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Old 25-01-2012, 10:16   #1
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Miami to Georgetown - Bahamas

I am planning on trailering my 23' Wellcraft W/A from Toronto to Miami where I intend to launch it and spend the month of May cruising, fishing and snorkeing in the Bahamas. I intend to clear customs in Bimini, continue to N. Andros, onto Nasseau, across to the top of the Exumas and down to Georgetown. The main plan is to pitch a tent 3-4 days at a time on the way then hit a Marina and/or hotel along route to recharge and refit then head out again. I could use some imput and advice from anyone who has travelled that route. I have some questions.
1. looking for a place to lauch the boat in the Miami area and leave my truck and trailer for a month.
2. Thoughts on camping on N. Andros as far as safety in concerned. I here that the bonefish and Tarpon fishing is great.
3. As far as daily communication to back home, will cell phone work in most areas or do I need a sattelite phone.
4. I have sixth edition Explorer Chartbooks but they do not go into detail about various points of interest and other details along the way. Like favorite snorkel sites, hidden gem achorages, cool restaurants and bars, etc. Can anybody recommend a crusing guide that would help my situation the best.
Any other helpful tips would be appreciated by two 58 year old buds chasing a dream.
thanks in advance,
Mike
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Old 25-01-2012, 10:45   #2
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

You might want to check into the legalities of camping on Bahamian islands. There is mixed information online as to whether or not it can (legally) be done. As far as cruising guides go, try Steven Pavlidis.
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Old 25-01-2012, 10:51   #3
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

"Camping is generally prohibited for tourists in the Bahamas"
Camping in the Bahamas

Crandon Park is one place you may be able to launch and store your boat. For one trip, I launched at the very nice boat ramp in Indiantown and stored by vehicle and trailer at the Indiantown Marina. Being on the Okechobee waterway, there is no chop and it's fresh water.
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Old 25-01-2012, 12:03   #4
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

You might also be able to launch at Homestead's Bayfront Park. I did my research a few years ago, and recall that you would have to buy a full year's parking pass, but it cost something like $180. Not bad on a per-day basis if you're out for a month or two. . . .
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Old 25-01-2012, 12:16   #5
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

You may consider setting up your boat so you can "camp" on it at anchor as an option...a lot less buggy (I know...it's just not the same!), but at least you have it when you can't camp on the beach for one reason or another (Locals do it all the time, but we're not supposed to!).(Shameless plug: Waterway Guide has an excellent Bahamas Edition.)
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Old 25-01-2012, 12:45   #6
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

Mike, A couple of considerations for you to add to your plan. To launch your boat in the Miami area and head over to the Bahamas you will have a big issue and that is leaving your vehicle and trailer for a long period of time including the concern for security where ever you leave them. No small matter. Keep in mind fuel availability for out of the way areas in the Bahamas. In a small boat like yours you may be waiting a week or more for a weather window to get across. Then you will need a window to get back to the U.S. May might not be as much of an issue as other months but the possibility is still there and trying to meet a schedule will most definitely get you in trouble. Weather delays in the Bahamas can also put you in a single port over there for more than you may plan. Many small boats run across in the summer and return. But most go to Bimini and don't stray too far. I'm not trying to say don't do it, just be sure you understand all of the possibilities, especially in a small boat. Chuck
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Old 25-01-2012, 19:53   #7
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

Let me give a few thoughts. Your boat could do this trip with "perfect" weather conditions. However, even in May the northeast winds can tear up the gulf stream and the intersection of the Tongue of the Ocean and Northwest Channel. As stated earlier, you need to have backup plans for weather windows.

We have done this trip or variations of it numerous times. I recommend the following stops: Bimini, Chub, Atlantis (Nassau), Shroud, Waderick Wells, Sampson, Staniel, and Georgetown. There is fuel (if available) at Bimini Blue Water, Atlantis (Hurricane Hole), Sampson, & Georgetown.

I also agree with the camping rules stated above. There are rooms at all of those locations where I stated there is fuel.

I will tell you, in my opinion, the Exuma Islands are the most spectacular in the Bahamas. It is well worth the trip.

Good Luck.

Ken
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Old 25-01-2012, 20:20   #8
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

Assuming that your Wellcraft WA 23" ft boat draws about 2 feet of water on average - you have a very rare opportunity to do things that no other displacement boat - sail or power can do. That is run the entire Great Bahamas Bank from Bimini southeast to the west side of Andros and all the way south around Andros.

Then east across to Great Exuma and up the western side of the Exumas if you wish. Or you can continue east on the "Banks" to the Jumentos and Long Island.

That would be a seriously fabulous fishing and exploration trip. But I would suggest several 15 gal plastic fuel drums or a 55 gal fuel barrel or two. Or at least enough fuel onboard to do 300 nm - longest run would be 200nm with a 50% safety factor to get 300nm.

I have gone as far south on the west side of Andros as Cross Cays - and the area was delightful and very interesting. Fish everywhere.
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Old 25-01-2012, 20:39   #9
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

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Old 25-01-2012, 21:43   #10
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

I wouldn't leave your truck and trailer at a public ramp for an extended period of time. There are secure long term parking lots near the airport in Miami. They might charge you for two spaces but I bet you could leave it there. I'd offer to let you leave it at my store but my parking lot is getting pretty crowded. I'll be glad to help you with any Miami information you may need. You can email me through our website www.hopkins-carter.com
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:56   #11
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

thanks, I appreciate your imput. I do expect weather delays at some point and have some flexibilty.
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:07   #12
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Re: Miami to Georgetown - Bahamas

You should have a whole bunch of fun! with that draft especially. Wish I could have gone the places you can go.... Also, (JMHO) in the less traveled shallow draft areas, I doubt anyone is going to care if you pitch a tent on land... or be around to witness it! I've crossed the GS in May when it looked more like a flat calm lake. Water spouts around though!
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Old 27-01-2012, 22:51   #13
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Re: miami to georgetown, bahamas

thanks, i really appreciate your imput.
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Old 28-01-2012, 06:57   #14
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Re: Miami to Georgetown - Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by courtess View Post
. . . 4. I have sixth edition Explorer Chartbooks but they do not go into detail about various points of interest and other details along the way. Like favorite snorkel sites, hidden gem achorages, cool restaurants and bars, etc. Can anybody recommend a crusing guide that would help my situation the best. . . .
Try these websites and then print out what you find interesting and mark the sites on the Explorer Charts

Diving - Bahamas | The Bahamas

Bahamas Government Portal - Dive Guide

Diving In The Bahamas - Bahamas Scuba Diving

The Best Snorkeling in Bahamas at Frommer's

"hidden gem anchorages" - just about all the anchorages in the Bahamas qualify. But with your draft - providing you can carry the fuel needed as I mentioned earlier - you can find some really hidden "hidden gems" of anchorage in places others cannot get to. But the region along Andros Island and the Exumas, Long Island and Ragged Islands (Jumentos) offer the best of everything you mentioned, IMHO.

But read this before leaving for the Bahamas:

Bahamas Fishing Regulations

and the most recent - 2007 - modification to fishing in the Bahamas:

http://www.spearboard.com/showthread...hlight=bahamas
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Old 28-01-2012, 14:08   #15
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Re: Miami to Georgetown - Bahamas

some more good info, thanks. i will start researching
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