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Old 10-02-2011, 10:08   #1
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Bahamas Crossing: If You Were Me . . .

Hi All,
I'm sitting in Biscayne Bay and after getting all my projects done am planning to go to No Name harbor and stage for a crossing to the Bahamas.

This will be my first time to the Bahamas, and the plan is to go through them at a leisurely pace and then park myself in Luperon, DR for hurricane season.

My plan had been to cross to Bimini, and then on to Berry Islands/Nassau and points south. But I'm wondering if it would be a mistake to skip Grand Bahama and the Abacos?

So, to those of you who have cruised the Bahamas, would it be better to go No Name-Freeport, and cruise through Grand Bahamas and the Abacos, or would I not be missing too much by going on my planned route?

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Old 10-02-2011, 10:32   #2
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Abaco is an excellent place to cut your teeth in the Bahamas. All of the sailing is protected in the Sea of Abaco and there are several really nice harbors with excellent shore services.

I would do West End, Spanish Key, Green Turtle and then Marsh Harbor. Spend a couple weeks based out of Marsh Harbor and visit Hopetown, Guana Key, Treasure Key etc. Then head south, stop at Little Harbor, make a long day passage to Royal Island for an anchorage, then on to the Exumas. Spend alot of time going through the Exumas as each anchorage is better than the last. Continue south for a stop at Georgetown, then on to Turks and Caicos.........

Avoid Nassau- unless you need to lose money at the Atlantis Casino or like dirt and cruise ships.

Hope this helps..... have spent years in the Bahamas so speak from experience. Watch the skinny water!!!!
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:35   #3
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Not much IMHO around Grand Bahamas, the Abacos are worth it if you have the time
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:04   #4
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What the others said! The Berry's are pretty much desolate too, so if you go the Abaco route to Eluethra and then down the Exumas you won't miss much. Because of the Gulf Stream, it takes about the same time to sail to West End as to Bimini (no name harbour, Gun Cay, Cat Cay..whatever) from where you are as the 2.5 knot current works with you instead of against you. We love the Abacos!
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:41   #5
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Abacos vs. Exumas in March and April

I've heard that in march or April the Exumas are a better place to be than the Abacos. It's just heresay, as I've never been to either yet, but we are planning our trip from Florida to the Bahamas in a month or so when the weather windows get longer and nicer.

So does anyone here have any input about which is better for cruising in March and April?

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Old 11-02-2011, 07:48   #6
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While I think the Abacos are great, they are cold this time of year, and the water temperature is likely below 70deg. I would personally start lower at bimini/nassau and then get straight to the Exumas. Truth be told, though, you can't go wrong in the Bahamas, no matter where you start.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:57   #7
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All good advice above. Best and easiest places to clear in are Bimini, West End, and Nassau, in my experience. Abacos are easier cruising in some ways, as there are many sheltered harbors close together, plenty of little places to visit ashore, and decent supplies. The Abacos are much more civilized than areas further south. It is definitely colder up there until you get into April-May. Nassau is the best place to restock your boat and top off with fuel before heading down to the Exumas, though Marsh Harbour in the Abacos is pretty good too. Keep in mind that there isn't much in the way of supplies in the Exumas, except for fuel and water at Staniel, until you get down to Georgetown. Some people love Eleuthera, but it has never done much for me, partly due to the lack of decent harbors with good swimming.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:28   #8
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Not quite on topic, but close enough.
We are planning to cross next week - weather permitting - and were planning on checking in at Nassau. Only reason for Nassau is hoping to get longer stay permit (4 months). Does anybody have recent experience of checking in anywhere and receiving long or (too) short stay permit? Would appreciate any advice.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:47   #9
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i would avoid abacos cause it is too far north to be tropical but i admit it does offer more in the way of civilization. getting to the exumas or beyond usually requires passing thru bimini and nassau. getting around the abacos to marsh harbor is also against the trade winds and currents so either way you pay.
some of the best times of my life were spent on a boat. it just took a long time to realize it.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:36   #10
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You could do both like we did. Cross over to Bimini, spend as much time there as you want, then its a long day sail to West End (we left at 0600 and barely made it before sundown).

Bimini was our favorite and had the nicest people. The Abacos were the most fun to sail.

good luck,
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:49   #11
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FWIW. Favorite place in Abacos is Green Turtle (and the watering hole Pineapples). In Exumas, it's the Land & Sea National Park. Has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, imo.
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Old 11-02-2011, 17:08   #12
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Thanks as always for the input everyone.

Patrick, my fellow cape-doryian, we're very fond of the album by the way- nice work!
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Old 11-02-2011, 17:41   #13
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Abaco, Bahamas

I am presently in Marsh Harbor Bahamas, we had 77deg today! We crossed over mid December Via Memory Rock and cleared in at Spanish Cay where we received 180 days. We have been in shorts and T shirts 95 % of the time here. After Spanish we went to Green Turtle, Guana, Treasure Cay ( Beautiful Beach) and now at Marsh Harbor. Provisions have not been a problem anywhere here in the Abacos (a little more expensive) The main grocery store (Maxwels) in marsh Harbor is comparable to a publix. From Marsh Harbor you are a half days sail to Man o War, Hope town, and then south to Little Harbor where you can continue on to the exumas
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Old 11-02-2011, 18:19   #14
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:57   #15
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The Abacos are great but if you're already down in the Biscayne Bay I would head Bimini-Berrys-Nassau. Plenty of great places to see before you get to Luperon so why head North and then back South again?
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