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This one is probably for Mandalay but anyone else feel free to chime in. I'll be bringing AEGEA back to the US from Nassau, probably in late February or early March. I've made the crossing over twice but never came back. The first time over I came on the Bank at Big Isaac and crossed north of the Berrys, then down the Northeast Providence Channel. I did this with a friend and we sailed straight through from Ft. Lauderdale. The second time was with my bride. We crossed to Bimini, and then across the Bank to the Northwest Channel and Chub Cay. The Berrys crossing was one of the best sails I ever had. The Bimini to Chub was one of the worst. I'm told that when the tide is running onto the Bank from the NE Providence channel it's always bad. Since the bride is, once again, joining me I'm trying to make it as easy as possible and am planning short hops up the Berrys, then across to Grand Bahama, ending up crossing from West End to Lake Worth inlet. I'm thinking of stops at Little Harbor and Great Harbor. Any local knowledge or alternate stops will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and best regards,

Dick Pluta
AEGEA
Nassau, Bahamas
 

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Dick,

The trip across the Banks can be a blast or a royal pain. I've had it both ways. It seems as if wind direction and strength is the key. I screamed across the Banks from Chubb to Bimini on one trip with 20 knt. S winds. I got hammered going the other way in 15 knt. NE winds.

You mention possible stops at Great Harbour Cay in the Berries and Little Harbour in the Abacos on your way back. If you plan to visit the Abacos, then swing back along the northern route to Grand Bahama, Great Harbour would be way out of your way.

When I traveled from Nassau up to Abaco, I went up through Spanish Wells, then made the 50 mile crossing to Little Harbour. From there its an easy trip north through the sea of Abaco. The only problem you may have to deal with is waiting for the right weather windows. The time of year you're planning to cruise home will be marked by many frontal systems moving through and when there is a "rage" on you'll have to sit tight and wait for things to die down. However, this route through the Abacos will give you the most island hopping and gunkholing opportunities.

If you want to work you way NE though the Berries, or even head N through Eleuthera and skip the Abacos, Great Harbour could make sense. Bullock's Harbour is a nice place to visit and would be a great, sheltered place to wait for a weather window. From there you could head NW about 70 miles to West End, or almost due west across the Banks to Bimini.

I hope I've provided you with some useful information. You've got a great cruise ahead of you. Have fun!
 
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