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Old 04-01-2011, 14:05   #1
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Planning Four Months in Bahamas - Where to Go ?


We are planning out first trip to the Bahamas in 2011 and will be sailing/motoring from Norfolk down the ICW in the fall of 2011 and spend the winter months down south taking the trip over from around Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas. We have a 2006 Catalina 42 Mark II that draws 4'10".

Since this is our first extended stay outside of the US, we are working to plan the trip now for next year and looking for any recommendations from those that have "been there done that" on planning the trip from a location, location, location aspect. We have read many articles from a logistical standpoint but would like to ask the question if you had four months to travel in this area(s) where would you go...start to finish?

Also...any good reference guides/books you could recommend that are truly beneficial are welcome.

Appreciate any responses in advance.

...Larry & Sandy Stewart...
"Sandy Sea"

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Old 04-01-2011, 14:13   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Larry & Sandy.

For a more “civilized” experience, I’d suggest the Abacos.
For a more “natural” experience, I’d suggest the Exumas (used to be called the “Out Islands”).
With only 4 months, I’d go from Bimini to Nassau, thence to Allens Cay through the Exumas to Georgetown.
Others may direct you to & through the Abacos.
Don't worry; you can't go "wrong".

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Old 04-01-2011, 15:43   #3
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Gord's advice is spot on. We've gone directly from Lake Worth to Nassau and then farther south. Don't miss the Exumas Cays Land & Sea National Park. I think it's one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Abacos can be on the chilly side in January and February. Late fall or spring is a nice time to go. We loved sailing the little Bahamas Bank. Green Turtle also was a favorite. We usually make Abacos our last stop and ride the Gulf Stream back north in the spring.

The Bahamas Waterway Guide is a good one. Waterway Cruising Guide | Editions

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- Dennis Jay
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Old 04-01-2011, 18:54   #4
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Originally Posted by dennisjay View Post
The Abacos can be on the chilly side in January and February
That is an understatement. The past two years have found Dec-Feb to be almost freezing in the Abacos with the cold fronts passing through. The past two years have had water temps below 60F/16C and air temps commensurate with driving the water temps that low. Really no different temps than the equivalent latitude of FL have been experiencing.

Going to the Exumas early and working North is very good advice. The Abacos are fantastic, but not when spending a month riding out gales wondering when you will finally be able to put away your winter clothing. Go there in the spring.

We have always left FL straight to Nassau and immediately on to the Exumas. We like to spend Dec-Feb in the Jumentos/Raggeds and work our way North as the weather gets milder.

Don't go to the Jumentos/Raggeds in the winter unless you are very confident in your abilities to handle your boat and selves in rough conditions with no outside resources or hope of help. If a front does make it down that far (they do), there are few places to hide and none will be comfortable. Many anchorages are very dangerous during frontal passages. I don't know your expertise and don't mean the above to be offensive to you, but we see unprepared or inexperienced people down there each year get into trouble or have a bad experience.

The Explorer charts, which you should have on board, also have a good bit of cruising guide content.


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Old 04-01-2011, 19:06   #5
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I'm with Gord who is wise beyond his years, Bimini to Nassau to Allens Cay and Normans Pond etc. Everything was cold last year but this year seems to be warming nicely so we are doing the same thing in a few weeks till middle of March......getting lost in the Exumas.
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Old 05-01-2011, 16:35   #6
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Thanks to everyone for responding. We will likely take a few weeks to go south and the same to get back up north so in the end we are looking at between five to six months tops. We will take a map and put pins in route suggested to plot our plans...very excited since this has been our dream over the last 20 years moving up in boats to what we have now.


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