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Old 30-12-2013, 11:07   #16
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Hi Guys,
Fan-bloody-tastic! I guessed as much! On the nose isn't much good for a square rigger is it? Iíd rather have a strong NE, except for crossing the Stream.
We have always been blue water sailors, so thereís no way Iím crossing either Bahama Bank on my first taste of shallow water cruising.
I understand you can see the bottom, so we would be nervous wrecks by the time we shot out the other end. I find one of the redeeming features of the ultra shallow ICW is itís so mucky you canít see the bottom.
From the chart West End looks like the best place to be our first chance to register so Iíll talk to them when we know a departure date.
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Old 30-12-2013, 11:21   #17
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

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Thanks Vasco, that Fleeming channel looks like a fairly safe shortcut into the top end of the Exumas for us.
I've been through the Fleming Channel a few times. There are some scattered coral heads south of it to watch out for with your draft. Easy to see on a sunny day.
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Old 30-12-2013, 12:06   #18
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I'd leave from Lake Worth and clear in at Freeport. Leaving Lake Worth about midnight should get you into Bell Channel in plenty of time to clear customs. The fuel dock at Grand Bahama Yacht Club has a customs office.

From there it's an easy day to Great Harbor and the Berrys. Get to the Exumas via Yellow Bank on a clear sunny day. If you don't need fuel in Nassau just cruise on through and anchor off Rose Island.

I would not cross the Bahamas Bank from Gun Cay, I 've bumped bottom drawing 5ft on that route. If you decide to cross the bank, enter near Great Issac or south of South Riding Rock and then to NW Channel Light.

In the Exumas you can easily make day hops. I recommend Allens Cay, Highborn, Normans, Hawksbill, Staniel, Black Point, Great Exuma. We also like Little Farmers, Rudder and Lee Stocking but draft is an issue unless you don't mind rolly anchorages.

We also like Salt Pond on Long Island, Rock Sound on Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and about anyplace in the Abacos. Hoffmans and Chub in the Berrys are also favorites.

The Ragged Islands are also very nice but only for experienced Bahamas cruisers as anchorages are few and you must be self sufficient. I can't say much in favor of Rum Cay, Mayaguana or the Turks and Caicos except as rest stops on your way elsewhere.

Cat Island is very interesting as is Conception. We enjoyed Clarence Town on LI as well but these are a bit off the path. The monastery on Cat is worth the trip.
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Old 30-12-2013, 13:22   #19
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Iím very grateful for the input from everyone and we are beginning to formulate a passage.
If I might make one gentle observation though.
You guys obviously know your way around, but I canít find half these places, and many of them are not in the index, one page for which is pretty poor if you ask me.
Weíre enjoying looking at our new chart books, but it would be more than helpful if you could indicate where the places are, for example, Yellow Bank or Rose Island, neither of which are in the index, and we canít find at all.
Itís a bit like sending a local man to put road signs up. He wouldnít bother with half of them because he would think it obvious which way to go.
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Old 30-12-2013, 13:24   #20
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Rose Island, to the right of Nassau
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Old 30-12-2013, 13:31   #21
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Yellow Bank, to the south of Nassau, SE maybe.
You should get Pavilidis' Exuma Guide, you will find it a great help in planning.
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Old 30-12-2013, 13:35   #22
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

When you leave Nassau heading towards the Exumas, once you get past Porgee Rocks, you will get on the Bank. To the south and east is the Yellow Bank which is about 10 feet in places and has many coral heads. To the south and west is the White Bank not as many heads, a bit deeper. Deep draft vessels run directly south between the banks. Good water few heads. Once you get to about the latitude of Highborne or Allens Cays you're clear of the heads and can run east toward the Exuma Cays. If you get the Exumas chart book it will be easier to follow. I am not on the boat right now so can't give you the coordinates. The actual stretch of bad heads in the Yellow Bank is only about four or five miles if my memory serves me right.
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Old 30-12-2013, 14:18   #23
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Thanks for the clarifications.
The reason I couldnít find White Bank, and perhaps a few others as well, is because itís in the Exumas book, which I donít yet have.
I'll also buy the other pilots you all recommend.
By the time we get down there I reckon we will have a feel for the area, which Iím sure is the only way to learn it.

Still, I think I will invest in a tow service, just in case.
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Old 30-12-2013, 14:41   #24
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

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Still, I think I will invest in a tow service, just in case.
No towing service in the Bahamas. You're on your own. It's not like the ICW you seldom get stuck. You can read the water. With a little practice you can tell the depths without a sounder. At the least you'll be able to identify where you should not go. I have touched bottom a few time trying to negotiate shallow short-cuts between stretches of deeper water rather than going around but always got off.

A charter boat who hadn't learned to read the water yet. The locals pulled him off, no charge.

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Old 30-12-2013, 15:09   #25
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Thanks Vasco.
Well there you go. I was told if I had Towboat US—or some such name, I would get reciprocal service in the Bahamas. I did think it a bit odd, because after all it’s a different country.
Just goes to show, you saved me some money.

That’s why I’m looking into as much as possible beforehand.
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Old 30-12-2013, 15:50   #26
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The Explorer Charts are essential cruising guides and their waypoints are spot on. Don't leave port without 'em.
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