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ZolaSail 30-07-2008 12:09

Bahamas Route
My fiancée and I are getting married in November and are then leaving shortly there after for a 6-month cruise to the Bahamas and possible DR. I had always assumed we would head over to the abacos from the Stuart inlet area and then do the typical route down through the abacos to the exumas on to the Turks and then DR. Returning the same way. What I am wondering is whether or not there is any merit in getting down to the exumas and the Turks early to avoid the winter cold fronts and then spend more time in the abacos on the way back in April or May. Keeping in mind that we love the water and want to spend as much time as possible in water that does not require a wetsuit.
I guess my question is: What is the optimal route for a 6-month winter cruise through the Bahamas, from the Stuart fort pierce area, minimizing delays due to waiting out fronts and actually getting to sail instead of motor in calm weather windows. I am not apposed to sailing long trips initially to get to where we need and then doing smaller day hoops after that.


AnchorageGuy 30-07-2008 12:12

November does bring down the cold fronts to the Abacos and you can get weathered in for weeks. Our approach is to cross at Key Biscayne to Cat/Gunn and cross the banks and get as far south as quickly as possible with a decent weather window of at least 48 and preferred 72 hours. The fronts do get to the Exumas but are fewer and weaker. See the Abacos on the way back in the spring.

Vasco 30-07-2008 12:20

For the last few years we've gone from Miami to North Rock (north of Bimini), onto the Bank and then to Nassau to clear in. North Rock is a good entrance onto the Bank even at night. From Nassau it's down the Exuma chain. If we go to the Abacos it's always on the return trip in May. Get as far south as soon as possible.

ZolaSail 30-07-2008 12:42

Thanks for the responses.
With the idea of getting south as soon as possible in mind and the fact that the boat is in Vero Beach where we live, does heading to West End to check in and then heading south to the berry's and then on to Nassau and the exumas make sense? Or is it easier to head south on the florida side and then cut over from ft luaderdale or further south?

Sunspot Baby 30-07-2008 12:51

Zola, check our web site for our views on Bahamas routes. 1994 Prout 38 Sunspot Baby

We have done the Bahamas 4 times now and have reports on all those trips on the web.

As far as crossing the Gulf Stream, read a Gentleman's Guide to Passages South. Van Sant has good advice for southbound cruisers.

I agree that catching the Abacos on the way back north is best.


Fishspearit 30-07-2008 13:07

Don't expect to shed that wetsuit until April, even in the Turks and Caicos. 3 months down to the DR and 3 months back to FL is a pretty quick trip if you want to 'smell many roses'. Stay flexible on your goals and timelines.

AnchorageGuy 30-07-2008 13:11

We prefer to head south down the Floriduh coast or the ICW, only if weather is really bad, and cross over further south. What you will get here is the preference of others like ourselves. Ultimately it will be your decision as to which approach you take. Bruce's book is a must for the first timer as Sunspot said.

ZolaSail 30-07-2008 13:15

Yep...the schedule is flexible. We have 6 months to spend however we want and where we want. We would like to get to some not so crowded areas to do some fishing, diving and spearing. Hopefully with warm water. We have shorty wetsuits we are taking when needed. I want to enjoy as much time on and in the water vs hold up waiting for the weather to improve. From the sounds of it it seems the further south the better.

AnchorageGuy 30-07-2008 13:17

The great thing about the southern Bahamas and the Exumas is that if you get held up due to weather you can still do all of those fun things you want to do anyway.

GordMay 01-08-2008 03:31

Current Bahamas Fuel & Dock Prices (July, 2008)

From Lewis Offshore’s (Explorer Chartbooks) Bahamas News page,
July 22, 2008 Dockage and Fuel Price Survey (and more):

See also Bahamas Cruising News, at the Salty Southeast Cruiser’s Net:
Cruisers' Net - Bahamas

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