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Old 20-10-2007, 11:24   #1
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Bahamas Crusing Routes / Plans

My wife and I will be doing my first Bahama cruise this coming winter/spring and am now trying to do a high level plan for how we might allocate our time.

We will be in a 40 foot/25 ton/7kt trawler. We have about 5000 nm experience in this boat from FL to Maine, but only a little in tropical water from BVI charters many years ago.

I will be ready to leave Lake Worth for weather windows after 3/20/08 and wont need to return until mid May or possibly even into June.

In general, I would like to go for the better weather and could foresee a general plan as follows:

Ft Lauderdale/Bimini/Banks/ChubbKey/Nassau/Exumas

Exumas/Eleuthera

Eleuthers/Abacos

Abacos/PalmBeachInlet

Here are my questions for those of you experienced Bahama cruisers:

- If I am leaving in late March, am I better off going directly to the Abacos as the weather should be good by then. I am thinking of going south primarily in search of warmer wx and water.

- If I go with the southerly route, do I need to look for a weather window all the way to Nassau? Chubb? or some northerly Exuma destination?

- Is this plan too agressive for a first cruise to the Bahamas?

Any other coaching on a general plan for such a cruise would be welcome.

Thanks to all.

Gary
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Old 20-10-2007, 13:12   #2
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For the last few years we've been going the Miami, Nassau, Exumas route.

Usually a window takes you right to Nassau. Cross the stream, the wind will be clocking. The front usually catches you as you enter the tongue of the ocean. If it comes around too fast we hide behind Frazers Hog Cay and head for Nassau a day or two later. We're a sailboat and usually do about six knots. I would recommend this route. You can stay a day or two in Nassau and clear in there. This is not too ambitious an undertaking and many newbies take this route. Miami to Nassau is about thirty hours, maybe less at your speed.

The Abacos can still be cool and breezy in March. Occasionally we visit Abaco on the way home. Last year it was still cool and breezy in May!!

As for windows if we can get a ten hour one we will cross. You just have to get across the stream. Often the weather is very different (nicer) once you get on the Great Bahama Bank. In the Tongue of the Ocean you may get a beam sea and being in a trawler you might roll a bit.

Good luck on your trip.
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Old 20-10-2007, 15:04   #3
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plan sounds pretty good. You are right about the weather and temps farther south. We go from south florida to Bimini and clear there. Then head for Nassau/ Fraizers, (according to weather),. Then start making the way south, very leisurely . I agree with Rick, the Abacos is much nicer stop on the way back!
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Old 21-10-2007, 18:12   #4
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FirstForty...While I disagree with some of the weather comments re:Abaco vs.Exumas above as I think they are more in the nature of old wives tales than anything supported by facts....
the cruising plan you set out makes sense. If you are ONLY going to the Exumas in search of warm water then you can just head to the Abacos as both water and air are plenty warm by mid to late March...hell Lobster season ends 4/1 and I'm usually TIRED of diving (without a wet suit!) for them by then and generally spend 2-3 hours at a time in the water which is generally around 75 degrees.
However...the Exumas are a wonderful destination too so if you have the time, visit them as well as the Abacos.
If you are headed north on your way back, I would suggest entering at Ft. Pierce rather than West Palm Beach since you will get a lift from the Stream and make it in the same amount of time AND be closer to the airport for the check in with immigration. Harbortown Marina there is convenient for this.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:36   #5
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I agree with camaraderie, we usually leave Palm Beach early am and head for Great Sail Cay Abaco. I would rather do a daytime passage on the ocean and hit the Bahama Banks in the dark. Abaco is still not to crowded unlike the Exumas, good diving and still can find lobster, love to hunt them critters.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:18   #6
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FirstForty...While I disagree with some of the weather comments re:Abaco vs.Exumas above as I think they are more in the nature of old wives tales than anything supported by facts....
Cam,

Just listen to Chris Parker's weather on 4045 Mhz at 0630 and you will see or hear very clearly the difference between the Abacos and the Exumas. Many of the fronts make it to the Abacos but stall in the northern Exumas. This has been very evident this year. We have yet to have a strong front here in Georgetown this season but they've had quite a few in Marsh Harbour. It's not an old wives tale, it just makes sense that if you're 150 miles further south those cold fronts that come off the North American continent will have a harder time making it down here.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:19   #7
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And don't forget...

Bimini is a very easy check in; the folks there are helpful. Nassau is a zoo.

Before you depart, don't forget to register at a local Immigration office so you can check in by phone on return without having to show yourself at an airport or port.

If you cruise from the Exumas to Abacos, stop at Spanish Wells. Everything you need is there, and it is a fine, traditional working community with lots of history.

Last, don't pass up Grand Cay and nearby anchorage at Double Breasted on your way back. A little off course, but worth the trip.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:59   #8
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... Last, don't pass up Grand Cay and nearby anchorage at Double Breasted on your way back. A little off course, but worth the trip.
These are slightly more "difficult" waters.
From Walker’s Cay, you can call “Lovetrain” (channel 68) to arrange free boat service to/from “Rosies” (for a great dinner) on Grand Cay.
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:10   #9
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Hi Everyone.

We are starting to plan our first cruise by the southern route, we have used the northern route to the Abacos 6 times in the last 12 years.

Like FirstForty we expect to have time for Fla/Bimini/Banks/ChubbKey/Nassau/Exumas and would like some help planning a float plan/Route. Waypoints would be great. We are a 27 ft. sailboat, well-equipped, GPS, Autopilot, radar, ssb with winlink email, ect, which we trailer from Middletown, Ohio, to Fla. We have always used Lake Worth in the past, but looks like we should start farther south to take advantage of the Gulf Stream? Any recommended location/Marina? Places to stop? We only have around 3 weeks to spend.

Bill & Brenda
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Old 01-06-2008, 15:59   #10
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Some Bahamas Waypoints:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ans-10609.html
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Old 26-07-2009, 10:14   #11
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One good Marina/starting point for trailer sailors ....... south Florida to Bahamas is Miami Bayfront park Park and Recreation

Good luck, Bill A.
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Old 26-07-2009, 10:53   #12
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Starting from Biscayne is good as you are partially traveling with the stream when you cross to bimini or sail rock. Personally I would start earlier than late March for sure, if you cross the end of march you have only a couple of months before it gets too hot and hurricane season starts. Then again, I'm from the North so fair weather to me may be cold to you! You dont mention how long you will be out and that is key. If you are only going to be out 8 weeks then I think you have to choose north or south from Nassau. Personally, first time I would go south through the Exumas. Wonderful spots and easy traveling to get you addicted to the Bahamas! Once you are over the g-stream there is not a lot of necessary weather planning as you are in the lee side of the islands except the daysail to Georgetown.
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Old 26-07-2009, 11:17   #13
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This is an old thread, guys. The OP started this thread in October '07, and was planning his cruise for late winter/early spring '08, so any advice you're giving him now is probably not going to help him very much . He hasn't actually been here since October 23, 2007, so . . .

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Old 26-07-2009, 11:27   #14
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This is an old thread, guys. The OP started this thread in October '07,....

TaoJones
A good thing to note - Thanks for the reality check.
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Old 05-02-2010, 16:51   #15
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Heck I actually appreciated the rolling thread.

A lot of times when I come aboard the Cruiser Forum I don't want to bother everyone with my silly routing questions. (trust me...they ARE silly) Having only 8-10 weeks to spend in the Bahamas and this being our first crossing, as we await our weather window the last few pieces of advice in this thread really hit home for us. Off to the Exumas it is...forget about Abaco (except maybe on the way homeward in April)...Thanks to ALL of you posters. Even the ones posting to cruisers who have not past this way in a while...(Heck the original poster may have enjoyed his cruise so thoroughly that he is still down there in some far Cay sipping rum, mumbling to himself...Internet/Schminternet....I don't need no stinking internet....All I need is this conch full o rum)

Fair seas.
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