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Old 07-02-2016, 06:11   #91
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

Read my in-laws books "Seize The Day" , Red Sea Peril" and "Passport To Freedom". Shirley & Peter Billing sailed for 25 years alone around the world.


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Old 28-06-2017, 19:47   #92
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

Bumping an old thread because the Sea of Cortez is my destination. Hoped to make it this summer but my boat needs more time for the bottom to dry out, fix blisters, and recoat with primer and paint. Maybe late summer...

San Carlos appears to be the logical destination from southern Colorado. I'm pretty quiet and might prefer a more obscure and economical marina but have not found anything to date.

My 26' S2 came with a good, strong trailer. However, the load is a bit large for frequent long trips. Like the trip from Colorado to San Carlos. I hope to do it once and use the trailer for "being on the hard".

Cold winters? It hits -30F every couple years here.

I have three great dogs and a small business. So.....eight day trips it is.

As far as Florida/Bahamas vs Mexico? My choice is Mexico. If I lived close to Florida, I would probably recognize the advantages that S. Florida offers. Warmer winters being a big one. I'm a diver and S. Florida does not offer spectacular diving unless you just love brown gorgonians.
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Old 28-06-2017, 21:49   #93
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

We spent a month in San Carlos two years ago.we really loved it. It was supposed to be a 1-2 day stop on our way to Mazatlan. Awww can't we just stay one more night?? turned into a month.

I am puzzled by your comment regarding diving. I loved diving Jupiter & Boynton Beach. The only Mexico diving that I have done that competes was on the Yucatan.

Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 29-06-2017, 07:13   #94
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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We spent a month in San Carlos two years ago.we really loved it. It was supposed to be a 1-2 day stop on our way to Mazatlan. Awww can't we just stay one more night?? turned into a month.

I am puzzled by your comment regarding diving. I loved diving Jupiter & Boynton Beach. The only Mexico diving that I have done that competes was on the Yucatan.

Enjoy your trip!!
Perceptions may vary. The Sea of Cortez is pretty fabled for diving and snorkling. Glad you enjoyed Jupiter and Boynton....never dived those spots. I dove off of Cancun, it was a real disappointment.

I may need to get south of San Carlos before long, not sure yet. I generally believe in living modestly. Money is not always so much created by the rich as it is transferred from the rest. American "culture" upsets my sensibilities a little more with each passing year.

I am looking for real Mexico, the old Mexico that we all remember. It still exists, one just has to work harder to find it.

We used to go to Mexico and enjoy very low prices at many border towns. My last couple trips witnessed Mexicans traveling across the border and shopping at WalMart. Some of them driving Escalades.
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Old 29-06-2017, 07:56   #95
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

Some people may like San Carlos but the sailors I know down there just go there to get out of the hurricane zone in the summer (to end of Octorber). I do hear some really like it. It is a much shorter and easier drive there than to Florida off the top of my head and Florida is MUCH more expensive.

I used to be a rabid diver and I never remembered, and don't remember hearing lately, that it has a lot of dive sites. Many cruisers go snorkling though. There is fishing/lobstering though by diving. Your boat is pretty small to live on, cruise and have all the dive gear I would think. Depends on what you need or don't need I guess. You would have to figure out how to refill tanks though which might be a real issue and take too much time out of your 8 days a year. If you get down there you will be able to check out the dive scene direct though. It may just be pretty underground.

San Carlos is a couple of days, at least, from most of the main cruising grounds south and west of there. That would take half your vaca time. Not to mention your drive times. Just some thoughts.

Mexico is great cruising in general though. We spent 18 months there a few years ago, still visit by air, and am readying our new/old boat to go down again for an open-ended cruise.

Have fun whatever you do!
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Old 29-06-2017, 08:41   #96
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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Some people may like San Carlos but the sailors I know down there just go there to get out of the hurricane zone in the summer (to end of Octorber). I do hear some really like it. It is a much shorter and easier drive there than to Florida off the top of my head and Florida is MUCH more expensive.

I used to be a rabid diver and I never remembered, and don't remember hearing lately, that it has a lot of dive sites. Many cruisers go snorkling though. There is fishing/lobstering though by diving. Your boat is pretty small to live on, cruise and have all the dive gear I would think. Depends on what you need or don't need I guess. You would have to figure out how to refill tanks though which might be a real issue and take too much time out of your 8 days a year. If you get down there you will be able to check out the dive scene direct though. It may just be pretty underground.

San Carlos is a couple of days, at least, from most of the main cruising grounds south and west of there. That would take half your vaca time. Not to mention your drive times. Just some thoughts.

Mexico is great cruising in general though. We spent 18 months there a few years ago, still visit by air, and am readying our new/old boat to go down again for an open-ended cruise.

Have fun whatever you do!
I said eight day trips. First you have me as a liveaboard with a boat that is "too small". Next sentence you have me at eight days/year? Oh well.
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Old 29-06-2017, 10:08   #97
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

Relax! No one's getting down on you or your boat. Just stating the plain fact that putting dive gear on a small cruising boat is tough business
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Old 29-06-2017, 10:11   #98
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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Relax! No one's getting down on you or your boat. Just stating the plain fact that putting dive gear on a small cruising boat is tough business
What? I have done plenty of diving from the inflatable dinghy that I stored in the Florida Keys. I stored it there for diving purposes. Also from my 18' runabout. I could easily run a dive operation off of a canoe.
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Old 30-06-2017, 09:53   #99
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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I said eight day trips. First you have me as a liveaboard with a boat that is "too small". Next sentence you have me at eight days/year? Oh well.
Well, I did misunderstand the "eight day trips" part. I did not mean to say anything about your boat too small as a liveaboard, and I don't think I did in fact. Every's boat is their choice and I don't put anyone down for what works for them.

Regarding dive gear on a boat, we carried two tanks, plus fins, snorkles, BCDs, regulators, etc. on a 42' boat and it was too much for us since we found we didn't really use it that much. Someone who dives as much as you seem to may just think it is another essential piece of gear, which for 8 day trips, would not be too burdensome. IMO, it would be for a small boat liveaboard, which you seem to take offense by. I meant no offense.

For day trips you would be limited to a few miles from San Carlos only so I guess you would have to find some suitable close by areas to go under at. I guess that made me think you would be going for longer trips each time so you could go other places like some of the great island parks in Mexico.

Pardon my misunderstandings.

Happy sailing and diving!
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Old 30-06-2017, 19:08   #100
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

For cheaper boatyards look at Marina Seca Guaymas. Gabriel is great to work with.
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Old 30-06-2017, 19:30   #101
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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For cheaper boatyards look at Marina Seca Guaymas. Gabriel is great to work with.
Thank you so much. Exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 30-06-2017, 20:34   #102
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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The Bahamas has 700 islands. Just like the song says.


Why can't things remain where i carelessly left them?
This is an old thread but I can't let this pass. This response in part was to one of my posts where I said there were about 3,000 islands in the Bahamas.

Wiki lists this blurb:

"In 1864 the Governor of the Bahamas reported that there were 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 rocks in the colony."

I am sure there is some official definition of the words "island", "cay" and "rock" but I am just as sure many of the rocks the Governor reported would be something a sailor/cruiser would call an island. Most cruising guides say while charts use the word cay the locals pronounce it "key" as in the Florida Keys. I am not sure how many cays and rocks are on the Cay Sal Banks; and to some extent it is probably related to the tide stage. But I have always considered Cay Sal to be an island, even if the name has Cay in it. Same for Cat Cay and Gunn Cay.

But my bigger point is that there are a whole lot of places in the Bahamas worth visiting. I know folks who have spent their whole lives there and they are the first to admit there are many places they have not visited that they would like to visit.

I also sorta have the Sea of Cortez on my bucket list. That being said conventional wisdom is in the Florida Keys East of Key West the vis is good enough to dive 15 days a month, West of Key West 20 days a month, and in the Bahamas 25 days a month. My experience has been while I like SCUBA tanks I carry a fairly high end hookah on my boat since I can put that and five gallons of gas in much less space than probably the 100 tanks it would take to match the bottom time I get with a hookah. With all the out of the way places I like to dive it is not always easy to find a shop to get the tanks filled; not to mention how well maintained compressors are in out of the way shops. If I make say 3 dives a day that means at least six tanks (3 for me and 3 for my buddy). So what is the situation in the Sea of Cortez in terms of getting tanks filled and how realistic is it to carry several tanks or find a buddy willing to carry their own tanks on another boat.
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Old 30-06-2017, 20:55   #103
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

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This is an old thread but I can't let this pass. This response in part was to one of my posts where I said there were about 3,000 islands in the Bahamas.

Wiki lists this blurb:

"In 1864 the Governor of the Bahamas reported that there were 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 rocks in the colony."

I am sure there is some official definition of the words "island", "cay" and "rock" but I am just as sure many of the rocks the Governor reported would be something a sailor/cruiser would call an island. Most cruising guides say while charts use the word cay the locals pronounce it "key" as in the Florida Keys. I am not sure how many cays and rocks are on the Cay Sal Banks; and to some extent it is probably related to the tide stage. But I have always considered Cay Sal to be an island, even if the name has Cay in it. Same for Cat Cay and Gunn Cay.

But my bigger point is that there are a whole lot of places in the Bahamas worth visiting. I know folks who have spent their whole lives there and they are the first to admit there are many places they have not visited that they would like to visit.

I also sorta have the Sea of Cortez on my bucket list. That being said conventional wisdom is in the Florida Keys East of Key West the vis is good enough to dive 15 days a month, West of Key West 20 days a month, and in the Bahamas 25 days a month. My experience has been while I like SCUBA tanks I carry a fairly high end hookah on my boat since I can put that and five gallons of gas in much less space than probably the 100 tanks it would take to match the bottom time I get with a hookah. With all the out of the way places I like to dive it is not always easy to find a shop to get the tanks filled; not to mention how well maintained compressors are in out of the way shops. If I make say 3 dives a day that means at least six tanks (3 for me and 3 for my buddy). So what is the situation in the Sea of Cortez in terms of getting tanks filled and how realistic is it to carry several tanks or find a buddy willing to carry their own tanks on another boat.
That is a lot of info in one post. I have no idea how the scuba shop situation is in the Sea of Cortez. Pretty large area to try to summarize I would think.
Hookah's are dynamite for diving that is not overly deep. Pretty ideal for the Florida Keys area.
A dive compressor is pretty high on my want list. Several things to do first...I have nine older tanks, funny how time flies by. I'd be interested in Mexican pressure testing. Good old tanks do not scare me. A very bad tank and valve may leak, it isn't very likely to explode.
I have seen mention of a large number of dive sites in the Sea of Cortez. It is known for abundant fish species and whales. Have not explored the peculiars yet.
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Old 30-06-2017, 21:39   #104
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

What is a high end hooka and how deep are they suited to? I'm guessing one atmosphere?
I too want to dive a bit where I end up but don't figure on an onboard compressor. I may be wrong......!
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Old 30-06-2017, 22:35   #105
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Re: Budget cruising grounds: Sea of Cortez vs Florida/Bahamas?

The OP actually mentions three very distinct places in the thread title. Florida and the Bahamas are close but very different. For instance, the diving in the Bahamas is equal to anywhere. Floridians tend go to the Keys or the Bahamas to dive. The Sea of Cortez is going to be cheapest of the three areas. Florida will be more expensive but have far more amenities. The Bahamas don't save you money on food or docking but they afford the opportunity to live at anchor which can save money. When it comes to eating out, the Sea of Cortez wins. When it comes to buying groceries Mexico does also, but if you were attempting to buy the same exact items you would in Florida, then Florida would be cheaper. It's all a trade off. We love all three.
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