were right on top of it.

PS. I've never had favorable weather when passing through to stop at Roberts but if it's not out of the East it can be a tough place to anchor, at 6' draft you will have a hard time getting inside the cut. I think it's pretty tight in there anyway.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:39   #3
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
So I'm looking at a passage from New Providence to the Exumas. The "standard" routes looks like Porgee Rock east of Nassau to Roberts Cay and points south to Normans Cay. However, these run right over Middle Ground and Yellow Bank, with caution about coral heads shallower than 1.5 meters.

I draw 6' and will be sailing solo. I'm thinking it would be entirely more palatable to head south around White Bank and then east, but it's the long way around.

Any advice from anyone who's made this trip with >/= 6' draft?

Thanks.
Coming out of Montague Bay, head southeasterly past Porgee Rock to a point at approximately N25 02.397 W77 12.000; then south-southeasterly to a point at approximately N24 52.120 W77 10.800, a course that will take you near the border between White and Yellow Bank. Then, if headed to Allen's Cay, southeasterly again to a point at about N24 44.863 W76 51.927.

The problem with Yellow Bank isn't the depth, its the coral heads sticking up to a few feet below the surface. By cutting more westerly, toward White Bank, you can avoid most of that although you'll still need to keep a sharp eye. That trip is best made after mid-day to avoid glare/reflection off the water which can obscure the heads.

FWIW.;..
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:44   #4
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

I've made that trip several times and with ~6'-6" draft. No issues. Any coral heads on the bank are readily visible and stand out like black ink spots on the white sand. But I've stopped and snorkeled a couple and they were much deeper than I though too.
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Old 06-12-2017, 14:09   #5
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

Thanks guys. All useful information!
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Old 06-12-2017, 17:26   #6
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

I no longer go to Allens or Highborne. I go from Nassau to Normans over the Yellow Bank. I have yet to see less than 9 feet. The stretch of heads is only two miles wide on this course about twenty minutes at 6 knots. If you're concerned you can keep a good lookout for twenty minutes. The black heads are clearly visible and most are only a foot or so high. Set a course from Porgee Rocks to Normans Stake and you'll be fine. In the olden days we used to run south from Nassau between the Yellow and White Banks and, once clear of the banks, head east for Allens, Highborne or Normans.

Allens gets a bit crowded and the reversing currents can cause a few problems for those not used to anchoring. If you're going there to see the iguanas it's better to go to Bitter Guana north of Black Point. Highborne is mostly sport fishers now.
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:06   #7
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

No problem to go straight across but do leave at such a time that The Sun will be overhead or just on your back. Can’t miss seeing the heads and they are pretty deep.

We stopped and dove on a few to check them out.

You’ll have no prob :-)
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:22   #8
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Re: Nassau to North Exumas: Route with 6' draft

Unless you sail in the dark, the usual timing of leaving Nassau and crossing leaves plenty of visibility.
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