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Old 15-06-2011, 13:30   #16
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Wow. I've been trying to find a charter place in Nassau to no avail.. know the name or link??
Try these folks
Bahamas Bareboat Charter Exumas Nassau Georgetown : Navtours Sailboat & Catamaran Renal

I see their boats all the time in the Exumas. Mostly in the north end around Normans Cay and down to Staniel Cay. They are a Canadian outfit from Quebec and the boats are out of Nassau Yacht Haven in Nassau. Most of their clients are Quebeckers.
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Old 15-06-2011, 13:31   #17
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

I can set up what you like in the bahamas www dot gaitweighsailing dot com
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Old 15-06-2011, 20:08   #18
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

Vasco,
That's nice to hear I could possibly charter in the Exumas and thanks for the post.
Bahamas Bareboat has 10 sloops for charter and 4 catamarans. I chartered a cat in the Abacos where it was very shallow. Do you think you can get enough variety and access to nice places sailing a sloop in the Exumas? Is the water generally deeper than in the Abacos?
yado
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Old 16-06-2011, 11:13   #19
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

The Exumas are easy from Nassau to Georgetown. There is a lot of shallow water, but a lot of 15 ft water with wave protection inside the island chain. You can see the bottom, sail in 15 knots of wind with no wave action! A lot of places to stop and anchor too. The Abacos felt harder to navigate to me... The last day trip to Georgetown (if you went that far) is exposed water, and you need a good GPS to enter G'town harbor.
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Old 16-06-2011, 11:47   #20
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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Vasco,
That's nice to hear I could possibly charter in the Exumas and thanks for the post.
Bahamas Bareboat has 10 sloops for charter and 4 catamarans. I chartered a cat in the Abacos where it was very shallow. Do you think you can get enough variety and access to nice places sailing a sloop in the Exumas? Is the water generally deeper than in the Abacos?
yado

The Exumas beats Abaco hands down! Lots of different anchorages and all are deeper than trying to get into Hopetown or anchoring in Marsh Harbour. You can sail outside in Exumas Sound if the weather cooperates or you can sail on the Bank side down to Rudder Cut with up to 6 ft draft. The variety is much greater than sailing in the Hub area or even from Whale Cay Cut northwards. The distances are a bit greater and I would try for a two week charter rather than doing everything in a week.

Pic of Staniel Cay, one of settled cays.

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Old 18-06-2011, 09:11   #21
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

I feel overall, the Exumas are shallower than the Abacos.

From somewhere south of Farmers to Georgetown for example almost all cruising boats leave the banks to travel on the ocean side of the Cays due to the extremely shallow water found inside the Cays there.

In contrast, when cruising the Abacos, the only place most cruising boats feel a need to leave the banks is for a very short jaunt around Whale Cay. Even, there boats having a 5 foot draft can stay inside if they use the tide. People often forget that one can travel the ocean side of the Abacos as well. The reason most don't is because the bank side offers adequate enough draft, often close to the cays. Similarly, the bank side of the Exumas has a few areas where most boats must be close to 2 miles out from the islands. This is less true of the Abacos. One can follow the entire chain fairly closely on the inside, again with the brief exception of Whale Cay.

I tend to find more isolated anchorages in the Abacos than I do in the Exumas, often having more than half the nights to myself. (Even on a recent charter in the populated area, we spent 2/3 of the nights at isolated anchorages) I feel the Abacos have more small towns to visit. The Exumas have warmer water in the winter, and a bit less wind which is a big plus for me and have a few grottos to snorkel in which one won't find in the Abacos. Obviously the cruiser's winter hang out in Georgetown is much larger than anything in the Abacos.

I think which is better all depends on what your priorities are.
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Old 18-06-2011, 20:27   #22
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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I feel overall, the Exumas are shallower than the Abacos.

*** Subjective, but everybody is entitled to their opinion. Get the Explorer Charts to actually find out what the depths really are in both places.***

From somewhere south of Farmers to Georgetown for example almost all cruising boats leave the banks to travel on the ocean side of the Cays due to the extremely shallow water found inside the Cays there.

**** NOT! The body of water east of the Exumas is Exumas Sound which lies between Cat Island and the Exumas.

. . . Similarly, the bank side of the Exumas has a few areas where most boats must be close to 2 miles out from the islands. This is less true of the Abacos. . . .

*** Not! So long as you do not draw more the 5 to 6 feet of draft you can get up close and personal to just about all the Exumas. Of course, you need the Explorer Charts to show you where the channels are located and the depths.***

I tend to find more isolated anchorages in the Abacos than I do in the Exumas, often having more than half the nights to myself. (Even on a recent charter in the populated area, we spent 2/3 of the nights at isolated anchorages) I feel the Abacos have more small towns to visit.

*** Quite true. The Exumas offer a lot of wonderful opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle of "civilization" and spend some quality time by yourself and with neighboring boats.
- - Even further down from Georgetown, Exumas is Long Island, a great get-a-way place but with wonderful local folks. A little further is the Jumentos Islands which are really "away from it all." ***

. . . I think which is better all depends on what your priorities are.
So Yes, it all depends upon what you are looking for in cruising.
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:07   #23
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

Osirissail:

I never claimed the portion of the Atlanatic Ocean I was referring to was not called Exuma Sound. I don't disagree with that label. The name however does not change the fact that most boats following the Exuma Cays choose to leave banks side due to the shallow water there.

Most boats following the Exuma Cays leave the banks for a much greater distance due to shallow water than they do when following the Abaco Cays. I really don't see how you can dispute this. I have traveled the entire length of the Abacos Cays from Walker's to Little Harbour with enough depth to never leave the banks. Have you ever sailed from the top of the Exuma chain down to Georgetown with deep enough water to stay on the Banks the entire time?

I also never claimed one could not get up close and personal to the Exumas. You have misinterpreted my words. I feel shoaling extending from the cays out into the banks is often more extensive in the Exumas than in the Abacos, though certainly both have such shoaling that must be avoided.
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:43   #24
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

Your choice of words is highly misleading same as if I said that to sail from Treasure Cay to Hope Town you need to sail on the "ocean side" of Great Abaco.
- - Likewise, the routes from Marsh Harbor south are very restricted due to shoals.
- - The two areas are quite different and neither has shoaling that is restrictive enough to make the other a better or worse choice.
- - However, I did say that you were spot on about choosing between cruising "in civilization" (e.g. Abacos) versus sailing away from civilization (e.g., Exumas). Some folks like having people density and access to the hustle and bustle of busy towns and others want to get away from all that and hang out at virtually deserted islands. "It all depends upon what your priorities are . . ."
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:53   #25
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

Thank you very much to all for the excellent advice. Having taken all the suggestions in mind I have decided to follow Vasco's suggestion and charter a boat with Navtours for the first half of January.

I'd be grateful for any "must see" advice on the cays and also any tips on provisioning, water, mobile phone coverage and internet access in the Exumas. Also, in Belize I found the chartplotter to be more "decorative" than useful annd would have grounded had we relied on it near Anegada in the BVIs. What is coverage like in the Exumas?

If anyone has experience of Navtours I should be most grateful for their impressions and for any information on the differences their charter might have from the bigger agencies i.e. Sunsail and Moorings. Specifically:

1. Is it expected that charterers follow the flotilla concept throughout the entire charter? I see the point for getting to the cays but after that I'd prefer to have flexibility.
2. What sort of charts and guides does the charter boat come with? I have ordered the Pavlidis book "A Cruising Guide to the Exuma Cays" but does the boat come with the Explorer Charts mentioned in the foregoing.
3. Are there any extras such as BBQ's, swimming fins etc available?

Obviously, I will ask Navtours ome of these things but third party impressions are always best.
Many thanks
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Old 19-06-2011, 03:46   #26
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Your choice of words is highly misleading same as if I said that to sail from Treasure Cay to Hope Town you need to sail on the "ocean side" of Great Abaco.
- - Likewise, the routes from Marsh Harbor south are very restricted due to shoals.
- - The two areas are quite different and neither has shoaling that is restrictive enough to make the other a better or worse choice....
."
The shoals south of of Marsh Harbour do not require one to leave the banks and both routes around the Lubber's Bank closely follow either Abaco or Elbow. They do not force one any distance from land.

The shoaling/shallow water and the distance it requires one to travel outside the bank is a difference that can have a real impact. The couple miles traveling around Whale Cay is simply not the same as the distance one must travel in Exuma Sound when heading to Georgetown. With one very short exception, the Abacos offers very protected sailing on the banks between the Cays and Great/Little Abaco Islands. It's probably one reason the Moorings and Sunsail chose the Abacos over the Exumas for their base.

On my last charter I had to travel about 40 miles into 25+ ESE knots to get back to Marsh Harbour in time. Since the banks kept the wave action way down it wasn't that bad. If instead I had been sailing in Exuma Sound heading to Georgetown into the same 25 knots (because the banks side is too shallow there), the seas would have been much higher and the going much, much tougher.

It is a real difference and one worth telling someone who is considering sailing those two locations about, especially for a short charter trip. I'm not bashing the Exumas. (They are without a doubt a wonderful cruising ground and in my initial post I stated the ways in which I prefer them to the Abacos.) All I'm doing is I believe accurately describing some differences I've seen which someone may wish to consider in making their choice. I stated very clearly that one may prefer either depending on their individual tastes.
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Old 26-10-2011, 22:16   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaggioVerde
Thank you very much to all for the excellent advice. Having taken all the suggestions in mind I have decided to follow Vasco's suggestion and charter a boat with Navtours for the first half of January.

I'd be grateful for any "must see" advice on the cays and also any tips on provisioning, water, mobile phone coverage and internet access in the Exumas. Also, in Belize I found the chartplotter to be more "decorative" than useful annd would have grounded had we relied on it near Anegada in the BVIs. What is coverage like in the Exumas?

If anyone has experience of Navtours I should be most grateful for their impressions and for any information on the differences their charter might have from the bigger agencies i.e. Sunsail and Moorings. Specifically:

1. Is it expected that charterers follow the flotilla concept throughout the entire charter? I see the point for getting to the cays but after that I'd prefer to have flexibility.
2. What sort of charts and guides does the charter boat come with? I have ordered the Pavlidis book "A Cruising Guide to the Exuma Cays" but does the boat come with the Explorer Charts mentioned in the foregoing.
3. Are there any extras such as BBQ's, swimming fins etc available?

Obviously, I will ask Navtours ome of these things but third party impressions are always best.
Many thanks
Raggioverde, I am now thinking of doing the same trip in June 2012. Which boat did you charter from Navtours? Would love to see a trip report when you get back.

Everyone else -- any thoughts or concerns about exumas in June?

Thanks,
brett
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:11   #28
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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Originally Posted by RaggioVerde View Post
Thank you very much to all for the excellent advice. Having taken all the suggestions in mind I have decided to follow Vasco's suggestion and charter a boat with Navtours for the first half of January.
You'll have a great time in the Exumas. A couple of my favourite spots are Normans Cay and Shroud Cay. Here's a pic of a Navtours boat stuck in Normans Cay. The locals pulled him off. Actually the water is easy to read and you shouldn't have any problems.
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Old 27-10-2011, 16:23   #29
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Re: Antigua, St Martin or Bahamas? winter charter

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You'll have a great time in the Exumas. A couple of my favourite spots are Normans Cay and Shroud Cay. Here's a pic of a Navtours boat stuck in Normans Cay. The locals pulled him off. Actually the water is easy to read and you shouldn't have any problems.
I agree about the easy to read water, takes a real bonehead (Bonefish?:>))to run hard aground there!
Stop posting these pics... I want to go back! Waaaa

OP: I like to take my own Mask and fins. They dont have to be real fancy, but fit well and be comfortable. If you have a local dive shop, often they have last year's models as economical as anywhere. You dont need those huge modern fins, the old fashioned rubber ones are more comfortable and fine for snorkeling.
On the mask, look for strap adjustments that really work! some just dont. The seal around the edge that fits your face should be very soft. Put the mask on without the strap and suck in on your nose.... the mask should seal tight for a few seconds...s
A thin "dive skin" is very nice in the Bahamas. You will find ome cool water early and later swarms of thimble jellies. They dont really sting much but make you itch a little....
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Old 28-10-2011, 00:37   #30
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Re: Antigua, St. Martin or Bahamas for Winter Charter ?

Dear Brett
I have chartered "Kokomo" a new 2012 model Beneteau 37' from Navtours who also sent me a good sample itinerary in pdf.

I will certainly post a report when I get back.

Personally, I would be keen to know whether it is permissable (perhaps with a license) to troll a fishing line over the stern. I am not looking to do any active fishing. It will be pot luck only.
RV
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