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impi 10-09-2012 23:07

Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Hi fellow sailors ...

We are leaving the BVI's end November to pick up my son and his girlfriend in Nassau, Bahamas. We will spend about 3 - 4 weeks cruising from there with them, and would like to have your opinions on the BEST spots to anchor, to dive ... what unusual things there are to see ... what we need to be aware of ...

We are tired of the general cruising guides and would like to ask the forum for advice ...

In anticipation

Brent

downunder 11-09-2012 00:09

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Can't help you there in the Bahamas but can when you eventually get to Australia.

cheers

Waterway Guide 11-09-2012 05:11

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Exumas would be my pick...Jumentos if you have time. Cruised it twice, but can't say I have any secret spots that aren't covered in the guidebooks (except the really secret spots!). Have a great time!

JusDreaming 11-09-2012 05:16

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
One cruising guide with very good info, not the usual stuff, is the Pavlidis guide. His coverage is very good.
From Nassau I would head for the exumas. Good anchorages, and dive spots. But too many to be specific.
I would definitely recommend the Cambridge Cay area for diving, the cut between the south anchorage and the rocky dundas is not to be missed. Then Black Point is a must stop, best laundry mat in the chain. That's just a couple of favorites of ours. Sailing down the back side of Great Exuma to the Jumentos is also very nice. The only pit fall is there are not a lot of places to eat/party at. Stanial Cay would be one, highly recommend "Taste and Sea" on the beach south of yacht club. Restaurants are much more low key than in the BVI.
That time of year the hunting should also be good!!!!

nautical62 11-09-2012 05:55

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
If you are doing a trip to and from Nassau, I also recommend the Exumas as well as getting Pavlidis' guides and the explorer chart books.

Near the top of the Exumas is Allan's Cay which has iguanas on it. South of there, much of the northern half of the Exumas are part of a land and sea park. The negative of that is having to pick up moorings with other boats in places, can't lobster or fish. Staniel Cay is a nice community to stop at. There are a couple nearby grottos to snorkel in.

If you are heading north up the Bahamas chain, another option is to pick them up in Nassau, and go cruise the Abacos, dropping them off in either the Abacos or in the U.S. at Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Note however, that by the end of November, the water may be notably warmer in the Exumas and you are getting into the cold front season, which means possibly waiting to cross the Gulf Stream to the U.S.

Compared to the BVIs, knowing and using tides can open up many places in the Bahamas.

BettiedelMar 11-09-2012 05:57

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
We didn't stop there, but other cruisers that I've spoken with say that if you like beer or any type of soda purchase it before you get to the Bahamas. Evidently, it's very expensive there. And have a fantastic time! The water there looks gorgeous.

rover88 11-09-2012 06:07

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
First, before you enter Nassau call Harbour Control on 16.

In Nassau Harbour you have two choices for anchorage. The first and best is in front of the Green Parrot restaurant just past the cruise ships. The second is through the bridges on the right across from the Cloisters (terraced gardens). Holding is slightly better by the Green Parrot but it can be crowded and watch your depths. Across from the Cloisters holding is not so great and current is strong so consider setting a Bahamian mooring. Nassau Yacht Haven is a great marina but about $2/ft overnight. The Green Parrot and Texaco offer free dinghy docks but lock up if you leave the dink at Texaco.

If you want to escape the madness of Nassau an hour sail north out of the harbour is Rose Island, which offers a bit more peace and quiet. Holding is decent on either side.

Along the way try Browns Marina in Bimini. Call for local knowledge on 16 before entering, as shoaling is bad (or follow a local boat in). Taking the Northwest Passage on the way to Nassau you can anchor at the entrance to Chubb but I don't recommend the Marina except to dink in for fuel if needed.

PM me if you need more advice, for it all depends on your route. I was just there in May so my experience is recent.

Vasco 11-09-2012 06:22

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
If possible pick up your son and his girlfriend before you get to Nassau. They should fly in to Georgetown or Long Island. Then use the three weeks to sail towards Nassau and drop them off there. The Exumas are your best bet as others have said. Too many good spots to list and it would depend on their likes, whether they want to dive or just snorkel, whether you prefer a bit of civilization (and I mean a bit) or just like secluded spots. Although there are hundreds of cruisers in the Exumas in winter secluded anchorages are possible.

swisscraft 11-09-2012 06:25

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
I second Exumas, very lovely. You can easy spend a few weeks there and nice ride over from Nassau. Well worth to spend most of your time there. Stanley Keys, the pig beach is a must.

One Remark: The Bahamas are really poor and expensive when it comes to shopping (whatever!) - Nassau has Supermarkets, a bit expensive but after that you "shop" in very tiny stores with rarely any fresh products like meat, fruits or so. Its well worth to stock up in Puerto Rico or whenever possible.

Tingum 11-09-2012 06:34

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
I will ditto the shop in Puerto Rico first. Fresh vegatables are hard to come by and beer is $40/case. Get out of nassau as soon as you can. Both the Exumas and Abacos are some of the worlds best cruising grounds. If you are coming up from the south you should island hop all the way to nassau, if heading further north then do the Abacos. Beautiful with your choice of towns or secluded anchorages. Great diving all over.
Abaco is very easy to fly out of, with several airlines using various Fla destinations to choose from. Flying out of Exuma is more costly and offers fewer choices as all flites go through Nassau. Enjoy! If you are on Green Turtle Cay, look us up!

captainKJ 11-09-2012 06:53

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 1033947)
If possible pick up your son and his girlfriend before you get to Nassau. They should fly in to Georgetown or Long Island. Then use the three weeks to sail towards Nassau and drop them off there. The Exumas are your best bet as others have said. Too many good spots to list and it would depend on their likes, whether they want to dive or just snorkel, whether you prefer a bit of civilization (and I mean a bit) or just like secluded spots. Although there are hundreds of cruisers in the Exumas in winter secluded anchorages are possible.

:thumb::thumb::thumb:

DeborahLee 11-09-2012 07:03

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
If you go to Cambridge you might want to go to the aquraium just north of there. There is also an airplane there to dive on. Also Thunder ball at Staniel cay.

Hannah on 'Rita T' 11-09-2012 07:09

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
We liked Eleuthera a lot, Rule Sound and Alabaster, Governor's Harbor isn't much to write home about. Look at your charts, it is a longer sail fromt he BVI to the Bahamas than you expect. Took us six days last spring.

Rocketman 11-09-2012 07:11

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
IMPI, I agree with all post's here, but alot depends on where you are comming from to get to Nassau. Are you picking up a boat in Nassua, or are you sailing it from US or from the south ie Puerto Rico? Like others have said, it would be better to have your crew on board while making the passage to Nassau then to sail by everything to get them. If you are sailing you boat to Nassau, stock up on everything that you can carry for the whole trip, if possible, before you get there. It is hard to find anything in the strores except Nassau and Marsh harbor which is in the Abacos.

Vasco 11-09-2012 07:33

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocketman (Post 1033981)
. It is hard to find anything in the strores except Nassau and Marsh harbor which is in the Abacos.

Can't agree with this. Good stores is Thompson Bay (Long Island) and Georgetown (Great Exuma). Both will be on your route coming from BVI but GT is a better stop. On your way up the Exuma chain Staniel Cay has a fair store but you have to be there when the boat comes in. Black Point to the south of Staniel has a smaller store. Nassau is not as good as it was two years ago as the big grocery store by Harbour Club Marina has closed.

Rocketman 11-09-2012 07:35

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
IMPI
The guide books and explorer maps for the Abacos and the Exumas are very good, they have great details about almost every island that you will come upon, they also give details about ancorages, routes, and moorings which is extremly helpful. The water, the people, the diving, almost everything over there is great except the shopping. While we were there this last May, we never saw any types of water patrols or athority figers of any kind, except when we went through customs which was very easy. We have a 3 cabin sailboat which we turned one cabin into a storage room for alll of our dry goods for our 4 week trip. This saved us a ton of money and hassle of not having to try and buy it on the islands.

s/vPainkiller 11-09-2012 07:47

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocketman (Post 1033981)
If you are sailing you boat to Nassau, stock up on everything that you can carry for the whole trip, if possible, before you get there. It is hard to find anything in the strores except Nassau and Marsh harbor which is in the Abacos.

I donít necessarily agree that itís difficult to find provisions in the Bahamas as a couple people have stated. While Nassau and Marsh Harbor have large mainland style supermarkets, we found well stocked stores in numerous places further south. For example, Rock Sound in Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, Georgetown, Emerald Bay and Salt Pond on Long Island all had very good grocery stores. Numerous other settlements had smaller stores that carried staples at a minimum. Fresh fruit and vegetables were hit or miss at the smaller places depending on when the last mailboat was in. And yes most items are more expensive but many things can be found at reasonable prices. Rum and some other liquors are still pretty inexpensive (compared to US mainland), but beer is definitely expensive there.

Bottom line if can you provision at a low cost stop, of course that's the best solution, but I wouldn't be too worried if you are running low when you get to the Bahamas.

Scott

swisscraft 11-09-2012 07:59

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 1033989)
Can't agree with this. Good stores is Thompson Bay (Long Island) and Georgetown (Great Exuma). Both will be on your route coming from BVI but GT is a better stop. On your way up the Exuma chain Staniel Cay has a fair store but you have to be there when the boat comes in. Black Point to the south of Staniel has a smaller store. Nassau is not as good as it was two years ago as the big grocery store by Harbour Club Marina has closed.

Let me guess, you grown up in Russia in the 80s or so? :D
Yes Staniel Cay has some stores, but the they are very limited. If you like beef and see the frozen "stock" you become a veg - but you will have to stick to expired canned vegetables as it will be all you get.
Supermarket in Georgetown looks real great - but just after spending time in the other stores in Staniel or Black point. Yeah, shopping with a list again. In reality its a very small overpriced mini market.
There is no comparison to any supermarket in US or PR - The Georgetown store would be even tiny to Grenadian Standards where we are now.

swisscraft 11-09-2012 08:03

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
1 Attachment(s)
Me in 2012 in the "decent" Store in Black Point.....beef and so is in the freezers....

AnchorageGuy 11-09-2012 08:21

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Brent, I see you say your tired of the Guide Books, but I too would recommend the Pavlidas guides for lots of details you might not get here to help with your planning. Be sure and have a good set of charts, Explorer Charts are the best. We too prefer the Exumas over New Providence and really don't like Nassau, but that's just our preference. We did a couple of blog posts on both our sites for things many boaters want to know before going to the Bahamas and things to do when you get there. It might help. Click on the Cruising category. Have a great trip and if your still there in January, look for the Trawler Beach House. Chuck

Rocketman 11-09-2012 08:26

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Be aware that regulations in the Bahamas are very loose, I suspect that regulations regarding food there is all but non existant. When I talked with one of the store owners, they told me that they send a person over on a ferry to the US once a month or maybe more to buy from places like COSCO and Sams, then bring it back on the ferry to there store to resale.

Tia Bu 11-09-2012 08:29

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
I, too, think the "provision before you get to the Bahamas" chant is overdone. You can find plenty of great food and fairly reasonable prices there. The beer is expensive, though.

I would say there are great cruising destinations all over the Bahamas. There really isn't enough time in a lifetime to take it all in. Nassau and Freeport would be at the bottom of my list of places to visit, though.

Somewhere up high-- on the bucket list, really-- should be a visit to Nipper's on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos on a Sunday afternoon. I can't really explain it, but...

Vasco 11-09-2012 08:42

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by swisscraft (Post 1034003)
Let me guess, you grown up in Russia in the 80s or so? :D
Yes Staniel Cay has some stores, but the they are very limited. If you like beef and see the frozen "stock" you become a veg - but you will have to stick to expired canned vegetables as it will be all you get.
Supermarket in Georgetown looks real great - but just after spending time in the other stores in Staniel or Black point. Yeah, shopping with a list again. In reality its a very small overpriced mini market.
There is no comparison to any supermarket in US or PR - The Georgetown store would be even tiny to Grenadian Standards where we are now.

I agree but we're talking about the Bahamas. If you want really good provisioning come to Toronto. Our prices are better than anywhere in the States and the fresh stuff is just amazing, anytime of the year. But then you wouldn't be in the Bahamas. :) I think it's a bit much to go cruising and then expect it to be just like back home in the USA.

casual 11-09-2012 09:24

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
You'll probably be coming up thru the Exuma's so you can form an opinion.The Exumas are Great ,but for Good Fishing Diving Anchorages the Berry's are 6 hrs away from Nassau and are remote and peacefull.Stoped there year's ago for an day or two stayed 2 weeks,not much shopping or night life.Also easier sail stateside when leaving.I,always go back.

Azul 11-09-2012 10:25

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Two spots I really loved when I was island hopping (with an airplane) were Staniel Cay and Cat Island. Thunderball Grotto and Iguana Cay make great day trips from SC (hint, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders have done photo shoots there) and have great photo ops and snorkeling. The scuba wall diving off Cat Island is spectacular and nicely off the beaten track. It might be nice to rent a cottage at SCYC for a few days break during the trip, the package deal with a 13 foot Boston Whaler and full meals is terrific- lobster tail, cracked conch etc. Even made custom boxed lunches.

impi 11-09-2012 16:07

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Guys, now we remember why it was we joined cruisers forum. There are so many fantastic posts here ... Ana and I are really grateful for so much input and are sifting through every comment made. We are sailing up from the south (BVI's) so will do a huge shop before leaving.
Are there no restrictions on food types being brought into the Bahama's?
Unfortunately our son will be arriving and leaving from Nassau so we will have to do a 'round trip' ...

Thanks again everybody ... we appreciate every comment made and welcome additional ideas

sloopygirl 11-09-2012 16:19

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Exumas are really great - don't forget to stop at Allen's Cay. North of that are a few mostly deserted islands, look for Ship's Channel, we spent a few weeks in that narrow anchorage a few years back - great place, a little hard to get into and won't take to deep a draft. You could spend weeks exploring the Exumas - you won't want to leave.

The Blue Heron 11-09-2012 16:20

Tag for later.

casual 11-09-2012 17:29

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by impi (Post 1034295)
Guys, now we remember why it was we joined cruisers forum. There are so many fantastic posts here ... Ana and I are really grateful for so much input and are sifting through every comment made. We are sailing up from the south (BVI's) so will do a huge shop before leaving.
Are there no restrictions on food types being brought into the Bahama's?
Unfortunately our son will be arriving and leaving from Nassau so we will have to do a 'round trip' ...

Thanks again everybody ... we appreciate every comment made and welcome additional ideas

In a dozen or so trips was never aware of any food restrictions,just make double sure you declare everything, firearms and rounds of ammo,if applicable can't use any spear guns other than Hawain slings,and be aware of the Bahamain Parks where fishing is prohibitied.]Bahamains are very nice people and easy to get along with,just be mindfull it is there country,another note when clearing in you must do so at the FIRST available point,this I,know to be looked at.
Have Fun you will

sailor0007 11-09-2012 19:56

Bahamas air will fly your son for $75 from Nassau to Georgetown, you can then make a leisurely trip up to NAS. It is worth every penny... Exuma market in georgetown is pretty good if you forget provisioning.

impi 11-09-2012 20:34

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tia Bu (Post 1034016)
I, too, think the "provision before you get to the Bahamas" chant is overdone. You can find plenty of great food and fairly reasonable prices there. The beer is expensive, though.

I would say there are great cruising destinations all over the Bahamas. There really isn't enough time in a lifetime to take it all in. Nassau and Freeport would be at the bottom of my list of places to visit, though.

Somewhere up high-- on the bucket list, really-- should be a visit to Nipper's on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos on a Sunday afternoon. I can't really explain it, but...

Would love to know more about Nipper's ....

impi 11-09-2012 20:42

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sailor0007 (Post 1034443)
Bahamas air will fly your son for $75 from Nassau to Georgetown, you can then make a leisurely trip up to NAS. It is worth every penny... Exuma market in georgetown is pretty good if you forget provisioning.

This looks reasonable ... so, suggestion is to fly them down to George Town and take our time moving north ... I think I need to look at this option for starters ... thanks :thumb:

Can one sail up north or is it advisable to motor up on account of shallows?

Sailorman Ed 11-09-2012 20:44

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
We enjoyed the Bahamas but skip Nassua if you can. There are decent food store on the other islands just not even little town so stock up when you see what you like. The Exumas were good but we liked the Berrys better. Also skip Spanish Wells. Add Conception Island and Little San Salvador is you like pristine.

impi 11-09-2012 20:45

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Azul (Post 1034108)
Two spots I really loved when I was island hopping (with an airplane) were Staniel Cay and Cat Island. Thunderball Grotto and Iguana Cay make great day trips from SC (hint, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders have done photo shoots there) and have great photo ops and snorkeling. The scuba wall diving off Cat Island is spectacular and nicely off the beaten track. It might be nice to rent a cottage at SCYC for a few days break during the trip, the package deal with a 13 foot Boston Whaler and full meals is terrific- lobster tail, cracked conch etc. Even made custom boxed lunches.

Hi Azul ... this sounds good man ... do you have any idea if the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will be there during our visit? :devil:

Rocketman 11-09-2012 20:46

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
The sailing is great, just get yourself a guide book and charts and follow there routes, and you will have no problems.

impi 11-09-2012 20:47

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sailorman Ed (Post 1034464)
We enjoyed the Bahamas but skip Nassua if you can. There are decent food store on the other islands just not even little town so stock up when you see what you like. The Exumas were good but we liked the Berrys better. Also skip Spanish Wells. Add Conception Island and Little San Salvador is you like pristine.

Ok ... so the Berrys seems to be popping up a bit ... would like to know more ....what is it about the Berrys that you like?

impi 11-09-2012 21:09

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DeborahLee (Post 1033978)
If you go to Cambridge you might want to go to the aquraium just north of there. There is also an airplane there to dive on. Also Thunder ball at Staniel cay.

Sounds good ... any idea of the depth of the plane ... and what's at Thunderball?

Dakota450 11-09-2012 21:13

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by impi (Post 1034468)
Ok ... so the Berrys seems to be popping up a bit ... would like to know more ....what is it about the Berrys that you like?

Brent, I sailed from Nassau to the Berry islands. There isn't much going on there but the lagoon on Great Harbor Cay where the "beach club" is located is a place that someday I hope to anchor in for a few days and just relax. It is absolutely beautiful and I have been all over the Caribbean throughout the years. Many beautiful places but that lagoon just stands out for me. Google the beach club on great harbor cay and zoom in or just find pictures of the place.

Mark

Dakota450 11-09-2012 21:20

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
One more thing, don't get the wrong idea about the word "beach club". This place is nothing special at all. Not anything like what you are used to in the BVI's. It's just a simple little no frills place. It's the lagoon that I really thought was beautiful. The beach club is just a way for you to locate the place.

impi 11-09-2012 21:27

Re: Bahamas - Do's and Dont's
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dakota450 (Post 1034477)
Brent, I sailed from Nassau to the Berry islands. There isn't much going on there but the lagoon on Great Harbor Cay where the "beach club" is located is a place that someday I hope to anchor in for a few days and just relax. It is absolutely beautiful and I have been all over the Caribbean throughout the years. Many beautiful places but that lagoon just stands out for me. Google the beach club on great harbor cay and zoom in or just find pictures of the place.

Mark

Hi Mark, yeah that does look beautiful. Are there places with activity (such as nice dive sites etc. nearby ... the kids would love a quiet beautiful spot but not for too long)?


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