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Old 27-01-2009, 12:06   #1
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Florida to Bahamas

Any advice would be appreciated concering a trip from Norht Florida to the Florida Keys, then return via the Bahamas. The first week of April I am taking my Catalac 9M from North Florida down to the Key West for a shakedown cruise. On my return (May timeframe) I intend to jump over to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks of island hopping. I have two questions:
1. Should I jump across from Key Largo to Bimini then up to Freeport and beyond (is there anything to see in Bimini), or Jump across from Ft Lauderdale and go direct to freeport and beyond.
2. I have heard that the Abacos are great cruising ground, would that be a good place to start if you only were going to be there a few weeks? Also, so any information on favorite spots would be appreciated.
This is my first trip across so I intend to look for other cruisers making the trip in the same time frame to accompany.
As I said, any info or advice will be appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 27-01-2009, 13:20   #2
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In May most of the cruisers will be going the other way, returning from the Bahamas so you might have a problem finding a buddy boat. If you're starting from the Keys your best bet is S. Riding Rock and then onto the Great Bahama Bank and then head east. The problem is where to clear in. You can clear in at Chubb Cay but I hear it's a pricey resort now. Another possibility is Fresh Creek on Andros. (I've never gone that route but friends have). Once cleared in I'd do the Berrys. If you only have a couple of weeks you can't really do too much. Do the Berrys from bottom to top and then you can head back via Freeport if you wish or keep going and ride the stream back up to North Florida.
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Old 27-01-2009, 13:33   #3
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Thanks, I realize the timing is a little backwards. It just happens to be window of opportunity that just popped up. I've been to Fresh Creek but it's been years and there just aren't that many nice anchorages on that side of Andros, are there?
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Old 27-01-2009, 13:45   #4
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I agree with Rick. Normally, I'd say head for the Exumas. But with only two weeks, I'd say spend most of your time in the Berrys and save the Exumas and Abacos for when you have more time. Most cruisers don't spend a lot of time in Bimini or Freeport.
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Old 27-01-2009, 13:49   #5
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Thanks, I look a the charts. My window is variable a few weeks to a month.

Rick W.
JAX FL.
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Old 22-02-2009, 06:50   #6
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As you get ready to head on down the ICW and pass the Space Center, shoot me an email.
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Old 22-02-2009, 08:36   #7
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Heading up from the Keys I'd consider one of two options:

Depart Angelfish Creek for Bimini, the Berry's and then head up and cruise the Abacos with the prevailing winds, returning to the U.S. at either Palm Beach, Stuart of Fort Pierce.

Personally, I much prefer the Bahamas to the Florida Keys and would probably skip the keys all together and depart Palm Beach or Lauderdale depending on the weather and head straight to West End, but that's just me and my priorities.

Or, jump off at either Miami or Fort Lauderdale for West End for West End and the Abacos and cruise as far down the Abacos as time allows. The northern Abacos offer some great cruising, especially for a cat. For a first trip, this minimizes the crossings you need to do.

I have some nice photos of the southern Abacos in my link below that may help you figure out what islands appeal to you as well as notes from the times I've crossed the Gulf Stream.

The Abacos really do have a great deal of variety. Often on any given night, you can choose to be the only boat anchored at an uninhabited island or tucked away in a well-protected harbor enjoying one of the quaint towns. You draft will give you a great deal of flexibility with both of these options.

Some of my favorite Abacos stops:

For uninhabited islands: Double Breasted, The Carter's Cay Group, Fish Cays, Powell, Manjack, Spoil Cay.

Snorkeling: Pelcian Cay, south of Green Turtle, Reefs just off the NE point of Great Guana, Fowl Cay near Man-O-War, Reefs just north of Elbow Cay, Sandy Cay.

Towns: Marsh Harbour has most everything including late night laundry, internet cafes, the best grocery stores, airport, etc. Green Turtle and Hope town are my two favorite smaller communities, both of which have basic grocery stores, restaurants, etc.

At little Harbor, I've enjoyed Pet's Pub and the Foundary and also enjoyed the "creek" dingy ride behind Deep Sea Cay.

Anchoring is easy, I rarely, if ever stay in a Marina or pick up a Mooring.

Have a great trip - I'm jealous I won't be heading back as soon.
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Old 24-02-2009, 16:33   #8
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Thanks for all of the great information. I think we are going to do the keys for a few weeks, plus Dry Tortugas, then come back up and cross from Ft Lauderdale. head for the Abacos. Everyone says they are great. We'll definately review your favorite spots!

Rick
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Old 24-02-2009, 17:25   #9
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Rick,
Just noticed the post about when we pass through Canaveral, we'll definately shoot you an email.

Rick W.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:38   #10
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Freeport

Has anyone tried sailing from West Palm to Freeport?
Cap'n Tom
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