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Old 17-10-2013, 15:31   #1
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Wintering in the Bahamas

We left No Name Harbor May 1 this year, Bahamas bound. We went to Bimini, hit a couple of spots in the Berry's, to Nassau, down the chain to Georgetown. We came back to Florida at the end of June.

So now, Fugue is tugging at her dock lines. We are looking forward to getting back to that Bahamas blue water, the fine beaches, and the friendly natives.

I'm considering doing the Abacos first, then work our way back down to the Exumas. So, how are the Abacos during Nov-Dec? What would be the favored anchorages if a cold front blows through?

The advantage to the Abacos is that they are closer (we're currently in Brunswick, Georgia), and we haven't been there. However, we are not opposed to heading back to the Exumas. Common sense (that voice in my head) says go south to Georgetown. Once in Georgetown, where do you anchor if a cold front reaches that far South. We were there in June, so mostly had East to Southeast winds. I would need a different anchorage than where we were at Monument Point. I guess there are plenty of possibilities there, but what is your favorite spot?

Most of the anchorages in the Exumas were fairly protected from E-SE. What would be the best anchorages, working our way down the Exumas, with possible cold fronts on the way? I know of quite a few that have returned to Warderick Wells time and again, due to fronts. Surely there are good hidey holes, where I won't have to be paying for a mooring ball? We have been there, but it's probably going to take a different tack, going in the winter vs Spring, early summer.

I'm still studying everything, but sure would appreciate advice for you more experienced Bahamas cruisers.

Ralph
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Old 17-10-2013, 16:12   #2
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

First I would not do Abaco until on the way home in the spring. Too cold and unsettled if we have a winter with lots of fronts.

There are many anchorages in the Exumas that you can hide from fronts. I don't do Allens or Highborne so I'll start at Normans. The anchorage inside Normans is quite good in a front. I've sat out many here. Some folks don't like the strong tidal current and if there's lots of boats there it gets to be a bit much as you need more separation here.

I'll skip the Park. Many hide in the Park during fronts but we don't do the Park anymore.

Staniel Cay area. You can hide between the Majors. The best spot for hiding here is what's known as Oz. This is the waters behind Fowl Cay. You can shoot through the cut between Fowl Cay and Big Majors. Many boat run up to Pipe Creek for a front. Some boats stay there all winter. I don't like it, crowded and many need to be on two hooks.

Black Point is not good for fronts but if the wind goes north of west you can scoot around the point to Lil Bay and Obriens Landing.

The inside anchorage in Farmers Cay has a good patch of sand that can take 4 boats. Don't pick up a mooring here. Poorly maintained.

There are some good anchorages between Farmers and Lee Stocking but it's starting to get a bit skinny so we usually go straight to Lee Stocking. Anchor off Leaf Cay if from the W and N. Go inside Lee Stocking if strong from E and SE.

Lots of folks run and hide in GT going from one anchorage to the next, sometimes daily in winters with many fronts. Many run to Red Shanks and depending on draft there are other hideyholes. We just anchor off Hamburger and sit there. It never gets that bad. Not worth the bother of weighing anchor and re-anchoring.

See you down there.
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Old 17-10-2013, 16:23   #3
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

Thanks Vasco. You are "the man" I look to for Bahamas experience. One reason I posted here. Thanks again! So, I thought you were selling your boat? If you are going to the Bahamas, I'd be willing to share some cheap rum with you.

Ralph
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Old 17-10-2013, 19:09   #4
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

I've spent a few winter's in the Abacos on my own boat and about 8 more chartering there, and a couple in the Exumas.

The cold fronts are usually stronger in the Abaocs than the Exumas, and the water is cooler for swimming/snorkeling as well. Still, I enjoy the Abacos in winter.

In the southern Abacos, with both mainland Abacos, and the Cays, there are many options if you are willing to move as the front goes through.

Some places, I've sat out cold fronts: The harbor in Great Sale, Carter's Cays, Moraine - tucked up in, Allan's-Pensacola, which isn't ideal during the NW part, but okay, the bay at Manjack with the dock, Marsh Harbor, Bight of Old Robinson and Little Harbour. There are many other locations, I've simply moved around a corner or across the sound when fronts have come through, including Double Breasted, many places in the Sea of Abaco. Picking up a ball in one of the sounds on Green Turtle, Hope Town, Man-O-War are other options. I've sat out some weaker fronts behind West End and off Strangers.

In the Exumas I've twice sat out very, very strong fronts behind Leaf Cay in the Allan's group while watching everyone else rock and roll inside. Very nice spot. Anchored away from the moorings near Caimbridge is another. as well as the area south of Square Rock, though moving a bit was key there as well.

South of the Exumas, I've anchored in a few places near the north end of Eleuthera that have good northerly protection. The anchorage at the south end of Long was nice and I thought harbor at Mayanagua would probably be reasonable, again maybe moving.

Lobseters are in season in winter - yum, yum.

I second what Vasco said about the Land and Sea Park in the Exumas.
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Old 17-10-2013, 19:19   #5
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

A question for Vasco:

We will spend our first season in the Bahamas this winter and would like to know why you
''don't do the Park anymore'' ?

Is it because it's not good for front?

See you on the water,

Marc
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Old 17-10-2013, 22:27   #6
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

Marc, I recommend that you do stop at Warderick Wells Land and Sea Park if this is your first trip over. I think it is protected 360*, pretty much. We certainly enjoyed that stop, as freshman cruisers. It's not on our list of places we want to see again, necessarily. I do think it's quite a unique location, and worth the $15.00 mooring fee. Add another $15.00/day if you want internet, because there is no Batelco tower for phone service. We generally use our phone for a hotspot, but nothing available there. I can see where veteran Bahamas cruisers would skip the Park, since they have already been there. But for us first-timers, it's a pretty cool stop.

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Take the trail up to BOO BOO Hill, and leave a chunk of wood with your boat name on it.

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Old 17-10-2013, 22:47   #7
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

nautical62 - Thanks for reply. I need to hit the Explorer Charts, and check out your suggestions. Thanks!

Ralph
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Old 18-10-2013, 05:51   #8
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
... Staniel Cay area. You can hide between the Majors. The best spot for hiding here is what's known as Oz. This is the waters behind Fowl Cay. You can shoot through the cut between Fowl Cay and Big Majors. Many boat run up to Pipe Creek for a front. Some boats stay there all winter. I don't like it, crowded and many need to be on two hooks...
“Oz” ➥ Big Major's Spot Aerial - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
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Old 18-10-2013, 06:24   #9
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

If you are coming down in Nov I would definitely swing thru the Abacos both on the way down and the way up. It does not get cold till well into December. There are simply more anchorages and more things to do in the Abacos than any where else in the Bahamas. I may be a bit prejudiced but give Tingum a shout when you are near Green Turtle Cay and I'll show you why. In any case you will have a great trip.
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Old 18-10-2013, 06:58   #10
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

I agree with what's been said above. I recommend hitting the Abacos on the way home in the spring. The air and water will be warmer, and there will be less fronts. While the Abacos have more places to ride out a norther, I'd head south first. The further south you go, the less fronts you have to contend with and they are generally weaker. The Exumas can have some nasty weather in the winter, but the odds are more in your favor. Then you can leisurely enjoy the Abacos without worrying as much about fronts.

I'd hit the Land and Sea Park. In addition to Warderick Wells, there is a good anchorage at Cambridge. Lots of stuff within dinghy range from there. The Sea Aquarium, Rocky Dundas, etc.

You'll learn a lot by studying the Explorer Charts.

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Old 18-10-2013, 07:01   #11
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

When I say we don't do the Park anymore what I'm saying is we don't go into Warderick Wells or Emerald Rock. For newbies a stop in the Park is nice especially if you like snorkeling and organized activities.

For protection in the Park, Warderick Wells, Cambridge Cay and the south anchorage in WW are good.

We still go to Shroud Cay and Hawksbill Cay which are part of the Park. The ocean side of these cays is really spectacular and we are often the only ones there. If you're anchored in Shroud (very good holding, no need to take a mooring although the Park put a whole bunch in there) dink over to Little Pigeon and into the part between Shroud and Hawksbill. Make sure you check the tides as it dries out for about a mile in there. Also a run up the creeks in Shroud to the ocean is a great trip. Again check the tides.

Gord,

Great shot of "Oz". Fowl Cay cut is not as bad as it looks. It looks really scary but there's good water if you turn at the right times. Do not try this cut at the peak of the flow. I saw a boat get completely turned around when it hit the current here.

Ralph,

We'll be crossing around early January so we'll see you there. I don't know the name of your boat but if you see "Breathless" give us a shout. Got lots of rum.

Ocean side of Shroud


Shroud/Hawksbill


Shallows near Normans Pond


Cleaning conch in Normans. Breathless in the background.
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Old 18-10-2013, 07:05   #12
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

If you're not already looking at the Abaco board, you might pick up some good information here: Abaco Forum Home Page
Your trip sounds like a lot of fun no matter which direction you take!!
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Old 18-10-2013, 19:25   #13
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

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Ralph,

We'll be crossing around early January so we'll see you there. I don't know the name of your boat but if you see "Breathless" give us a shout. Got lots of rum.
Our boat name is "FUGUE", an old 1982 Hunter 36. My friend pronounces it Fug U, but he's a jerk! We'll definitely keep our eyes and ears open for you. Have a great trip down.

Oh, where is Hamburger in GT? Just NW of Monument, by the dock in front of that little bar/restaurant?

Ralph
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Old 18-10-2013, 19:28   #14
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

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Thanks Gord. Hard to beat a photo like that. Very helpful.

Ralph
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Old 18-10-2013, 20:19   #15
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Re: Wintering in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by RTB View Post
---

Oh, where is Hamburger in GT? Just NW of Monument, by the dock in front of that little bar/restaurant?
---
You got it.
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