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Old 09-10-2019, 07:49   #1
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Nassau --> Exumas

Hi, we are renting a Bali 4.0 catamaran out of Nassau starting October 19th for 7-8 days. Can anyone tell me what the crossing from Nassau to the Exumas will be like? I know it will be 7-8 hours (?) but how rough will it be? Obviously weather dependent but looking for experiences on how bad it can get. Really hoping to avoid rolling ocean swells. LOL
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:58   #2
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

There are others with more experience, but based on my one charter, here are my thoughts. We crossed in calm weather on the way to the Exuma Cays and 35 knot winds with squalls on the return. The waters were not rough in the high winds. The Yellow Banks and waters in between acted fairly sheltered. I doubt you would experience any ocean swells as the Cays block them. If you go outside to the east of the Exuma Cays you will find swells. Also, even though the Yellow Banks are shallow, the reefs show up rather black and stood out even in squalls.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:01   #3
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

It surprises me that the charter companies will let you get that far away - but I have met a few bareboat charters that have gone across to the Exumas. I have made that trip many times and would suggest that you head for Highborne Cay - but study the charts as there is shallow water and areas of coral heads that you must avoid. As the water is shallow, you will not get big rollers. That said, short sharp chops are way worse than rollers and can make for a bumpy ride. Like any crossing - watch the weather and have a back-up plan
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:24   #4
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

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Originally Posted by fahtcha View Post
There are others with more experience, but based on my one charter, here are my thoughts. We crossed in calm weather on the way to the Exuma Cays and 35 knot winds with squalls on the return. The waters were not rough in the high winds. The Yellow Banks and waters in between acted fairly sheltered. I doubt you would experience any ocean swells as the Cays block them. If you go outside to the east of the Exuma Cays you will find swells. Also, even though the Yellow Banks are shallow, the reefs show up rather black and stood out even in squalls.
Thank you, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:26   #5
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

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It surprises me that the charter companies will let you get that far away - but I have met a few bareboat charters that have gone across to the Exumas. I have made that trip many times and would suggest that you head for Highborne Cay - but study the charts as there is shallow water and areas of coral heads that you must avoid. As the water is shallow, you will not get big rollers. That said, short sharp chops are way worse than rollers and can make for a bumpy ride. Like any crossing - watch the weather and have a back-up plan
Thanks for the info My friend has done a few bareboat charters before (BVIs, Greece) so maybe they are fine if you have past experience? I'm the newbie coming along for the ride hoping not to get seasick on the crossings haha. I can do rough water in a 22 foot bowrider fine but the slow swaying ferry types not so much.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:05   #6
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

In regard to the question of the charter companies letting you get that far away. The suggested itineraries of the various charter companies show routes from New Providence to the Exuma Cays or Eleuthera. That was also my second charter after the obvious newbie first BVI charter.

I agree with the idea of going to Highborne Cay, if you want civilization. They have a great fuel/water dock and small store.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:41   #7
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

If it blows over 20 from any direction, the banks will get choppy. There won't be any swell, but the banks develop a nasty chop, kind of similar to what you see on the Chesapeake Bay. Steep waves 3'-5' on a short 3-4 second interval. Prevailing winds are Southeast or East Southeast, so the seas can end up right on your nose in those situations. Not unbearable, but it can definitely get uncomfortable. Depending on the size of your cat, you may get a lot of hobby-horsing if you find yourself in this situation. Once you start hobby-horsing, your speed will go way down and it may take you longer than you thought to cross the banks. I'd suggest leaving Nassau at first light, as the winds are often a bit lighter earlier in the day.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:46   #8
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Chili.
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Old 21-10-2019, 14:09   #9
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

We cruised the Exumas in March. The crossing wasn't that bad. 15 knots, small swells. I think it took us about 5 hours.

If you're worried about getting seasick, be proactive. Throw on a scop patch or at least take an over the counter remedy a few hours before you cast off.
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Old 21-10-2019, 14:26   #10
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Re: Nassau --> Exumas

That's not a hard run, usually. Don't worry about the coral heads on the Yellow Bank too much. They're easy to spot (the look like giant oil spots) if you have some sunlight. But, very few get that close to the surface.

Allen's Cay can get crowded fast, so leave early in the morning if you want to anchor there. A good backup if you can't find an anchorage you like (or if some weather blows in) is to just take a slip at Highbourne Cay

Norman's Cay is good (especially the pond, if your draft is good (less than five feet) and there is not any kind of rage going on.

Lot's of places to poke and anchor. Warderick Wells (and the whole Land and Sea Park), Compass Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point (and that's about as far south as I think you want to go on a charter boat with limited time).
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