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Old 02-10-2012, 19:59   #16
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Originally Posted by Agape39 View Post
Hey Skip
I believe you mean 100nm from Ft Lauderdale to Adros or Berry's. How do I rememeber this? That's where my satellite weather quits!

Regards
Keith
Well yes just a bit over 100 nm as the crow flies but I was counting actual sailing miles for someone crossing the banks to calculate travel time. So from Bimini harbor to Gun Cay Cut about 15 miles, GCC to NW Channel 65 miles, NW Channel to Chub or north Andros 20-25 miles. So sailing distance to cover about 100 nm.

Always a decision for me crossing the banks here. You can try to break the 100 nm trip by anchoring at Honeymoon Harbor or if it's really calm, anchoring on the banks east of Gun Cay. Starting before sunrise the next morning and making good time you can clear NW Channel in daylight but then where do you go? You might make it to Chub before dark and try anchoring off the west beach at Chub or just make an overnight passage on to Nassau.

I usually made a night crossing over the banks so I have daylight on the other end but never really loved that option either. Always wondering what might be out there that I might run into in the dark. Prefer seeing what's around when I'm in less than 10' of water.

Also, the latest guides I have show that shoaling around Gun Cay only give 5' at low tide and I'm at 5'4" so would have be careful if I tried this route again.

As you might guess, it has been a few years since the last time I made this trip. Hope to do it again this winter.
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Old 02-10-2012, 21:07   #17
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Hello everyone. I've been lurking on CF for a while, and this is my first post. Me, my wife, and our two daughters (7mos. & 2.5yrs) are heading south for the first time this winter. We wanted to introduce ourselves here, and hope to find some other families planning to leave around the same time that we might be able to buddy up with. We'll be cruising on our 1984 Endeavour 33. Our departure date will ultimately be determined by when our new sails and canvas are ready, and we expect that will be sometime around November 15. Looking forward to hearing from some of you.
I helped a friend move his boat from Charleston, SC to St. Petersburg, FL in March this year in a Tartan 30, which has about the same draft your does. I actually live in NE NC. This is what we found of use:
  • Don't be afraid to slow down, in fact be highly prepared to. Parts of the ICW silt quite a bit and you can find your self dropping in depth really quickly. The exception to this seems to be northern FL, around Cape Canaveral. It's shallow there, enough to make you make you concerned, but it doesn't seem to vary much in depth.
  • Don't be afraid to hit trickier spots at low tide. This might seem paradoxical but when you run aground (and you may as well assume you're going to at some point) at low tide, you'll have a break and as the tide comes in you'll get lifted off. Run aground coming of a high tide and that's a call to boatus or seatow. We never had to call them. But we thought we were going to need to at some points.
  • Concur on GA having huge tidal swings, but add to that southern SC. Beaufort, SC has about a six foot drop. If you decide you want to tie up to the "free wall" (which is now something like .50/ft/day) you'll need chafe boards and lots of slack. Else bad things happen.
  • Concur on the UNLIMITED seatow or boatus. You never know.
  • Anchorages. We found tons from just looking at the charts. A very outdated guide was also of help as was Active Captain. Speaking of which...
  • Active Captain: mixed really. Great for fuel prices and marinas but the shoaling notes were hit or miss. Some were spot on; others seemed to be from people not knowing tides, how currents flow or apparently how to read a map.
  • Runs out into the Atlantic. Obviously you have to know the weather. A NE wind running into a north flowing gulf steam makes for an uncomfortable ride. I suspect you'll think twice because you have two young kids. Speaking of which ...
  • Night nav. About 40% of our total time moving was as night, mostly because the days were sadly often taken up trying to fix problems from the previous two owners' lack of maintenance. But in general we found it enjoyable but it took both of us on. One steering, the other reading charts, looking for unlit markers, flashing markers, getting coffee, etc. I don't see how you could do that with kids too. Maybe you have awesome electronics.
  • Likewise, we found we could make about 50 mi/day but some of those days we a lot harder than others. I think if I had kids, I would slow down. If you are, I would hit Elizabeth City, Edenton and Manteo -- all in NC. EC will let you stay two days for free. Same for Edenton. Manteo should be skipped unless the weather is nice as the Lost Colony play will be over. There are a bunch of other nice spots too.
  • Crossing to the Bahamas: Winds out of the South or Southwest are what you want.

Well, that was long, but at least it rambles
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Old 03-10-2012, 15:27   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac

Well yes just a bit over 100 nm as the crow flies but I was counting actual sailing miles for someone crossing the banks to calculate travel time. So from Bimini harbor to Gun Cay Cut about 15 miles, GCC to NW Channel 65 miles, NW Channel to Chub or north Andros 20-25 miles. So sailing distance to cover about 100 nm.

Always a decision for me crossing the banks here. You can try to break the 100 nm trip by anchoring at Honeymoon Harbor or if it's really calm, anchoring on the banks east of Gun Cay. Starting before sunrise the next morning and making good time you can clear NW Channel in daylight but then where do you go? You might make it to Chub before dark and try anchoring off the west beach at Chub or just make an overnight passage on to Nassau.

I usually made a night crossing over the banks so I have daylight on the other end but never really loved that option either. Always wondering what might be out there that I might run into in the dark. Prefer seeing what's around when I'm in less than 10' of water.

Also, the latest guides I have show that shoaling around Gun Cay only give 5' at low tide and I'm at 5'4" so would have be careful if I tried this route again.

As you might guess, it has been a few years since the last time I made this trip. Hope to do it again this winter.
Got it, I usually head directly to Nassua from Lauderdale. Straight across entering the banks just no of Bimini. Usually get there in 24 to 30 hrs depending on weather . Spend most of my time in the exumas. I have not tried to visit andros yet because I draw 6'. Would love to though.
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Old 03-10-2012, 15:36   #19
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Got it, I usually head directly to Nassua from Lauderdale. Straight across entering the banks just no of Bimini. Usually get there in 24 to 30 hrs depending on weather . Spend most of my time in the exumas. I have not tried to visit andros yet because I draw 6'. Would love to though.
Not sure if I want to take that route anymore since I'm running a deeper draft boat than in the past. But I really want to cruise the east coast of Andros. From all reports some fantastic diving; walls that start at 60-80' and go down as deep as you want to go. Also very little visited so the reefs are not beat to death by hordes of tourists.

I think you could do OK with 6' once you got there. Like any Bahamas cruising might have to pick your routes and spots but should be doable.

Exumas are great but have been there a lot and want to see something different and just slightly closer.
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Old 03-10-2012, 18:00   #20
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I'll have to check the charts. Problem is ducking in during an easterly storm.....the tongue can get ugly!
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Old 03-10-2012, 20:01   #21
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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I'll have to check the charts. Problem is ducking in during an easterly storm.....the tongue can get ugly!
Checked the charts and doesn't look like there is as much water there as I remembered. Guess the last time I thought about cruising the area I had a boat drawing a bit under 5' so it looked a lot better then. Think 6' would be really pushing it but maybe doable, in settled weather.

Also looks like mostly reef anchorages and entrances might be tricky in a strong easterly. Maybe this is why you don't find many cruisers in the area. I still really want to cruise that coast but looks like it could be a challenge.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:01   #22
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Yea, better for a shallow coastal boat, but as you know anywhere in the Bahamas is a good location
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:43   #23
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Yea, better for a shallow coastal boat, but as you know anywhere in the Bahamas is a good location
Is that like a corollary to the old saying "a bad day on the water is better than a good day at the office"?

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Old 04-10-2012, 08:47   #24
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

If you haven't gotten your towing ins. and are going to Anappolis boat show get it there Boat US gives a nice discount at the show. PS make sure you get the Unlimited.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:48   #25
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

If you can make it to St Mary's for Thanksgiving everyone will love it.
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Old 07-10-2012, 22:33   #26
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Hi CNIX , Skip

My wife and I are also taking that trip. We had our boat a C30 hauled to Chesapeake Boat Works in Deltaville last week from Leke Erie and are driving down to launch her on 10-15. We plan on taking several days stowing everything and then headind for Norfolk.

Thats the end of our schedule Mabye we will meet up on the trip to say Hi. Im particularly looking forward to the fishing and crabbing here and sling spearing and lobsters in the Bahamas. We want to visit some historic sites on the ICW but havnt yet got a crusing guide. We know nothing about the Bahamas, were not interested in the tourist locations but the quieter Islands where we can anchor a 5' 3" draft and dingy in for a Bahama Mama. Any suggestions would be helpfull.

Thanks
George

sv Adullum
Our boat is about a mile from ICW Mile Marker 0, so perhaps we could say hello. You're probably a little ahead of us getting out of here though. This your first time on the Chesapeake?
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Old 07-10-2012, 22:39   #27
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Other than picturesque anchorages, my Favorite mooring was St Augustine Muni Marina. Historic city to explore with fun Xmas boat parade usually second week of December. They have slips as well. Walkable city, great restaurants, west marine, and good bus transport too. A good place to reprovision , do laundry, etc.

Good luck and have fun!
I've driven past there a dozen times and never had the chance to stop. Can't wait to see it from the water!
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Old 07-10-2012, 22:45   #28
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Well yes just a bit over 100 nm as the crow flies but I was counting actual sailing miles for someone crossing the banks to calculate travel time. So from Bimini harbor to Gun Cay Cut about 15 miles, GCC to NW Channel 65 miles, NW Channel to Chub or north Andros 20-25 miles. So sailing distance to cover about 100 nm.

Always a decision for me crossing the banks here. You can try to break the 100 nm trip by anchoring at Honeymoon Harbor or if it's really calm, anchoring on the banks east of Gun Cay. Starting before sunrise the next morning and making good time you can clear NW Channel in daylight but then where do you go? You might make it to Chub before dark and try anchoring off the west beach at Chub or just make an overnight passage on to Nassau.

I usually made a night crossing over the banks so I have daylight on the other end but never really loved that option either. Always wondering what might be out there that I might run into in the dark. Prefer seeing what's around when I'm in less than 10' of water.

Also, the latest guides I have show that shoaling around Gun Cay only give 5' at low tide and I'm at 5'4" so would have be careful if I tried this route again.

As you might guess, it has been a few years since the last time I made this trip. Hope to do it again this winter.
I seem to find more information about clearing in Bimini, and then crossing the banks from there. Should a noob like myself consider the West End instead? I've read that you don't want to go North of Grand Bahama for anything, but there's a little more protection, and shorter legs starting off from up there on the South side of the island. Frankly, it sounds less interesting to me than points South, but it could be my own ignorance.
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Old 07-10-2012, 22:50   #29
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

Lots of talk about towing insurance for the ICW trip. You guys must run aground a lot.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:29   #30
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Re: ICW Norfolk to Florida in November

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Lots of talk about towing insurance for the ICW trip. You guys must run aground a lot.

If you haven't run aground in the ICW you haven't been in the ICW.
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