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Old 20-03-2012, 12:27   #1
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Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

I'm really pissed that in all the time I spent there, I really didnt venture that far off the beaten path. I've been Google Earth-ing the Crooked Isl, Acklin's Isl and south side of Long Isl quite a bit and it looks like it would be wonderful. I see no boat activity there at all, like I do further up island. Looks like a lot of protected anchorages. I bet the lobster/grouper are thick down there. Anyone ever cruise this area? ... man I'm Jonesin'..... I think this is the downside to reading too many travel guides... you forget to think on your own....
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Old 20-03-2012, 13:37   #2
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Re: Of the beaten path in Bahamas

Spent a few days in Acklins Sound. Gorgeous, no other boats, with our draft (4'9'') we had a lot of options where to anchor, lobster paradise, some groupers, very little conch (just their trails). There are even dolphins that come into the sound it was fun swimming with them! And sailing is brilliant with nice winds and little waves (however, in bad weather the shallow sound would be nasty).

There are two passes, we did one just sound of Long Cay as the northern one didn't look trustworthy. Watch out for the weather and time it so the waves are coming from direction other than onto the pass.

Near Crooked Island from the sound side there are several Blue Holes in shalllow water (2-5'). They are marked on the maps. These holes go under Crooked Island to the deep blue ocean on the other side. After free-diving them, we've renamed them Lobster Condominiums. They sit there in their holes stacked one above the other, just have to pick ones you like the most. These holes also have a thriving fish population, including groupers, reef, lemon sharks. And to boot, all sorts of corals, sponges, etc - better than in an aquarium. Be careful though, there are quite strong reversing currents going into and out centers of these holes (I guess from the wave action on the other side), so maybe it's worth diving with fins.

There are also interesting mangroves to explore on the main island, and a lot of smaller sealife near the mangroves - we found several new [for us] types of shrimps there.

We didn't get to explore much of the north and didn't do much island/villages/culture exploration (just Spring Point), because the weather said to go further south.

It has remained one of our favorite spots in Bahamas (Andros and certain Exuma cays where you can get only with shallow draft).
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Old 20-03-2012, 18:57   #3
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Re: Of the beaten path in Bahamas

So most of the time Acklins would be protected from N thru E winds right? If the wind goes west or maybe south, looks to be a lot of fetch... but it doesnt stay west long I dont think....? Looks like a huge area. You are confirming what I suspected about the sea life. Much there at the little settlement?
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Old 25-03-2012, 16:01   #4
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Re: Of the beaten path in Bahamas

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So most of the time Acklins would be protected from N thru E winds right? If the wind goes west or maybe south, looks to be a lot of fetch... but it doesnt stay west long I dont think....? Looks like a huge area. You are confirming what I suspected about the sea life. Much there at the little settlement?
If you watch the weather, you can always migrate towards Long Cay for westerlies. There should be some amazing snorkeling in the cuts (looked at it briefly as I was being towed behind the boat on the way out - gorgeous!). And the multitude of points on Crooked Island will shelter you from southerlies swell. We actually waited out the southerlies/SWerlies there - we managed to get through the cut before the waves grew and after that it was smooth sailing. You get a bit of a chop in the middle, but not bad.

The settlement we visited had wide spread out houses, some bar that opened on certain days of the week, and very friendly people. We got invited to two different parties in other settlements and they even offered us a ride there and back. We politely refused as wanted to spend some time by ourselves (the stars are incredibly close there). There are bigger settlements in the north part and even a paved air strip. Didn't investigate there though.

One "warning" about sealife: most of Acklins Sound is sand with some grass, conch trails, and those long, fragile shells that stand out of the sand like flowers. I briefly saw a crab as I was being towed being the boat, but, except for visiting dolphins and shadows of some yellow runners, that was about it. So all the sealife is concentrated around the cuts/fringing reefs and blue holes.

To the west of this island group (and all along Long Island) there is a northerly current, so watch out for stronger northerlies when sailing around there.
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Old 25-03-2012, 17:38   #5
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

Spent some time on long island,the out islands seem to begin here;no other cruisers , I remember loads of turtles ,all that 30 years back. If all of this sound inviting ,get a copy of "Out Island Doctor" a terrific read from the early 1940s .I'll bet some of it still is there 70 years on . Be prepared to be self sufficient and to saw a feet off of your keel.
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Old 25-03-2012, 19:13   #6
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

Thanks for the great info.
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Old 25-03-2012, 20:25   #7
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Also get "Wind from the Carolina's" by Wildner (?) it's the best read about the early Bahamas.
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Old 26-03-2012, 10:09   #8
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

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Also get "Wind from the Carolina's" by Wildner (?) it's the best read about the early Bahamas.
Yeah.... just read that one last summer... GREAT book! I'll look for ""Out Island Doctor"
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Old 17-08-2012, 18:16   #9
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

Well, I can't resist: since you're talking about good reads, have you seen this one?

Artist and His Island

This book is by Ran Johnston, who settled in Little Harbour, Abaco. His son is Pete, of Pete's Pub and Gallery. The Abacos are not exactly off the beaten track any more, but back in the day.... It's a great book, anyway.
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Old 17-08-2012, 18:20   #10
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

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Be prepared to be self sufficient and to saw a feet off of your keel.
Or you could just get a catamaran and be prepared to tickle the sand on occasion.
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Old 17-08-2012, 19:04   #11
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Re: Off the Beaten Path in Bahamas

We spent some time in the Acklins once you get far enough into the sound waves from the south and west just don't get in there. Except at a few places shallow bars, reefs or Island protect you from the wave action outside the sound. As with any shallow body of water a lot of wind results in steep choppy waves. We anchored for several days near long cay. We had a bad thunderstorm go through one night near long cay with winds about 65 and the anchor held fine so the holdings good, but the water was only about 7-8 feet so depending on your draft it could be a bit iffy. Besides what has already been described by others we found very interesting dive spot at the very southwest tip of Acklin Island. It was very shallow so we anchored in Datum Bay and dinghyed to the reef.

From Acklin we went to Hogsty Reef and the to Great Inagua. While I have yet to find an unfriendly town in the Bahamas, the people in Matthew Town on Great Inagua were some of the friendliest I have yet to run into. The only problem with Great Inagua is that there is no good protected harbor from west winds, at least on the west and northern sides of the island. Apparently there's a pretty good place on the southern side but it's quite a ways from anything. Alfred sound on the NW side looks like it might be ok, but the entrance is only tenable in settled weather which is fairly rare in the winter down there. Once inside you might be trapped there for quite a while. Man of War bay is a great dive site and is well protected from the north, east , and south. There won't be many cruisers down that far, but Matthew Town is a popular port of entry for people coming north out of the Carribean so you will get a few. When we went back north we went up the east side of Long Island to Clarencetown. We had to hide from some weather there for a couple of days but it was an interesting place. From there it's a short trip to Rum or Conception.

This part of our trip was probably the best part of our trip last winter.
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