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Old 16-07-2017, 15:56   #1
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Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Hi

Newbie asking questions. We are currently in Nassau. And are heading to the Abacos. Would like to go via Spanish wells to break up the trip. Anyone done this? We did do cat cay to chub but it was a long and somewhat rough day. I don't see explorer routes?
I also see little harbor as the closest harbor but we draw 5'2"
Anchor outside?

Thanks

Jen
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Old 16-07-2017, 16:31   #2
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

We moored in Spanish Wells and took a high speed ferry out past Spanish Wells and back. I would have very mixed feelings about cruising that route. It looks pretty tricky at the 25 knots we did on the ferry, maybe at 5 kt's it would be OK with charts.
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Old 16-07-2017, 16:36   #3
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

We have done the reverse. Good anchorage on the end of Royal Island for staging going north. Spanish Wells has several mooring and the high speed ferry stops to/ from Dunmore Town, a neat experience. Most don't recommend exiting out thru the north ( Devil's backbone) without a pilot but you can go around Egg Island and then put to sea. Good pass just at Little Harbor and we anchored behind the spit for a quick exit. We were not much impressed with the Little Harbor business but got to go at least once. Cruisers often anchor out and take the dink in.

Enjoyed Spanish Wells it is one of the wealthier parts of the Bahamas but a couple of days and you have covered it.
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Old 17-07-2017, 05:27   #4
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

I did that route a month ago, very nice route.

Leaving Nassau head east towards ATHOL ISLAND waypoint, turn north and go through the narrows staying east of the marker, then pass these series of waypoints (25 04.770, 77 17.305 / 25 05.200, 77 17.348 / 25 05.663, 77 15.553) before turning to HANOVER SOUND. Once past HANOVER SOUND you are clear of Nassau and it's a straight run to Spanish Wells area.

You have two choices now. If the weather will be turning bad, I'd head to Royal Island. Read my blog post about the ruins on the island here (http://sailquest.ca/index.php/115-to...island-bahamas). If the weather is mild then choose either Royal, or Meeks Patch where you can hang out with the swimming pigs.
To head to Royal go to SW REEF and then ROYAL ISLAND.
To head to Meeks go to CURRENT ROCK and MEEKS PATCH.

At Meeks Patch we position according to the wind. If South through North West, we anchor at 25 30.917, 076 46.760. During North to Easts we run around the north end, then down the west side of the island to anchor at 25 30.328, 076 46.501. But there's only a 3 mile fetch on the east side so unless it's really blowing the first anchorage should do.
Once you are done at those two places head to SPANISH WELLS. You can now head into the channel and visit the town. Great marina there called Yacht Haven, and they can rent you a golf cart to tour the island. Up until 5 years ago blacks were not allowed to stay on the island overnight and had to leave each evening. If you cross the bridge to Russel Island you will see a marked difference in the properties.

Heading out from Spanish Wells it's visual piloting. You should have a good up-to-date chartplotter to go here, or ask for a local pilot (failing that, good eyes and flat water...). Head out the east side of the harbour following the poles. Make a left to head north west towards Gun Point. Turn North East towards the marker pole at the next headland. Pass that marker and continue straight by 0.200 Nm where you turn towards RIDLEY HEAD. Passed there you are back in deep water and can go straight to LITTLE HARBOUR ABACO.

Finally it's TOM CURRY PT to get through the cut. Watch for rages here, last time we wanted to leave the rage was over 10 feet and it was one scary ride!

There is a marked channel in to Little Harbour where you can drop anchor, or pick up a mooring ball for $25 for the night (pay at Pete's Pub). I measured a minimum of 1.5 meters going through that channel, so unless you are at high tide you may scrape at 5'2". Once you are inside it's over 3 meters in the middle. It was very buggy when we were there in early June.

The other option is the anchorages just west of Tom Curry's Point (though open to the east winds and seas) or better yet along the west side of Lynyard Cay where there are several nice beaches. From TOM CURRY PT head towards LYNYARD CAY for 1 Nm, before turning 073 M and go to the beach. We anchored at 26 21.376, 76 59.107, but we are a cat and can go as close to the beach as we want. In fact we actually went up on the beach and spent a low tide cleaning the hull here. But the water drops quickly and just 150 meters from the beach it's over 5 meters deep.

I have all the named waypoints listed above in a file that I can send you (it's in Raymarine's GPX format, as well as a text CSV, and Google Earth's KMZ formats). I haven't been able to attach the file so email "Captain" at my domain name "SailQuest.ca" and ask for the Explorer Charts Waypoints.

Disclaimer: All information provided is as accurate as possible, but any errors are possible including, but not limited to missed numbers, reversed numbers, and extra numbers in co-ordinates, etc. You are solely responsible for your vessel and crew.
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Old 17-07-2017, 06:35   #5
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLGCrawford View Post
I did that route a month ago, very nice route.

Leaving Nassau head east towards ATHOL ISLAND waypoint, turn north and go through the narrows staying east of the marker, then pass these series of waypoints (25 04.770, 77 17.305 / 25 05.200, 77 17.348 / 25 05.663, 77 15.553) before turning to HANOVER SOUND. Once past HANOVER SOUND you are clear of Nassau and it's a straight run to Spanish Wells area.

You have two choices now. If the weather will be turning bad, I'd head to Royal Island. Read my blog post about the ruins on the island here (To Kill A Mockingbird, on Royal Island, Bahamas (with Video)). If the weather is mild then choose either Royal, or Meeks Patch where you can hang out with the swimming pigs.
To head to Royal go to SW REEF and then ROYAL ISLAND.
To head to Meeks go to CURRENT ROCK and MEEKS PATCH.

At Meeks Patch we position according to the wind. If South through North West, we anchor at 25 30.917, 076 46.760. During North to Easts we run around the north end, then down the west side of the island to anchor at 25 30.328, 076 46.501. But there's only a 3 mile fetch on the east side so unless it's really blowing the first anchorage should do.
Once you are done at those two places head to SPANISH WELLS. You can now head into the channel and visit the town. Great marina there called Yacht Haven, and they can rent you a golf cart to tour the island. Up until 5 years ago blacks were not allowed to stay on the island overnight and had to leave each evening. If you cross the bridge to Russel Island you will see a marked difference in the properties.

Heading out from Spanish Wells it's visual piloting. You should have a good up-to-date chartplotter to go here, or ask for a local pilot (failing that, good eyes and flat water...). Head out the east side of the harbour following the poles. Make a left to head north west towards Gun Point. Turn North East towards the marker pole at the next headland. Pass that marker and continue straight by 0.200 Nm where you turn towards RIDLEY HEAD. Passed there you are back in deep water and can go straight to LITTLE HARBOUR ABACO.

Finally it's TOM CURRY PT to get through the cut. Watch for rages here, last time we wanted to leave the rage was over 10 feet and it was one scary ride!

There is a marked channel in to Little Harbour where you can drop anchor, or pick up a mooring ball for $25 for the night (pay at Pete's Pub). I measured a minimum of 1.5 meters going through that channel, so unless you are at high tide you may scrape at 5'2". Once you are inside it's over 3 meters in the middle. It was very buggy when we were there in early June.

The other option is the anchorages just west of Tom Curry's Point (though open to the east winds and seas) or better yet along the west side of Lynyard Cay where there are several nice beaches. From TOM CURRY PT head towards LYNYARD CAY for 1 Nm, before turning 073 M and go to the beach. We anchored at 26 21.376, 76 59.107, but we are a cat and can go as close to the beach as we want. In fact we actually went up on the beach and spent a low tide cleaning the hull here. But the water drops quickly and just 150 meters from the beach it's over 5 meters deep.

I have all the named waypoints listed above in a file that I can send you (it's in Raymarine's GPX format, as well as a text CSV, and Google Earth's KMZ formats). I haven't been able to attach the file so email "Captain" at my domain name "SailQuest.ca" and ask for the Explorer Charts Waypoints.

Disclaimer: All information provided is as accurate as possible, but any errors are possible including, but not limited to missed numbers, reversed numbers, and extra numbers in co-ordinates, etc. You are solely responsible for your vessel and crew.
THANK YOU!!!

I do have a new raymarine mfd. I will go over all your info this afternoon.
I called regarding a mooring ball in the harbor. We have spent a lot of money at some marinas while waiting for weather. It looks very protected. They had said to enter between russel island and charles island. I will check the tides at little harbor. How far is the next marina?
What is curry point and a "rage" how will I know what it will be like?
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Old 17-07-2017, 07:21   #6
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyq View Post
THANK YOU!!!

I do have a new raymarine mfd. I will go over all your info this afternoon.
I called regarding a mooring ball in the harbor. We have spent a lot of money at some marinas while waiting for weather. It looks very protected. They had said to enter between russel island and charles island. I will check the tides at little harbor. How far is the next marina?
What is curry point and a "rage" how will I know what it will be like?
At Spanish Wells there are mooring balls at the east end of town. I'm not sure who to contact about them. You could always hit the marina first and if it's going to be a wait for weather, move out to the moorings. (or skip the marina, your choice. I just really like that one)

If you have to wait for weather, retreat back to Royal Island (5 miles from Spanish Wells) for protection from every direction.

Going from the waypoint LITTLE HARBOUR ABACO (which is in the Atlantic) to TOM CURRY PT (which is in the Sea of Abaco, outside Little Harbour) you pass between the reefs. When the wind is blowing strong from the east and there is an outgoing tide the swells get ridiculous (a "rage"). If you are inbound, prepare to surf some waves in. When we were trying to get out the ocean was 3-4', and in the cut was 10' plus. We gave up and turned around, and one wave took us from 5 knots to over 11. That was pretty scary.

Make sure you arrive there in daylight. Try the VHF and see if there's anyone around who can advise on the cut's condition before you arrive.

If you have AIS watch for other traffic and if there's others doing it, it should be fine.

Pretty much all the entrances to/from the Sea of Abaco are potential rage conditions.

But don't let this scare you. When we arrived in the Abacoes from Spanish Wells waves were 1' to 2' and we just went right in and it was smooth as can be. Don't be scared, just be cautious.
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Old 17-07-2017, 09:13   #7
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Let's distinguish a rage sea from a wind-over-tide sea. A true rage sea results from storm-generated swells originating hundreds of miles away. As these swells approach shallow water, they pile up and create monster waves, especially in narrow entrances that boats use to enter onto banks in the Bahamas and other coral islands. The worst, in my experience, is Whale Cay pass in the Abacos, where I once watched a boat go out into a rage sea from Green Turtle Cay and return dismasted. Those swells came from a storm in the North Atlantic. As was said, rage seas should be respected, not feared. Forecasts are easily obtained and locals should be consulted before getting underway.
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Old 17-07-2017, 09:39   #8
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

That passage is very doable with all the good information you have received above. But you should be aware that the mooring balls in Spanish Wells are miserably close together. After spending 2 nights on a mooring ball there a little over a year and a half ago, I went to the marina. The dinghy dock near the mooring balls is not exactly a dock, it is a concrete wall with some steps. You will need a bow anchor when you tie up your dinghy to keep it from smashing into the wall.
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Old 17-07-2017, 10:52   #9
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
That passage is very doable with all the good information you have received above. But you should be aware that the mooring balls in Spanish Wells are miserably close together. After spending 2 nights on a mooring ball there a little over a year and a half ago, I went to the marina. The dinghy dock near the mooring balls is not exactly a dock, it is a concrete wall with some steps. You will need a bow anchor when you tie up your dinghy to keep it from smashing into the wall.
thank you,

there is currently no one else on the mooring balls apparently. I will check the dinghy dock etc before deciding to stay. we do have a dog and need to be able to get ashore.
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Old 17-07-2017, 10:54   #10
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubstuff View Post
Let's distinguish a rage sea from a wind-over-tide sea. A true rage sea results from storm-generated swells originating hundreds of miles away. As these swells approach shallow water, they pile up and create monster waves, especially in narrow entrances that boats use to enter onto banks in the Bahamas and other coral islands. The worst, in my experience, is Whale Cay pass in the Abacos, where I once watched a boat go out into a rage sea from Green Turtle Cay and return dismasted. Those swells came from a storm in the North Atlantic. As was said, rage seas should be respected, not feared. Forecasts are easily obtained and locals should be consulted before getting underway.
The weather looks good and winds out of the south the days we would be heading to little harbor. I will check the tides and see if we can get in. Who could I contact in little harbor area to ask about the conditions there?
The person in charge of the moorings?
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Old 17-07-2017, 11:51   #11
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyq View Post
thank you,

there is currently no one else on the mooring balls apparently. I will check the dinghy dock etc before deciding to stay. we do have a dog and need to be able to get ashore.
We also have a dog, so that's one reason we stayed at Meeks Patch, easy dinghy to the beach. But that will only work if your dog is comfortable around pigs (we used to have a farm so Cedar has seen everything and could not care less).

In Spanish Wells there is a better dinghy dock at the grocery store (free if you are going into the store).
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Old 17-07-2017, 13:07   #12
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

We covered that route in early March. Loved Royal Is anchorage. The mooring balls are tight in Spanish as mentioned but the main problem there were the no seems when there was no wind as your real close to the mangroves and they'll eat your ass's off!!!! Don't know what their like this time of year? Remember to drag a line on the crossing. We picked up a blackfin tuna and a mahi. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 17-07-2017, 14:40   #13
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Spanish Wells is a friendly little place. Not much to do. Marina OK, i keep wondering when they might upgrade the bathrooms a little. Definitely purchase some of their locally grown onions, very special. Also I always purchase stone crab claws . Taking the ferry to spend the day a Harbour Island is a nice outing.
I personally am only comfortable leaving the way I came and backtrack the 7 or 8 miles back to Egg Island to resume trip to Abaco. Unless I specifically want to visit Little Harbor area and have the daylight I will continue on to North Man O War channel and enter the Sea of Abaco there. This is one of the better entrances.
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Old 17-07-2017, 15:16   #14
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

Going out the top of Warwick Wells pass Ridley Head is a piece of cake (only one way point) and saves over an hour on a long trip. Done this at daybreak a few times. If the reef looks even a little rough leaving Warwick Wells turn around, cause Little Harbour will be worst and there are very few options. Be certain to contract Bandit for the mooring balls. He and Little Woody are both harbour pilots, if you feel the need. The new Yacht Haven Marina is very nice the rates run $2.50/ft. You're not getting in Little Harbour on anything but HIGH TIDE, go up behind Lynyard Cay after clearing the cut. Couple nice spots in 12-15ft.
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Old 17-07-2017, 17:45   #15
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Re: Nassau to Abacos via Spanish wells?

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Going out the top of Warwick Wells pass Ridley Head is a piece of cake (only one way point) and saves over an hour on a long trip. Done this at daybreak a few times. If the reef looks even a little rough leaving Warwick Wells turn around, cause Little Harbour will be worst and there are very few options. Be certain to contract Bandit for the mooring balls. He and Little Woody are both harbour pilots, if you feel the need. The new Yacht Haven Marina is very nice the rates run $2.50/ft. You're not getting in Little Harbour on anything but HIGH TIDE, go up behind Lynyard Cay after clearing the cut. Couple nice spots in 12-15ft.
so when we arrive, pass little harbor dont go in cause of depth. I did see some anchorages behind lynyard cay. Then continue north to other areas and skip little harbor, why wait for tides to come and go, many other places to see. Do we still need to go through the tom curry point or whatever would be an area of concern to enter?
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