Originally Posted by SelahwayJF7
My wife and I closed on a 1997 Jeanneau
Sun Odyssey 37 this week and we couldn't be more excited!! She is a beautiful boat and fits our criteria near perfectly. The previous owners have taken great care of her and equipped her with everything you need for cruising the Bahamas
. We are planning our first cruise on her to the Abacos a little later this year (Late season - June or July).
Having said that I'd gladly listen and take in any advice/wisdom I could get in regards to sailing during that time of year in the Abacos.
We bought and have been studying the 2015 Dodge Cruising Guide and have learned a lot from it. The boat is in Fort Pierce, so thats our starting point as of now.
Like I said we are beyond excited for the many adventures to come and are looking forward to meeting some of you out on the water in the months and years to come!
Thanks in advance!
We have spent 2, and will again now, summers in Marsh Harbour and surrounds.
The area is good if you have to experience a hurricane
. Marsh Harbour's pretty good in itself; Hopetown has some hurricane
moorings and is great protection and Treasure Cay Marina, as it's the off-season and has the space, will rent you both halves of a slip for great spiderwebbing. We personally know two boats that went through Sandy, where the eye passed over the marina, very successfully there.
Outside Marsh Harbour, you may find shelter in Green Turtle Cay's White and Black Sounds, depending on your depth
, and, if you're shallow enough, Little Harbour on the south end of Great Abaco
(where Marsh Harbour is).
If you wanted to (we would not), there are many marinas
which could put you in a slip.
Summer is great in that you largely have the area to yourselves, and - if you enjoy snorkeling or free diving
, the water's warm enough to stay in for hours. The downside is that many businesses shut down due to lack of business - but it's well worth it.
Sailling in the Sea of Abaco
is easy and fun; going south from MH will be a twisty-turny sail, which will be great for sail handling exercises. There are many opportunities for exploration along that route
Going north to Baker's Bay/Fisher's Bay/Treasure Cay is easier, as the rhumb line is longer. With the right winds, you may see several boats heading north under spinnaker
There is ample opportunity for snorkeling/free diving
here. As we've been blessed to see amazing things, we have a bit of ennui about places many would consider fantastic, given the beauty of our favorites.
The first one is off Fowl Cay, just south of Scotland
Cay, and is a national park. You can anchor
on the west side of Fowl, and the short dinghy
ride will put you there.
The other is the massive reef off the top end of Great Guana, above Baker's Bay. Anchor
in the area south of that, and dinghy
around to the top. The water there is less than a foot deep at low tide, putting a snorkeler up close and personal with the coral
If you're comfortable free diving, it's about 15' in many places, with turtles and spotted rays, among others, proliferating near the bottom. Going down will also expose you to entire schools of fish
in the usual brilliant colors seen here.
If you like being up close and personal, here's a trick we've learned: Take a Gatorade bottle and run a hot 1/4" or so bolt (or a soldering iron tip) through it. Drilling will shatter it...
Boil up some rice and put it in the bottle. When you're in the water, the sea water will fill it, putting the rice in suspension. Give the bottle a quick squeeze to puff out some rice. You'll be covered up in fish
. Take the camera
Once you're inside, you rarely have to be concerned about the passages' conditions, but the Cruiser's Net on VHF
68 at 8:15 (you may hear me, depending on timing, as I've been and will again be Net Anchor there, starting Thursday) will keep you informed about anything weather
related, should you want to go outside in order to enjoy some of the northern Abacos, including, if you're here at the right time, the Stranded Naked party near Green Turtle on July 3rd. I'll leave the googling to you
- but it's a HUGE party.
You'll probably be making the same trip we did, 3+ weeks ago, as we left Ft. Pierce, enjoyed the banks, and checked into Green Turtle, along with some threatening weather
. Look for my "Shake and Break" series in CF for some current
, real life info...
And, while it may be redundant to your knowledge, if you don't have it, get the Explorer Chart book covering that area. You can rely on what's there, and the waypoints are current
- many changed in the last version, as compared to our previously entered/marked (from an earlier version) positions. Rhumblines will be deep enough for any likely vessel; we're 7' and have never accidentally grounded in the Bahamas (we DO ground her from time to time to scrub the bottom).
Skip, in Marsh Harbour