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Old 17-06-2014, 10:50   #1
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Advice going to Exumas next week

Hello all -

I am sailing from Key Largo over to the Exumas for three weeks. Last year we sailed up to the Abacos during this time and this time around we are headed south.

I assume the best practice is checking in at Nassau (anyone go up to that big concrete dock as of late? I haven't been there in years). And then heading on to the Exumas.

Can anyone give me some of their personal "best places" to visit? We love being where nobody else is for three or four days and then finding a nice little bar to tell our stories is always fun as well

Lastly - is there any event that is a "can't miss" during this time? We will be ending up in Georgetown for the last week.

Thanks in advance! _steve
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Old 17-06-2014, 10:58   #2
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

In the last couple of years Bahamian customs has been a bit pickier about check in. Technically the regulations state you should clear customs at the first available location when you enter Bahamian waters, even if you are in transit and not stopping at all.

Several reports of boats being stopped in transit that were "reprimanded" for not clearing in at the first port.

Favorite places in the Exumas: Staniel Cay, the park, the pigs on Big Major but bottom line, most any place you drop a hook is cool.
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Old 17-06-2014, 11:32   #3
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

No problems re checking in for the last few years. In fact have never had a problem checking in, usually in Nassau. If you wish you can still anchor and dink over to the Customs office (the big concrete dock) but it's better to go into a marina and they will come to you for clearing in.

You will find the Exumas much different from Abaco. A lot fewer bars for one. Staniel and GT are about it. MacDuffs in Normans is spotty at best, usually closed. Their clientele is usually the charterers out of Nassau (Navtours). Not much in Farmers. A good bar is Scorpio's in Black Point. Best rum punches going and Happy Hour three times a week. You should have no problems with deserted spots this time of the year. Get Pavlidis' guide.
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Old 17-06-2014, 12:01   #4
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

We are headed back to the Bahamas next week. If we see you I'll stop by and show you some of my favorite spots on your explorer chart. Should not be hard to spot each other, the islands are fairly empty at this time of year. Best way to see the Exuma's at this time of year is to go go go down to GT if you get a no wind period and see the islands on the nice downwind sail back. No chance of a cold front at this time of year to help you south and east so you are just looking for a break in the ESE winds.
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Old 17-06-2014, 12:45   #5
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

We just got back from 3 weeks over there. We cleared into Bimini, then headed to Chub, anchored North of the North Channel, fished on our way across the Tongue, and stopped and anchoried on the backside of West Bay , Nassau, netween Simms and clifton Point it was gorgeous there. Then headed to the Exumas. Blackpoint was great, Scorpio inn had awesome drinks, free wifi and killer Conch!. Lorraines sucked, they serve tilapia and bubba burgers for stupid $$.
Snorkel Thunderball grotto in Staniel was awesome, Warderick wells marine park and boo boo hill were great, The pigs at big majors, lots of fun, dont run from them lol.
Hawksbill Cay was awesome, we were the only boat anchored for a mile in either direction and had the island and beach to ourselfs for a whole night and day and no current, Other than that there were mega yachts everywhere over there, and lots of boats. We had idiots in other sailboats anchor 20 feet from us when the anchorage had over a mile of good holding. Mcduffs at Normans is always open now but need reservations hail them on the vhf , the burgers and sandwhiches are $25. each but the setting and service great! Id avoid marinas entirely in the Exumas as they seem to not have love for sailboaters at all. on a side note we picked up "crew" in Nassau on the back half of our trip and had a fun time in Nassau, stayed at Nassau harbor yacht club and it was $1. ft, and water was $6. per day. elect was cheap and Customs will come to you to clear you in.
. We had a blast. Also stopped into the berries, saw the Blue (brown hole) at hoffmans cay and stopped into Great harbor and ate at Coolie Maes (awesome place) and the marina at GH had a very friendly staff even though we were there a short stay.
Burned more diesel than we wanted but the winds were very light most of the time.
Some advice, use alot of chain go 10-1 on scope and back the @#$$% down on your anchor to make sure it is set. there is a tremendous amount of current around the Exumas.
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Old 17-06-2014, 14:18   #6
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
Some advice, use alot of chain go 10-1 on scope and back the @#$$% down on your anchor to make sure it is set. there is a tremendous amount of current around the Exumas.
Good point to bring up. Many of the anchorages in the Exumas are in the cuts between islands with the banks on one side and Exuma Sound on the other. Tide change the water flows on and off the banks so in the cuts you will see a reversing current between high and low with currents that can reach several kts in places.

If anchored in a cut with any other boats around check to see if they are Bahamian moored or not. If so either do the same or anchor far enough away that your extra swinging radius won't put you in their cockpit.
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Old 17-06-2014, 15:24   #7
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

We used to anchor in the current using the Bahamian moor. On a cat it can be problematic (like waking up broadside to the current with the secondary anchor line led from your rudder or sail drive) so now we anchor smarter. There are plenty of spots to anchor with out current in the Exuma's. Don't limit yourself to the little anchor symbols on the chart. And you will fare better in the middle of the night when everything goes sideways and you are streaming to one well placed anchor. One thing to remember when summer cruising in the Bahamas is to set your anchor is a way/place that you will be comfortable with 50 knots from the west, because sooner or later you will experience a microburst at 2am.
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Old 17-06-2014, 15:37   #8
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

Didnt see anyone Bahamian moored anywhere but alot of people had obviously little scope, and dragged alot. Im sure with your new anchor set up youll be great.
This time of year there are alot of sailing regattas going on, and homecoming in GT,
Might be over with by the time you get there. If you like privacy, and Blackpoint is full you can travel a mile South and find a great secluded beautiful beach with a cool firepit you can have to yourself. Good holding and well protected from everything but a westerly, (as are most anchorages around the exumas. you can dinghy in and walk to loyalist ruins down the road heading North. We too liked the quiet all alone beaches ourselfs, but unfortunately were over run with megayachts and their entourage of watercrafts of all sizes, at all the popular places. you can find remote quiet places if you try. Another cool stop is Shroud Cay and the northern creek dinghy run at mid or high tide goes all the way across the island.
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Old 17-06-2014, 16:16   #9
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

Thanks all for the GREAT info! Dave - might see you over there. Leaving this Saturday (targeting friday which means saturday with no stress....).

If there is any other advice please let me know. I have done a little cruising - I haven't done enough to say that I'm good and I'll never be good enough to be great... but we have a ton of fun screw ups and all.. All advice is welcome.
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Old 17-06-2014, 16:26   #10
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

We will be just behind you depending on weather then. We have to drop our kids at the airport Saturday so Sunday will be our first window.
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Old 17-06-2014, 16:27   #11
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

I'm here now. Main points were already covered.

I took the deep water route straight to nassau. No issues and tied up directly to the customs dock for about an hour, completed the paperwork and anchored out. No need to use a marina other than the holding is tricky with thick grass. I spotted a 100' length of 4" chain on the bottom so if you feel your holding is too good you might have grabbed that.

Engine died and looking for an easy anchorage to sail into ended up at farmers. There is a small beach bar called Ty's. New and clean and very reasonably priced. No dock, dinghy up to the beach but socializing will be limited this time of year.

Cool cave to explore at oven rock just north of farmers.

I don't know anyone who uses two anchors. Haven't seen anyone use a Bahamian moor yet.
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Old 17-06-2014, 16:30   #12
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

Is the bucket still in the cave with the cup for drinking? Have not been to that cave for 15 years, used to be hard to find.
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Old 17-06-2014, 16:50   #13
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

Remember the pigs are wild animals. Be cautious. I had a crew member throwing them food. She held it too long and a pig behind her tried to get into the dingy to get the food. It grabbed her arm in its mouth inflicting several puncture wounds. iIt did not intend to hurt her but did fortunately it only required a few bandages and antibiotics. We were lucky the inflatable dingy did not get punctured.

Beware the pigs. They are not pets but are big very strong animals. They do get aggressive over food.
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Old 17-06-2014, 17:26   #14
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

Quote:
Originally Posted by solecollector View Post
Hello all -

Can anyone give me some of their personal "best places" to visit? We love being where nobody else is for three or four days and then finding a nice little bar to tell our stories is always fun as well

Thanks in advance! _steve
Second the advice of being careful around the swimming Pigs. Especially don't let the children feed them. They may be cute but, you don't want anybody to lose any fingers. Personally, I prefer never to feed any wild animals.

Here are some of the highlights from a trip we made through the area in 2012:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY TWO: STANIEL CAY YACHT CLUB
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY 3: SURPRISE and the THUNDERBALL GROTTO
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY 4: SWIMMING PIGS AND WIND TURBINES
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY FIVE: COMPASS CAY MARINA AND RACHEL'S BATH
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY SEVEN: BELL ISLAND AND WARDERICK WELLS CAY
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY NINE: CAMP DRIFTWOOD
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: CAPT. MIKE IN THE EXUMAS DAY ELEVEN: NORMAN CAY
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Old 17-06-2014, 21:58   #15
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Re: Advice going to Exumas next week

If you need to anchor a night or two in Nassau, there is a nice anchorage on the south side of Rose island, about half way down and between a long slender island to the south of Rose Island.
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