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Old 20-08-2017, 19:13   #1
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2-weeks in Bahamas

I am currently docked in South Florida (Ft Pierce to be exact). In October "I have to" go to Bahamas for 15-days. Foreign flag, cruising permit stuff, sounds like a good opportunity to get my feet wet on the Bahamas. I have a 40ft sloop (Passport 40), draft 5'7".

I would like a few newcomer recommendations on what I could plan on doing on those 15 days in Bahamas. I am happy starting off easy and "on the beaten path" and allow me this first trip to be sort of an intro to Bahamas. Im planning on spending December/January over there for 20 or 30 days so I can potentially hit the farthest and more remote locales at that time.

For this first time heading to Bahamas (and anywhere other than the East Coast US on my own boat), I would like to keep a simple and "comfortable" (be able to hit a few marinas once every 3 or 4 days, groceries, etc), more of a holiday with the girlfriend and being able for some friends to fly in and enjoy a week on the boat.

All ideas are welcome since Bahamas are SO big, its kind of overwhelming if you are not planning on spending 2 months there. Canned solutions are also welcome.

Thanks in advance for the wealth of information this forum always provides.
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Old 20-08-2017, 19:17   #2
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
I am currently docked in South Florida (Ft Pierce to be exact). In October "I have to" go to Bahamas for 15-days. Foreign flag, cruising permit stuff, sounds like a good opportunity to get my feet wet on the Bahamas. I have a 40ft sloop (Passport 40), draft 5'7".

I would like a few newcomer recommendations on what I could plan on doing on those 15 days in Bahamas. I am happy starting off easy and "on the beaten path" and allow me this first trip to be sort of an intro to Bahamas. Im planning on spending December/January over there for 20 or 30 days so I can potentially hit the farthest and more remote locales at that time.

For this first time heading to Bahamas (and anywhere other than the East Coast US on my own boat), I would like to keep a simple and "comfortable" (be able to hit a few marinas once every 3 or 4 days, groceries, etc), more of a holiday with the girlfriend and being able for some friends to fly in and enjoy a week on the boat.

All ideas are welcome since Bahamas are SO big, its kind of overwhelming if you are not planning on spending 2 months there. Canned solutions are also welcome.

Thanks in advance for the wealth of information this forum always provides.
For starters I would recommend going a little further south to the Lake Worth Inlet that's a great staging area and you could shoot right across to the West End Bahamas
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Old 20-08-2017, 19:19   #3
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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For starters I would recommend going a little further south to the Lake Worth Inlet that's a great staging area and you could shoot right across to the West End Bahamas
It is within my plans to stage off somewhere around West Palm/Ft Lauderdale. Lake Worth sounds like a good place, thanks for that specific input.
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Old 20-08-2017, 19:33   #4
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
I am currently docked in South Florida (Ft Pierce to be exact). In October "I have to" go to Bahamas for 15-days. Foreign flag, cruising permit stuff, sounds like a good opportunity to get my feet wet on the Bahamas. I have a 40ft sloop (Passport 40), draft 5'7".

I would like a few newcomer recommendations on what I could plan on doing on those 15 days in Bahamas. I am happy starting off easy and "on the beaten path" and allow me this first trip to be sort of an intro to Bahamas. Im planning on spending December/January over there for 20 or 30 days so I can potentially hit the farthest and more remote locales at that time.

For this first time heading to Bahamas (and anywhere other than the East Coast US on my own boat), I would like to keep a simple and "comfortable" (be able to hit a few marinas once every 3 or 4 days, groceries, etc), more of a holiday with the girlfriend and being able for some friends to fly in and enjoy a week on the boat.

All ideas are welcome since Bahamas are SO big, its kind of overwhelming if you are not planning on spending 2 months there. Canned solutions are also welcome.

Thanks in advance for the wealth of information this forum always provides.
If your thinking about the abacos...Marsh harbour would be the best for family to fly in
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Old 20-08-2017, 19:50   #5
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

Two weeks is barely enough time to get there and back unless you stay in the western side of the Bahamas.

Figure a day to get there, a day to check in, clear customs, etc.

Then from West End or Bimini you have about 100 miles upwind to the next islands or marinas. You'll be crossing the banks as well so may not want to do night crossing. So another couple of days to get to the Abacos or Berry Islands, depending on starting from West End or Bimini.

All comes down to, do you want to spend your time sailing or hanging out, diving and beaching.
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Old 20-08-2017, 20:48   #6
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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Two weeks is barely enough time to get there and back unless you stay in the western side of the Bahamas.

All comes down to, do you want to spend your time sailing or hanging out, diving and beaching.
I will take the second. Should I then focus on staying around Bimini? What would be different destinations if I choose that route? Maybe just Bimini and Andros?
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Old 20-08-2017, 22:23   #7
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

Hi Gaucho. I just got back from a 3wk trip, Abacos->Eleuthera->Exumas and we draw over 7'. Our impression was Abacos were great with some village type atmosphere whereas the exumas were a little more remote but amazing in regards to nature. For your 2 week trip and starting from further north (we started Ft Lauderdale), I'd tick off the Abacos. Either clear in West End or sail harder to Great Sake Cay and then clear in Green Turtle. Check out Manjack, Elbow Cay/hopetown, Lynard, etc as far as little harbor and then backtrack. Check out some of the cruising guides for more detail
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Old 21-08-2017, 04:16   #8
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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I will take the second. Should I then focus on staying around Bimini? What would be different destinations if I choose that route? Maybe just Bimini and Andros?
Bimini to Andros is about a 100 mile trip and that's across the banks if your draft will make it. From West End to the Abacos it's also about 100 miles across the banks but if I recall more options for deeper draft boats. Also, as mentioned, from West End across the banks you can stop at Sale Cay for a very good overnight anchorage.

To the Abacos you also have the option to approach from farther north, by pass West End and sail directly for the Abacos. Longer trip to the first stop but puts you in the cruising grounds.

I've tried to plan short trips to the Bahamas several times and always comes down to, two weeks is just not enough time to reach the cool cruising grounds (Abacos, Berry Islands, Andros) unless you spend about half the trip traveling to get there and back.
Just remember, 95% of the time you will be beating dead into the wind as you head east into the Bahamas.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:05   #9
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

I love Bimini, but it's very quiet and little to do on land. Small grocery stores, local dives, a few fishing charter-type restaurants. Good anchorages are limited but marinas are pretty cheap (by South Florida standards). If you're happy with that then it's a great place and the locals are very hospitable and friendly. I haven't been on land on Andros Island, I suspect that in terms of civilization it isn't much different than Bimini, however, with a MUCH larger land mass there would probably be more land-based adventures like hiking, etc.

Your other option is Port Lucaya and surrounds, big island with a lot of tourist-type stuff as well as local flavor.

If you're going to Bimini you'll need to leave even further south than Lake Worth. My own preference was always to leave from Angelfish Creek (northern tip of Key Largo), which gave some leeway in prevailing E to SE winds, but many people go from Biscayne Channel or Government Cut. You may have to wait longer for the right wind vector and/or motorsail.

Have fun! Pete
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:22   #10
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

I think the Abacos etc is the best bet for only 2 weeks. You dont want to spend all your time trying to get somewhere and then turn around. Weather windows to cross the stream can take time. Some people just go. Otherwise you could take 1-2 weeks waiting for a window. I left from Biscayne the times I went and Bimini wa no problem, although we started out pointing 20-30 degrees south of our lay line for the first few hours.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:45   #11
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

RANT ALERT

The most dangerous thing you can bring on a boat is a calendar. But if you have a calendar you know that October is still in the hurricane season. Even if you don't have a full blown hurricane you still may experience a tropical storm, tropical depression, or just regular popup thunder storms that time of year.

What ever plans you make keep in mind that you may have to change them due to weather. Also keep in mind that a storm before your trip may affect where you want to go. Some places in the Bahamas are still recovering from last year's storms.

Anglefish, Bimini, Morgan's Bluff, West Bay, and then North to Abacos, East to Spanish Wells, or South to Exumas. Figuring a day sail for each stop that is four days out and four days back for a total of eight days; weather permitting. So more time sailing than having fun diving or whatever.

Did I mention weather may affect your plans. Three of four days of rain and wind and your trip will be not much more than beating against the wind most of the time.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:58   #12
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

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So more time sailing than having fun...
There's something more fun than sailing?
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:15   #13
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

For two weeks, I'd also choose the Abacos, which is what I did for my first Bahamas cruise, leaving Lake worth, checking in at West End.

I personally much prefer anchoring out, but you can find Marinas on many of the inhabited islands including West End, Grand Cays (which I'd probably skip first cruise), Spanish, Green Turtle, Cooper's Town, Treasure Cay, Elbow and of course Marsh Harbour.
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:33   #14
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

I would also do Abacos over Bimini/Berrys. Much nicer. Bimini has become somewhat of a dump. Garbage all over. I was amazed how clean Green Turtle and Hopetown were compared to Bimini.
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Old 24-08-2017, 08:47   #15
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Re: 2-weeks in Bahamas

Go from Lake Worth to Great Sale Cay via Memory Rock. From there, clear customs at Spanish Cay or Green Turtle Cay. Don't go further than GTC because you simply won't have time for that. You can get diesel/groceries at GTC, go to bars, restaurants, etc. I usually stay at Green Turtle Club Marina, which has a nice restaurant and bar, and a spectacular swimming pool. From there, it's only about 30 minutes over to Manjack Cay, which is the gem of the Abacos. You'll also be within daysail distance of Allens-Pensacola Cay if you need even more isolation than Manjack Cay provides. Your guests can fly into Marsh Harbor or Treasure Island and then ride the ferry boat over to GTC. It's a very easy process.
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