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Old 10-05-2006, 13:54   #1
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Old Bahama Channel & Cay Sal

BlueJacket is currently in Key West awaiting our return. From there we're headed to the Bahamas and my goal is to enter the Bahamas as far south as possible. I as thinking of heading to Cay Sal and then down the Old Bahama Channel ending up in the Acklins. Is that even doable? What are the currents like in the Old Bahama Channel?

Is there anywhere to cross S of Andros other than the above?

Has anyone been to Cay Sal? Are there good anchorages? There are several live-aboard dive boats that operate there. Are there mooring balls that they tie up to as most of the time the live-aboard boats don't want to be dropping hooks on top of coral.

-- Geoff
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Old 10-05-2006, 22:19   #2
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Hey Geoff.

Could ya make the words a little bit bigger.

Some of us work long hours. And have tired eyes.

So how about it. Huh?
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:09   #3
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Geoff:

I don't think your plan is viable. The trip down to the Cay Sal bank can be a bit difficult in prevailing conditions. From there the channel narrows greatly, your constrained by both shipping & the Cuban waters, and the prevailing wind/waves/current stream are all dead on the nose all the way to the Crooked/Acklins meridian...with no viable way to bare off and rest or hide out.

OTOH if not U.S registered - or you don't much care about the risk involved - coastal hopping along the Cuban coast enroute C/A Is. would work *except* you'll need to determine where you can clear out as it relates to departing for C/A.

Jack
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:11   #4
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Geoff:
It sounds as though your purpose is to make an express run to the Caribbean. I believe your proposed route will be neither fast nor comfortable.
You cannot clear into the Bahamas at Cay Sal, so must (legally) enter at Cat Cay or Bimini, then make your Southing.
As noted by Jack , you’d be slogging against both current (Straights of Florida at 3 to 6 Kts), and wind (prefer SE to S, and you don’t want to cross in anything with any North component), then fighting the prevailing winds and currents in the Nicholas & Old Bahama Channels.
Cuba doesn’t offer cruiser-friendly* coastal-hopping, even for Non-Americans.
Cay Sal is mostly shallow (except at the Blue Holes), so you could anchor almost anywhere, but there are no protected anchorages.

* You must check in with the officials every time you enter a new port, and check out whenever you leave for another port. At a minimum, this means dealing with the Guarda Frontera, but often also involves officials from customs, immigration, agriculture, public health, and transport.

I suggest you take an alternative look at a cruise through the Bahamas, then South, such as Bruce Van Sant’s “Thornless Passage”.
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Old 14-05-2006, 11:19   #5
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FLORIDA TO THE CARIBBEAN - THE DELIVERY SKIPPERS' ROUTE
by Tor Pinney
Goto: http://www.tor.cc/articles/flcarib.htm

”... Beating into the trade winds is the pits! Avoid it! If you want to spent a winter cruising the Bahamas, that's OK. But if you're intent on reaching the Lesser Antilles, follow the delivery skippers' route - offshore to the east. ...”

Removed content, due to copyright infringement.
Thanks to rickm505 for a link to the original article
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Old 15-05-2006, 04:56   #6
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Gord, we've not visited Cuba (yet?) but my take from a number of sources is that we need to modify your statement about 'crusier friendly day hopping along the Cuban coast not being possible'. Clearance in/out of the idenfitied ports is required unless the Despacho excludes them (which it can). However, cruisers are not prevented from stopping between ports and so can island hop just as is done elsewhere in the Caribbean. It's assumed that local officials can be expected to come out and check the papers when anchored, and the typical yachtie practice is to make out a complete list of intermediate stops between clearance ports so that one has all options open to them.

Still lots of bureaucracy. But the typical report from cruisers is that Cuba is certainly 'friendly' in how it treats rule-following yachties.

Jack
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Old 15-05-2006, 14:26   #7
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I appreciate the reply, but I've put 30,000+ miles under my keel and don't need a cruising 101 class. I was just curious about the current in the Old Bahamas Channel. As it turns out that's a moot point as I'm going to cross the Great Bahama Bank from Cay Sal and go in Washwoman's cut S of Andros.

-- Geoff
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Old 15-05-2006, 20:30   #8
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Gord,

http://www.tor.cc/articles/flcarib.htm
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Old 16-05-2006, 05:34   #9
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Geoff, I'm sure none of us meant to patronize you...but your Q didn't reveal 30K NM of experience.

Jack
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Old 16-05-2006, 09:55   #10
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Geoff,
When I came up a few months ago the banks south of Andros were unreachable for me in a 3' draft cat. Have a good look at the charts before you go. That water scares me due to the shallowness.

Pat
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