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  #11  
Old 01-04-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

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Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Is 9 days enough to reach and enjoy Abacos..then get back?
No way. It is not even close to enough time.

Even if you completely leave out the "enjoy" part, I am not sure it is enough time even to find a weather window, get there, find a weather window and return. That is particularly true if, by Abacos, you mean the Hub of Abaco (Guana, Marsh Harbor, Hopetown, Man-O-War, etc).

It is a long overnight run to Great Sale from Ft Worth. It is another long run to Green Turtle from Great Sale (not even sure if that is doable in a day -- or why you'd want to skip all the possible stops in between). Add a full day to check in -- the Bahamians are not on NYC schedules. So, there and back to Green Turtle (not including finding weather windows in either direction) is 5 days. You still haven't had a drink and you still have to find decent seas to get around the Whale Passage and into the Sea of Abaco where you will find another long day to get to the Hub of Abaco.

Realistically, 9 days *might* be enough to plan to get the boat to the Sea of Abaco, find a spot to leave it and fly home (with a bad stretch of wx or some other probs -- it also might not). I know that is not ideal with storm season, but it is much more realistic. Even then, I think you'll find that you are not going to have enough time to downshift to "island speed" on the first part of the trip.

-M
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

So my options for Abaco are to:

1) Break the trip into 2 chunks. Perhaps the weekend before everyone arrives, I make the gulfstream crossing with a friend over to West End. Park the boat at the marina at Old Bahama Bay, which should be $1 a foot since it will be offseason. Thats $250 for the week. $70 cab ride to Freeport airport, and $100 for the flight back to Fort Lauderdale. We then can all fly to Freeport and pick up the cruise from there

2) Shorten the trip. Would making it to Hope Town and back be too much for a 9 day itinerary. I'd like to do Little Harbour, but that seems too far. If not Hope Town, what would be the recommended turning around point to give us a reasonable chance at stopping and smelling the roses. What cays/locations are must-do (i hear nippsers).

3) Perphaps a different itinerary altogether. Bimini + Cat Cay + Berry's possible? I dont hear much about the Berrys. Are they good cruising grounds?
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  #13  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Berrys are OK, its remote and depending on the wind/swell direction you may find limited usable anchorages.

I would suggest, 'racing' to Hope Town including night sailing down the wide channel to the Whale Passage, etc, weather permitting, and then slowly as allowed by weather 'work your way back' to either Great Sale, Mangrove Cay, or West End as a jump off spot to cross back across the Stream or to wait for a weather window. If you have SSB, youll be able to listen in to Chris Parker/CaribWx to determine the 'best' weather window to cross the 'stream'.

With only 9 days, you'll "be pushing it". Nothing will ruin a relaxing 'sailing trip' faster than a schedule and time restraints.

Bimini is nice but its quite limited for a 9 day trip, especially with 'guests aboard'. And if you've been there before you already know that there is limited 'safe' anchorage, even in AliceTowne ... so youre going to need a 'slip' if weather is 'squirrely'. The advantage of Bimini (or even West End) is the extended ability to wait for the proper 'weather window' because you wont be 'deep' into the Bahamas.
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  #14  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
So my options for Abaco are to:

1) Break the trip into 2 chunks. Perhaps the weekend before everyone arrives, I make the gulfstream crossing with a friend over to West End. Park the boat at the marina at Old Bahama Bay, which should be $1 a foot since it will be offseason. Thats $250 for the week. $70 cab ride to Freeport airport, and $100 for the flight back to Fort Lauderdale. We then can all fly to Freeport and pick up the cruise from there

2) Shorten the trip. Would making it to Hope Town and back be too much for a 9 day itinerary. I'd like to do Little Harbour, but that seems too far. If not Hope Town, what would be the recommended turning around point to give us a reasonable chance at stopping and smelling the roses. What cays/locations are must-do (i hear nippsers).

3) Perphaps a different itinerary altogether. Bimini + Cat Cay + Berry's possible? I dont hear much about the Berrys. Are they good cruising grounds?
Last year we sailed to Man-O-War Cay from Lake Worth. The trip over was simple and easy. But returning (early May) was a lot more challenging. I had given ourselves 4 days from Man-O-War back to Stuart. We stopped in Green Turtle the first night then left early to try to sail back to Stuart overnight. It's an easy trip but we ended up limping into West End to get some rest because we were hit by so many squalls, especially during the night, that we were simply exhausted. The shallow water on the Little Bahama bank can turn into steep and short spaced waves that are just a pain to pound against... I ended up flying home from Freeport with my son home and came back to pick up the boat.
My point is that in the summer time, and living in South Florida you know that, the thunderstorms are simply hard to avoid and they are very big and nasty. So, depending on your search for thrill and especially your boatmates', the trip home when trying to keep a schedule could turn into a very uncomfortable and possibly frightening experience for some folks. Seeing lightning for hours around you at night is not my favorite

I'm my opinion, 9 days is very short to make it to Hopetown and back unless you have a diehard crew willing to sail through anything to get there and back.
I agree that Bimini doesn't have much to offer but it's a much easier trip with more schedule flexibility. Then, doing day trips to some of the surrounding islands, including overnightning in the Berries is worth it.
If you want to truly enjoy the Abacos, I believe you need more time otherwise you will be constantly focusing on getting back in time and possibly be forced to make some poor choices weatherwise.
If you could take the boat to Marsh Harbour, Man-o-WAR or Hopetown on you own time and leave it there (inexpensive moorings), fly home and come back at a later with your crew and take the nine days to work your way back, it would be more enjoyable.
Just my two cents...
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  #15  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Bahamas in the summer. As a local, I am not sure you can do the Abacos without Rush, Rush Rush. You can leave from Ft Lauderdale and ride the GS to Memory Rock and than cut over as others have suggested. In your 34' boat your average speed might be 5kts. There is always an east wind. You will motor almost your entire way there. The east wind will be light too. So sailing back home would iffy at best too. So a good strong motor is a must as well as tankage. Next is the heat issue. 90's during the day and low 80's during the night.
GS crossing for the most part is not a problem during the summer because we rarely get a cold front and north winds. Winds are usually light throughout most of the summer like I said. One can spend 9 days in Bimini and have a good time. There is a ferry service now from Miami for guest to arrive. There is good fishing and snorkeling especially the southern islands of Bimini. Check-in is painless in Bimini. Bluewater Marina even has the forms for you to fill out. Don't forget Bimini bread at the store down the street from customs.
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  #16  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
So my options for Abaco are to:

1) Break the trip into 2 chunks. Perhaps the weekend before everyone arrives, I make the gulfstream crossing with a friend over to West End. Park the boat at the marina at Old Bahama Bay, which should be $1 a foot since it will be offseason. Thats $250 for the week. $70 cab ride to Freeport airport, and $100 for the flight back to Fort Lauderdale. We then can all fly to Freeport and pick up the cruise from there

2) Shorten the trip. Would making it to Hope Town and back be too much for a 9 day itinerary. I'd like to do Little Harbour, but that seems too far. If not Hope Town, what would be the recommended turning around point to give us a reasonable chance at stopping and smelling the roses. What cays/locations are must-do (i hear nippsers).

3) Perphaps a different itinerary altogether. Bimini + Cat Cay + Berry's possible? I dont hear much about the Berrys. Are they good cruising grounds?
I've got it.

You could do a modified #1. Cross the GS with your friend, but go straight to Green Turtle instead of West End. I haven't checked distances, but I bet you can do it in 36hrs. Clear in there. Leave you boat at a marina or on a mooring in GTC and take a much cheaper cab to a flight back to the states (prices are surprisingly reasonable).

Then, in Part II you can do your tour of the Hub of Abaco leaving from GTC. You'll still probably miss Little Harbor, but you'll be able to do a GTC-Treasure Cay-Guana-Marsh-MOW-Hopetown-GTC run and maybe even have a chance to get the boat back to FL if all the stars align on Part II of the trip.
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  #17  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Quote:
Originally Posted by priscilla View Post
RichH Has it right! The Abacos via Memory Rock then an easy nite sail to Great Sale Cey. When you awake you are in paradise! Don't go ashore as you need customs first,..
,just sail around to Green Turtle key. Do customs, then sail the Abacos...and don't miss the 7 mile beach at Treasure Cay. All the places he suggested are perfect!
+1 on the Abacos

Be sure to visit the Hope Town light house and eat some cracked conch.

BUT and it is a really big but be very very aware of the weather. Is your boat insured? Do you have coverage for that area in hurricane season?

ALSO crossing the Gulf Stream on a fixed date is a mega carp shoot. If the wind in in the North and 15 to 20 or more you will take a real beating getting across. Most boats of your size will turn back after a short while.

Forget the extra dinghy gas. if you run low it is available.

Last edited by TQA; 01-06-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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  #18  
Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

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Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
In your 34' boat your average speed might be 5kts.
Thats a slow boat! This weekend, with sails that need to be replaced, I was going 8 knots in the gulfstream...I rarely go below 6 knots under sail so long as theres at least 10 knots of wind!

But point taken
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Last edited by night0wl; 01-07-2013 at 12:36 AM.
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
Bahamas in the summer. As a local, I am not sure you can do the Abacos without Rush, Rush Rush. You can leave from Ft Lauderdale and ride the GS to Memory Rock and than cut over as others have suggested. In your 34' boat your average speed might be 5kts. There is always an east wind. You will motor almost your entire way there. The east wind will be light too. So sailing back home would iffy at best too. So a good strong motor is a must as well as tankage. Next is the heat issue. 90's during the day and low 80's during the night.
GS crossing for the most part is not a problem during the summer because we rarely get a cold front and north winds. Winds are usually light throughout most of the summer like I said. One can spend 9 days in Bimini and have a good time. There is a ferry service now from Miami for guest to arrive. There is good fishing and snorkeling especially the southern islands of Bimini. Check-in is painless in Bimini. Bluewater Marina even has the forms for you to fill out. Don't forget Bimini bread at the store down the street from customs.
I guess a 9 day itinerary for Bimini it will be...
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  #20  
Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Need a Bahamas Cruise Itinerary

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Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
not a single reply after 8 hours. Guess I have to go to the other forums
Seriously?
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