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Old 26-06-2013, 20:25   #1
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Ahoy!

Hello, I'm Nathan. I currently live in Indiana and have an 18' Sea Ray bowrider, but have bought a house in Florida (West coast just North of Tampa) and will be moving next month. We plan to buy a (much) bigger boat when we get down there. Wanting something big enough that we can take family and friends out in the Gulf to Anclote Key, etc, but also entertaining the idea of towing over to the East coast, then cruising over to the Bahamas, which is how I ended up on this site. I think we will be purchasing a 24' - 27' cabin cruiser of some sort. I personally like the Sea Ray Sundancers, but am open to others. I will make additional posts in other areas of the forum as necessary to answer all of my questions, but I will start with a few here. I did already read through other threads and visited noonsite to get as much info as possible, but it seems that the best info always comes from people that have already experienced it. From what I have seen so far this type of boat should be fine for what I want to do and all I really need to do is get passports, cruise over to a Marina at West End or Freeport, clear in with customs and immigration, pay them $150 cash, do what I want for up to 90 days, clear out, sail back and clear back in to the US. Does that basically sum it up? I have other questions about flags, where I can and cannot moor, etc, but thats enough for an introduction lol. Any and all comments/advice will be appreciated.

Thank you,

Nathan
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Old 26-06-2013, 21:12   #2
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Re: Ahoy!

Hi Nathan and welcome to the forum.

Regarding the Bahamas, that's pretty much what you do. One or two details you might not have thought about.

1. Be sure to take your boat registration and/or title. USCG documentation is preferred but I've taken several small boats that were just FL state registered with no problem but they do want to see some paperwork to make sure it's not a hot boat or something.

2. In a power boat this size, on a calm day you should be able to make it across in 2-3 hours. Good schedule is have the boat ready and leave early in the am. Usually calmer then and you get to the Bahamas early enough to clear customs without running into quitting time. After 5 they will charge you overtime.

3. It is a quick, short hop but it can get nasty in the Gulf Stream so check the weather first and be prepared to turn around if it rougher than the weather report says. They have been wrong once or twice.

4. Summer to early fall is usually calmest for crossing in a power boat but also hurricane season. However, hurricanes don't usually pop up over night with no warning so again, keep on top of weather reports. Winter to spring you have a chance of a cold front blowing through that can make it very rough crossing so be ready to wait for a good day to cross. At times in mid winter it could take a week or a month waiting for a calm day.

This will be a great trip. I've done in 21' and 25' boats and had a blast.
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Old 27-06-2013, 04:36   #3
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Re: Ahoy!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Nathan.
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Old 27-06-2013, 04:47   #4
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Re: Ahoy!

Welcome aboard, Nathan! What SkipMac said, with a double-up on "wait for a good day to cross" with wind not from any part of the north. Luckily it's only a few hours for you (not 9 hours like us slowpokes), but if you have a breeze up against the gulf stream, even on a beautiful day, you can find yourself in dangerous conditions. The flags are easy: quarantine (Yellow) flag until you check in, then the Bahamian courtesy flag. You can get them at a marine store in FL or online. You can anchor pretty much anywhere you want...with a few exceptions (stay away from coral heads, too)...and marinas abound in certain areas (Marsh Harbour, for example) and are scarce elsewhere. Get good cruising guides and Explorer Charts so you can locate protected places to moor if weather is moving through, and provision the best you can for your small space. Hope your plans pan out...it's my favorite place to cruise.
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Old 27-06-2013, 05:03   #5
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Re: Ahoy!

Welcome aboard! Whenever you provision your boat, even on a short trip, take an additional 3-5 days of non-perishable supplies. Let's know how your trip went. Sail away!

Mauritz
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Old 27-06-2013, 05:08   #6
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Re: Ahoy!

Thank you all for your comments. We are hoping to try it in October the first time if we can get everything in order that quickly, sounds like that should be decent for weather. I'm really looking forward to it!
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Old 27-06-2013, 07:05   #7
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Re: Ahoy!

Another suggestion, pick up a couple of guide books and charts. You can buy them now and sit around every evening wasting time planning your trip.

The Explorer charts are generally acknowledged to be the best. Waterway Guides publishes a Bahamas guide book that will tell you about marinas, anchoring locations, local businesses, etc.
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Old 27-06-2013, 07:43   #8
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Re: Ahoy!

That's a great idea skipmac, do you know of any good websites to order that stuff?
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Old 27-06-2013, 07:51   #9
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Re: Ahoy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanp View Post
That's a great idea skipmac, do you know of any good websites to order that stuff?
Waterway Guide and Explorer both have online ordering (see the post above from the publisher of the Waterway Guides and click on his logo to go straight to their web site) OR Amazon.com has it all.

Another hint, in case you like a cold beer on your trips, beer in the Bahamas is very expensive so bring plenty. Rum on the other hand is cheaper than water.
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Old 27-06-2013, 08:02   #10
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Re: Ahoy!

OK, sounds great and thanks again.
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Old 27-06-2013, 18:16   #11
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Re: Ahoy!

Welcome aboard CF!

We wish you safe and fun times as you explore, dream & discover...and fair winds and following seas wherever your voyages take you!
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Old 02-07-2013, 17:05   #12
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Re: Ahoy!

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here.
kind regards,
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Old 02-07-2013, 17:35   #13
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Hey Nathan, i cant answer the cruising over to the bahamas question but welcome to the area. we live in hudson beach and go out 2 anclote all the time. Mostly the north anclote bar. Weekends can get really busy in the summer, but we get out enough during the week for peace and quiet that we like the fun crowds when we go on weekends. Outboards are more common here but u see all kinds of boats even skinny water flats boats in calm weather. U wouldn't b the only 18' bow rider out there! You may want to boat the area 2 see what kind of boat works best 4 your primary boating needs. Where will u b boating from?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:43   #14
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Re: Ahoy!

Thank you all for the warm welcomes. We were out on the North Anclote bar about 3 weeks ago with our realtor and had a blast! Can't wait to get down there and get out every weekend. We're buying a house in Spring Hill. Not sure yet where we will launch from, but we will definitely end up at Anclote most of the time I think.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:36   #15
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Thank you all for the warm welcomes. We were out on the North Anclote bar about 3 weeks ago with our realtor and had a blast! Can't wait to get down there and get out every weekend. We're buying a house in Spring Hill. Not sure yet where we will launch from, but we will definitely end up at Anclote most of the time I think.
Nathan we met u I think! We met a couple out with a realtor a few weeks ago. If its u we were the boat next 2 u guys with the music. (The GOOD music lol)
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