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Old 11-27-2018, 08:23 PM   #1
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Anyone Cruising Exuma Next Year?

We are planning on leaving early March, returning end of May. We may go on down to Long Island, Crooked, (not sure as far as the T&Cs) but then return via Cat, Eleuthera and Abaco.

All damn wind dependent of course!

Anyone else planning on going over the same period?
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:10 PM   #2
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We have a similar time frame planned, but right now we are planning on the Abacos this time (we did the Exumas the last two cruises).

But, part of me wants to do the Exumas again!
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:03 AM   #3
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We went to the Abacos last year and want to try the Berrys and Exumas this year, but donít know anything about that area. Thinking April and May.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:18 AM   #4
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Iím in West Palm Beach now awaiting a weather window. Plan on spending about three months doing Abacos, Exumas and Eleuthera.
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:43 AM   #5
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We went to the Abacos last year and want to try the Berrys and Exumas this year, but don’t know anything about that area. Thinking April and May.
April and May bring more settled weather & warmer temps we typically head over end of Feb, stay into May. We much prefer the Exumas, fewer people, more remote, clearer water. But- the only time we spend in marinas is when we check in at Bimini or if we stop in Spanish Wells. We also enjoy cruising the Jumentos & Raggeds, and have included Cat Island, Rum, Conception, Long Island in previous trips. Georgetown is a good spot to provision, the vibe there is sort of summer camp for retired farts, some stay the whole winter, not our cuppa, but good protection. "Chicken Harbor" - where plans to cruise the Caribbean meet with reality. Jumentos and Raggeds are great if you're self-sufficient and enjoy some solitude. Cat Island and Long Island offer lots of opportunity to explore by car, well worth getting a rental for a day, we've split a rental with other cruisers and had a great time seeing the sights. Cat has some remarkably well-stocked grocery stores, the Hermitage is a must-see. Dean's Blue Hole and the caves on Long Island are also worth a look, the tour of the cave on Long Island is memorable, worth seeking out. Conception is wonderful if you have settled weather. Mostly unspoiled, but the charters have begun adding it as a venue, if you're lucky you'll enjoy it in the absence of jet skis and hip-hop.
We've had guests fly in to visit for a week, our experience has been that Staniel offers the best opportunity for visitors to share cruising the Exumas. Despite the higher cost of travel there, Watermaker flights are frequent & reliable. Even if WX is less than ideal, you'll still be able to move to a variety of locations, including the Land & Sea Park, and enjoy time there with guests as opposed to booking cheaper flights into Nassau and risking being weathered in at the armpit of the cruising world, or making a sketchy run from there to any other destination and having to perhaps return in poor conditions to catch a departing flight. All for saving a few bucks in air fare but end up with a miserable experience.

Every area has lots to offer, everyone has different preferences and expectations, but that's what makes it such a great destination.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:11 AM   #6
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We've had guests fly in to visit for a week, our experience has been that Staniel offers the best opportunity for visitors to share cruising the Exumas. Despite the higher cost of travel there, Watermaker flights are frequent & reliable. Even if WX is less than ideal, you'll still be able to move to a variety of locations and enjoy time there with guests as opposed to booking cheaper flights into Nassau and risking being weathered in at the armpit of the cruising world, or making a sketchy run from there to any other destination and having to perhaps return in poor conditions to catch a departing flight. All for saving a few bucks in air fare but end up with a miserable experience.
Fully agree with this. Last year we had two sets of guests fly into Georgetown. Big mistake. Means to have to be in Georgetown by a certain date and that means transiting Exuma Sound for a lengthy time. And that piece of water gets really nasty in a blow. From now on everyone flies into Staniel, and we get to stay on the west side of the chain, though nipping out and in to see Williams Cay and David Copperfield's Musha Cay is worth it.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:27 AM   #7
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Last trip (Exumas), we had guests fly into Staniel Cay on Flamingo Air. We took the dinghy to the airport and tied up a hundred yards or so from where the plane landed (near Isles General Store next to the boat launch).

Our guests got a kick out of being picked up at the airport in a dinghy!

We had guests fly in to Georgetown the trip before. Much more of a hassle for sure as the airport is not really close to the main part of town and is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Plus, resort guests for Sandals (or whatever Emerald Bay is called now) fly in there and it can get quite hectic at times.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:55 AM   #8
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Excellent info on the Exumas. Thanks.

When checking in at Bimini, do you enter the harbor or anchor and dinghy in? I was looking at the chart and some Active Captain comments about the channel markers being all out of place.

We were thinking of crossing over from somewhere in the Fl Keys to Bimini to take advantage of the GS current, then exploring from there.
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:44 AM   #9
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Iím in West Palm Beach now awaiting a weather window. Plan on spending about three months doing Abacos, Exumas and Eleuthera.
Wifey B: We took advantage of the nice one day window yesterday to cross to Nassau. Advantage of cruising at 20 knots.Today crossing is 8' at 7 seconds. Enjoying today while it's even rough within the Bahamas and looking at nice conditions tomorrow to move to the Abacos. Tomorrow still rough east of the Bahamas but fine inside.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:32 PM   #10
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Excellent info on the Exumas. Thanks.

When checking in at Bimini, do you enter the harbor or anchor and dinghy in? I was looking at the chart and some Active Captain comments about the channel markers being all out of place.

We were thinking of crossing over from somewhere in the Fl Keys to Bimini to take advantage of the GS current, then exploring from there.

We've left from the Keys, we've left a couple times from NoName Harbor, Lauderdale, and Baker's Haulover. Despite Baker's rep for getting nasty, it's moot if you're crossing because you're generally doing it in settled weather. RE leaving from the Keys, yes, helpful if you're already there, but is it worth traveling the extra days all the way down there to gain a couple hours' advantage of current for a 45 mile run? Your call. In interesting aside in that regard, my AP is limited to 30 deg set, I must manually set a compass heading to about +42 deg. to compensate for the cross current! Can tell when we're in the strongest part of the stream! Still, leave at 1st light, arrive in ample time to get a slip, get checked in and enjoy a cocktail.

We like checking in at Bimini, we call a day ahead or so to get a slip arranged. We've crossed with short windows and waited WX in Bimini, there are worse places to be weathered in! (Nassau!) There's plenty to do in Bimini. They have a good BaTelCo facility there, so we check in, get cell phones set up and plan the jump to the Exumas from there.

BTW, the AC comments are probably correct, take them with a grain of salt; the channel into the harbor is well used, and the water is clear so you can read it easily enough. So many of the AC comments are fraught with alarmist "missing marker" type warnings from NOOB's who feel compelled to post anxiety-inducing drama. Really, the markers in most of the Bahamas are sketchy at best, trust the Explorer charts, and you'll gain proficiency and confidence in reading the water with experience. I'd be happy to forward my tracks from the past couple of visits to give you a feel for how things shake out recently. It does change, but it's readable. Stay in the "deeper darker water...."



For getting from Bimini to the Exumas, we've done the cross from Gun to Chubb then to Highborne. Long 2 days, but all daylight for a 6-7 kt trawler. Another option is to leave Bimini before noon, head north around North Rock, then across the bank. Head around Mackie shoal, then down Northwest channel after dark and down the Tongue overnight. Puts you heading across the bank south of NP/ Conch Split/White Bank just at sunup, so daylight to cross the bank. Not much issue there with coral heads, but better in daylight just to be comfortable. Get into Highborne in the afternoon. An overnight, but it puts you in the Exumas where you can then go further south even if the WX is less than ideal.
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:16 PM   #11
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Wifey B: We took advantage of the nice one day window yesterday to cross to Nassau. Advantage of cruising at 20 knots.Today crossing is 8' at 7 seconds. Enjoying today while it's even rough within the Bahamas and looking at nice conditions tomorrow to move to the Abacos. Tomorrow still rough east of the Bahamas but fine inside.


Thanks for report. Iím in WPB waiting on a part for my water maker. Should be in later this afternoon and hopefully installed by tomorrow. Next decent weather looks like Friday evening/Saturday morning. So Iím planning on an overnight to West End.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:49 PM   #12
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...When checking in at Bimini, do you enter the harbor or anchor and dinghy in? I was looking at the chart and some Active Captain comments about the channel markers being all out of place.
...
We go into the Bimini Bluewater Marina. At a dollar/foot/day plus water and power its a pretty good deal. From there, you're walking distance to Customs and Immigrations plus you can get your BTC cell/data card and there's an ATM machine.

The markers are all good. With the Resorts World Casino, the entrance is in pretty good shape. If you want to treat yourself, the resort also has a marina but not cheap.
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:09 PM   #13
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Awesome. That sounds like a good plan. Iím not a casino person so Iíll go the cheap route.
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