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Old 06-08-2013, 09:58   #1
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Bahamas: Need some Advice

I have sailed my previous boat to the Bahamas (CSY 44') but that was a decade ago. I now have a Lagoon 440 and am planning on cruising around for three weeks or so. But of course - it can't be that easy...!

I'll leave Key Largo in a few weeks have my wife with me. She has to go back to work 10 days in the trip so I'll be on my own for three. Then I have my parents coming in for four days and my wife will be back. They all leave me alone for three days and then I have an employee and his girlfriend and my wife come back. We sail for a few days and then all of us sail back to Key Largo.

So here are a few questions:

1. Is Bimini going to be the best place to fly everyone in and out of? Tickets on the dates I'm looking at are $189 - $239 from Fort Lauderdale.

2. What are the best... if any... phone options? I have a number of phone calls that I'll need to take while I'm here.

3. Wireless - will need access every few days for a few hours.

4. What are the must see areas? I'm real cool with going to out of the way places. I've sailed from Key Largo to the USVIs 10 years ago and had tons of fun just poking around the Bahamas from Cat Cay to Georgetown.

Thanks all! I'm so looking forward to getting back into it! Have done a shakedown cruse to Key West and things seem to be solid - the items that weren't - I fixed - !
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:12   #2
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

1. I would not enjoy the obligation to sail back to Bimini for each flight in or out. Marsh Harbor would be a better choice for me to allow more interesting ports with the airport nearby.
2 & 3. I'd put the wifi use and the phone needs together by using Skype. Many of the local bars and restaurants will support your wifi use and you can enjoy a beer and sandwich at the same time.
4. I'm no good with this question. I tend to like places that others claim to be boring.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:15   #3
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

Bimini is very limiting. There is not much to see in the area, and not many nice anchorages. If I were you, I would base out of Marsh harbor in the Abacos. Tons of places to sail to within a few hours, lots of marinas and anchorages, and lots of variety. Flights in and out of Marsh Harbor are frequent. Lots to see on the way over and back too. The northern Abacos are beautiful and unspoiled, places like Moraine Cay, Spanish Cay, Double Breasted Cay, etc. The only down side is that it is quite a bit farther north from the FL Keys.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:21   #4
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

wow, pretty tight schedule. I would probably go for Nassau as the place to send and collect people. Definitely not Bimini! Nassau's central... so you can cruise north or south from there. (east of west?)
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:22   #5
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

Marsh Harbor would be my choice as well. There are dozens of nice places to go within a day sail of MH- Hopetown, Nippers for their pig roast, Little Harbor, Treasure Cay, Bakers Bay, etc. None are isolated and pristine, but fun none the less.

When you are there, and maybe in Hopetown and Great Guana Cay as well you can sign up for a months wifi coverage from a local provider. It may take a wifi amplifier to work in the anchorage. Then as the other poster said, hook up with Skype.

David
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:42   #6
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My vote also is for the Abacos, for ease of the arrival of passengers via the Marsh Harbour airport and for cruising options. You can utilize the ferry services in the Abacos to bring folks to you in most places around Marsh Harbour if time and weather dictate. Great Guana Cay, Hope Town, and Man of War Cay are all just a short ferry ride away.

Nassau does have Atlantis if there would be children involved. Lots of water park type stuff and aquariums w/ manta rays, sharks and turtles. Dockage at Atlantis is 4 to 7 dollars a foot per day plus electric and water. This will not be island cruising but might be what you want.

What ever way you go you family will remember there time aboard. Rich
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:01   #7
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

Marsh Harbour (Abacos) or Staniel Cay (Exumas). Both offer great short cruising options and airport (although Marsh Harbour's airport has direct flights). Have fun!!
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:02   #8
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

I'm liking the Marsh Harbour area. I've only been to Bimini on down - tons of islands below Bimini but none above. I'm getting pretty stoked and liking the photos of Pete's Pub already....
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:35   #9
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Post Script: If you check with the Travel Bahamas website or Facebook page there maybe travel incentives for you guests flying in. The Tourism folks of the Bahamas have a few programs to promote summer visitors.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:16   #10
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

I'll add another vote for the Abacos as a good location to meet your needs. Marsh Harbour is a good place to fly people in and out of, and most locations in the southern Abacos will have subscription Wifi access, or you can get it at many establishments.

The Abacos also have many uninhabited islands, not far from the small towns, etc., so you can spend a lot of time at them without being too far from the phone and Wifi services you demand. Even when I chartered there a year ago, we had an anchorage to ourselves every single one of the 9 nights we were out. Of course, the northern Bahamas are even more remote. The Carter Cays Group, Strangers and maybe Great Sale are about the only places I didn't get cell phone reception. Depending on your intended use, you can either pay the international fee for your U.S. phone or purchase a Bahamas plan there, either switching your sim card or just buying one of their phones. (I had my old Iphone unlocked before going there, but despite a new card, could never get it to work on their plan.)


Two day sails from the southern Abacos will also get you to the northern Exumas, if you want something more.

I recently sailed the Bahamas from Mayinagua up through the Abacos, and despite being so close to Florida, I think the Abacos have more uninhabited islands and anchorages you are likely to have to yourself, than islands further south.
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Old 06-08-2013, 14:07   #11
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

Just got back from the Abacos. Used Bahamas Air and Marsh Harbor Airport. $98 each way. The temporary terminal is an uncomfortable place to wait but I've seen worse. The new terminal will be open soon we heard. Lots of lovely places to sail to. I'll add Green Turtle Cay to the list.

We got cell signals but Verizon wouldn't work there. Used the call feature of Skype through a wi-fi connection.
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Old 06-08-2013, 14:15   #12
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterway Guide View Post
Marsh Harbour (Abacos) or Staniel Cay (Exumas). Both offer great short cruising options and airport (although Marsh Harbour's airport has direct flights). Have fun!!
Marsh Harbour - sounds like your best bet - but do check out Staniel Cay as well, fun and funky - see Watermakers Air
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Old 08-08-2013, 15:40   #13
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Re: Bahamas: Need some Advice

That's a very tight schedule. We were recently stuck in Nassau for 2 weeks before getting a good weather window to head back. Also, we're in the height of hurricane season and afternoon storms are the norm.
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Old 08-08-2013, 16:45   #14
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I really like the Berry Islands. There are flights into Great Harbor. The White-Devils Cay area is gorgeous and feel more "out of the way" than Bimini or Abaco. Bring Kayaks and snorkle gear! I hear there is a new shuttle to Bimini as an alternative to flying.
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