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-   -   Bahamas Cruising Guide ? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/bahamas-cruising-guide-6236.html)

Limpet 19-12-2006 06:45

Bahamas Cruising Guide ?
 
Can anyone recommend a Cruising Guide to the Bahamas?

How would you compare the Bahamas to the BVI from a crusing standpoint?

GordMay 19-12-2006 07:33

Exuma Guide Cruising Guide ~ by Steve Pavlidis
Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas ~ Tropical Island Publishers Inc.
Explorer Chartbooks ~ Lewis Offshore (Monty and Sara Lewis)
- Near Bahamas, including the Abacos
- Exumas
- Far Bahamas

Sunspot Baby 19-12-2006 09:38

We use all of Pablidis guides in Bahamas but many Abacos sailors prefer Steve Dodge.

Bahamas is a little more challenging than BVI but in Lots more places to go. If you hang around Marsh Harbor, it's similar to BVI in that there are lots of destinations with bars and moorings. Further south, it gets more remote. We like both.

Abacos in winter is cool compared to BVI but Exumas and Far Bahams are usually warm.

Follow Gord's recommendation above. Explorer Charts are the only ones to use. Hands down better than any other.

George

CSY Man 19-12-2006 17:42

Quote:

Follow Gord's recommendation above. Explorer Charts are the only ones to use. Hands down better than any other.
Agree 110%:

The explorer charts have saved my bacon many times.

Limpet 01-01-2007 23:32

Are the Explorer Charts more than just charts? I'm looking for something that is fairly descriptive regarding each of the various islands. Something I can use to plan a trip.

Sunspot Baby 02-01-2007 05:27

The Explorer charts have a little cruising guide information about most islands and/or communities. What is best about them is the chart portion. They are well done, easy to use, and all the things you expect from charts but in additions. There are GPS waypoints listed that have been personally checked by the aothors. Routs from way point to way point shown. There are many tricky areas in the Bahamas where water depth is a real problem. While I never recommend sailing by the GPS alone I know cruisers who have made entrances to harbors trusting the Explorer GPS waypoints alone. Example Elizabeth Harbor at George Town.

Depths are in meters, so if you don’t use metric much, it takes a short while to do the quick calculations on how many meters is your 5 ½ draft keel, or does your fathometer reading of 10 ft. agree with a charted depth of 3 meters. It comes pretty quick and there is a conversion table in the chart book.

You will want both a chart book (Explorer) and a cruising guide (Pavlidis and/or Dodge)

Explorer Charts are also available digitally so you can use them with most navigations programs, i.e. Cpan Voyage and others.

George

Vasco 02-01-2007 06:25

No guide is perfect but Matthew Wilson's guide to the Bahamas is better than the Yachtmans Guide. I have Wilson's and 2 volumes of the Yachtmans Guide, one from 1990 and one from 2002 - they (1990 & 2002) were darn near identical in content, only the format had changed. Wilson's is better for routes. The Yachtmans guide has lots of sketch charts which were handy before the Explorer charts came out. Now with the Explorer Charts the sketch charts don't add anything. Depending on where you're cruising in the Bahamas I would say Pavlidis' guides are about the best, those and Explorer Charts should do you. Watch out though, with everyone following the routes in the Explorer Charts it's like going down a highway!:) As for trip planning you have to remember the Bahamas covers a huge area. You will not get everywhere even on a six month trip.

Limpet 13-01-2007 15:43

Ok, bought a Guide. Read through it. It seems the Bahamas are generally comprised of flat low lying islands. The pictures that I saw show baren islands with not much to explore or see. I'm going to continue looking through the guide, but I don't think the Bahamas are for me. I might redirect my interest to the south Pacific, say Bora Bora.

sluissa 13-01-2007 17:21

The Bahamas don't make up all of the Carribean. From what I understand there are many different islands made up of many different types spread throughout the carribean. Many Flat low lying areas. Many rocky areas. Quite a few lush foresty islands.

Just because the Bahamas don't have what you're looking for doesn't mean you need to go as far as the South Pacific, although I'm not saying you shouldn't. I'd be hard pressed to say that there is somewhere on the planet that isn't worth visiting, unless the current government situation makes visiting troublesome, which you can hardly blame on the geography. Although I would say that once you have visited one big city of a region, you could probably skip alot of the others.

In my eyes, geography will always be better than archetecture with a few possible exceptions.

Limpet 13-01-2007 17:29

Ya, been to the BVI which is south of the Bahamas. Its much more mountainous. Although there is one island in the BVI known as Anagada which was big but the highest point was something like 27 feet. It seems that most of the Bahamas is very similar to Anagada.

GordMay 14-01-2007 03:46

Geographically, the Bahamas are in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean.
Although mostly small low islands, there is plenty of good exploring on the islands, and especially around their waters. As already noted, the Caribbean Islands are of mostly higher volcanic origin.
Of course, your location in California might recommend a So-Pac cruise, which is very different from a Caribbean cruise.
The Pacific Ocean requires long-distance voyaging, whereas the Caribbean is island-hopping.

phorvati 14-01-2007 10:15

We got the Crusing guide to Abaco by Steve Dodge, The Exuma Guide by Pavlidis and the three regions on Maptech Paper charts. We draw just over 7 feet and we will proceed cautiously into Abaco via White sand ridge or memory rock and into one of the check-in points either Walker Cay or Spanish Cay.
Does anyone know if west End is still a port of Entry. A frined of mine told me last week that west end was damaged by the huricane and its no longer a port of entry?
Petar

Sunspot Baby 14-01-2007 10:37

Yes, West End is a point of entry and very convenient at that.

There is more to the Bahamas than the shape of the islands. If you need mountains, move to Colorado.

Bahamas have crystal clear waters, convenient cruising, good fishing, and WONDERFUL PEOPLE.

I like the far Bahamas better than the Abacos, but if you like BVI, cruising the Abacos is similar. Lots of locations with bars within an easy day's sail. Lots of moorings.

George
George

CSY Man 14-01-2007 15:13

Quote:

The pictures that I saw show baren islands with not much to explore or see. I'm going to continue looking through the guide, but I don't think the Bahamas are for me.
Lots to explore and see.
I love the Exuma Islands and could cruise there for years without being bored, even if they look baren...

Most of the time I go to un-inhabitated islands just to get away from people. (Except the cruisers with similar mindset)

The favorite island is Hawksbill Cay. I am sure it don't look like much on the chart or in the pictures, but that one is my paradise.:cool:

Limpet 14-01-2007 15:43

CSY_MAN,
I'm all but on my way to Bora Bora. I have not been to the Bahamas, but I have been to Anagada BVI which seems the same to me. As I compare pictures of Bora Bora to that of the Bahamas its not even close. Bora is amazingly cool. Given that the travel time is about the same from my Location, I can't see the Bahamas making sense anymore. I guess my original interest was to try to incorporate a cruise in with the Miami boat show. But at this point I don't see the Miami show in my future either. Just too much travel time for too little return.
However, I do appreciate the replies.

CSY Man 14-01-2007 20:27

Quote:

but I have been to Anagada BVI which seems the same to me.
Aye, Anegada: A paradise for treasure hunters. Plenty of old wrecks in them shallow waters.
Also, no airport on Anegada, nice and quiet, no Las Vegas.

Don't know much about Bora Bora, don't think I have been there. (Short memory, lots of travel, 80+ countires at last count some years ago)

Good luck in Bora.

SydneyTim 14-01-2007 20:46

Bahamas Guide
 
We got given the "The Bahamas Cruising Guide" by Wilson which seems to have lots of info, but IMHO doesn't really cover the most important questions for me in a yacht being draft and good anchorages. I think it's more aimed at power boats, although not having been to the Bahamas you have to take that with a pinsh of salt.

We are picking up our "new" boat in April in Fort Lauderdale and would love to see some of the Abacos, before heading north to avoid hurricane season, but we draw just under 7'6" would love your feedback on whether we will spend all our time running aground or worrying about running aground or if we can actually enjoy ourselves and find some good anchorages.

CSY Man 14-01-2007 21:25

Quote:

but we draw just under 7'6" would love your feedback on whether we will spend all our time running aground or worrying about running aground or if we can actually enjoy ourselves and find some good anchorages.
7'6" in the Bahamas could cause a problem indeed.
Anything over 6' requires a bit of planning.
Over 7 feet draft could be a head-ace, but doable, somehow...

I draw 5'5" and have run aground many, many times.
Most of it because of lack of planning on my part.

Ya can cross the banks and do Nassau and the Yellow Banks and all that, but uh, no shortcuts, no fancy stuff and ya anchor way out.

Lynx 14-01-2007 22:47

SyndeyTim - A froward Sonar would help you from running aground so much. Don't count the charts being that good in the Bahamas and Florida. They will help.

Vasco 15-01-2007 07:39

Lynx,

In the Bahamas the best depth sounder is your eyes. :)

SydneyTim 15-01-2007 13:31

Bahamas Cruising Guide
 
I'm not too bothered about knowing how deep it is when I'm there, I have spent many a year cruising in reefs etc in Oz so know most of the tricks for that.

I guess my point is does having a draft that deep preclude me from most of the good anchorages and therefore make going to all the hassles of navigating in shallow water not worth it?

Vasco 15-01-2007 14:14

Sydney Tim,

I see that you intend to go to the Abacos. With 7'6" you're going to have problems anchoring in many of the more popular spots, especially south of Whale Cay. You will need the tide to get into Treasure Cay and Hopetown. You will have problems anchoring in Marsh Harbour . These are the most "popular" spots. If you want quiet anchorages there are many to be found north of Whale Cay but well sheltered spots might be a problem. I should state that I have not been in the Abacos for four years or so and my information might be a bit dated. Wilson's guide is more of a route planner than a detailed guide. For depths and spots to anchor you're better off with Pavlidis or Dodge or Explorer Charts.

If I might suggest, going to the Berries and the Exumas might be better. Your draft will be less of a problem in the Exumas as there are lots of cuts out to the sound and quite a few anchorages with more than 8 ft. You will still have to anchor a bit further out in some anchorages but for the most part it shouldn't be much of a problem.

GordMay 15-01-2007 15:14

What Vasco (Rick I.) said.

AnchorageGuy 15-01-2007 16:01

I would never go to the Bahamas under any circumstances. On any given time in the last 5 or 6 times we have been there we hated it;) The anchorages are terrible, the beaches are atrocious and the people are scary;) We will be there again but only to warn all of the other cruisers that for their own sake they should probably head for home as soon as possible;) It will be a major sacrifice for us be we feel compelled to help others as much as possible as responsible cruisers. I think the rest of the Caribbean would be a much better choice as well as the South Pacific;) Have fun and please stay away from this terrible place.:devil:

Vasco 15-01-2007 16:33

Chuck,

I thought of a reply along your lines but thought it futile as they just keep coming anyway, no matter how terrible it is!! Everyone bitched when the cruising permit went up to $300 but the traffic is just as heavy.

Lynx 16-01-2007 05:57

Best Depth sounder??? Well, I am going to have a forward sonar put in. I may go with the cheepest single transducer or the most expensive 2 transducer.

But to answer your question, The depth sounder reads where you have been. Most are about the same. From all the reviews I have seen, I am sure some will differ. Keeping the transducer clean is a factor. Although the most reliable is a lead line in a dinghy.

AnchorageGuy 16-01-2007 10:14

Lynx, Correct me if I am wrong but with the board up I believe your boat draws 12 inches. You really shouldn't have much of a depth issue no matter where you go. Lucky you.

Lynx 16-01-2007 22:01

Yes, that is true, Boards and MOTOR up I draw 12 inches, not much of a problem, with the motor down 18 inches min. But I am going on a search in the Bahamas for the perfect uncharted Island in badly charted waters.

Vasco 17-01-2007 05:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lynx
But I am going on a search in the Bahamas for the perfect uncharted Island in badly charted waters.

Lynx,

In that case you might do better and head off to Bora Bora with Limpet because in the last 15 years the Bahamas waters have become quite well charted. The charts have changed from the 16th century to the 21st all in a relatively short span. Good luck in your quest.

Lynx 17-01-2007 07:12

Thanks for letting me know, I had heard that South and west of Andros is/was still not to well charted. Bora Bora is to far for my coastal cruiser.

Like everything else, I may have to down size as well.

hwlovett 31-03-2009 21:57

Limpet, the beauty of the Bahamas is the water, not the land, although you will walk many a footprint free white sand beach. Don't underestimate them.

And no, the Bahamas aren't Anegeda. They have their own special charm.

GordMay 01-04-2009 03:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 61586)
... Everyone bitched when the cruising permit went up to $300 but the traffic is just as heavy.

I think it was Skip Gundlach who reported that there were only around 300 boats in Georgetown Exuma this year (compared to a more usual 500 or so?).

Vasco 01-04-2009 04:18

nearly 350 at its peak ,same as last year. we just got here and it's down to 135. GT is a different town when the cruisers are gone. very quiet.


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