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Old 05-11-2009, 12:29   #31
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We have found that leaving via Angelfish Creek (north Key Largo) is quite advantageous. Anchoring at Pumpkin Key waiting for a window is easy, since you can anchor at any point around the island and get protection from wind and waves. The channel out is well marked, but currents can be swift. We draw 5' and at half tide never came close to running out of water.

The neat part is, after getting to deep water, pointing the boat due east and ending up right off Gun Cay. The stream is your helper all the way across. We have entered via Alice Town (February '07) and Great Harbor (Jan '09) in northern Berrys. Great Harbor was excellent: total protection, customs and immigration came to our boat, and inexpensive dockage.

Does anyone know if you can check in at Frazier's Hog?
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:35   #32
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I believe you will find negotiating the ICW from Canada to souther Florida much more of a task. Once you cross the stream you will be chuckling at your worries. BEST WISHES in enjoying the Bahamas. They are a wonderful place........i2f
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:51   #33
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Does anyone know if you can check in at Frazier's Hog?
None at Fraziers Hog but customs is at Chub Cay if you wish. The new marina, sorry, resort will probably charge you an arm and a leg to check in there.
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Old 05-11-2009, 13:00   #34
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onestepcys37 I will be buying the explorer charts for sure. I was wondering if they are on the shelves in florida, or should I order them so im ready to go come Jan?

Thanks again all for the information this thread has been doing wonders.
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Old 05-11-2009, 13:10   #35
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- -The Explorer Charts are sold in Florida at most boat supply stores and if not there then at Blue Water Books in Fort Lauderdale.
- - If you do not want to pay the extra fee at Chub Cay then you can go a little south and check-in at Morgans Bluff on the north end of Andros Island. From there you can sail directly to the Exumas avoiding Nassau.
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Old 05-11-2009, 13:46   #36
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When you say directly to the Exumas? By which route? We use the dekkar channel, and the Tongue of the Ocean on our returns.......i2f
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Old 05-11-2009, 15:09   #37
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If your draft is under a meter you can set a line from Morgan's Bluff to Coral Bay on the southwest end of New Providence or head a little southeast and after clearing New Providence head straight for Highborne Cay.
-- If your draft is 1.5 meters or more it is advisable to head southeast from Morgans Bluff until you clear the edge reefs of the Exumas Banks then turn east directly to Highbourne Cay. I set a waypoint on the east edge of the Tongue of the Ocean about a half mile south of the last edge reef and turn intercept a line bearing about 280 degrees from Highbourne Cay. Then head 100 degrees straight to the anchorage off the western side of Highbourne. There is 2 meter plus water over this whole route. It is a long day and leaving Morgan's Bluff at sunrise gets me to Highbourne at about 21:00-22:00. To avoid the long leg - if your draft is less than 1.5 meters you can go directly to Coral Harbor, spend the night there and then next morning head for Highborne. There are shallow spots on that route so you need daylight to do it comfortably. The southern version can be run at night with excellent nav equipment and radar.
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Old 05-11-2009, 16:23   #38
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..... Figure 5 knots as you loose about 1 knot, on average due to Gulf Stream Current. That means about 9 hours across, give or take an hour. I always leave my anchorage at daybreak and can be outside Biscayne Bay in an hour to 1.5 hours. That puts you on the other side about 15:00 (3pm) plus or minus a couple of hours......
There's much good advice here, but I would suggest that you gain from the Gulfstream rather than lose. A rumb line from Lauderdale to West End would change that 5kts that figured the lost of one into six kts with the gain of two. Why not ride at 8 kts and still take the advantage of the early morning departure? 'may favorite path, Aythya crew
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Old 05-11-2009, 21:00   #39
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There's much good advice here, but I would suggest that you gain from the Gulfstream rather than lose. A rumb line from Lauderdale to West End would change that 5kts that figured the lost of one into six kts with the gain of two. Why not ride at 8 kts and still take the advantage of the early morning departure? 'may favorite path, Aythya crew
- - Actually the Gulfstream adds to your SOG (Speed over Ground) but subtracts from your SMG (Speed Made Good). Since the idea is to get from Florida to the Great Bahamas Banks near Bimini which is about 45nm at Miami to the Bimini entrances the total time for the crossing divided into the 45 nm will end up with a significant decrease in SMG. You will have to travel more miles to get across as you are traveling north (Gulf Stream current) while trying to go east.
- - At 4 to 5 knots you will have to travel about 60 nm to get to the other side which is only 45 nm away. As your ability to travel faster increases up to what powerboats can do (30-40kts) the extra miles caused by the Gulf Stream decreases. It is a classical "current problem" of the triangle where your normal speed is the vertical leg; the Gulfstream is the base leg; and the hypotenuse is the resultant total miles traveled.
- - Minimum time crossing involve doing your "up current" repositioning before entering the Gulf Stream, say by, heading down towards Key Largo or accepting your northward drift on the other side and then heading south over there to reach your intended entry point to the Banks.
- - Take your normal cruising speed through the water and divide that into the distance across - 45 nm and you get the "no-current" crossing time. Multiply that time by 2.5 kts and you will get your Northward loss. You can then apply that to a map to see how far further south you need to start your crossing so that you end up at your intended entry point to the Banks.
- - Crabbing into the Gulfstream in order to maintain (stay on) your rhumb line will result in low speed boats getting stuck halfway across heading south to counteract the Gulfstream and not making much headway towards the Banks. That increases your exposure to the waves and winds while in the Gulfstream. The minimum time crossing is designed to minimize your time in the middle of the Gulfstream by accepting your northward loss at the other side where the waves and sea conditions are more gentle than in the middle of the Gulfstream. Some folks like to offset their northward loss before crossing (repositioning further south towards Key Largo).
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:05   #40
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countrybimm, i'd get the explorer charts wherever i could find them. the current 'northern bahamas' chart is issue number 5. i've had trouble getting one here in daytona beach florida - not yet in stock - and i'm planning on going in january. if you've got time left i would order from their website Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks
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Old 22-11-2009, 04:52   #41
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which ports of entry are the LEAST likely to have officials actually come onboard for an inspection when checking in? I have a cat on board, and the paperwork just hasn't caught up with me, and I'm crossing soon. I'm heading to Gun/Cat > Chub> Nassau. I cruised Mexico many times, and always the check-in is done by dinghy.

My cat does have a rabies certificate and current international health certificate, but I don't have the stupid bahamas import permit. They claim they lost the first one, and I'm told I just have to wait on my request....

I have some friends who cruised with a cat and said they never bothered with pet permits. My pet never gets off the boat, but I would hate to have him confiscated as contriband.
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Old 22-11-2009, 05:15   #42
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We've never had an "onboard" clearing in. I've also heard that not everyone declares their pets and never had a problem.

For the record, we always have declared our dog.
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Old 22-11-2009, 06:03   #43
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- - As to pets: dogs are more difficult as the officials know that the owners will be taking them ashore to "do their business." Cats are less of a problem as normally they never leave the boat. Unfortunately there is a place on the Customs/Immigration documents that you must fill out that asks if you have any animals onboard.
- - In places where you anchor out in the Bahamas and go ashore in your dinghy to check-in the officials will not (obviously) be boarding your boat. Places where you tie-up to a dock/marina the officials will go on board your boat - if only to have a place to sit down while processing your paperwork. This exposes your pet to be noticed by the official.
- - In Morgan's Bluff, Andros you anchor outside the little dredged inner harbor and dinghy in to the bar/restuarant and do the paperwork while sitting in the Restaurant. It is basically the same way at most all the Bahamas "ports of entry" except place like Nassau (if you take a marina); Cat Cay; West End; Bimini; Chub Cay and I don't know about the places in the Abacos.
- - In the Bahamas and all the Caribbean Islands I write in the "animals" block - "Feline, never leaves the boat" and only once in dozens of entries has the official asked about the cat.
And only once has an official wanted to see the mecicals history with records of rabies and other shots. Primarily, IMHO, the officials are more interested in see that you have paid the "extra fee" for the animal rather than the animal.
- - Oh - one more thing that might help is if you have a copy of the canceled check which you used to pay for the Bahamas permit and a copy of the application paperwork. Then you could explain that you did pay and send in the forms but the government processing failed to return the permit to you - "that you paid for . . ."
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Old 22-11-2009, 06:07   #44
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which ports of entry are the LEAST likely to have officials actually come onboard for an inspection when checking in?
Nassau is very good. The officers prefer to clear you in at a comfortable table in the marina grounds rather than boarding. If you prefer to anchor you can dink in and get cleared. Never been inspected.
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Old 28-11-2009, 14:31   #45
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Channel 5 Bridge (provisioning)

I know a lot of you guys (especially Gulf of Mexicans like me) have left from the Channel 5 bridge for the Bahamas many times. I will be passing thru late January / early February. Is there a dockside supermarket for final US provisioning in the Channel 5 Bridge area? I see something on google earth called Lo-Key Estates on the bay side north of the bridge, it appears to be a grocery store. Does anybody know anything about it?

Thanks in advance. We'll spend several weeks do dallyin' around coming from Texas. I want to top off the chuck wagon before we head over to the Exumas. I'll travel slow from Sanibel to Fort Myers checkin' out some of the local dockside eateries. Anybody got a favorite waterin' holes in thru there?

SV "Sea Yawl Later!!"
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