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Old 03-05-2012, 18:50   #1
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First trip to the Bahamas

Hello everyone, I am taking my first trip to the Bahamas from south Florida. If I plan on only being there for about two weeks what are the cays I must see? Will there still be wind to sail? I appreciate any advice. Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2012, 19:16   #2
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Originally Posted by Hwphysman
Hello everyone, I am taking my first trip to the Bahamas from south Florida. If I plan on only being there for about two weeks what are the cays I must see? Will there still be wind to sail? I appreciate any advice. Thanks.
Abacus great - go through white sand shoals to great sale key - on to Spanish - Cooperstown - manjak - green turtle key - whale is next if enough time and guana key - enjoy - Captn Pete
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Old 03-05-2012, 19:19   #3
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

There's usually always pretty good wind in the Bahamas. It clocks around on a regular basis, so you'll need to watch the weather.

As far as places to visit, get one of the cruising guides and become familar with places to see. To some degree, it may depend on time of year, draft of boat and where you will be returning to in Florida. Always have to factor in the gulf stream.


A nice two-week venture from South Florida might include a stop in Bimini to check in, crossing the Bahama Bank to Chubb Key and then down to the Exumas. Each island has its own personality. My favorite are the islands within the Exumas Land & Sea Park (Warderick Wells Key).


It also depends on whether you like isolation or being around a lot of civilization.


As an alternative, you could check into West End and then cross Little Bahamas Bank and check out the islands of the Abacos chain. Favorite there is Green Turtle.


Have fun.
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Old 03-05-2012, 19:59   #4
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

My favorite is definately the Exumas. If you are planning on staying on the hook, look at the land and sea park (shroud and warderick wells).

Ken
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:38   #5
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Welcome to the forum! I'd vote for the Exumas, too, but 2 weeks is not really enough time. You may need to wait for the right conditions to crossing the gulf stream each way...even a moderate wind coming from NW N or NE can be very hazardous. Hope you have a great trip, wherever you go!
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:58   #6
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Hwphysman.

With only 2 weeks, I'd expect you might be limited to the near islands - Bimini & the Berries or Abacos.

With more time, I'd also recommend the Exumas.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:00   #7
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Hwphysman.

With only 2 weeks, I'd expect you might be limited to the near islands - Bimini & the Berries or Abacos.

With more time, I'd also recommend the Exumas.
Gord as usual brings up an important point. Have you done the math on the travel time?

To reach the Berrys or Abacos, the closest island chains, is about 150 miles in round numbers. If you average 6 kts and motor or motor sail directly on course, no additional miles allowed for tacking against the trades, you have about 24 hours of actual sailing time to reach either of these chains.

If you travel days only, after allowing for in and out of harbor, anchoring or tie up at a marina, clearing customs, etc. figure 3 days travel time. Then about three days back unless you are back to sailing 24 hours non stop. So now you have spent about 6 days under way from your 14 day schedule. This all assumes that you aren't delayed by weather during the trip. If you have a deadline to be back at work or other commitments it could be a problem if you are 150 miles from home and bad weather hits.

Comes down to whether you want to spend the time sailing or spend the time hanging out, beaching, diving, dining, etc.

Tried to do a two week trip a few years back and ended up staying around Bimini/Cat Cay area instead of spending another couple of days trying to make the Berrys.
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Old 04-05-2012, 15:57   #8
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Thanks everyone. I am a teacher so I have longer if need be. I am planning on heading out June 6th. I took a trip down the keys a few years back in a different boat and virtually motored all the time. I do want to sail. My Sailing buddies don't want to be out much longer than two weeks so that kinda puts a damper on getting to the exumas I guess. You all are saying I should have wind even in June? I plan to sail off into the sunset in about 3 years and I need the practice. So the trip is about sailing, living on the hook, spear fishing ( with a sling). Etc. I don't plan to staying a marina at all if I can help it. My boat draws 6 ft so I don't think I have any business crossing the banks.

I am sailing a 1976 ericson 36C. She is an awesome boat and I look forward to taking her abroad for the first time.

I appreciate any other advice.

Thanks
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Old 04-05-2012, 16:13   #9
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

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My favorite is definately the Exumas. If you are planning on staying on the hook, look at the land and sea park (shroud and warderick wells).

Ken
Most of the Park area is filled with moorings now. WW no anchoring. Even Emerald Rock is full of moorings but you can still anchor way out. The best area in Shroud is now full of moorings although there still is room to anchor.
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Old 04-05-2012, 16:15   #10
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What do they charge to use the moorings?
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Old 04-05-2012, 16:36   #11
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

First time in the Bahamas i would head from Nassau down the Exuma chain. You can anchor most anwwhere at no charge in 5- 15 ft of water. a dozen great cays all within a short daysail of each other. 2 weeks is pushing it to get far.
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Old 04-05-2012, 19:41   #12
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

The mooring balls in the park are $20.00 US. You can hook up any time to the balls. The rangers will come by and pick up the $20 at shroud or in Waderick the park headquarters is in the bay. I would take the time to get down there if you can. Take your dink through the tidal creeks to the sound side. The best day trip you will have in your life.

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Old 04-05-2012, 20:11   #13
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

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You all are saying I should have wind even in June?
Don't think I said that.

No telling. I've been there in June when it blew 20 kts non stop and I've been there when it was almost dead calm. You can look at averages but at the end of the day, you don't know what you will get. You could motor ever step of the way or be stuck in FL because the Gulf Stream is too rough to cross.

Averages in June will be moderate winds from the east to south east.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:46   #14
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Re: First trip to the Bahamas

Only 2 weeks round trip from FL is too much of a rush to make the Exumas IMHO. Racing like that will diminish the pleasure. I'd cross to Bimini, clear in, then stay a day or so at Honeymoon Harbor, near Bimini. Then across the bank to Chub Cay, have a nice restaurant meal etc, then anchor on the other side of Chub at Frazers Hog Cay. Move around the Berries a bit, then head for home. That would be a fun and relaxed way to enjoy the Bahamas for just two weeks.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:49   #15
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Only 2 weeks round trip from FL is too much of a rush to make the Exumas IMHO. Racing like that will diminish the pleasure. I'd cross to Bimini, clear in, then stay a day or so at Honeymoon Harbor, near Bimini. Then across the bank to Chub Cay, have a nice restaurant meal etc, then anchor on the other side of Chub at Frazers Hog Cay. Move around the Berries a bit, then head for home. That would be a fun and relaxed way to enjoy the Bahamas for just two weeks.
My engine can only get me to about 4 knots. How far south should I go in order to get to Bimini without fighting the gulf stream? I don't have davits what does everyone think about towing my rigid inflatable? I can put if over the companion way but it really blocks my view from the cockpit. The foredeck is out since I have stay sail. I do appreciate all the advice. I imagine this forum can help me avoid at least some rookie mistakes.
Howard
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