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Old 21-10-2018, 18:37   #1
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Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

We will be transiting from Royal Island off the northwest tip Eluthera headed over to Highborn Cay in the north eastern Exuma Cays. I notice a group of Coral heads named " Middle ground" north and west of "Ship Channel" on Garmin charts. Ideally we would transit at high tide but that is not possible do to low tide in the early afternoon and wanting to make safe anchorage well before dusk.

We are on a mono hull with a 5' draft. Is there anyone familiar with this area that knows the depth of these coral heads. Any suggestions on transiting this area ?
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Old 21-10-2018, 19:16   #2
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

This area is visual piloting rules. The charts cannot be depended upon to accurately place coral heads. If you are going north in the winter, it can be done because the sun is low in the sky, from behind all day, and you can easily see the coral heads. If you are going south, the low sun makes the coral heads much harder to spot. The Fleeming Channel is the preferred route. Most heads, but not all will let you pass at high tide. If you go very slow, have someone on the bow, it can be done. The cost of failure, meaning hitting a coral head is high, and help is far away. All depends on how bold you are.
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Old 22-10-2018, 04:55   #3
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

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This area is visual piloting rules. The charts cannot be depended upon to accurately place coral heads. If you are going north in the winter, it can be done because the sun is low in the sky, from behind all day, and you can easily see the coral heads. If you are going south, the low sun makes the coral heads much harder to spot. The Fleeming Channel is the preferred route. Most heads, but not all will let you pass at high tide. If you go very slow, have someone on the bow, it can be done. The cost of failure, meaning hitting a coral head is high, and help is far away. All depends on how bold you are.
Thank you, Pitchondesign

We will be going through Fleeming Channel south bound to Allens Cay or Highborn Cay. Unfortunately we would have to be transiting the coral head area of "Middle Ground" north & west of "Ship Channel" at low tide. If anyone is very familiar with the area and knows the depth of these coral heads at low tide it would be helpful information. Otherwise our 2nd option is to go around this area but that will put us into a safe anchorage later with less light.


Really looking for anyone with good local knowledge that has transited this area several times and has a really good idea of the depth of those coral heads ??
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Old 22-10-2018, 05:17   #4
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

I just ran from Current down to the Exumas. I draw 4.5ft. The heads north of Ship Channel appeared to be closer to the surface than those down on the Yellow Bank.

I would say tide is less of an issue. Plan to leave so you have good light and visibility since you will need to really see them avoid them.
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Old 22-10-2018, 07:35   #5
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

There is an app called off line maps. It provides satellite imagery. It seems to use less filtering than Google Earth, so it easier to see the coral heads. In that area, the water is clear and the depths are such that coral heads are easily seen. It should give you a better idea of what to expect. Once again, you will be able to get over most, but not all coral heads. It only takes one to sink your boat.
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Old 22-10-2018, 08:33   #6
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

I’ve done that route MANY times. We have even stopped and dove on a few of those heads.

With 5’ draft I would not be to concerned. Leave around 9 or so and cross when sun is overhead and believe me they are obvious ;-) Ink black.

Enjoy!
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Old 22-10-2018, 08:47   #7
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

HI, I don't want to by Jack this thread, but I went to the Play Store and there appear to be a number of apps that are called offline maps, most of them seem to be about road navigation. Could you be a little bit more specific or perhaps have a link? And is it available to cover the Salish sea part of the world,PNW?


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Originally Posted by Pitchondesign View Post
There is an app called off line maps. It provides satellite imagery. It seems to use less filtering than Google Earth, so it easier to see the coral heads. In that area, the water is clear and the depths are such that coral heads are easily seen. It should give you a better idea of what to expect. Once again, you will be able to get over most, but not all coral heads. It only takes one to sink your boat.
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Old 22-10-2018, 09:07   #8
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Re: Coral heads North and west of ship channel NE Exuma cays

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Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Iíve done that route MANY times. We have even stopped and dove on a few of those heads.

With 5í draft I would not be to concerned. Leave around 9 or so and cross when sun is overhead and believe me they are obvious ;-) Ink black.

Enjoy!
I have done this too, it seems there is plenty of water over them as far as I can tell. Avoid sun in your eyes.
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