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Old 06-12-2010, 13:52   #1
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Max Draft Across Little Bahamas Bank ?

HI All;

I don't have any detailed charts of the Bahamas yet, I'll buy the Explorer charts closer to when we know we will visit them. In the meantime...

I am wondering if our 6' draft boat can make it across the Little Bahamas bank from the west , and end up at the outer cays, Green Turtle, Marsh Harbour? Etc? The larger scale NOAA charts show no channel, and many spots with a half a fathom. Do you have to come in from the outside to visit these cays?

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Old 06-12-2010, 14:14   #2
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The Indian Cay pass, just north of west end has a controlling depth of about 4.5 ft. MLW, which would usually be more than 6 ft at most any high tide. Some head north of Memory Rock for deeper water. You can easily cross the banks and through the Abacos with 6+ feet. However, the deeper your draft, the less accessible some island groups will be and the more you will have to wait for tide to access some areas.

Carter's Cay, the Paw, Paw, both sounds on Green Turtle, and the entrance to Little Harbour are examples of places that have controlling depths of about 3.5 ft MLW. The Luber's channel and several anchorages I can think of will put a 4.5 draft boat on the bottom at low tide.

I draw 4.5 feet and wish I had less for Abacos cruising, but don't feel you need to miss these beautiful islands just because your Wauquiez has a 6 foot draft. Many have sailed across the Little Bahama Banks with such a draft.

P.S. - You should find several places to anchor in Marsh Harbour. I'd bet at 6', the sounds on G.T. may only be accessible at HHW (depending on tide cycle) but you can certainly anchor off New Plymouth whenever conditions allow.

- Dave
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:17   #3

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Oh gosh no. 6' will be fine. Stay inside. We've gone West End - Great Sale - Spanish Cay - Green Turtle, etc. You'll learn how to read the water and won't have any problems. We never touched - even getting through White Sound channel to Green Turtle (which might have shoaled a bit now) although needed tide there. We draw just about 6'.
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Old 06-12-2010, 15:21   #4
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Re: Green Turtle. We touched leaving Black Sound and only draw 4' 8". Watching the tides is good advice.
- Dennis Jay
Annapolis, MD USA
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Old 06-12-2010, 15:29   #5
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There will be lots of places where folks have 'touched' that you can go. Your caution / pucker factor will be a bit higher, and you are going to have to ride the tides more.

Just take your time and don't push it WRT tide, angle of the sun... reading the water will be your main tool. You mentioned the explorer charts... they are a must, don't skip them.

Take your time and enjoy! Good luck.
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