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Thanks to my friends on Sailnet, I have determine that I CAN cruise the Bahamas with 8' draft, if I'm careful. Now I need to figure out the best passage from the West End to Great Guana Cay. Looks like some great refreshment establishments there. Should I sail north from the West End and east to Abaco Isl or southerly past Freeport and around?
 

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TROUBLE
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Do you have the Near Bahamas Explorer charts? You should be able to plan your route to the Sea of Abaco across the Little Bahama Bank. Be careful with weather going through the Whale. If you do go around, be very careful with the inlet you decide to use. Plenty of "cruise ending" reefs. You might get a report on the VHF for the passes.

Forget Treasure Cay with your boat. Depths of 1.7-2.2 meters. Great Guana is a pretty fun stop. Especially Nippers! Good holding to anchor, and Moorings available from Troy (Dive Guana). Unprotected with west winds! Not sure where you plan to hide as a front approaches? Marsh Harbor may find you aground with 8' draft. Very skinny getting in to Hope Town as well.

Good luck....

Ralph
 

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Do you have the Near Bahamas Explorer charts? You should be able to plan your route to the Sea of Abaco across the Little Bahama Bank. Be careful with weather going through the Whale. If you do go around, be very careful with the inlet you decide to use. Plenty of "cruise ending" reefs. You might get a report on the VHF for the passes.

Forget Treasure Cay with your boat. Depths of 1.7-2.2 meters. Great Guana is a pretty fun stop. Especially Nippers! Good holding to anchor, and Moorings available from Troy (Dive Guana). Unprotected with west winds! Not sure where you plan to hide as a front approaches? Marsh Harbor may find you aground with 8' draft. Very skinny getting in to Hope Town as well.

Good luck....

Ralph
Agree with the above although you can definitely get into the commercial part of MH on the west side (I don't know if they will let you anchor there though and there isn't nearly the protection as farther in). The east end, no. Off of the town proper, you will need high tide and some luck, but I think you could do it (but, I wouldn't wait for a front to find out). :)

Read up on the Whale Cay cut and passage (and a lot about how Rages work in general, before you come, because you get some good ones in the Abacos). :)
 

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Thanks to my friends on Sailnet, I have determine that I CAN cruise the Bahamas with 8' draft, if I'm careful. Now I need to figure out the best passage from the West End to Great Guana Cay. Looks like some great refreshment establishments there. Should I sail north from the West End and east to Abaco Isl or southerly past Freeport and around?
Going over the top seems a no-brainer, to me - it's a much more pleasant route, with far many more options...

Fair warning, I'm sure the following opinion will be in the minority, here... :)

But if I was gonna head to the Bahamas with an 8' draft, the Abacos or the Berrys would probably be about the LAST places I'd want to go... Sure, they can be done, but you're really gonna be limited...

In addition, I've always found the Abacos to be one of the least appealing parts of the Bahamas... No question, it's still very nice there, but that area never quite seems like the REAL Bahamas, to me... In many respects, I find the Abacos to be more like parts of the Florida Keys, than much of the rest of the Bahamas...

However, if "great refreshment establishments" and so on are your thing, I'm sure you'll do fine there. It's a more social scene around there, to be sure... I simply think the Bahamas have so much more to offer than that, if you manage to put a bit more distance between yourself and the rest of the "Madding Crowd"...

:)


 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Jon, Thanks for your post. I have obviously never been, so I would really appreciate your recommendations on the best places to go. At 59, I'm over the party scene and would like to experience the natural beauty of the Bahamas. Please enlighten me. Thanks!
 

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Going over the top seems a no-brainer, to me - it's a much more pleasant route, with far many more options...

Fair warning, I'm sure the following opinion will be in the minority, here... :)

But if I was gonna head to the Bahamas with an 8' draft, the Abacos or the Berrys would probably be about the LAST places I'd want to go... Sure, they can be done, but you're really gonna be limited...

In addition, I've always found the Abacos to be one of the least appealing parts of the Bahamas... No question, it's still very nice there, but that area never quite seems like the REAL Bahamas, to me... In many respects, I find the Abacos to be more like parts of the Florida Keys, than much of the rest of the Bahamas...
I totally agree with Jon. I almost suggested heading to Exuma instead, just didn't want to muddy the waters too much. We did Abaco earlier this year, and agree....It's just not the REAL Bahamas for us either. Still, many cruisers go there year after year, so must work for them. We are all looking for our own personal "Paradise" I guess?

I have read in the past, that the Abacos were great for lesser experienced first-timers cruising the Bahamas. After our trip, I totally disagree (that's just my own opinion).

Anyway, thanks for the post, Jon. I was afraid no one else was willing to help out the OP, and having only 6 months experience total in the Bahamas, I don't feel very qualified to give others advice.

Cheers,
Ralph
 

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Lots of good advice here. You're thinking and planning, and that's 90 per cent of getting it right, right there. :D

I don't know what part of the Bahamas I like best. There is no doubt, that the Abacos, the Exumas, the Berry's, the Acklins, the Inaguas, Nassau, are all different. That's one of the great things about the Bahamas. You want to go to a super resort area, you can stop in Nassau. You want to be away from everybody, you have the Acklins, you want bars, you got the Abacos, gambling, Freeport.

I like Marsh Harbour and and the Abacos. I really like the Exumas, too. I'm glad I don't have to pick just one. I've probably been to Nassau eight or nine times, and every time I say I'm not going back. But, I do. There is not one place in the Bahamas that I wouldn't rather be than where I am right now (at home). Come May, I'm heading back down there again. :)
 

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The planning is half the fun really. Break down and buy the Explorer Charts Explorer Chartbooks

It's the only real way to plan a cruise in the Bahamas.

Ralph
I agree. I actually have a copy of the Explorer Chartbook, (Near Bahamas), sitting right by the computer as I type this. :D

I constantly study all of them. It keeps me sane, planning the next trip. :).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dear Ralph, Group9, RTV, Thanks guys for the sound advice, diverse ideas and suggestion. Most appreciated. Mark
 

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We have cruised the Bahamas past 5 years. Agree with views that Abacos are very similar to fl keys and cruising sea of abaco hard with 8' draft (but not impossible).
We really love the Exumas, especially rhe settlements and anchorinf with you draft a bit more doable there.
another place we love is Eleuthra. Hatchett Bay and Rock Sound are great places to visit, explore and hold up for weather.
Enjoy
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks BVJ, How long would it take to get to those places from the West End? Our fist trip is only going to be for about 14 days. Thanks!
 
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