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Old 06-01-2011, 06:01   #1
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Bahamas in the Summer

Who has had the experience of cruising the Bahamas in summer ie hurricane season. The water will be warmer etc but what other pros and cons are there apart from the hurricane danger. Re the latter is there anywhere to tie up to ie mangroves etc or should one run for Florida? All thoughts appreciated.
Clyde
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:48   #2
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Except for the chance of hurricanes, the summer is the best time to go to the Bahamas.

What to do in a hurricane depends on a lot, where you are, how much notice you have, how severe is the forecast, etc. There are some good hurricane holes in various places in the Bahamas. If you are close enough to Florida or other protected waters, and have time to run, then getting out of its way is good.

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Old 06-01-2011, 06:51   #3
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We reside in FL and have gone to the Bahamas during the summer/fall for the past two years (52' Kanter, 6' draft). We have really enjoyed the lack of crowds and the warmer water for swimming and diving. The Exumas were beautiful and we didn't see boats for days.
Some areas are still crowded - Abaco and Georgetown. I listened to weather carefully- many vhf nets- and planned on moving accordingly.
Remember, most significant hurricane months are Sept and Oct, very rare prior to that. You are pretty safe during the summer and any significant weather is developing a long way away and you will have ample warning.
There are several "hurricane holes" but I was planning on avoidance as we can do better than 200 miles per day and just move.
Good Luck!!!
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:53   #4
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I haven't been in the Bahamas in summer, but heard stories about the sandflies being awfully pesky then. We didn't encounter any in Feb. - April. How bad are they? Do they concentrate in particular areas you can avoid? . . . Or are the stories about them a bit overblown?
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:05   #5
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I've sailed June and July but never into the main hurricane time. I know many just keep an ear to the forecasts and would either fly out or shelter in one of the towns as the residents do.

There tends to be less wind and a bit hotter It can get a bit sticky below. More late afternoon showers in the Abacos anyways. Due to that , the mosquitos can come out some evenings - I just anchor farther out. The lobster season is over.

However, the water is warm and great for swimming and snorkeling. The cold fronts are gone. It's a nice time to cruise there.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:08   #6
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Any place you see a lot of Casaurinas you will find the "no see ums" like the marina at what used to be Jack Tar, now called Old Bahama Bay, in West End Grand Bahama. Guana Cay is another place where you learn how to do the "Guana Fan". They come out in force as the sun goes down and if your unfortunate enough to have anchored close to them the only defense is to coat all the screens with diesel fuel and stay below until the wind or daylight comes.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:12   #7
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Been doing it for the past ten years. Plan ahead so you''re never too far away from a hurricane hideout. The Abacos are full of them. Cossing the Guldf Stream with a hurricane behind you is no way to travel.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:21   #8
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summer cruise

Thanks for input. Any more precise info of where to try to hide re hurricane. Also strengths of wind on anchor, most frequent direction etc. Want less crowded anchorages. Even a good, proven sailing route amongst the islands can include Turks & Caicos further South.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:25   #9
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Summer in the Bahamas is beautiful. Just check out your hurricane holes, or haulout possibilities. There are umpteen of them to choose from.

As to heat, we ran a fan occasionally, but other than that it was very tolerable. Aside from lobster being illegal, the snorkeling and diving is superb, as the water is very warm; you can stay in for hours without a wetsuit.

Very few boats out there with you; if you like that, it's good. Georgetown, which at this date has 133 boats in the harbor, and will build to 300, give or take (well down from peak years with as many as 500) later this spring, may have a dozen altogether. Marsh Harbour, a crowded anchorage in season (along with the several marinas and the Moorings/Sunsail operation, along with the BoyScout program), had a half-dozen tightly kniit cruisers there during this last season, in part due only to a few of us having mechanical issues preventing moving elsewhere. Other less populated places will have even fewer.

Running to FL, IMHO, is a non-starter. If the weather is bad enough for a hurricane, getting a good window to FL is chancy at best, and then you have to find a good place to hide once you're there. WAAY too many choices in the Bahamas to cut and run, sez I.

Many places have hurricane proven moorings; nobody's there, so there are many available to choose from. Anchoring is another subject entirely, and up to you as to what you do about it. If you're skinny enough, you might be able to go up some mangroves, but it's pretty shallow, and most of the ones I've visited are pretty narrow as well. Best bet is to get into a 360* coverage location, whether moored or not, of which there are also many.

Back to the experience, stay offshore to avoid the bugs; it's easy, most places, as there's no place which doesn't have shallows nearby (say, 20' or less) where you can anchor, and breezes are better on open water as well.

We're coming back, again, this year (well, we're here, but we're leaving, for a minor refit, then a wedding and a birth (different women!) before returning...

L8R

Skip, lying George Town, on the way to Conception for a few days before returning, before then heading to the Jumentos
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:28   #10
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Great thread, thanks.
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Old 06-01-2011, 13:01   #11
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Springbok,
The Turks and Caico are too flat and unprotected for hurricanes (my opinion only) First time across the pond, the Abacos would be my choice with many islands, great diving, and good hurricanes holes like Liesure Lee.
All the best,'Clif
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Old 06-01-2011, 19:15   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clifford sloan View Post
Springbok,
The Turks and Caico are too flat and unprotected for hurricanes (my opinion only) First time across the pond, the Abacos would be my choice with many islands, great diving, and good hurricanes holes like Liesure Lee.
All the best,'Clif
Leisure Lee is indeed a great hole - but the guy who we rented a dock from in Leisure Lee, on a couple of flights back to the states, tells us that every empty space is permanently leased by Sunsail/Moorings, for just that purpose.

However, Man'O'War, Hopetown, Green Turtle (White Sound), and Little Harbour, if you draw 6 feet or less, are all great holes, too...

L8R

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Old 07-01-2011, 03:40   #13
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Thanks

Well it looks like summer in the Bahamas is an option. Pay attention to weather reports and close vicinity of "hurricane holes". Have experienced 6 hurricanes in Caribbean, damage in 3, and know preperations needed etc. Will definitely consider a summer cruise. Thanks again for the input. Will study thecharts re hurricane holes mentioned.
Clyde
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:24   #14
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There's a great description of riding out a hurricane up in the mangrove creeks of Shroud Cay in the book "Out Island Doctor," by Evans Cottman. He didn't do everything right, but he and his boat survived. It's a wonderful book to get a sense of what the Bahamas were like back in the 1930s and 40s, too, before TV and GPS and cell phones.
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Old 23-01-2011, 06:30   #15
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Springbok -

We have sailed in the Northern Bahamas and Abacos twice during the summer months!
We've a monohull center cockpit sloop with a 6' draft.

Everything stated previously is as we experienced (happily, no hurricanes!)

Highly recommend:

windex spray (and refills) - for easy and efficient killing of flying insects that bite

wind scoops - to capture the light winds and funnel it below for comfort

Explorer Chartbooks - have three regions for full coverage of the Bahamas (great detail) i

Best wishes for a good trip!

Sailing Mermaid
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