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Old 01-03-2016, 07:29   #1
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Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

We are sailing from Havana to the Exumas in Bahamas and have some different ways to choose between. Our draft is 2.20 meters or 6,8 feet so maybe it might be a bit tricky to sail over the Great Bahama Bank.
Route 1 is to sail to the Bahama Bank south of Andros Island where we cross over a depth of 4-6 meters and then sail across the Tongue of the ocean on open water and further on to Exuma Chain and cross through Dotham Cut north of Black Point. Then sail on open water down to Great Exuma.
Route 2 would be to sail with the Gulf stream North East and then cross over the Bahama bank South of Bimini and Cat Cay towards the North West Channel Beacon. Then sail down to Nassau and continue S-outh by Porgee Rock and sail across the Yellow bank down to Exuma Chain.
Any thoughts on these two suggestions or with experience of crossing the Great Bahama Bank with a deeper draft boat?
Tove and Alfred, s/y Gaija from Sweden
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:43   #2
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by affe304 View Post
We are sailing from Havana to the Exumas in Bahamas and have some different ways to choose between. Our draft is 2.20 meters or 6,8 feet so maybe it might be a bit tricky to sail over the Great Bahama Bank.
Route 1 is to sail to the Bahama Bank south of Andros Island where we cross over a depth of 4-6 meters and then sail across the Tongue of the ocean on open water and further on to Exuma Chain and cross through Dotham Cut north of Black Point. Then sail on open water down to Great Exuma.
Route 2 would be to sail with the Gulf stream North East and then cross over the Bahama bank South of Bimini and Cat Cay towards the North West Channel Beacon. Then sail down to Nassau and continue S-outh by Porgee Rock and sail across the Yellow bank down to Exuma Chain.
Any thoughts on these two suggestions or with experience of crossing the Great Bahama Bank with a deeper draft boat?
Tove and Alfred, s/y Gaija from Sweden
Howdy!

We sailed to Bimini, across the Great Bahama Bank to Chub Cay, then down to Nassau before sailing through the Exumas to Great Exuma.

Our draft was 6ft and the Great Bahama Bank was a breeze! Well actually, not really. There was 2kts of wind so we sailed through the day, then just dropped the anchor every night. It took four days but we made it to Chub in the end

It's a great stretch of water and if the weather's calm, is great for photos where the horizon merges the sky & sea.

n
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:52   #3
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

Thanks! Sounds promising, can our extra .8 feet stops us do you Think? Did you cross North or South of Bimini?
When you anchored during the night was it any traffic that could be dangerous?

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Howdy!

We sailed to Bimini, across the Great Bahama Bank to Chub Cay, then down to Nassau before sailing through the Exumas to Great Exuma.

Our draft was 6ft and the Great Bahama Bank was a breeze! Well actually, not really. There was 2kts of wind so we sailed through the day, then just dropped the anchor every night. It took four days but we made it to Chub in the end

It's a great stretch of water and if the weather's calm, is great for photos where the horizon merges the sky & sea.

n
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:55   #4
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

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Thanks! Sounds promising, can our extra .6 feet stops us do you Think?
When you anchored during the night was it any traffic that could be dangerous?
I wouldn't have thought so. We were heavily loaded with cruising supplies so likely drawing more than 6ft, and we still had plenty of water beneath the keel.

Bimini to Chub Cay is the main crossing route to Nassau, so there were a few sail / power boats transiting the route. We anchored about 1/4 mile off the route with anchor light on and never had a problem.

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Old 01-03-2016, 08:12   #5
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

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I wouldn't have thought so. We were heavily loaded with cruising supplies so likely drawing more than 6ft, and we still had plenty of water beneath the keel.

Bimini to Chub Cay is the main crossing route to Nassau, so there were a few sail / power boats transiting the route. We anchored about 1/4 mile off the route with anchor light on and never had a problem.

n
Ok, sounds great! Thank you so much for your Quick response and helpful answer!
Cheers
Tove and Alfred
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:13   #6
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

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Ok, sounds great! Thank you so much for your Quick response and helpful answer!
Cheers
Tove and Alfred
No worries! Good luck and have a great time.

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Old 01-03-2016, 08:33   #7
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

I concur with the observations above - we came back from the Exumas via Spanish Wells, Chub, and North Cat. I just checked my chart and log to refresh my memory and noted that I pretty much followed a recommended path on the Navionics chart and did not see anything less than about 10 ft. water depth. We skipped Nassau, and only saw one other boat crossing he Great Bahama Bank. If I did it again, I would go to Bimini rather than North Cat as North Cat was very expensive!
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:26   #8
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

The route East of Andros you described had plenty of water when we did it10 plus years ago. We also have crossed the banks from south of South Riding Rock direct to Chub Cay at least 10 times and never saw less than 10 feet. No coral heads and essentially zero boat traffic--anchor anywhere safely in settled weather.
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Old 01-03-2016, 18:13   #9
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

There is no need to go all the way up to Bimini. I have done South Riding Rock route 4 times coming from Key West. It is no problem at all, use Explorer charts (or RAYMarine only in that area, unreliable in many areas of the Bahamas) which Garmin electronic charts mirror.
I draw 6'2" plus.
I anchor on both sides of the bank, then West Bay, south on the tounge for 10 miles or so then cross over the Exuma bank to Highbourn Cay which also has a marina if you want one
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Old 01-03-2016, 18:28   #10
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

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SNIP

Bimini to Chub Cay is the main crossing route to Nassau, so there were a few sail / power boats transiting the route. We anchored about 1/4 mile off the route with anchor light on and never had a problem.

n
Agree, this is fairly standard advice. I would add that many folks suggest you not only have an anchor light on the top of the mast on but some other lights closer to water level. I have several of those solar lawn lights mounted on my big solar array and in and around the cockpit. Lots of folks in the Bahamas don't always look up but straight ahead when transiting.
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Old 01-03-2016, 18:37   #11
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

The route North of Bimini across the banks seems slightly deeper than from North Cat.
Either way, no problems with draft unless you are 9-10'.
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Old 01-03-2016, 18:37   #12
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Re: Crossing the Great Bahama Bank from Cuba to Bahamas?

I take it you don't have to clear in with the Bahamas to anchor while transiting the Great Bahama Bank?

I was hoping to skip the Bahamas this time (time will probably be a little short), along with the BVI, and spend a good bit of time with them when I get back. Hopefully my first stop will be Anguilla.

Thanks for the ease of anchoring info, much appreciated.
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