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Old 11-05-2014, 09:04   #1
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Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

We are in a sailing cat averages 5.5 kts and getting ready to make our first trip to the Bahamas. We are leaving from Lake Worth Inlet. Our initial intention was to cross to West End but some have recommended moving on to Green Turtle since WE is pricey and can be a challenge to navigate. We certainly don't want to get stuck at WE but it just seems like a long sail to NOT be able to get off the boat. Maybe looking at the chart is more daunting than actually is. We welcome all comments on the subject. Also if anyone is waiting near Lake Worth Inlet for a window to cross (this Thurs we think) we'd welcome a crossing buddy boat.
thanks
CC
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:25   #2
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Hello CC,
We are currently in Stuart and plan on leaving Thursday as well. We will arrive in Lake Worth Wed evening. We travel 7 kts only. We also were heading to Green T. Cay. Ours plans were to arrive W.E., then on to GTC on Friday. Yes, the W.E. is expensive and only want to get drained (money) for one day. I dont think W.E. channel is that bad. People go in and out frequently without any problems. Going directly to GTC would certainly be an overnight haul. I'm not sure I would want to do that at night since its your first time there and being the water is pretty shallow in places. Also, I'm thinking your depth draft shouldnt be a problem in your cat, but dont take my word for it since its our first time too. You can follow me in with my 3.5 ft draft and I'll test the area out. It should be fun.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:13   #3
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Have not heard any recent reports but last year several cruisers reported being stopped by Bahamian authorities (BDF maybe?) and informed quite strictly that the rules require cruisers to check in at the first/closest port upon entry into Bahamian waters. In this case that would mean West End or Freeport.

Have not been into West End in several years but unless it has silted up it wasn't that difficult to get in. I would think with a cat it would be a piece of cake.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:57   #4
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Thanks for the response Magnawake. We draw 2' with boards up; 4.5' with them down. What time are you leaving Thursday? We were thinking we'd leave early Thursday a.m. around 4 or 5, giving ourselves plenty of time since we go a little slower. I don't think we'll make it before customs closes on Thursday though, do you?
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:21   #5
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

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Originally Posted by cclyerly View Post
Thanks for the response Magnawake. We draw 2' with boards up; 4.5' with them down. What time are you leaving Thursday? We were thinking we'd leave early Thursday a.m. around 4 or 5, giving ourselves plenty of time since we go a little slower. I don't think we'll make it before customs closes on Thursday though, do you?
If you arrive after customs closes or late in the evening you can easily tuck in close and anchor right off the beach then go in the next morning to clear. In normal east winds it is calm and protected, and free.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:28   #6
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Gosh dog !! I havent thought about that. Passage weather shows the stream being a little rougher in the early morning. I was thinking about leaving at day break. You could leave early and I would catch up to you. Looks like a 9-10 hr day for you. I'm looking at a 8 hr day. We wont push it too much or I'll start bleeding money for diesel. I guess sunrise/crack of dawn would be good for me.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:40   #7
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Thats probably a good plan, Magnawake. We will be at anchor just south of the inlet, then pull out early. We'll head southeast until we hit the stream, the turn to 090 on the compass. We'll adjust heading once we get across Stream for W.E. We'll probably catch up again on the radio.
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Old 12-05-2014, 19:46   #8
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Well it looks like Friday will be a better crossing day. What do you think? Man, this wind is blowing like stink everywhere. I dont mind a little wind, but geesh its getting crazy.
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Old 12-05-2014, 20:40   #9
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

As Skipmac indicated, they are becoming less tolerant of cruisers sailing across the banks without checking in at W.E.

I have almost always checked in at W.E., but have very rarely picked up a slip for the night. They will of course ask if you want a slip, but you are free to decline and stay tied up at the sea wall for free while you clear in.

Personally, I don't care to sail all night, so typically I leave Lake Worth early AM to arrive at W.E. in time to clear that day, but as previously noted, if you get there late, you can anchor with Q flag up and clear in the next morning.

From W.E. you can enjoy as many of the beautiful northern Abacos as you wish or truck it to Green Turtle with one or two overnights on the way.

I don't feel that the channel into Old Bahama Bay at West End is particularly difficult to navigate. It's fairly straight forward in day light.
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Old 12-05-2014, 21:36   #10
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

We were just discussing the same thing; bumping departure til Friday. We were still thinking of leaving early as the wind shifting to north in the afternoon & would like to be across the great river before that wind shift. Are you on anchor near the inlet already or at marina?
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Old 13-05-2014, 06:00   #11
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

Right now As i write, I am snuggled in at Nettles Island Marina which is a hole in the wall marina (rustic) just North of Stuart. I would allow myself the day before to refuel, take on water, pump out in Manatee Pocket (Stuart) and travel down to Lake Worth the day before we cross.
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Old 13-05-2014, 07:58   #12
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

We did our first crossing in our old but new-to-us boat from Lake Worth to West End. We left right at dawn and were there mid afternoon, and it was a lovely trip. Set your auto when you leave Lake Worth, for a spot about 20-25 miles south of where you want to hit land and don't touch it until you see that water tower at West End. and you will see it from about 20 miles away. That's a guess, I didn't actually measure it. by the time you see the water tower you'll be out of the effects of the stream for the most part and can then head straight toward it. Within sailboat reason.

Getting into the marina there is easy beans. Straight in, a right turn, and then left into the slips. There is an aerial photo of that on our blog if you want to look at it. Scroll down to the second photo at http://2gringos.blogspot.com/2012/06...e-islands.html you can see it's not that scary at all. The Customs Immigration office is the little building right there at the marina. We found it to be a good place to rest up and congratulate ourselves and get silly and do all that new boat owners on their first crossing stuff there.


Even if you only spend one night there, it's worth it. Nice facilities, and you can rent a car or take a cab into town if needed. Hey, you might even run into the Travoltas, as he has a place there and lands at the strip nearby.

And even though we've been living in one of the conch capitals of the world for the past 9 years, I have to say that the cracked conch served at the outside bar/restaurant over on the beach there at West End is the best I have ever had in my life. No kidding. I ate it three days in a row. We moved on from there to Running Man on the south side of GBI, as we were waiting for a Fed Ex delivery of some meds we needed and we wanted to get a BTI sim card for the phone and mobile hotspot.

The queen snapper was excellent too. I don't mention these things lightly. We were told about the conch by the people who ran Pine Cay here for years, and then ran their own resort on Salt Cay for years. IF they liked the conch at W.E, that says something.
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Old 13-05-2014, 09:50   #13
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

we cross lake worth to memory rock, then across the banks to great sale and on to green turtle. once you're on the banks east of memory rock you can anchor just about anywhere if you need to take a break.

three years ago we were still flying q flag as we left spanish cay. a bdf boat hailed us and, after a few questions, we told them we were headed to green turtle to check in. we could have checked in at spanish but didn't. they advised us that we should have checked in at the nearest port - west end. we acknowledged and they then left. we went on to green turtle and checked in.

the whole affair was very courteous and businesslike. i think if we had come in from the north they probably would have advised us to check in at spanish.
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Old 13-05-2014, 10:22   #14
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

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Originally Posted by cclyerly View Post
We were just discussing the same thing; bumping departure til Friday. We were still thinking of leaving early as the wind shifting to north in the afternoon & would like to be across the great river before that wind shift. Are you on anchor near the inlet already or at marina?
cc, yeah looks like late Thursday to early Friday is your best window. Seas are expected to pick up late Friday into Saturday making the GS a little treacherous for smaller craft.
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Old 15-05-2014, 14:16   #15
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Re: Crossing Lake Worth to West End or Green Turtle

If you intend to go to Green Turtle to check in, you might want to consider going via Memory Rock. The Bahamian Patrol has turned some boats back who bypass West End. By law, you are required to check in at the closest point of entry.
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