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Old 14-11-2019, 07:26   #1
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Cruising Miami to Exumas

I have a 1996 40' Beneteau Oceanis, in early stage of planning a cruise from Miami to Exumas in the March/April time frame. Initial thoughts are:

Week 1: sail Miami to Exuma, with some stops along the way.
Week 2: leave on hook at George Town anchorage and fly back to Miami (to get some work done..)
Week 3: Fly back to George Town and do day trips around the Exumas area using George Town as base.
Week 4: same as week 2 (leave on hook while I fly back to Miami)
Week 5: Fly back to George Town to pick up boat and sail back to Miami.

Breaking it up this way not only allows me to get some work done (can't afford to be away for more than a week at a time), and allows me to engage 3 different crews, each for a week (i.e. easier to recruit crew with lower time commitment).

Any input from those that have been there, about the timing (time of year / phases of trip), stuff to look out for, provisioning, etc, is welcome. At this stage, nothing cast in stone!

Thanks amigos!
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Old 14-11-2019, 07:58   #2
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

If you're going from Miami to GT in a week you might as well stay in Miami and sail Biscayne Bay. And are you going to leave your boat unattended at anchor in GT?
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Old 14-11-2019, 08:10   #3
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

There is an anchorage and/or a mooring there in a little inlet next to chat n chill. I cant remember the details, its too shallow back in that hole for me, but its very protected weather-wise I believe. You can potentially research that. Emerald Bay Marina would probably be the safest place to keep your boat overall. At least as far as I can remember, options wise. Good luck.

Russell


Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbartley View Post
I have a 1996 40' Beneteau Oceanis, in early stage of planning a cruise from Miami to Exumas in the March/April time frame. Initial thoughts are:

Week 1: sail Miami to Exuma, with some stops along the way.
Week 2: leave on hook at George Town anchorage and fly back to Miami (to get some work done..)
Week 3: Fly back to George Town and do day trips around the Exumas area using George Town as base.
Week 4: same as week 2 (leave on hook while I fly back to Miami)
Week 5: Fly back to George Town to pick up boat and sail back to Miami.

Breaking it up this way not only allows me to get some work done (can't afford to be away for more than a week at a time), and allows me to engage 3 different crews, each for a week (i.e. easier to recruit crew with lower time commitment).

Any input from those that have been there, about the timing (time of year / phases of trip), stuff to look out for, provisioning, etc, is welcome. At this stage, nothing cast in stone!

Thanks amigos!
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Old 14-11-2019, 08:33   #4
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Not sure if Vasco is saying that sailing Miami to Exuma in a week is too optimistic? FYI, I sail Biscayne Bay at least twice a week... I'm looking for a change!

Thanks on anchorage tips from Mabel. I am planning to leave unattended for approx one week each time. So, of course, security of the anchorage or mooring will be important, as are any tips about securing the boat (alarms?, extra locks?). And, of course, I will get an international rider on my insurance as well!
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Old 14-11-2019, 08:58   #5
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Miami to GT can be done in a week weather permitting. But you will be bypassing the best of the Exumas. There is no safe spot to leave the boat between Nassau and GT that is easily accessible by commercial carrier.

Your best bet is to sail out of Nassau first and do the northern and central Exumas, keeping the boat in a marina on the off week ($1000 approx). When you've done that enough take a week sailing to GT. Leave the boat on a mooring in hole 2 or 3.($300 a month).

In my view the best sailing in the Exumas is on the Bank between Ship Channel and Musha.
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Originally Posted by jsbartley View Post
Not sure if Vasco is saying that sailing Miami to Exuma in a week is too optimistic? FYI, I sail Biscayne Bay at least twice a week... I'm looking for a change!

Thanks on anchorage tips from Mabel. I am planning to leave unattended for approx one week each time. So, of course, security of the anchorage or mooring will be important, as are any tips about securing the boat (alarms?, extra locks?). And, of course, I will get an international rider on my insurance as well!
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Old 14-11-2019, 09:25   #6
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Basically a good plan but some notes:

Week 1: sail Miami to Exuma, with some stops along the way. That will be a busy week to get done in a week. Depending on your experience, some people wait 2 weeks to cross to the Bahamas. But even if you go right away, one week to Gtown you must be moving constantly.
Week 2: leave on hook at George Town anchorage and fly back to Miami (to get some work done..)
Week 3: Fly back to George Town and do day trips around the Exumas area using George Town as base.
Week 4: same as week 2 (leave on hook while I fly back to Miami)
Week 5: Fly back to George Town to pick up boat and sail back to Miami.

One thought might be to get to Nassau the first week. Easy flights and there are good places along the way to Nassau. Leave the boat at Nassau Harbor Club or etc. Dont leave it anchored in Nassau Harbor.Then the next trip try to get to G Town.
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Old 14-11-2019, 10:06   #7
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Ditto on the fact that you will be missing some of the best parts of the Exuma chain. Staniel Cay, about half way going south from Nassau, has very regular flights that you might want to check into. Most importantly, keep in mind that to get into and out of Georgetown, you will be in Exuma Sound (in other words, the Atlantic) and very unprotected from easterly winds, which are prevailing at that time of year. We have had friends who have flown into Georgetown and then have had to wait for three days to get out of the anchorage. Then, of course, you have to make sure you can get crew/friends back to Georgetown to get their flights out. We always tell people to plan to stay at least 10 days, otherwise you risk not being able to go anywhere. A cold front lasts approximately three days (or longer). I would plan Miami, Nassau, Staniel Cay. Once you cross from Nassau to the northern tip of the Exumas Chain, you are inside and safe (unless there's a fierce westerly which isn't very common). There is plenty to see - Allans, Highbourne, Norman's, Warderwick Wells, Cambridge Cay and Staniel Cay. That's a week right there!
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Old 14-11-2019, 10:12   #8
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

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Originally Posted by Nickodemus View Post
Ditto on the fact that you will be missing some of the best parts of the Exuma chain. Staniel Cay, about half way going south from Nassau, has very regular flights that you might want to check into.
Flights are fine but there is no safe place to leave a boat in this area. The marina is unprotected in a westerly and throws boats out if a strong front is expected and they do occur in March/April.
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Old 14-11-2019, 10:32   #9
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

My thoughts - and in no order of importance...,

One week from Miami to the Exumas might be too short to allow for 'some stops along the way.'

I wouldn't leave my boat on the hook at the Georgetown anchorage even for one day. There's an awful lot of traffic between the main island and Stocking Is, not only yachts but also bigger vessels going in and out of GT. You might anchor just fine, but someone else's anchor drags in the middle of the night, the current takes him and next thing you know you've been rammed.

There's a 'hurricane hole' on Stocking Is where some people leave yachts on moorings. I think it's operated by the St Francis resort.

There's a marina at a place called Emerald Bay just a few miles from GT. I moored there a couple of years ago and thought the fees were reasonable. The advantage of Emerald Bay over the GT anchorage or Stocking Island is that you get to and from your boat in a cab from the airport any time of day or night.

Day sails or overnight trips from GT we enjoyed..,
  • Warderick Wells - (Exumas nature park.) Great walks and swimming. Lovely mooring field managed by the park warden
    Shroud Cay - beautiful
    Leaf Cay - even more beautiful!
    Conception - interesting lagoon with lots of turtles
    Cat Island - you can climb highest hill in The Bahamas

Provisioning. Carry as much as you can of non-perishables from Florida. Every ounce of coffee or roll of toilet paper will cost you much more in the islands. For everything else there's the Exuma Market store in GT, including the all-important fresh water!

Enjoy the Exumas - you've set me to thinking that maybe I should go back there...

AGE OF SAIL - Home
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Old 14-11-2019, 10:42   #10
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

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keeping the boat in a marina on the off week ($1000 approx).
$1,000 per week to leave a 40ft boat in a marina! Is this true?
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Old 14-11-2019, 10:45   #11
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

I also agree that a week is just too short to get from Miami to Georgetown. You would be sailing the whole time and not seeing anything and you don't have room to wait for weather. You could spend a few days in Bimini, check out the Sapona, a day in the southern Berry islands, then go to Nassau and leave the boat in Nassau somewhere. If you want to get into the Exumas, Highbourne Cay is often the 1st stop from Nassau. Highbourne has a marina (~$3/ft per night) and you can get helicopter or sea plane back out since there's no airport. It's not a cheap option, but you didn't say your budget. Norman's has an airport and a protected marina that's under construction. There were a few boats in there last year, but I'm not sure if they are "open". Contact MacDuff's. The anchorage there provides decent protection too. But you don't want to skip Warderick Wells park and Staniel cay/thunder ball grotto, etc... These are not 'day trips' from GT and while there are day trips to do, they are generally secluded beach type things that you can find a lot closer to Miami in Bimini or Berry islands. Why sail all this way and not see the sights the Exumas is known for? Its ~50miles to Staniel, which is doable in a day, but you want a day or 2 there before a long-long day back into a prevailing SE. 75miles to Warderick wells is too far for most as a day sail unless you get perfect conditions. There are also places to leave the boat in Bimini and Chub, which have airports. I wouldn't keep the boat in GT the whole time.
Check out https://activecaptain.garmin.com/ for tons more info on Marinas and anchorages.
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Old 14-11-2019, 11:20   #12
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

800 a week would be the cheapest, 2000 pw not unknown
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$1,000 per week to leave a 40ft boat in a marina! Is this true?
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Old 14-11-2019, 11:37   #13
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Go to Bimini, then anchor out off of Chubb if you don't make Nassau. In Nassau I use Bay Street Marina which has 24/7 security. I would fly in and out of Nassau and do the Northern Exumas down to Staniel. Don't have experience with Georgetown. Leave your self some time because of the weather.
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Old 14-11-2019, 12:16   #14
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbartley View Post
I have a 1996 40' Beneteau Oceanis, in early stage of planning a cruise from Miami to Exumas in the March/April time frame. Initial thoughts are:

Week 1: sail Miami to Exuma, with some stops along the way.
Week 2: leave on hook at George Town anchorage and fly back to Miami (to get some work done..)
Week 3: Fly back to George Town and do day trips around the Exumas area using George Town as base.
Week 4: same as week 2 (leave on hook while I fly back to Miami)
Week 5: Fly back to George Town to pick up boat and sail back to Miami.

Breaking it up this way not only allows me to get some work done (can't afford to be away for more than a week at a time), and allows me to engage 3 different crews, each for a week (i.e. easier to recruit crew with lower time commitment).

Any input from those that have been there, about the timing (time of year / phases of trip), stuff to look out for, provisioning, etc, is welcome. At this stage, nothing cast in stone!

Thanks amigos!
All this Exumas talk makes me jealous. Everybody has there opinions, but its a good problem to have. Even the planning is fun. Iíve barely done a fraction of what there is to offer in the islands. Some people may spend an entire season at one or two cays. Although I would say most hop around since there are so many islands (~300). I canít argue too much with what the other posters are saying and those are very reasonable options, but do what suits you. If you truly want to go straight to GT and then explore from there that is okay too. While making the trip in a week is possible, you obviously know there is a really good chance you wont make that kind of time. I think you would need a little bit of luck if you truly only have 7 days. Stopping in New Providence would be the next best bet if your time is limited. Unless the weather is ****, you can make that no problem and have time to tuck the boat away and have some drinks if that is your gig. Then do another week trip to Great Exuma, which if I remember would be nearly charging straight through as well. Then make your excursions from there on other weeks. Iíd be really scared to leave my boat on the hook. Mooring ball at Stocking Island in that little hole behind chat n chill or Emerald Bay Marina.

At some point you are going to want to really take your time through both the northern and southern Exumas. Itís like you could go there every year for twenty years and not get bored. Read Explorer Chartbooks if you havenít already. They will be money for determining where you want to go.
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Old 14-11-2019, 17:28   #15
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Re: Cruising Miami to Exumas

Anyone have first hand info on how crowded the Exumas are this season? Most years, Georgetown / Marsh Harbour seem to be almost equally popular. With the Dorian disaster, we are not going to transit via Abacos (maybe on the way back in the spring.) Should we anticipate even a greater Georgetown crowd? And for the original poster, if they make it down to GT and want to leave the boat, I'm guessing dockage usually available might be unavailable this year?
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