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Old 02-12-2016, 08:11 PM   #1
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Bahamas,,, by people that have been there by boat

Would like to leave Venice La. about mid April. Florida Keys about early May. Maybe cross from there,,, or not. Could go up east coast of Fl. Could even come around and go thru Okee then cross from there, or points south. Your thoughts ???
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:15 PM   #2
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Great trip with many options. What is the boat?
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
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Go to the Bahamas for sure. So much more to offer than the Keys or any part of Florida. Much prettier, better fishing, better diving, more beaches, nicer people, fewer lawyers and their associated stupidity, much, much less crowded. It's more expensive but worth it.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:53 PM   #4
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I crossed at Rodriguez key up from marathon then went to Bimini.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:03 PM   #5
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From Venice, two choices: Ft Myers through Okeechobee to Stuart, or south to the Keys then NE in the stream to Bimini or West End. Depends on what you want to see and visit. Once you check in at WE or Bimini, it's wide open. Go where you like, lots of options, lots of islands.

Last spring I went from NC to Key West to Ft Myers, through Okeechobee to Stuart, then down to Palm Beach, then to West End GBI, then to Berry Islands, then to Abaco, then to Daytona. Took a month to do it. Fun. Next year will broaden my travels, but now I have to finish building this house.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:22 PM   #6
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Boats a 48 foot sportfisher. Can carry 1000 gallons of fuel and 500 gallons H2O. I have been thru the Okeechobee, but have not been to the Fl. keys. Maybe would like to go that way. then up the east coast awayz. I have been from top to bottom of the ICW,,,except the tip of Fl. and around. I think I would like to see that. Ive been told that its easy to get trapped in the keys, if you like diving and fishing. But I really want to go to the Bahamas for the summer.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:59 AM   #7
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Take the scenic route and include the southwest Florida peninsula. Bum around the lower and middle Keys for awhile (and it is easy to get sucked in, watch out) then over to Bimini and environs and launch your Bahamas adventure from there. Invest in the latest Explorer Charts and plan your routes in the meantime.

As you are fishing oriented, THT (The Hull Truth) has a lot of good info for Keys and Bahamas in the archives, as do the Florida Sportsman forums.

I can virtually garr-awn-tee you gonna have yo seff one very large time and that's a fact!
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:57 AM   #8
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How long are you planning on being gone for?
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:07 AM   #9
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You've picked a good time of the year to cross to the Bahamas. By early May, northerly winds are pretty much gone. Keep an eye out on the weather for your way back. Afternoon thunderstorms off of the FL coast are starting up.

Checking in at Bimini is easy, although I'd avoid the weekends. Bimini Blue Water Marina (last year) was a $1/foot/night plus water & power and you're walking distance to Customs and Immigrations.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:11 AM   #10
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If you have an iPad, I'd suggest Garmin Blue Charts. The app is free and the charts are ~$30. They are right on.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:15 AM   #11
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Last spring I went from NC to Key West to Ft Myers, through Okeechobee to Stuart, then down to Palm Beach, then to West End GBI, then to Berry Islands, then to Abaco, then to Daytona. Took a month to do it. Fun. Next year will broaden my travels, but now I have to finish building this house.
You did all of that in a month from NC?
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:18 AM   #12
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You did all of that in a month from NC?

Fast boat?
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:07 AM   #13
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Time is not a factor. My wife would probably want to fly back a few times, new grandbaby attraction thing. She would also like to bring our "old" grandaughter, that is 3, back with her to stay awhile. Friends and family will want to visit. I am tentatively planning to stay on the boat all summer.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:57 AM   #14
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I would go one way, return another. Probably go via Key West, return Okeechobee. You can spend months, even years in the Bahamas. We've been over about 20 times so far and only touched the surface of all that is there. As to Bimini, you're not really yet in the Bahamas, you're just at the weekend hangout for people from Miami. Don't get me wrong, it's a great short trip from the coast, but it's just the gate to the rest.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:09 PM   #15
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If you're going to spend the summer, get ready for the sticker shock for electricity if you want AC and are in a marina. Great Harbor charges 75 cents/KWH.

Great Harbor is probably as good as it gets for good hurricane protection plus it's only $60 for a one-way flight to Nassau and the fishing's good.

The George Town area and some areas in the Abacos also offer reasonable hurricane protection.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:49 PM   #16
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You did all of that in a month from NC?
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Fast boat?
Yep, I cheated. Port to port typically ran 18-22kts. Made it from NC to KW in three days offshore.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:17 PM   #17
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Avoid the Okee. Go thru the Keys. it is much more plesent and can be quicker.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:38 PM   #18
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Avoid the Okee. Go thru the Keys. it is much more plesent and can be quicker.
I'd do both routes. For at least one time, the Okeechobee is a great experience, especially if you take an extra day inside. Perhaps even some fishing or just time to look at the alligators.
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:08 PM   #19
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Yep, if he's never done the Okee, see it once.
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Old 02-13-2016, 04:06 PM   #20
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Yep, if he's never done the Okee, see it once.
+1

I still enjoy doing the lake, even thought I've lost count of the number of times I've been through.
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