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Old 05-10-2006, 06:09   #1
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Bahamas (Abacos) Routes

We are planning a trip to Abacos next May/June, and we have very limited time - 16 days max. Our closest port is Canaveral. Most folks around here travel down the ICW to Lake Worth, and cross the stream from there - checking into West End. Problem with that is that it's 4+ days for us to get to Bahamas that way. A couple on our dock told us that they leave from Cape Canaveral at first light, and head down to Ft Pierce - arriving at Sun Down. From Fort Pierce they hang a left and head over to Northern Abacos. They head for Spanish Cay, completely missing the bahama bank. They anchor hear, and (I think they said) check into Great Sale Cay. This route takes them 2 days as opposed to 4 days. Anyone done this route?
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:17   #2
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I have only returned via the Abacos so the route is different because you're not fighting the stream. I would think if you're going via Spanish Cay you'd have to check in at Green Turtle. There is nothing on Great Sale, just an anchorage which is open to the west. Besides that you'd be backtracking if you went to Great Sale from Spanish. I don't have my charts here but I would think there's little difference in the distance between going past the north of the Abacos to Spanish and the more common route of L. Worth, Memory Rock and Great Sale and the main factor is whether you want to travel at night. If you left Canaveral early and kept going down to L. Worth and then shot across to Memory Rock you'd get there in daylight and then keep going to Great Sale and anchor for the night. The following day you'll be ready for leisurely cruising, work your way down to Green Turtle and check in.
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:14   #3
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Doable. There are some counter currents on each side of the stream. Play these and get across the stream as quickly as possible. Of course, first last and always, you need a favorable weather window.

Entry at Spanish Cay I think or Green Turtle for sure.

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Old 05-10-2006, 10:45   #4
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First you need to consider on that schedule you might take up the entire time waiting for a window to cross the Stream. Your time frame is favorable but the possibility exist. Next I don't believe you can check in at Great Sail Cay. The last time we were there no one even lived there. The weather will be the determining factor and we have seen many boats on a tight schedule get into trouble trying to keep it no matter what. Getting caught out in the Stream or some very exposed places in the Bahamas can be extremely uncomfortable at best and at times downright dangerous. You might want to rethink this until you have more time or fly over to Marsh Harbor. Just my opinion.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:01   #5
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You've got the right route, but your check in would be Spanish Cay. Great Sale Cay would be a good place to stop enroute as it is on your route to Spanish Cay. That is the route I used last year from Ft. Pierce. Your entry into the Abacos is at White Sand Ridge. It is deep, wide and easy to navigate. Much better than checking in at WE, and then going through the Indian Cay channel and shorter and easier than going across to Memory Rock. Because of the current it is better to start your crossing closer to the St. Lucie Inlet than Ft. Pierce.

The other posts are correct. Two weeks is not a lot of time to cruise the Abacos if you must be back on time. You can always duck into Ft. Pierce or Stuart if the weather is not right to cross over. However on the way back, if you're out of time, the temptation will be to cross when the conditions are not right. Watch the weather while in the Abacos and be prepared to cut your cruise short if necessary or extend you stay.

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Old 05-10-2006, 12:11   #6
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John, I must have got the two reversed. I was drinking rum at the time that this all was being conveyed to me. Thanks for setting me straight. Our boat is pretty stout, and heavy displacement. We can go in weather that would turn others back, so we have a little more flexibility with that. (although I hate crossing when the gulf is churning - I get quezy just thinking about the roly-poly motion of the stream when it has an opposing wind).
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:40   #7
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I would like to retract my cocky attitude towards weather above - surely the weather Gods will see that as a reason to punish me, say perhaps around May/June next year? I will be watching the the weather radar closely and humbly beg the Gods to provide us with a good crossing both ways.
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Old 05-10-2006, 15:27   #8
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I'm hoping to do a similar trip the end of november leaving st lucie, hoping the weather will be enough to make the crossing in the two week window, if not we'll just stay over a little longer lol.
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