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Old 13-01-2010, 20:03   #1
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Talking Andros Island

We're looking at spending a couple of months in the Bahamas this spring. Our initial plan was to start in the Abacos, head down the Berrys and eventually end up at Andros Island. We have some friends who live there and wanted to visit them. However, everyone I have talked to about Andros has tried to steer me away from there, saying the navigation is tough and it's not safe (crime problems/violence and theft). Our friends live on the naval base there but I don't know if we'll have access to the base or not. I was wondering if anyone had some first hand knowledge, advice and/or opinions about this island. Any input would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 13-01-2010, 21:44   #2
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Anywhere in the Bahamas beats the six inches of snow outside my window!
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Old 14-01-2010, 07:09   #3
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Amen to that! Actually, we're in Florida right now. I know, I know, nothing like what you are dealing with. But I'm heartily tired of ice everywhere in the morning. I'm ready for some warm weather again.
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Old 14-01-2010, 07:16   #4
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It's been about 5 yrs. since we've been to Andos, but at that time it was safe.
We were anchored at Morgans Bluff for 4 or 5 days and were able to arrange transportation, either by bike or car, to wherever we wanted to go.
There was a storm coming in one night and they insisted we come into the harbor for better protection.
We have good memories of Morgans Bluff and the surrounding area.
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Old 14-01-2010, 07:30   #5
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The only bad thing I've heard about Andros was that in the Bights through the middle of the island you might encounter a few shady smuggler types. And I'm not sure if that is recent info, or dated rumors.

Not that smuggling ever goes out of style, but I think it was more rampant in the 70s and 80s. . . .

Anyway, we plan on putting in to Morgan's Bluff for a day or two en route to the Exumas in late Feb.
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Old 14-01-2010, 07:41   #6
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I've been to Andros a couple of times, and never had any problems. That doesn't mean there couldn't be any. If you insist on trying the passage inside the reef you will find it quite a tough go. I suggest a very shallow draft, only move when the sun is high and the water is flat. That being said the Tongue of the Ocean is just a little ways off shore and is 6000 feet deep. If you can manage to run aground there you should give up boating. To visit people at the at AUTEC you'll need to go into Fresh Creek, you are not allowed in the naval base harbor. The Marina there is government run and nota a bad place to stay. The current in the creek is strong so be prepared. Though the Marina has a fuel dock, but supplies are spotty at best. Fuel is often scheduled to be delivered next Thursday, no matter what day you ask.

At Fresh creek there are a couple of Islands just offshore and north of the channel that you can anchor behind if you would like to Anchor out and dinghy in. They give you very good protection from winds anywhere in the eastern hemisphere. The entrance to the anchoring area crosses a bar of very white sand and the water is very clear you would swear it was only a foot deep, but we never saw less than 7 feet. If you have the explorer charts, just cross the deepest part of the bar and you'll be ok. Water in the anchoring area behind the islands is abot 9-10 feet at low tide and is deep sand. There are areas of grass that are difficult to set in but go for the deep sand.

I've also spent time at Morgan's Bluff. The marina there is a commercial marina and does not have cruiser type ammenities, but they often have fuel when no one else does. The Fuel dock is cash only so be prepared. You can also anchor out just outside of the commercial harbor in about 9 feet of water with good holding. There is a water dock there where the large water tanker for Nassau fills up with fresh water, so steer clear of that area as the boat will arrive at any time of the day or night. Because the entrance is maintained for that vessel it is quite deep and will give you no trouble.

I hope this helps.
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Old 14-01-2010, 08:18   #7
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Amen to the fuel thing. We're selling our Bahamas house because I'm just sick and tired of "We nawmally carry dot, but we out of stock right now". The next question is "When will you be getting some?", answered by "They's a boat next Thoisday". Next question, "Will there be some on that boat", followed by a smile and a shrug. Ten years ago I was overjoyed at the prospect of living on island time, but like salt and booze, there is such a thing as too much of something. It's a great place to visit, but you really don't want to live there. What was quaint and cute very quickly becomes annoying progressing to infuriating.

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Old 14-01-2010, 08:21   #8
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Fresh Creek

I have been to Andros many times and stay at the Marina in Fresh Creek. That is the closest spot for access to the base. They do maintain a website, a search should pull it up. Entry is straight forward from outside the reefs. Andros provides water for Nassau, and is a good place to tank up. Don't miss the inland blue holes or the Amish farms for fresh vegs. You can rent a car from Hank's Place a bar restaurant a short walk from the Marina. Don't try and anchor in the harbor at Fresh Creek the bottom is scoured by the swift current. There are a few moorings but they generally are taken. All in all one of my favorite stops in the Bahamas.
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Old 14-01-2010, 08:50   #9
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Be sure to stop in at the "Thousand Fathoms" bar at the base. Prices are incredible and there is shuffleboard.
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Old 15-01-2010, 19:31   #10
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Thanks

Thanks to all. This gives us something to think about.
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Old 27-04-2010, 22:35   #11
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Is it possible to anchor in the Joulters anywhere? Cat with 4' 3" draft. We would like to do some bonefishing for a few hours and it's too far to get to with our dinghy if we were to go from the Morgan's Bluff anchorage. Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-04-2010, 07:13   #12
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About 6 years ago we anchored in 5 feet of water just off the middle key in the Joulters on a SW wind. We were less than 100 yards from shore. We only drew 3 feet on that boat so we were ok, you might not want to get so close. I think that it would be ok on any wind with a westerly component through south. It would probably be an issue in north through east. Google earth shows some possibility of getting inside on the north and south end of the middle key. We never explored that possibility 6 years ago. I think you would have to explore the area in a dink before determining if one could actually get into those cuts or not. Also the water runs off the banks pretty fast with the tide so the current in those cuts is likely to be a problem. Now for the bad news. Horse Flys!!!!!! When we anchored there even with a fully screened deck we had problems. They are big and they bite and they were there in huge numbers. Apparently they think deet is just a good tasting sauce for the meat. In Morgan's bluff we did not have a problem with the horse flys and it's not that far away.

If you go up there from Morgan's Bluff make sure you go far enough north to clear the reefs before heading for the Joulters. We went snorkeling on one of those reefs two years ago and found a completely broken up fiberglass sailboat.
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Old 28-04-2010, 09:28   #13
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Thanks for an informative and timely reply, Captain Bill. I guess this is the time I finally find out if my bonefishing guide on Abaco years ago was kidding or not when he said the best deterrent for the horseflies is to use Lemon Joy instead of deet. Should be messy and smelly but if it keeps those monsters away it will be worth it. We will indeed explore in the dinghy before trying to enter around the middle island. Thanks again.
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