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Old 09-03-2013, 14:07   #16
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Re: crossing to the exumas

just my two cents.

leaving from the miami area you can clear at either bimini or cat cay. bimini marinas are cheap enough at $1 per foot and you clear a short walk from the dock. cat cay is nice too, but you'll probably need to take a slip overnight at $100 per night.

then cross the great bahama bank. consider anchoring overnight at northwest channel light, then making straight for nassau the next day, avoiding chub cay. if it's not too rolly at the light it's at least wide open and you could drag a long way before hitting anything. we've stayed there before and would do it again, although it can seem a bit weird to be anchored in ten feet of water with no sign of land all around you. from the light to nassau is a nice day sail, probably even nicer with a northeast breeze. i call nassau harbor control and they answer very officially but i wonder if they really care - we're small potatoes.

take care anchoring in nassau harbor. the bottom is heavily fouled; our friends pulled up a washing machine in their anchor a few years ago. he thought it was amazing but i thought it was more amazing that his electric windlass had that kind of power. we've stayed at nassau yacht haven a bit, which i've been told is the cheapest marina in nassau. got out as soon as laundry, food shopping, chandlery, and water were taken care of.

we detoured to chub cay last time and wish we hadn't. the marina is EXPENSIVE and the anchorage is wide open and not comfortable. holding is not very good. i dove my anchor with a hammer to try pounding it in. wouldn't do it again.

just my two cents....
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Old 09-03-2013, 14:27   #17
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Re: crossing to the exumas

I've made numerous crossings and my advice would be to run nonstop to Nassau if possible. You should make as much easting as you can if you have non easterly winds or, light winds, motor as fast as you can. Once the wind goes back to east, southeast you may have a hard time making Nassau, let alone the Exumas. You could very easily be stuck for a week or two waiting for the wind to lay down or shift. You don't want to be beating across the banks in 15 to 20 kts of east wind. I got stuck at Chubb for over a week on my first trip to the Bahamas, but I wasn't on a schedule. I learned to get to Nassau as fast as possible when you get a weather window or you might end up taking weeks just to get to Nassau.
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Old 09-03-2013, 17:27   #18
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Re: crossing to the exumas

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I've made numerous crossings and my advice would be to run nonstop to Nassau if possible.
Good advice. If you delay the front will catch up with you and then you'll know it. We always make a bee line to Nassau and if it's too rough in the Tongue of the Ocean hide behind Frazers Hog. Some say it's open and it is but it's not uncomfortable. Much better than the swell in the anchorage in Chubb. Many don't like running the Bank at night but it's really not a big deal.
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Old 09-03-2013, 18:28   #19
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Re: crossing to the exumas

Have only done the crossing once from Bimini to Nassau - did it straight through with a great weather window and buddy boating with two other boats...one who had Radar and had completed the same trip five times before. The Northwest Channel light was NOT lit when we went through. It sounds like you are not planning on entering the 'Tongue of the Ocean' through that entrance at night but just in case...I would not attempt it at night if this is your first time and/or don't have radar.

As well, you are going through a passage where on the banks side there are only twenty at the most feet of water into a body of water that is 1000's of meters deep in some places...that difference in depths can produce some nasty rage effects in the right conditions...just keep it in mind. I know many are probably saying, yeah, duh...but it cannot be minimized...

Have fun!!!!

oh, and holding stinks! in Nassau - first time we ever dragged anchor in six years of anchoring...if I were to spend anytime on land there I would find a safe marina and pay the money. We spent two nights and then headed over the yellow banks for exuma...
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Old 09-03-2013, 18:43   #20
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We went to Bimini , checked in, then across the banks to West Bay. Good anchorage. Then to Highborne Cay. You can make Normans if you need some protection.
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Old 09-03-2013, 19:25   #21
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Re: crossing to the exumas

That forecast is looking less and less with maybe Sunday night and a front approaching that you might meet head on. Sunday morning you may have ENE 15 or more and easterlies at 15 or more the rest of the day that you may be beating into. If the front gets here sooner your going to be out in the Banks with no place to go and some very uncomfortable conditions. There is no good place to anchor near Cat and the marina is very expensive. It's going to get nasty the rest of the week so where ever you are when the winds start to kick up, odds are you will be there until next week. There are major swells out there from now until at least Tuesday and no guarantee they will be down by then. This could be a major problem coming on to the deep water at Northwest Channel. All of the north and east facing passes and cuts will be closed for the rest of the week. Not an ideal forecast for a crossing. We are sitting in Bimini trying to find a window to get to the Berry's and we won't even try this week. Chuck
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Old 09-03-2013, 19:38   #22
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Re: crossing to the exumas

Forgot to add that by daylight on Wednesday it may already be blowing 20 knots or more out of the North. Chuck
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Old 09-03-2013, 21:40   #23
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Re: crossing to the exumas

If you come on the banks just north of North rock and you're in a sound sailboat and reef down it would be a fast trip to Chubb with a north wind, and the seas wouldn't be too bad. It would be an exhilarating sail and you would be wise to make Chubb in daylight. * This is probably not the best tactic for novice sailors.
I'd much rather have a fast reach to Chubb in 20 kts of wind than try to beat across the banks in 10 to 15 kts from the east.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:17   #24
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Re: crossing to the exumas

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Clearing in at Nassau is very easy, the officer (just one now, no longer a customs officer and then wait for an immigration officer) comes to your boat. The Marina gives you all the forms and you wait for the officer to come to the boat, usually a short wait. Pay your $300 or less for a smaller vessel and that's it. If you wish to anchor you can dink to the Customs office at the Cruise line dock.
That's good to hear. Like I said, I've never cleared in Nassau (on a boat) and just figured big city-itis would rule compared to the small islands where a little charm can get you things that people say can't be got, in the way of visa stays and things like that.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:12   #25
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Re: crossing to the exumas

Thanks everyone for all the words of wisdom, advice and two cents worth. It is really appreciated. Now, since the front is moving south at a faster rate, we may rethink our crossing and wait until the front goes through instead of getting stuck at Cat or Chubb.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:32   #26
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Re: crossing to the exumas

Much good advice above. For what it's worth, I was on a mooring in the channel at Frazier's Hog Cay once in a gnarly NE blow. Though there's no protection from the wind there, the very shallow banks make it a secure anchorage.

Here's another suggestion, if you have the time: ease sheets. Sail up to West End, then cross the Little Bahamas bank at your leisure (easy day sails), cruise the Abacos, and go to the Exumas from the North via Eleuthera.

Clearing in at Nassau is easy, in my experience. Treat yourself to a (very expensive) night at Atlantis marina. Sounds like you'll deserve it if you go the Bimini-to-Nassau route.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:35   #27
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Re: crossing to the exumas

Do they still close the channel into Nassau in heavy northerly weather? I can remember sitting inside watching breakers across the channel entrance.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:51   #28
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Re: crossing to the exumas

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Much good advice above. For what it's worth, I was on a mooring in the channel at Frazier's Hog Cay once in a gnarly NE blow. Though there's no protection from the wind there, the very shallow banks make it a secure anchorage.

.
These moorings like many in the Bahamas are not to be trusted. Every other year someone ends up on the beach here.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:55   #29
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Re: crossing to the exumas

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Thanks everyone for all the words of wisdom, advice and two cents worth. It is really appreciated. Now, since the front is moving south at a faster rate, we may rethink our crossing and wait until the front goes through instead of getting stuck at Cat or Chubb.
Sounds like a wise decision. The next window may come next weekend. MAYBE. Chuck
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:13   #30
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Re: crossing to the exumas

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These moorings like many in the Bahamas are not to be trusted. Every other year someone ends up on the beach here.
Truth. You never know if someone put the mooring in to hold their forty foot trawler, or their 16 foot skiff.

I don't even like trusting the ones in Wardrick Wells.
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