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Old 02-07-2007, 12:42   #1
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Bahamas Trip . . .

Planning a 6 months trip to the Bahamas. Leaving from Miami...what would be the best port to enter? In addition, are there any post that would give me an idea on different spots to visit. I will be spending about 1/4 time at marinas the rest at anchor. This is my first trip so I'm not familar with the waters.
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Old 02-07-2007, 13:05   #2
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Doug,

Years ago we used to clear in at Bimini, Cat or Chubb but for the last five years we've been clearing in at Nassau. We've found this to be the best, go in a marina in Nassau and the authorities will come to you. The smaller entry ports often will only give you a three month immigration permit which will require renewal. In Nassau you get six months. It is usually less than 30 hours from Miami to Nassau. If it gets a bit lumpy in the Tongue of the Ocean you can hide behind Frazers Hog Cay (in the Berrys) for a day or two before proceeding to Nassau.

Most newbies do the Exumas. Nassau to Allens, Highborne or Normans and then down the chain. I suggest you get Explorer Charts and Pavlidis' cruising guides. I would not spend too much time in marinas. Where available they are expensive and in many spots not too sheltered. In Staniel Cay all boats have to vacate the marina if a front is forecast. Between Nassau and Georgetown there are only two good sheltered marinas - Sampson Cay and Highborne Cay. There is a new marina in Emerald Bay (just north of Georgetown) but you might be stuck in there for a couple of weeks sometimes due to weather. The entrance is very difficult when it's blowing.

If you have any specific questions you'll find lots of answers here.
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Old 02-07-2007, 13:13   #3
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We are headed to the islands as well.
Probably leaving Key Biscayne Wednesday for the crossing.
Checking in the next day in Bimini, then hang out in the Bimini and Cat/Gun Cay area for a few days.

With more days off we head for the Exumas and hang out there.
The favorite spot is Hawksbill Cay, nice and sheltered with Easterly winds.
When coldfronts come around we sail over to Warderick Wells, South Anchorage, protected from all sides.

Agree on the marina comment, we prefer staying at anchor and only tie up to a dock when clearing in with custom/immigration.
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Old 02-07-2007, 16:15   #4
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You might check our website link below, it covers last years trip and www.svjusdreaming.com covers our previous trips. We go to the islands every year and like you don't do many marinas
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:27   #5
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Thanks very much...I'm doing more research. So I'll have more questions.
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Old 03-07-2007, 13:18   #6
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I have not been yet, but I found Bruce Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" very intereting and informative.
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Old 03-07-2007, 21:38   #7
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It all depends on where you want to go to and what you want to do. Northern Bahamas (Abaco's) is quite nice but does have some of the fronts comming through during the winter while Georgetown does not have the fronts but does not have as many close islands and takes longer to get there.

Just depends on what you want. A lot of people will recommend Abaco's as the first season to spend in the Bahamas.

Where you want to go may depend on where you leave. I have not heard of any bad reports about any ports although Miami may be better as customes is usually at one of the marinas. Just be freindly.

When are you planning on leaving? What boat?
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:23   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynx
It all depends on where you want to go to and what you want to do. Northern Bahamas (Abaco's) is quite nice but does have some of the fronts comming through during the winter while Georgetown does not have the fronts but does not have as many close islands and takes longer to get there.
Lynx,

If you think Georgetown doesn't have fronts take a look at this photo taken last season in Georgetown.

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Old 04-07-2007, 12:30   #9
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Aloha DW,
Welcome aboard!! Got anything else to share about you and your vessel? I think you've already found out that people are really helpful here.
Kind Regards,
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Old 04-07-2007, 22:53   #10
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Vasco - nice pic. I am glad that you had all chain. From all the reviews that I have read Georgetown does not have as much fronts as Abacos. I did not mean to imply that there was never any fronts come through. Just not as many.

Going to have to work on my snubber for Abacos.

Per all of the material that I have read and people that I have talked to, I will be doing Abacos for the first season cruising. Just a little easier to change from being green at anchoring to brown.
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Old 05-07-2007, 06:50   #11
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Lynx,

I do have all chain but the boat in the picture was one anchored behind me, a Gulfstar 45 or so. I think his snubber was too short and snapped. I talked to the owner later when I gave him a copy of the pic and he said he had two guests aboard who thought the boat was going to sink. The unsheltered blow from this front lasted a lot longer than usual. Usually the wind goes east of north fairly quickly (half a day or so) but in this case it lasted more than a day. Anchorages off Stocking Island aren't too comfortable if there's a westerly component to the wind. His guests had been told the blow wouldn't last very long and kept asking when it was going to end every hour or so.
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Old 05-07-2007, 07:07   #12
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Actually, there is a body of opinion that fronts don't make it down to the Exumas very often but in five winters in the Abacos (with one trip to the Exumas) the weather reports seemed to me to include Georgetown almost every time when any strong front hit the Abacos. I do know that the anchorages in the Abacos are a lot more protected than Georgetown so a good blow doesn't seem quite so intimidating at anchor.
Both places are wonderful and should not be missed. If I were doing a loop, I would start by crossing to the Abacos (from W. Palm or Lauderdale) then work my way down through Eleuthra which also has some wonderful places to see and then cross over to explore the Exumas (and perhaps some of the out islands) before returning via Bimini.
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Old 05-07-2007, 07:27   #13
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You're right Cam, the fronts that peter out in the Abacos are few and far between. Or it seems that way! The trips are all blurred to me without looking in the log books but it seems that there's a front a week in GT during the winter. Of course all the chatter and the boats that move from one side of the anchorage to another or run off to Redshanks to hide make it seem worse.
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