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Old 12-03-2013, 06:23   #1
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Bahamas Trip, Some questions

For those of you who are knowledgeable,

My first Bahamas trip, (wife has done a dozen but on larger vessels,)
Our plan is leave Key largo, cross to Bimini, clear in , spend two days bimini, Gun and Cat cays, then head to Berrys (weather permitting) Spend a week in the Berry's than work our way back. We have about 16 days total to do this and get home. middle of May- June

1.Wife wants to bring bikes? Is it really worth the hassel? Only marina we plan to be at is in Bimini.

2.Tanks vs Snorkel Gear? We have lots of tanks are there places around the berrys to get them filled ? ( my thoughts its shallow enough to snorkel and free dive.
3. Coming back our thoughts were to come around Mano war Then by Munnings knoll and cross back from there. My concern is in inclement weather is there much shelter in this area in case we need to wait a day or two (or more) to cross?
Thanks for any insight, hope this will be a great trip.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:35   #2
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Sounds great. I would say skip the bikes. Most of the places you'll be there isn't enough road to make them worthwhile. Myself, I think snorkeling gear is fine. You may be able to get tanks filled in the Chubb Cay Marina in the Berrys (very expensive place). You can see a lot snorkeling. Not sure what you mean about returning via Man O' War, which is way up north in the Abacos, unless there is another Man O'War in the Berrys I don't know about. It is certainly possible to sail from the Berrys up to the northeast and to the Abacos, and then through the Abacos and by Man O' War, and then back over to West End and then back to Florida, but that would require a lot of moving on and not much stopping to enjoy things with only 16 days. You might also want to consider the option of doing Key Largo-Bimini-Chubb-Nassau-Northern Exumas--and back. It's a bit tight for 16 days, but the snorkeling, water clarity, water colors, etc., are even more fabulous in the Exumas.

Edit--Munnings Knoll is down south of Riding Rock--is that where you were thinking of leaving? Keep in mind you have to check out of the Bahamas someplace. I have crossed going the other way from Riding Rock to where the old Russel Beacon was before--very remote out there and you might not see anyone, and there is almost no shelter other than to get behind Riding Rock and lump it out. You could make your approach to the Berrys that way, skipping Bimini, and then clearing in Chubb. Not sure how expensive or how much of a hassle it is to clear there these days.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:36   #3
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

If only place you'll soil your shoes, then no to the bikes.

Tanks? Its the old 80/20 rule...80% of what you can see is in the first 20ft. Chasing fills is a nuisence imho but if you ever want them/need them AND you have the storage space then I suggest you define those situations. I'd take them.

May/June weather is pretty benign, plenty of places to hole up if needed.

Have a wonderfilled trip!
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:41   #4
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Thanks so far! I guess my thought on Coming back via Manowar North end of Andros, was that when we cross the Stream back to Florida well be "South "enough that when we hit florida were not too Far North of Key largo or is this futile and it would be better to cross West from Bimini area and just head south once we get out of the stream in FL?
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:53   #5
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

I'm not exactly sure where Manowar is on the north end of Andros, but unless you have some special knowledge I'm not certain there is any route for craft of normal draft across the north end of Andros. The main route from the Berrys back onto the Banks is via Northwest Channel Light, and then from there you can head out to around the old Russel Beacon location (is there anything there now?), and then down towards Riding Rock. I think unless you fight the stream the whole way, you'll still likely end up around Miami or so. It is always nice to not fight the current the whole way. I think to make it an easier and faster trip you may want to just go back via Bimini and clear out that way, and then head back across to Ft. Lauderdale and then back down the ICW or hugging the coast.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:31   #6
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

The only place we used our bikes was for Great Harbor Cay. It is pretty large and was nice to explore via bikes especially out to the Sugar Beach Caves which is well worth the long bike ride.

We always have two tanks on board, and the only time we used them was to clean the boat.

When coming back we went back through Bimini and then went down to about South Riding Rock and was able to cut across to Largo.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:49   #7
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

what does the EDIT mean .... YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT OF THE BAHAMAS...?
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:00   #8
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Apparently you don't have to clear out anymore if you are just returning to the USA, but I am uncertain of that. In the past you were supposed to clear out, though many did not.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:29   #9
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Bikes: No, not worth the space and trouble. Maybe in some other places, but not where you are going.

Scuba Tanks: On a trip in 1987 with four other guys who were Scuba certified, we took 12 tanks with us. We came back with eight full tanks, and four that almost full. You're hardly ever in water over 15 to 20 deep.

We would use weight belts attached to a line, to drag us to the bottom to take lobsters (which you could see from the surface, just their long antennas sticking out from under coral heads, unbelievably), then surface and haul the weight belts back up by the line attached to them.

Route back: I've never done that exact route (last time I left the Berry's I went across to Nassau),and I'm not one hundred per cent sure I understand what you are talking about doing.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:44   #10
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Snorkeling gear is likely all you'll need and we walked everywhere when we were there.
If you are crossing to Bimini be VERY SURE you know the way in. It is tricky and we have seems several cruisers run aground trying to get in there. Get a good cruising guide, Explorer charts, and pay heed to that Bimini entrance.

Sounds like a great cruise. I loved the Berry Islands, though I was not there long.
Fair winds and following seas,
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:49   #11
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Just saw the comment about navigating back to Florida. Do you know how to plot set and drift?

Will you be carrying GPS onboard?
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Old 03-04-2015, 13:11   #12
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Skip the tanks and them bikes...
Been to the Bahamas dozens of times, never needed either.
Explorer Charts are a must, then some.
May and June is good, July also but getting closer to the 'cane season.
I have gone for short trips year around, but need good Comm gear to track and plot hurricanes, then a quick escape to Florida if one comes your way.
There is a few hurricane holes in the Bahmas, but if something serious is-a-coming, the holes will be filled by locals.
16 days is about right to include the Berry's but too short for the Exumas.
You need a 3 day window to get across the Stream and the banks if case of a Front.
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Old 03-04-2015, 16:46   #13
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Re: Bahamas Trip, Some questions

Ahh this original post was over 2 years ago, been there and back multiple times since them, thanks though, on our 3rd cat since then, moving to permanently cruising status in 6 months. Spending the next year in the Bahamas, then going east, funny how much you learn and how much progress you can make in 2 years

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