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Old 04-04-2007, 07:06   #1
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Back from the Bahamas

We have just returned from our 1st winter cruise. Our itinerary was Texas, across the Gulf to Florida, Dry Tortugas, up the keys to Marathon, across to Bimini, Chub Cay, Nassau, Exumas to Georgetown, and back to Texas by the same route. We have a 36' S2 and travel with our 2 dogs.
If anyone wants the latest info on any of these areas I would be happy to help. I will be updating my web log at Improve your sailing skills with a licensed Captain.

Fair winds,
Captain Dave
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Old 04-04-2007, 13:11   #2
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Looks like you had a great trip there. Glad to hear of an 11.0 S@ actually cruising out there!
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Old 10-04-2007, 13:06   #3
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Hey Captain Dave, (and any others who may have done a similar trip)

This is my first post--great site, wish we had more time to check it out! We've just sailed down from Massachusetts to Florida, and we're getting ready to do a similar trip, at least across to the Bahamas and south from there. Did you have any luck finding electronic charts for these areas? I swear I checked for them online before I left and the raster charts were available on the NIMA website, but I can't find them now. I'm talking raster or vector charts on CD to use on a laptop, not the chips for chartplotters.

We'd love to know if anyone found the Explorer or NIMA or other charts electronically for a reasonable price.

Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2007, 00:25   #4
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Karl...the ONLY charts worth having for the bahamas are the Explorer charts and for the PC they are only available from nobeltec for $350...so I'd say...get the paper chartsbooks and just plug in the waypoints on your gps.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:49   #5
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I agree. We used the paper Explorer charts and the waypoints were always spot on.
Enjoy your trip. I'm envious that ours is over (for now).
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:40   #6
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You can also get the Explorer Charts on C-MAP . I used them last year
If you have a card reader some of the computer chart programs will read these C-MAP cartridges
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Old 11-04-2007, 13:46   #7
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Explorer charts doth rock. Steve Dodge in the hip pocket don't hurt either
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Old 12-04-2007, 15:24   #8
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Explorer charts it is!

Thanks to everyone's advice--we knew Explorer charts were the way to go, but I didn't know if they were available electronically or not. I guess paper it is, and we'll use our small-scale US government charts to navigate on the computer. $350 versus $150 is a big difference!

We're also thinking now that we might skip the Abacos and head straight down to the Exumas instead, hopefully via the Berry Islands and Eleuthera. I was really looking forward to the Abacos, but time presses... Any strong votes otherwise?

And one last question: if we wanted to head farther south, say, the Dominican Republic, what charts would you recommend? Both electronic and paper?

Thanks again...

Karl and Melissa
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Old 13-04-2007, 04:02   #9
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Berry Islands, to New Providence (Nassau), to Exumas. There’s no reason for a cruising boat to go to Eleuthera.
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Old 13-04-2007, 05:38   #10
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Whatever you do, DO NOT get Navionics chips. My new boat came with a Raymarine Chartplotter so I had to have Navionics. They are full of geo-referencing errors. I once anchored on the banks side of the Exumas and the plotter showed me on the sound (ocean)side of the island. It has many errors in all areas of the Bahamas, not just the Exumas. I have corresponded with Navionics and pointed out specific errors . Their answer is that the "new" chips are better but they cannot or will not tell me whether the errors I pointed out have been corrected. I am not stupid enough to lay out more money for the same crap. We all know that electronic charts are not to be relied on blindly but these Navionic ones are a farce. One newbie relied on his Navionics chip this year and ran over and island and wrecked his boat. Sorry if I sound a bit vitriolic but I am stuck with them and have been irritated by them for the past three years. I use Explorer charts and still use my BBA Chart Kit which I got the first time I came here in 1990. They were the only charts then and although some of the charts date from two centuries ago the kit is very useful to get a big picture and for planning. My only criticism of Explorer charts is that they do not give a chart with a large enough scale for planning. Right now I'm in Green Turtle Cay s-l-o-w-l-y working my way back home. Eighty degrees, sunny but wait .... a strong cold front is coming through on Sunday. Hang on tight! Gord, Thunderball is back in business in Staniel.
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Old 13-04-2007, 06:40   #11
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Rick:
Thanks for remembering my interest in Club Thunderball & Staniel Cay. Is there a new facility, as someone previously reported they were working on, or is the “old” building club in use?

”... Thunderball is back in business in Staniel.”
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Old 13-04-2007, 16:45   #12
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Remember, to use nobeltech charts you need the nobeltech software. There are older versions of Bahama electronic charts from Maptech and Softchart from around 2001 give or take a couple of years that have the Explorer charts or Pavilidis' sketch charts. Ask other cruiser about them and you may get to "borrow" their disk.

Karl, for the DR look for paper charts from Wavy Line Publishing. They have a couple of nice 2 sided waterproof charts that cover a number of harbors in the DR. They are reproductions of DMA charts for the most part but they pack a lot of information from multiple DMA charts on to one or 2 charts.

Pavilidis' guide to the Turks and Caicos and of course Van Sants "Gentlemans" guide are good sources for DR info.

Bob Stewart
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Old 15-04-2007, 12:05   #13
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Eleuthera, Bahamas, thorny path...

I know we don't have to go to Eleuthera, but I'd really rather do the farther out islands rather than Nassau. I visited the Bahamas (Nassau and Eleuthera) once when I was a kid, and I really want to visit some of the old haunts (the pink sand beaches, for instance), but I could certainly do without a trip to Nassau.

That being said, thanks for the advice, especially on the DR charts. We're hoping to be able to "borrow" some charts from friends in Miami. I know our software is compatible with Maptech, but so far we've been using charts off the US government website, straight BSB files and ENCs. I thought the BSBs were available for non-US holdings, but I was wrong. On the NIMA website, it seems to indicate that ENCs for the rest of the world will be available starting in September, but it being a US government website, information on it was obscure to say the least. Anyone have a scoop on that?

Still, we're waffling over whether to do the Bahamas now, or the Key West to Yucatan passage and do Central America instead. Any advice on that front? I'm just unsure which path will get us out of the hurricane belt more quickly.

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 15-04-2007, 12:47   #14
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I really think you'd LOVE the Bahamas. The water is the best I think you'll ever see. The sailing is uncomplicated. It is a very cruiser friendly place. There will be islands that are certainly more beautiful, maybe more convient, but I don't think you'll find too many places that have so much in such an easily accessible local.
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Old 18-04-2007, 04:18   #15
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Hi!
I need a favor from the cruising community...I need to find 4 or 5 couples, preferably with kids, who have been to the Bahamas recently and who want to be featured in the Passage Notes section of Cruising World. I'm in Fort Lauderdale, and I'll be in the keys next weekend, so if you're anywhere in South Florida and you'd like to be interviewed and have your photo taken for the magazine, please get in touch with me.

melanie@melanieneale.com

Thanks!!!!
Melanie
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