Weather permitting, I'm planning a 10 day cruise or so early november from miami (36' Hunter). I've made the crossing several times to bimini, but am thinking of going on to nassau (via Chubb) or freeport. i would usually prefer the quieter freeport to nassau, but it seems like if i go to freeport, i'm kind of stuck up that way if i plan on getting back to miami in a relatively short time. otherwise, i'm thinking of crossing the bank to the berry islands then nassau. what are everyone's thoughts on choice of itinerary? length and difficulty of the sail accross the bank? how is chubb cay and the area around there for cruising? Thanks!
It is unlikely that you will enjoy perfect weather in November, so a 10-day cruising schedule doesn't leave you much room for error. If you absolutely have to stick to this schedule, I would suggest a cruise to Grand Bahama and save Nassau for another day.
Back in October, 1999 I was stuck at Chub Cay for 10 days, waiting for a weather window to open up before crossing to Nassau. Crossing the Banks, just like the Stream, is not something you want to do in crappy weather.
Should you decided to head over to Grand Bahama, I would suggest you skip West End and head for Port Lucaya. There's lots to do there; good shopping, inexpensive restaurants, a great beach, and a casino. We've vacationed there several times and have always has a great time. If fact, this where my honey and I got married in May.
Another good thing about Grand Bahama.
If the weather presents a problem for your return to the States, it's possible to leave your boat there and take an inexpensive flight home. It's off-season for them right now, so dockage should be reasonably priced. Bring the boat back when the weather looks good, or resume cruising when you have more time.
Thanks for your thoughts. I had come to pretty much the same conclusion about not trying to do too much. In fact, if we can't get good weather for crossing in the first day or two, we will probably just end up going down to the keys. I've been to Bimini many times, so I think will check in there, and spend a night or two, then head on Lucaya. Any reccommendations about the marinas there? Looks like there are a few options in Lucaya, even within the main marina. If the weather does work out, what are your thoughts on returning from Grand Bahama? I assume south down to bimini or even further before crossing over to avoid bucking the stream?
Most folks heading to or from Grand Bahama stage from the Lake Worth area. in order not to fight the Stream. This will mean additional time for you to bring your boat back to Miami, assuming that's where you dock it.
There are several marinas in the Port Lucaya area. I have not personally stayed at any of them, but I read a good review on the Port Lucaya Marina not to long ago. Regardless, chose a marina close to the Marketplace as you'll be spending a lot of time there.
If you choose to return to Bimini and would like a sheltered place to anchor out if wind is out of N,E, or SE, try the bay between North and South Cat Cays. You'll probably have the place to yourself. Great beach combing along South Cat Cay as it's deserted and is not frequently visited.
Hope this helps.
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