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Old 15-10-2011, 09:08   #31
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Originally Posted by defever View Post
go to the abacos in winter??? noooooooo!! there will be cold fronts and winds that you will not see in the outislands (particularly the exumas)'ve really loaded up on the guest thing and , unfortunately, that keeps you near nassau. i would suggest a 24 hr run to nassau from miami area (go n. of bimini and back to nw channel), clear in and head to allen's/norman's. back to pick up guests then to shroud/land & sea park. i would leave your boat on a mooring in georgetown ($300/mo) and fly back and forth. w/ such a tight schedule, you may wind up waiting for weather your entire vacation (going east and west) and w/ the boat safely in gtown you can hit all the outislands easily in your 3 wk vacation. enjoy the trip
This reply and "Vasco's" would be my response. And all of us are Exumas regulars
Denny and Diane
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"The only way to get a good crew is to marry one." -Eric Hiscock
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Old 11-12-2011, 20:59   #32
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

We are much closer to the trip and have made several modifications to make the trip more enjoyable to all. We went to Key West over Thanksgiving and ended up with 25kt winds directly on the nose until we made the curve North in Miami. This forced us to take the ICW home...

If leaving from Hillsboro Inlet what would be the recommended route to go straight to The Berries? How long has it taken you in the past?

It looks like there is going to be a window opening up this Thursday - Sunday and I'd like to get the long haul out of the way in one shot to allow everyone to relax around The Berries for a few days.

Updated Trip Route:

Dec 16th - 18th
- Lighthouse Point, FL to Bimini and/or Berries

Dec 19th - 22nd
- Berries to Nassau

Dec 23rd - 27th
- Northern Exumas (Highborne / Shroud) ending back in Nassau on 28th to pick up crew.

Dec 28th - Jan 2rd
- Nassau to Eleuthera Harbor Island NYE

Jan 3rd - Jan 8th
- Eleuthera to Ft. Lauderdale
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Old 11-12-2011, 21:26   #33
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

Being that the goal is to get across the GS and spend a few days in the Berries... If the window continues to develop the below suggested route from ka4wja seems like it might work.

"As for getting south / to the Exumas quickly, I can relate as that is typically my choice as well!!!!

1) And, I've done it dozens and dozens of times, but usually leave from Ft. Lauderdale (never wasted the time to head to Miami/Biscayne), typically heading about 115* for a few hours gives you a COG of damn close to due east....meaning that a NE wind makes for a nice reach!!!!
And, this route takes you north of Grt. Issac Light, thru the NW Providence Channel (deep water).....
2) If you're going to be heading north of Bimini / north of Grt Issac Light, there's no need to head to Miami / Biscayne......try heading out of Ft.'s quicker and shorter distance....typically heading about 115*M for a few hours gives you a COG of damn close to due east....meaning that a NE wind makes for a nice reach!!!! and just about any wind except SE is usable!!!
a) You can then round Grt Stirrup Cay and head South.....or....
b) You can clear in at Grt Stirrup Cay, anchoring in the big bay on the east side, and dinghy-in to the airport (about the center or North end of this bay), works very is clear water 10' - 15' over sand and sand/grass....and you can find LOTS of room to anchor there...I find tucking up in the SE corner of this bay in 10' of water, gives good protection, but could be "rolly" in a big NE swell....
You can then head south at your leisure......"

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-12-2011, 21:31   #34
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

On average the Gulf Stream will move you about 20+ nm north of where you start. So from Hillsboro Inlet, IMHO, you target on the "other side" would be West End on Grand Bahama to check in, or follow Gene80's route. From there you could then head south to Great Isaac and then down to Northwest Channel Lite, etc. All of which will suck up some serious extra days of sailing.

To get to Bimini you would normally try to get down to Miami or below before crossing the Gulf Stream. Trying to sail southeast into both the Gulf Stream current and normally preferred crossing winds of anything south of east/west - would entail a really long time going nowhere slow - Unless, you have one powerful motoring engine and lots of fuel to push your way across upstream and upwind.
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Old 26-02-2012, 20:15   #35
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

We've received a few requests to provide an update to the route we actually took and perhaps a few lessons learned from our first trip to the Bahamas.

Final Trip Route:

Dec 16th - 18th
- Lighthouse Point, FL to Great Harbour, Berry Islands

Great initial trip but had some big waves catch us once we rounded Great Issac. Averaged over 9 knots for about 4 hours. Total trip was 19 hours to Great Harbour. At one point we had 5 cruise ships behind us with a highlight of Oasis of the Seas less than .5 nm away as we headed toward The Berries.

Dec 19th - 22nd
- Great Harbour to Hoffman/Devil's Cay
- Devil's Cay to "The Albany Marina" Nassau

DO NOT ANCHOR in between White Cay/Hoffman/Devil's... the surge is terrible and we drug anchor one night.

Dec 23rd - 27th
- "The Albany Marina" to Rose Island
- Rose Island to Shroud Cay Exumas
- Shroud Cay to Highborne Cay
- Highborne Cay to Rose Island

Would have skipped going to Rose the first time but wind wasn't with us to get down to Exumas. Shroud Cay and the Park was absolutely beautiful! We're very much looking forward to getting back to the park for an extended stay.

Dec 28th - Jan 2rd
- Rose Island to Royal Island, Eleuthera
- Royal Island to Romora Bay Club Marina

We really like the Royal Island anchorage and had great luck spear fishing and turtle watching. Tasty lionfish! We called Jimmy's pilot service to take us past devil's backbone. He was able to hook us up with 10 lbs of stone crab along with his signature home make bread & pie.

Jan 3rd - Jan 8th
- Romora Bay Club Marina to Hoffman/Devil's Cay Berries
- Hoffman/Devil's Cay to Anchorage just North of Flo's Conch Bar
- Anchorage N. Flo's to Anchorage off Chubb Cay
- Chubb Cay to Ft. Lauderdale

Loved our time north of Flo's conch bar... great anchorage but it's tight water to get to it. We met some great folks and had a bond fire on the beach our final night.

Great Bahama Banks were beautiful with nearly a full moon to show us the way home. 22 hours from Chubb to Lauderdale. There's nothing on Chubb worth even visiting IMO. No one was around or wanted to help... really only a stopping point if you have to stop. We'll continue on next time unless weather makes us stop.

Let me know if anyone has any specific questions. We only had to run from the weather once which happened after New Years then we hid out in the Berries until the seas settled.

Albany marina was absolutely fantastic but we wouldn't recommend Hurricane Hole to an enemy.


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Old 27-02-2012, 01:52   #36
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Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route and Timing Advice

Another way to get to the Exumas:

Last year we crossed to Lucaya from Lake Worth. Left at midnight and got in early afternoon. Real easy check in process - friendly officials - good marinas in Lucaya. Next step was to sail East along the South coast of Grand Bahama Island. WE anchored at what Disney calls castaway island on the South side of Abaco. Next day was a short sail to Spanish Wells (one of my favorite Bahama Islands). Fourth day is crosssing the bank down to Highborne Cay (a little thin but no problem in a cat) Now yu are in the best part of the Bahams and only one day back to Nassau to change crew. I would ask my crew to fly into Staniel Cay because I avoid Nassau whenever possible.
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