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Old 19-03-2010, 13:50   #1
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Whale Passage - Don't Rock Alternative

Just went through the Don't Rock Passage, which is an alternate route to going around Whale Cay. Most guides and charts show to go east of Don't Rock, however, there is plenty of water to the west of that rock. Here is my track from two days ago, at 45 minutes before high tide. I never saw less than 6.5 feet over that large sandbar between Don't Rock and Sand Bank Cays. The deepest water is over close to Sand Bank Cays. If NW bound, watch for steep swells on the next bar north of Sand Bank Cays. I metered about 10' of water, but the swells coming in from offshore do stand up and get your attention. One can avoid that bar by going either east or west of it.
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Old 19-03-2010, 14:00   #2
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I think this is going to be the hardest part of learning to cruise for me..

We are use to having plenty of water under our hulls here in the PNW...I get nervous with anything less then 30' under me...But we cant see through it very well either.
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Old 19-03-2010, 14:23   #3
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After 20 years cruising in Calif and Mexico, I came to east coast. Folks ask "what it the major difference?" and I answer:
On the west coast, if you see 20' on your depth sounder, you think "Oh ****. I'm in way too shallow".
On the east coast, if you see 20' on your depth sounder, you think "Whew, back in the deep water..."
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Old 19-03-2010, 14:51   #4
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I remember the Whale Cay passage many years ago. We took the outside route.
I also remember much of my time spent on the bow looking for the color of the bottom for depth...and running aground in Little Harbor and waiting for high tide and winching the boat off.
It is a different kind of sailing in the Abacos. Can't wait to get back there.
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Old 19-03-2010, 15:09   #5
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I think this is going to be the hardest part of learning to cruise for me..
Dont sweat it. Wait 'til ya see how shallow the water looks! You sail onto the banks, and the water is so clear you think you're about to run aground...you check the depth sounder and you're at 30 feet! It's just like anything else, a day or two and you're used to it... There is some good island cruising footage on the Bahamas DVDs from the Shards...PM me if you are interested...
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Old 19-03-2010, 15:41   #6
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Doug, when I went through there about 2 weeks ago, I encountered the shallowest water near the Sand Bank Cays, Obviously I must have been a bit off your course when exiting. It looks like you were fairly close the Sand Cays, but then went a bit NE at the end. Did you see the shoaling I encountered? I'd love to know I could avoid that in the future.
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Old 19-03-2010, 16:18   #7
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Nauti, the deepest water was right up against the Sand Bank Cays....like 50' off. I went out there the day before in my skiff with depthsounder and sounded around for hours, looking for the best water. As always, the sand shifts around here. If you were about 1/4 mile east of Sand Banks Cays, you were still in the shallow water, but it was still deep enough.

I went NE at the end to go east of the second shoal, so I would be putting my bow into the swell, instead of being in the trough. Trawlers hate the trough.
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Old 19-03-2010, 22:48   #8
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Nauti, the deepest water was right up against the Sand Bank Cays....like 50' off. I went out there the day before in my skiff with depthsounder and sounded around for hours, looking for the best water. As always, the sand shifts around here. If you were about 1/4 mile east of Sand Banks Cays, you were still in the shallow water, but it was still deep enough.

I went NE at the end to go east of the second shoal, so I would be putting my bow into the swell, instead of being in the trough. Trawlers hate the trough.
Thanks much Doug. Very good info.
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Old 20-03-2010, 11:53   #9
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... You sail onto the banks, and the water is so clear you think you're about to run aground...you check the depth sounder and you're at 30 feet! It's just like anything else, a day or two and you're used to it...
Indeed!
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