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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Recent Bahamas bank crossings
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Thread: Recent Bahamas bank crossings Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-29-2007 10:34 PM
camaraderie Thanks for the update Mark. Hope your finger fix goes well and you can get back to enjoying the Abacos.
Dodge be da man for the Abacos! If you see a big Cat in Hopetown called MOTHRA...tell Brad that Camaraderie says hi!
All best...
03-29-2007 10:18 PM
Mkfcdl
Update on Bahama bank

OK, just a little update...it's been awhile since I've had decent internet access. Spent a little longer at Old Bahama Bay because of my finger injury, then went Indian Cay onto the banks. I was hoping to use my Interphase forward looking sonar but it wouldn't turn on that morning for some reason. Anyway, on the first day with the deeper water in the lee of the reef the high tide was 7am--so I entered the cut around 6:30am. Still mostly dark and it was fly-by-instrument using Explorer chartbook waypoints. I never had less than 3 feet under my 5'6" keel so kudos to Explorer. I did use my radar to verify that my GPS was on target by doing radar bearing lines. So onward to Great Sale Cay and the nice sand/mud anchorage there.

To make a long story short, I was using Pavlidis and he suggests a deeper route into Carters Cays--DON'T DO IT. Luckily, the bottom is sand and kedging+sails+strong gusts finally got us free on high tide (I immediately left by the "traditional route which has shoaled in recent years" and never even bumped bottom. So Steve, redo that part of your book. Seems most people I ran into were using Dodge rather than Pavlidis. We fought headwinds and have only made it as far as Treasure Cay. I sent my wife and daughter to Treasure Cay by ferry+taxi from Green Turtle and then did Whale Cay Passage with a couple of local sailors; we had 5-7 swells + 1-2 chop on top after about a week of 8-10+ so I was happy. Treasure Cay is lovely but I've now flown back to have my finger worked on so that's it for now.

Cheers,
Mark
03-13-2007 01:14 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
Mark,

It seems to me that you must be sailing a fine yacht and a very sturdy vessel to make such a trip as that. What was that boat again? Was this the same boat that you single handed across the gulf through 2 gales (Texas to Florida)? Please tell me what type of an awesome boat you are sailing such that I can get me one too. (smile)!!

- CD

(Oh, that's right, it was a Catalina 400!!!)

PS I guess you got your new jib? Everything measure out ok?
the brainwashing attempts continue...
03-13-2007 12:50 PM
Cruisingdad Mark,

It seems to me that you must be sailing a fine yacht and a very sturdy vessel to make such a trip as that. What was that boat again? Was this the same boat that you single handed across the gulf through 2 gales (Texas to Florida)? Please tell me what type of an awesome boat you are sailing such that I can get me one too. (smile)!!

- CD

(Oh, that's right, it was a Catalina 400!!!)

PS I guess you got your new jib? Everything measure out ok?
03-13-2007 12:48 PM
Mkfcdl
Now just to get the boat cleaned

Comaraderie:

Thanks for the kind words--yeah I'm glad that's over but truthfully I found the gulf stream to be just like offshore in the Gulf of Mexico--very choppy. So I felt like I was back in Texas just no oil rigs to watch out for.

Now if I can just get the boat clean before the wife arrives....

Cheers,
Mark
03-13-2007 02:19 AM
camaraderie LOL...you are a crazy man!! Well I don't care how you got there but sounds like you made it interesting!! Glad you are safe and sound and the bugs are under control! Ain't it pretty!! With the depths across the bank it will be interesting to see if the twinscope is any help at all...I'll be interested in your results.
Great Sale and Green Turtle await you!!
Fair winds and keep us posted on the wonderfulness of it all....the tough stuff is over now!
03-12-2007 11:54 PM
Mkfcdl
Old Bahama Bay

Comaraderie:

Just a little update...I just checked into Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End and no bugs! Maybe it's just the time of year but it's quite nice. My wife and daughter are flying in to meet me tomorrow so after that I'll give a little note on the restaurant here. Made the crossing alone but in a non-conventional way. I was waiting for a weather window in Miami and since the gulf stream was forecast to be 2-4 for only a little while I decided to make a mad dash to Bimini since it's the shortest from Miami. Well, first half was 1-3 feet with 15-18 knots wind (made 7 knts average with partially furled 135 and lightly furled main) and second half was up to 7 feet with wind up to 20kts. So, not a bad crossing except that I cut off part of my finger on the refrigerator toploading door edge while trying to make a sandwich--that pretty much ruined the good feeling I was having. Anyway, made Bimini near dark so anchored in Nixon Harbour rather than risk the channel entrance--extremely easy to navigate in at night. There is no channel just a wide entrance between rocks either side into sand. Pavlidis says grass with poor holding but I saw mostly sand and anchored in 10 feet with two anchors that set like they were in concrete (you don't need two--I had no tidal current swing in two days).

This was my first check in to the Bahamas so don't make the novice mistake I did--I anchored the first night, then dinghied in and took a taxi to the airport to customs/immigration. You do have 24 hours after arrival to clear in but you have to bring your boat to a port of entry, not just yourself--this isn't clear from a number of sources. And leave your dog on the boat--don't take it to the airport. The poor customs lady is afraid of dogs--but she was sympathetic and gave me a year clearance and fishing license anyway.

The next step was getting to West End. I couldn't find any routing information on going from S. Bimini to West End so I created my own route. It worked well except that I went too far offshore and got back in the Gulf Stream a little which was OK for the boost it gave going north but the wind was wrong--NE at 15-20. So, stay close in to get away from the current. As I thought, once I got well past the Great Isaac shoal area, the gulf stream faded and a little westerly current from NW Providence kicked in. This gave a bit of a drift but really smoothed out 5-7 feet into 2-4.

We're going to chill a little here for a couple of days before heading onto the bank. I've been using my Interphase Twinscope for several years so I'm curious if it will help on these shallow bank crossings. Still haven't decided on Indian Cay or Memory Rock yet but I will definitely use a rising tide to my advantage for the skinny routes, Comaraderie.

Cheers,
Mark
03-01-2007 11:26 AM
camaraderie MK....If you haven't done the Indian Cay route before you will have your heart in your mouth for the first mile or so with your draft. DEFINITELY wait for mid tide rising. The waypoints for the route found in the Explorer chartbook for near bahamas or the Dodge Guide to Abaco are the ones to use. Do not rely on the marker posts shown on the charts as some of these are always missing in action.
The Memory rock route will take you a little longer to get to from OBB ut will give you 9 ft. at least all the way.
Have fun!!
03-01-2007 01:51 AM
Mkfcdl
Memory Rock...hmmm

Camaraderie,

Thanks for the info. Was originally going to Nassau first, then the Exumas. Have decided instead to go to the Abacos as this is our first cruise with our daughter. My wife and daughter are flying into Freeport so I'm meeting them at Old Bahama Bay. I may take you up on entering the bank at Memory Rock, though, if it's much easier and deeper than Indian Cay channel (my draft is about 5'8").

Speaking of which if anyone is crossing the Gulf Stream to Grand Bahama next week and wants a buddy boat let me know.

Cheers,
Mark
02-28-2007 11:24 PM
camaraderie MKfcdl...no changes to the Explorer charts for the route. Last went through about 10 months ago via memory rock. I did think that it was more shoal around Mangrove than in the past (7ft.). I'd give it just a bit more northerly routing to be safe. Other friends went through Indian Cay...still missing markers but the ay points are good and the shoals/depths are still the same. Advice remains to take it on a 1/2 tide rising. Memory Rock is SOOO much safer and easier IMHO. Huge new casino/development going in near Old Bahama Bay...and the gnats are as bad as ever! You can probably hook up on line with someone who has just done the trip on the Abaco BB... try the link at www.cocotels.net

On the Gun Cay route...my experience is dated, so don't wish to comment as things may have changed. You might want to ask the question on SSCA or CruisersForum where some may have more recent experience. Lots of folks will be heading back that way in a month or so!
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