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Old 24-12-2008, 13:14   #1
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In Key Largo - Crossing to Cat Cay

12/24/08

Hi,
We are a 48' Trawler, in Key Largo now, looking to cross to Cat Cay as soon as we have a weather window. Any other boats out there looking to go around this time?

Merry Christmas

sharon@themysharona.com
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Old 24-12-2008, 13:44   #2
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Hi, Sharon.

Welcome to the forum! Hope you find good weather and a crossing companion or two.

Happy Holidays!
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Old 24-12-2008, 13:49   #3
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we made that crossing last year. follow the guidebook to round the shore off gun cay and on into cat cay. they will charge you a hundred bucks to tie up for the night so you can clear in for three hundred bucks, but it is a friendly place to stop for a day. good restaraunt and bar and a small store where you probably won't need to buy anything anyway. also a chance to fill your water tanks for free (the only marina in the bahamas with free water, i think) and fuel up if needed.

you can anchor off the eastern shore of cat cay the next day, or the eastern shore of gun cay if you prefer. you can anchor in 'honeymoon harbor' on the north side of gun cay if the weather suggests it, BUT IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU ANCHOR IN THE BEAUTIFUL LITTLE COVE ON THE NORTH END OF THE EAST SIDE OF GUN CAY. don't ask me why.....
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Old 24-12-2008, 14:31   #4
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Thanks for the info Onestep... Last year after cat cay did you then go across the Great Bahama Bank to Alans Cay? If so, what is your draft? Ours is 5.6 and we are planning on going that way. Do you have any other tips? As you can probably tell, this is our first trip across.

I would like to hear your story about the East side of
Gun Cay.

Thanks so much for replying.
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Old 24-12-2008, 15:54   #5
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Watch the Weather!

Sharon,

Watch the weather window carefully. You'll want to cross the Gulf Stream in light winds, preferably from the South (blowing in the same direction as the Stream) so as to minimize wave action.

A wonderful resource for passage planning is PassageWeather - Wind, Wave and Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers

This gives you wind, surface pressure gradients, and wave height for anyplace in the world. You can use the animation feature, or click for each 6-hour forecast period.

In my estimation, this is the BEST weather resource available to cruising sailors.

Looking at the present forecasts for the area you're interested in (outlined in yellow), it looks like tomorrow -- Christmas Day -- would be a good time for a passage. Early Friday looks OK, but by afternoon things may get a bit more dicey. Remember that times shown are in Greenwich Mean Time, some 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

If you have SSB, you can listen to the weather given on the WaterWay net mornings @ 0745 Eastern time on 7268 LSB (a ham frequency). Even better, if you're a ham please join us. Lots of boats in the Bahamas at present, and in southern Florida.

Merry Christmas, and have a safe passage.

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 24-12-2008, 19:58   #6
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like btrayfors says, watch the weather, but be prepared for finding something else. we crossed on a good forecast which turned out to be somewhat wrong once we got into the gulf stream.

i still get knots in my stomach when i think back to our experience in that little cove on gun cay. suffice to say that, when you anchor in a small bay, be sure to know the exact route out in case the weather suddenly turns on you. when we entered that bay it was about the only place that was calm. by midniight (a dark moonless midnight) the wind and seas and backed and it turned into a death trap. we came inches from losing the boat.

we crossed the great bahama bank and anchored near northwest channel light. the next day we went on to chub cay and anchored off there (not good holding). the next day we went on to nassau and stayed at nassau yacht haven for a few days to give my wife a chance to recover from the gun cay incident. it's about the cheapest marina in nassau and conveniently located near marine hardware stores and a supermarket.

then we crossed to allans cay. nice anchorage but with a current running through it. good lobstering on the south side of south allans cay. also an easy day hop to highbourne cay for diesel, water, some suppllies, telephone, book exchange.

don't know what you're using for navigation, but may i highly recommend the explorer chartbooks by monty and sara lewis. they are absolutely the best navigation guides to the bahamas. with that and a handheld gps and a good ships compass you will safely find your way anywhere in the bahamas. can't say enough good about them.

our boat is a csy 37 named 'one step'. it's draws about 5 feet when loaded for cruising. we had no problems with draft, although crossing the great bahama bank just east of cat cay/gun cay there were some awfully shallow looking spots. after that it pretty much smooths out to 10 to 20 feet. crossing the banks from nassau to allans cay you will encounter some shallow areas with lots of coral heads so take it slow and 'eyeball' your way across. the explorer chartbook (and most other guides) offer advice for crossing this area.

the most important thing is to take it slow. don't try to keep to a schedule. if the weather is bad for a week then sit in you comfortable cabin for a week. beats scaring the heck out of the wife and turning her off to your adventure.
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Old 27-12-2008, 12:49   #7
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Thanks So much for your info. That website looks great. After looking at it, we feel that Wed. 12/31 looks like a good day to cross. What do you think? If I am reading it right, we will have a couple more good days after that to get south towards the Exumas. One of the days has a small north swell. Should we be worried about that? If you were crossing, what day would you go? Thanks again... Sharona
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Old 27-12-2008, 12:58   #8
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You can anchor in the anchorage north, and east of Gun Cay. You just have to look for a sandy spot, and stay out of the grass. If you drop the hook in the grass you might have one of those don't ask me why situations.....don't ask ME why either ....chalk it up to experience...lololoolol If the wind is east the south west end of Honey moon has good holding too
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