Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-10-2011, 21:31   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

My wife and I recently purchased a cat and are trying to plan our first trip to the Exumas. All of the water will be new to me with the exception of The Berries which I've done by powerboat.

Below is a high-level outline of the proposed trip. Would appreciate honest advice on my ambitions regarding distance and timing.

We're young so we don't mind pushing it a bit to see more. I also understand that it's all dependent on the weather which is why I've tried to give myself a few days to get across the stream and then have a few days reserve to get back across to Florida. Hopefully this isn't too ridiculous!

Still very high-level would would like to make sure this is all feasible before I get to that next level of planning.

Trip Timeline: Dec 17th - January 8th

Dec 17th - 22nd
- Hillsboro inlet to N. Miami before crossing to Bimini
- Bimini across Grand Banks to Chub
- Berries to Nassau

Dec 23rd - 27th
- Nassau to N. Eleuthera
- Eleuthera back to Nassau

Dec 28th - Jan 3rd
- Nassau to Exumas

Jan 4th - Jan 8th
- Exumas to Nassau
- Nassau to Berries
- Berries to Bimini
- Bimini to Ft. Lauderdale
__________________

__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 07:05   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Personally, I'd skip Eleuthera and slow the pace down a bit, or instead of coming back to Nassau from Eleuthera, head from Eleuthera to the Exumas.


The other thing to keep in mind is that in the winter, you can get long lasting cold fronts. It's not uncommon to have to wait a week for a good crossing window, and you can certainly get a few days anywhere along that route where the prudent thing to do is wait for more favorable weather.

If you are counting on sticking to that schedule exactly to change crew in Nassau, etc. I think you are asking for trouble. It's a fairly aggressive schedule that you may not be able to stick to with winter weather.
__________________

__________________
nautical62 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 07:30   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

You can't have a schedule.

This is the route I take every year now. I have done different routes in the past but have found the following to be the best for us.

Miami (Cape Florida) to North Rock across the Bank to NW Channel and then on to Nassau. About 26 hours in my boat. No hazards, straightforward trip. Use Explorer Chart. Clear in at Nassau.

If it`s too rough (sometimes it`s right on the nose) in the Tongue of the Ocean when you get to NW Channel Light, head for Frazers Hog Cay, this is the island Chubb Cay is on. Anchor on the east side of Frazers Hog and wait for weather.

Do not go into Chubb Cay unless you have deep, deep pockets!

You are not leaving enough time to do the Exumas. With that short a period if you really want to get to the Exumas, I would just do Normans and Shroud.

As I said at the beginning you cannot have a schedule. Weather, weather, weather. With your short cruise I would just do the Berries.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 07:39   #4
Registered User
 
captain465's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
Boat: 38ft Irwin center cockpit sloop MERIDIAN
Posts: 615
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Vasco,
Are you sure about the WEST side of Frazer's Hog Cay???
The east side has good water and there are moorings at the Berry Islands Club. Also a great place to have dinner ashore.
__________________
Do not go where the path may lead.........
go instead where there is no path........
and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
captain465 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 07:47   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain465 View Post
Vasco,
Are you sure about the WEST side of Frazer's Hog Cay???
The east side has good water and there are moorings at the Berry Islands Club. Also a great place to have dinner ashore.
Sorry, I was doing my morning yoga and standing on my head east side!!!! I corrected it. Thanks.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 08:22   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

As the previous posters have said, you are being too tight and scheduling too much. It would take more than a month to do the route you have outlined. My suggestions are:

Stage at Biscayne Bay not North Miami. You can anchor or take a mooring off Dinner Key/Coconut Grove. There are markets, West Marine and lots of interesting things to do and see while waiting for a weather window. The Library has free computers for checking the weather although you can get NOAA forecasts with your VHF Wx channels.

- - You may have to wait a day or a week for a decent wind/wave window to cross the Gulf Stream. I normally exit Biscayne Bay via Cape Florida Channel along the south side of Key Biscayne. I leave Dinner Key anchorage just before sunrise (twilight) as it takes an hour to get to Cape Florida.

- - Then I head out to the Biscayne Channel green "1" marker and take a 115° or 120° heading for "Triangle Rocks" (Explorer Chart waypoint). The Gulfstream will set you north enough to get to "Triangle Rocks" waypoint. A longer alternative is to head east and get set north to "North Rock" waypoint just north of Bimini.

- - Leaving Biscayne Channel/Cape Florida at sunrise will normally get you across by late afternoon. Both entry waypoints have good water on either side so even a dusk or night entry is not hazardous.

- - Now you have the option to stop and anchor behind Gun Cay or press on for a night crossing of the Bahamas Bank. The crossing is a long way and will take a whole day just to get to Northwest Channel Light - 66 nm on either route. I usually divert south of NW Channel Light a couple of miles and anchor in 3 meters (10 ft) on the west side of the shoals/reefs north of Andros.

- - Then just before dawn again, we head north back to NW Channel Light and head straight to Nassau. The idea is to get to Nassau in the mid afternoon after the last batch of cruisers have left the Nassau Harbor Club and they have space for you. I take a slip for one night, the officials come to the boat, I wash the boat, wash ourselves, fill up the water tanks (and diesel if necessary) then walk across to the shopping market to stock up on anything we forgot to get before leaving Florida.

- - Then head east and south to the Exumas with Highborne Cay or Allens Cay the destination. You are now on day 4 or 5 after you actually left Biscayne Bay (if you took a night to stop behind Bimini or Gun Cay).

- - It can take a week or more just to get to Georgetown, Exumas if you stop and enjoy only the high points in the Exumas. And you have to figure the time needed to get back north and west for your return.

- - I would suggest only going as far south as Staniel Cay then heading north again for your 22 days time limit. But from Highborne Cay on the way north I normally head west 285° to the edge of the Exumas Banks then Northwest 316° to Morgan's Bluff, Andros Island. There is an alternative to head up to Coral Harbor, New Providence then across to Morgan's Bluff but that route is over some serious coral fields.

- - From Morgan's Bluff, Andros head north to NW Channel Light and then west or north west to Gun Cay or Bimini for your crossing back to Ft Lauderdale. Again timing is critical to allow time to wait for a good wind/wave weather window to cross the Gulf Stream.

- - You are pushing it to try to do it in less than a month or two. So I suggest reserving a week to 10 days for Gulf Stream crossing weather and then just do the northern/central Exumas before heading back towards home.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 01.JPG
Views:	1053
Size:	159.9 KB
ID:	32576   Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 02.JPG
Views:	613
Size:	161.0 KB
ID:	32577  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 03.JPG
Views:	571
Size:	129.5 KB
ID:	32578   Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 04.JPG
Views:	501
Size:	135.0 KB
ID:	32579  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 05.JPG
Views:	642
Size:	248.8 KB
ID:	32580   Click image for larger version

Name:	Miami 2 Bahamas 06.JPG
Views:	399
Size:	119.2 KB
ID:	32581  

__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 08:23   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

we agree with vasco -- first it is a schedule and in cruising if you run to a schedule you are simply asking for trouble --
second it is great timing if you want to cover a lot of miles and see nothing - the beauty of cruising is stopping and smelling the roses - you can spend 2 days in fraser's hog easily exploring the islands and reefs nearby - and some of the best rum punch in the bahamas is in the berry island club there - we anchored but understand now there are moorings so not sure on the anchoring -

by the way where are you planning to get your weather from?? it is the time of the year when cold fronts come across and you may have to sit for a few days to get decent wx to continue - and of course you need hidy holes when the winds pipe up -

we do clean in at the bimini - we cross from miami leaving early as possible - enough light to see the markers - and get to bimini just before immigration closes and clear in - we spend the night and wander the island the next day and leave about 1500 to head south and get on the bahamas bank just before sunset (want to see the water colors) and then do an overnight run to frazer hog -

by the way another alternative may be frazer hog to the abacos and back or vice versa - sail to the abacos first then back across - this is a route pam wall at west marine in ft lauderdale suggest if time is limited - (pam and her late husband andy have circum naved and she knows the bahamas well - if in south fla go talk to her at the west marine store - she is a great lady and a wealth of knowledge)

just our thoughts
chuck patty and svsoulmates
cartagena colombia
__________________
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 08:39   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
- you can spend 2 days in fraser's hog easily exploring the islands and reefs nearby - and some of the best rum punch in the bahamas is in the berry island club there - we anchored but understand now there are moorings so not sure on the anchoring -
The anchoring off Frazers Hog is not the best. The bottom is scoured out so you have to look for a patch of sand. There are quite a few so it`s not too difficult. Also the further east you anchor the more sand there is. The only caveat is that it shallows up fast. The area off the Berry Island Club is not good for anchoring but they do have good moorings there. Some folks find this anchorage uncomfortable especially when the wind opposes the current but it is a safe anchorage. Much preferable to the rolly, tight anchorage at Chubb.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 08:45   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Really appreciate all of the great advice. I need to drop crew on 12/22 in Nassau and then pick a few other folks up on 12/28. Everything in-between can be modified.

I'm going to take all of your recommendations and make some modifications adding some of the details you've all provided.

Thanks!
__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 10:32   #10
Registered User
 
fla.sailor's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: cape coral, fl
Boat: gemini 3200
Posts: 96
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

FWIW, we were 'stuck' (ha ha) at the land & sea park for a week this spring waiting for weather. You will be get held up for weather, but what a place to sit out a front!

CHeeRS!
-dennis
__________________
fla.sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 10:52   #11
Registered User
 
Amapola's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Florida
Boat: Matlack, Trawler, 48 ft
Posts: 809
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

I agree with osirissail and Vasco we've waited as much as two weeks to make the crossings because of weather--especially the winter weather patterns.
__________________
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
—Jacques Yves Costeau
Amapola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 10:57   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

I've read about this on many forums but haven't seen many examples. I'm sure it'll all make sense the first time I have to wait it out...

Could some of you guys provide examples of what bad weather looked like over the course of a few days that kept you thinking conditions weren't good enough to cross; what were winds, wind direction, sea state, etc...

What were your triggers that the conditions had improved enough to make the crossing?

Are their different conditions that would be appropriate for different boat types/lengths? A 60 ft mono vs. 30 ft mono vs. 40 ft cat, etc...
__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 12:08   #13
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

If you want to be on a tight schedule. You need to go later in the year. Mother Nature has away at laughing at human's plans......BEST WISHES.......i2f
__________________
SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
http://sailingwithcancer.blogspot.com/
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 13:49   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene80 View Post
Could some of you guys provide examples of what bad weather looked like over the course of a few days that kept you thinking conditions weren't good enough to cross; what were winds, wind direction, sea state, etc...

What were your triggers that the conditions had improved enough to make the crossing?

.
If it's blowing from NW to SE at more than 10 knots forget it! If you want to see what it`s like just anchor off Fisher Island, (Miami) there's a good reef there for protection and you can look out into the Straits of Florida. When it's blowing you'll see the marching elephants great big square waves. You don`t want to go out in that.

We usually wait for a front to come through. When the front`s coming the wind will start to clock, when it gets to S it`s time to go. That`s if it hasn`t been blowing like stink for a few days and the sea`s laying down a bit. The windows vary in length depending on the strength and speed of the front.

We will leave on an 8 hour window. Get across the Stream and onto the Bank. Usually the front catches up with you then and you might get squalls and a strong breeze. But you`ve crossed the Gulf stream and that`s all that matters.

Anchor in the lower Key Biscayne area or off South Beach. There will be a lot of chatter from the boats getting ready to go. On your first trip it`s advisable to buddy with someone who`s done it before.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 13:59   #15
Registered User
 
fla.sailor's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: cape coral, fl
Boat: gemini 3200
Posts: 96
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

I agree with the north suggestion, we avoid north anything and will wait a day or two after a storm for the seas to settle.

We also have a 3' rule, if predicted to be more than 3' we wait and every time we've ignored this we kick ourselves. If you get out there and its more than 3' ya gotta live with it, but why go knowing it takes hours to cross. Our cat is light, some of you heavy mono guys might like the ride.

CHeeRS!
-dennis
__________________

__________________
fla.sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
exumas

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on Best Trawler Route - Miami to Panama dohenyboy Atlantic & the Caribbean 8 17-10-2011 11:08



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:32.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.