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Old 22-12-2023, 16:42   #31
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffschultz View Post
The problem with your plan is that all that you're going to do is to sail non-stop. I thought that wanted to fish. You're not going to have much time to do that based upon your route/schedule.

Divide your plan into multiple years and enjoy where you are. I have 70K miles under my keel and have cruised all of the areas that you're talking about over the past 25 years. Why are you in such a rush? It takes a while to explore an area and to get to know it.

For example, spend a season in the Bahamas. Wonderful fishing and great sailing. Likewise for Belize. I could go on and on, but I hope that you get the picture.


The key thing to figure out is where you will be for hurricane season. Figure that out, and then back fill the rest.

Good point. It also takes a lot of time to really get to know a fishery. Guides spend many years of their life doing that.
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Old 23-12-2023, 03:57   #32
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by geozeck View Post
BTDT. Your plans sound identical to what we did from 2007 to 2017 in our FP Belize 43.
First and foremost, if you plan on going to the Western Caribbean get Freyas guide FIRST. Then get the supplements made by Belizesailor. They are first hand and very valuable. My wife memorized them. Also ask him any questions by PM. He knows what he’s talking about and is very generous with his time and knowledge.

Fishing: I’m a very experienced fly fisherman and my experience is mostly without guides so adjust your plans accordingly. I can provide you with names in various countries if you like. After spending several winter in the Bahamas we loved it but the fishing is pale compared to the much less crowed Western Caribbean coast. Other than Ambergris Cay you can fish for a week and not see another fisherman in the WC. Prices in WC will be 1/10 to 1/2 of they are in the states and Bahamas. Rio Dulce is the best place to have your boats repaired.
Thanks Geo! Glad my Notes were useful too you.

Instead of PM'ing me with questions, please post them publically. This way all can benefit from the disucssion.

My Notes can be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B072Y2S8JS
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Old 23-12-2023, 04:03   #33
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by geozeck View Post
BTDT. Your plans sound identical to what we did from 2007 to 2017 in our FP Belize 43.
First and foremost, if you plan on going to the Western Caribbean get Freyas guide FIRST. Then get the supplements made by Belizesailor. They are first hand and very valuable. My wife memorized them. Also ask him any questions by PM. He knows what he’s talking about and is very generous with his time and knowledge.

Fishing: I’m a very experienced fly fisherman and my experience is mostly without guides so adjust your plans accordingly. I can provide you with names in various countries if you like. After spending several winter in the Bahamas we loved it but the fishing is pale compared to the much less crowed Western Caribbean coast. Other than Ambergris Cay you can fish for a week and not see another fisherman in the WC. Prices in WC will be 1/10 to 1/2 of they are in the states and Bahamas. Rio Dulce is the best place to have your boats repaired.
Speaking of Fly Fishing...you might find this useful. I did an analysis of the flies recommended by lodges/guides in Belize. The first page lists the flies. The second page is an analysis by fly/color/species.

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/7es2i...60rg8tgku&dl=0
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Old 25-12-2023, 08:32   #34
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Speaking of Fly fishing, is a suggestion: Andros which is not on the average cruisers list of places to see in the Bahamas but I was told while there the fly fishing was great. I am not a fly fisherman.
You can enter at Fresh Creek and tie up for free at one of the dilapidated docks.
Then go up into the flats and enjoy.
Just be careful when coming in the mouth of Fresh Creek of the very strong current there.
Best
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Old 26-12-2023, 04:49   #35
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
Speaking of Fly fishing, is a suggestion: Andros which is not on the average cruisers list of places to see in the Bahamas but I was told while there the fly fishing was great. I am not a fly fisherman.
You can enter at Fresh Creek and tie up for free at one of the dilapidated docks.
Then go up into the flats and enjoy.
Just be careful when coming in the mouth of Fresh Creek of the very strong current there.
Best
Ive not fly fished there, but Andros is one of my favorite places in the Bahamas. It is such an unsual island relative to the other islands of the Bahamas.

Big Game fishing is of course incredible in the Bahamas and I have done that.
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Old 19-01-2024, 05:11   #36
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Slightly off topic, so apologies in advance:
We recently completed a tour of the Eastern Caribbean islands on our monohull with a 7' draft, going as far as Grenada and returning through the Bahamas to Florida.

I've been looking at cruising the Western Caribbean (and found this article as a guide: https://www.bwsailing.com/bw/cruisin...ern-caribbean/)

In short, looking to go back through the Bahamas to Great Inagua, through the Windward Passage, Jamaica, Southern Cuba, Bay Islands of Honduras, Rio Dulce, Belize, Isla de Mujeres then back to FL. I read through your responses above, which are fantastic.

My question is: We draw 7'. Is this route a fools errand given our draft? It appears we would have to get careened over the bar at Livingstone (and even at 7' that might be too much?) and would perhaps have issues in Belize as well. (I haven't invested in Freda's book yet.)

What do you think about a 7' draft on this route? How limited would be in Belize? Would you do it or should I come up with another route?
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Old 19-01-2024, 07:16   #37
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
Speaking of Fly fishing, is a suggestion: Andros which is not on the average cruisers list of places to see in the Bahamas but I was told while there the fly fishing was great. I am not a fly fisherman.
You can enter at Fresh Creek and tie up for free at one of the dilapidated docks.
Then go up into the flats and enjoy.
Just be careful when coming in the mouth of Fresh Creek of the very strong current there.
Best
I have flyfished Andros and can tell you it is some really good bonefishing on the east side and at the northern tip. The west side is more difficult to get to (you will likely need a guide) but the fishing there is very good - tarpon hang out there. If there is any west in the wind - do not go - it stirs the sand up and visibility goes to pot.

There is a story there of a guy and his wife fishing for Tarpon on the west side in the mangroves...he just bought the flyrod and reel and line at a sporting good store and they loaded the backing and flyline on to the reel. The hubby hooked a 75 lb tarpon and as the fish greyhounded the guide noticed (just as the tarpon got to the mangroves) that the flyline was NOT tied to the backing. Thinking quickly - as the flyline was leaving the end of the rod - the guide jumped overboard and caught the line in his hand. Meantime - with no pressure on the line - the tarpon parked himself in the mangroves....the guide quickly tied the flyline to the backing. As he finished the hubby noticed they had failed to run the flyline back thru the guides --so they had to cut the knot - run the line thru the guides and retie the knot. Meanwhile the Tarpon was cooling his jets sitting the mangroves. So the guide walks over and helps the tarpon out of the mangroves and the fight was on....but then a huge rainstorm blew thru and the filming (yes the whole thing was mostly caught on tape) stopped. It starts back up again with the guide landing the Tarpon. That is a fish story not soon forgotten. What a guide.

Dennis
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Old 20-01-2024, 04:46   #38
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by gone walkabout View Post
Slightly off topic, so apologies in advance:
We recently completed a tour of the Eastern Caribbean islands on our monohull with a 7' draft, going as far as Grenada and returning through the Bahamas to Florida.

I've been looking at cruising the Western Caribbean (and found this article as a guide: https://www.bwsailing.com/bw/cruisin...ern-caribbean/)

In short, looking to go back through the Bahamas to Great Inagua, through the Windward Passage, Jamaica, Southern Cuba, Bay Islands of Honduras, Rio Dulce, Belize, Isla de Mujeres then back to FL. I read through your responses above, which are fantastic.

My question is: We draw 7'. Is this route a fools errand given our draft? It appears we would have to get careened over the bar at Livingstone (and even at 7' that might be too much?) and would perhaps have issues in Belize as well. (I haven't invested in Freda's book yet.)

What do you think about a 7' draft on this route? How limited would be in Belize? Would you do it or should I come up with another route?
Re crossing the bar on the Rio. With a 7' draft you will likely need to be careened (controlling depth is about 6'). No worries, this is a routine thing and there are local fishing vessels that provide this service. Once inside and past the Livingston area there is plenty of depth for you throughout the Rio Dulce system.

Re Belize with a 7' draft. Some areas/routes will be off limits to you, but there is very deep water all over Belize...interspesed with lots of shallow water...you just have to know where it is. Getting Freya's guide will be a good start. There are several natural deep water channels where you can enter. Anywhere N of Belize City is going to be impractical for you. The "Inner Channel" runs from the Belize City area all the way into Guatemalan waters and is very deep with few obstructions. This gives you a mostly worry free route N-S. From there you can branch into some areas in Central/Southern Belize.
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Old 20-01-2024, 04:52   #39
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Re crossing the bar on the Rio. With a 7' draft you will likely need to be careened (controlling depth is about 6'). No worries, this is a routine thing and there are local fishing vessels that provide this service.

Never heard of this "careening" in this context. Interested to know how this works?
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Old 20-01-2024, 07:08   #40
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

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Never heard of this "careening" in this context. Interested to know how this works?
In this context it refers to attaching the working end of the main halyard to a fishing vessel which then runs at an angle to the towed vessel in order to heel it enough to reduce the draft.

This is a handy trick for freeing aground monohulls too.
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Old 20-01-2024, 07:49   #41
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
In this context it refers to attaching the working end of the main halyard to a fishing vessel which then runs at an angle to the towed vessel in order to heel it enough to reduce the draft.

This is a handy trick for freeing aground monohulls too.

Seen it, and used it for getting monos unstuck that have run aground, on several occasions when they have followed us to and anchorage. Never thought of using it while going along to cross a bar and never knew it was also called careening.

Everyday is a school day.
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Old 20-01-2024, 09:15   #42
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

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Originally Posted by Tupaia View Post
Seen it, and used it for getting monos unstuck that have run aground, on several occasions when they have followed us to and anchorage. Never thought of using it while going along to cross a bar and never knew it was also called careening.

Everyday is a school day.
I suppose one could argue the finer points of the meaning of "careening", which usually involves deliberately putting a vessel aground, but in the broader sense the term seems to me to be a good fit here.

Also, I dont know of a different term for deliberately heeling a vessel.
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Old 07-02-2024, 16:26   #43
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Anyone familiar with yacht masters taking individuals from Cancun to Panama?
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Old 13-03-2024, 04:35   #44
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Thanks to all for your info - I have learned a great deal. To the point I was thinking to go from Key West to Havana to Mexico to Belize. Is that a easier path to follow - hugging the coast of Cuba verses going down the Bahama train of islands?
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Old 14-03-2024, 05:40   #45
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Re: Western Caribbean Passage Making on a Cat

Yes, thats a very common route. Running close to Cuba's N coast avoids most of the adverse Florida Current. But to get to Mexico from there you still have to contend w the Yucatan Current at its strongest point (as it squeezes thru the Yucatan Channel).

You can round the W end of Cuba and head south to avoid most of the Yucatan Current, but then you skip Mexico.

Remember there are big reefs along the Cuban coast so dont run too close.

Also, you may be approached by Cuban Coast Guard/USCG along this route.
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