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Old 01-10-2020, 16:27   #1
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Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Hi fellow cruisers!

Due to this virus thing we have scraped taking my daughter to Hawaii for her senior trip (2 family members have respiratory issues and can't take that risk). Instead, I am considering charting a 43 Leopard power cat out of Nassau and doing a 7 day trip down the Exumas to a southern most point of Staniel in May. One of my major concerns is the 35 mile open water trip from Palm Cay down to Normans or Highborne. I have experience with larger twin engine craft, however it is predominately inland. Aside from the "what spots do you recommend?", can anyone advise as to what the probability of getting stuck in Palm Cay waiting on a good weather window to make that crossing in May would be? The last thing I want to do is book this trip and end up sitting in a marina waiting on a decent weather window. Thanks for your alls guidance and advice!

-Scott
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Old 01-10-2020, 18:02   #2
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

With a 43 ft power cat, I cannot see weather being any issue except for storms, May is a nice time in the Exumas.
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Old 02-10-2020, 14:29   #3
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

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With a 43 ft power cat, I cannot see weather being any issue except for storms, May is a nice time in the Exumas.
Thank you for the guidance!
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Old 02-10-2020, 20:43   #4
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

+1 to Sailorman Ed. The crossing from Palm Cay to Highbourne Cay is not really open water seldom more than 20 ft deep and the Coral heads are easy to avoid. Most of them are not shallow enough to affect a 43 Cat. If the wind is out of the southeast at a good clip it will be choppy but you should be able to power through it. The Exumas are amazing and we leave end of Oct for a 2month stint.

Good luck! And enjoy
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:33   #5
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Buy a Bahamas guide book. That will give you all the information you require.
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Old 03-10-2020, 10:01   #6
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Buying an explorer chart book of that particular area will be useful to you as well.
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Old 03-10-2020, 10:06   #7
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

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Originally Posted by Clipper4730 View Post
+1 to Sailorman Ed. The crossing from Palm Cay to Highbourne Cay is not really open water seldom more than 20 ft deep and the Coral heads are easy to avoid. Most of them are not shallow enough to affect a 43 Cat. If the wind is out of the southeast at a good clip it will be choppy but you should be able to power through it. The Exumas are amazing and we leave end of Oct for a 2month stint.

Good luck! And enjoy
Yeah, ^ this. Easy peasy, protected from normal wind direction. How far are you going? If to Georgetown consider a one way charter. You cant go down and back in a week really.

Consider everyone having "thinskins" for snorkeling etc. By May the little "thimble" jelly fish will be everywhere. They dont sting bad , just make you itch.

Also, I dont want to alarm you, it's not a problem often, but beware when in the water; keep your eyes on the surface around you, the Portuguese Man O War can be seen readily drifting along on the surface, dont be within 50 feet of them! There aren't usually a lot of them but they do show up occasionally.
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Old 03-10-2020, 11:17   #8
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Should be a nice and lovely cruise. Wish I could do it ! The boat, I see, should be able to do 10 to 15 kts to weather if-need-be but be sure -- as others have suggested -- to buy (or borrow) from the charter company Explorer charts even though the boat is very shoal draft. I suggest too finding up-to-date advice on visiting the Park -- where you'll be needing to secure mooring reservations. If you don't secure one of their prime moorings, you'll have missed a one-of-a-kind experience. I've not been there as "late" as May so I think boats that follow the Sun will be moving on or thinking of that by May. However, Floridian boats do like and also use the Bahamas in the warmer months. You may be shocked about cost of provisioning in Nassau but it won't get better goin' south -- and especially since there is often much less to buy further south.
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Old 03-10-2020, 13:15   #9
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Another vote for buying the Explorer chart book. The Exumas have their own edition. Not only are they the best Bahamas charts but they are full of local information. Get one soon and study it. You may find that one week is not enough time to do what you want to do.....
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Old 03-10-2020, 14:03   #10
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

7 Days is a short window. Whilst normally the seas in this area would be easily negotiated by a 43ft power cat at this time of year. You are picking a 7 day window to travel 80 odd miles and return. What can happen in May is an early season hurricane or tropical depression/storm that may have adverse winds and cause a washing machine effect in the area, and make for an extremely uncomfortable trip if indeed it is wise to travel at all until conditions settle. The storm does not have to be a direct hit, just a regular tail end gale will cause bad conditions. Whilst the boat could probably handle a gale it would be an awful trip, such is the problem with a set schedule. Entering the Palm Cay marina in bad weather would be challenging. I would pick April as a safer bet.


I would consider flying in to Staniel and use local boats to explore the area. Plenty to do in 7 days.
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Old 03-10-2020, 14:12   #11
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Here are the latest Bahamas Covid entry requirements: https://bs.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
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Old 03-10-2020, 21:29   #12
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Go for it! We did exactly this seven day trip on a Moorings 51í power cat in February, going as far south as Little Farmerís Cay for their First Friday in February Festival (frankly not worth the extra miles). The crossing from Nassau was easy, donít worry about it, but do pay attention crossing the Yellow Banks and steer around coral heads - theyíre probably too deep to be significant, but thereís no need to take the chance. I agree wholeheartedly with others about the Explorer chart book, as the on board electronics on the Moorings boats are completely (and I really mean completely) useless for the Exumas. With Explorer charts and Navionics on my iPad, we managed fine. (Others have commented that Navionics isnít great for the Bahamas and we did find one or two places where it showed overly shallow depths, but this is better than the other way around.) If youíre only going as far as Staniel Cay, the other trips after the long crossing from Nassau will be short and pleasant in the shelter of the Exumas. Highly recommend Staniel Cay Yacht Club and Highbourne Cay Yacht Club. And donít miss the marine park, feeding the swimming pigs, and feeding the iguanas at Allen Cay. The only area with mooring balls is the park, so unless youíre going to tie up at one of the marinas, be prepared to exercise your anchoring skills. Do not expect buoys and other navigational aids, youíre basically in the back of beyond and need your crew to act as lookouts whenever youíre approaching one of the cays - channels and hazards will not be marked (speaking from bitter and expensive experience here). Have a great trip!
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:22   #13
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

I did that charter last year just as covid was creeping into the US (March).
The weather window IS a reality as the charter companies will not let you go if the winds and seas are up regardless if the boat can handle it. We were delayed one day. Not a bad place to be stuck however! They have a nice pool by the beach and bar/food service. Additionally the grocery store is a mile walk so DON'T have food delivered to the boat. The liquor store is also there and well stocked. I ordered food from a grocery store which was fine but they did not have the selection the store near the marina did. It is more expensive however but nice selection.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:29   #14
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

We have a 47 Leopard Power Cat, fully insured for bare-boat charter based in Puerto Rico I'll make you a deal on for the same price as the 43PV. PM me.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:17   #15
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Re: Exumas Senior Trip Charter

Hola, Interested in your power cat in PR. If possible, reply (with pics) to me at email. >captainbryon@gmail.com.< Thinking mid November. Thanks.
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