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Author Topic Next Topic: some of our favorite spots in the Exumas...  

TimHenn

RO# 126



Posted - May 09 2017 :  18:46:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm very excited to finally be planning a trip south for later this fall. If all goes well we'll be in the Bahamas for 3-4 months. The current plan, completely subject to change is to leave mid to late Oct for Brunswick, Georgia. Then day after Christmas, with the weather of course, finish the trip down through Florida and then across to Nassau and end at Palm Cay.

Leg NM Hours minutes Ends at
day1 238 10 48 Cape May Inlet
day2 202 9 11 Oregon Inlet
day3 177 8 4 Cape Fear
day4 164 7 27 Hilton head
day5 89 4 2 Brunswick Georgia

2 month layup

day6 125.3 5 41 Ponce De Leon Inlet
day7 149.2 6 47 West Palm Beach, Fl
day8 193 8 47 Palm Cay Bahamas

Personally taking the boat south is on my bucket list. I'm still contemplating my crew options. I would like to find a deckhand with some experience but first things first.

What do those who have done this (I'm thinking Pascal) think of the stops? Do you typically try to fuel at the end of the day's run or before? I charted this running on the outside but weather may dictate otherwise.

Any comments on Palm Cay?


Homeport: Portsmouth, RI

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Jun 14 2017 :  09:33:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry for the late reply, I only saw this post today.

I think your schedule is optimistic considering the time of the years and short days. Personally I don't mind running at night and have run many stretches of the ditch at night but it's no time for everyone. Weather can also be an issue if running outside so plan to have to run inside where 100nm a day is pretty typical. More in some empty stretches. Also most boats run inside between Norfolk and Beaufort to avoid the shoals extending out from cape hatteras

Winter running offshore Florida can be done but again weather can be a problem as you get strong northerlies winds after a cold front. Same with the Gulf Stream crossing, typically in winter you get a two day window to cross followed by 4 to 5 days where you won't. Not sure what kind of boat you have but when I say I won't cross that's with a stabilized 84 footer...

So bottom line, don't plan a tight schedule and don't push your luck trying to stick to it.

Also, typically crossing from palm beach gives you shorter windows than crossing from Miami. It's only 60 or 70 miles further south but it makes a difference in sea conditions. And while everyone focus on the Gulf Stream as the major issue, don't discount the norwest channel north of Nassau, can be just as bad and it is unpredictable

I ve never been to palm Cay marina but I ve heard good things about it. We avoid nasssau as much as possible, we just stop there to refuel, provision in between Exumas runs or pick up guests

.


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Jun 14 2017 :  11:27:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
More ....if you're goign to come all the way down this way I would suggest running the icw from west palm to Miami, maybe with a stop in FTL. It's is pretty unique and very different from your home area. The homes, the Miami skyline etc are very nice, at least once. Miami and Biscayne bay also offers a nice area Tom wait for a window to cross the stream.

Personally I d skip Bimini altogether. We re there right now and every time we go we re proven wrong thinking it has reached a new low. Dirty, beaches are destroyed by construction and natural erosion. Even honeymoon harbor has changed for th worst as most of the sand is gone. Instead, clear customs in cat cay, and either spend the night there or keep on gogin across the bank to the berrys.

A good anchorage in the southern berrys on th way from Mia to NAS is bird cay. There isn't a lot to explore with nice sand bars, beaches as the abandoned mansion on the northern end of bird cay. Worth spending a day there. Skip chub cay and its overpriced marina.

If you do WPB - Nas and want to cut the trip in half, I d suggest stopping at great harbor cay in the northern berrys for a couple of nights. Nice. Marina and island to give you a taste of the Bahamas.

Depending on your schedule and how long you leave the boat at palm Cay, do not miss the exumas only 40 nm from palm Cay. Incredibly beautiful anchorages. You need to be a little more self sufficient especially when it come to water but you won't be disappointed the southern Exumas, south of Staniel are overlooked and just beautiful


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

captainwjm

RO# 1933

Posted - Jun 15 2017 :  08:00:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PascalG

More ....if you're goign to come all the way down this way I would suggest running the icw from west palm to Miami, maybe with a stop in FTL. It's is pretty unique and very different from your home area. The homes, the Miami skyline etc are very nice, at least once.



I almost never disagree with Pascal, and don't here, but the key to this line is the last three words. Unless you have the time and WANT to go through the gauntlet of bridges, avoid PB to FL.


Bill
65' Pacific Mariner
"Travis McGee"
currently Islamorada, Fla. Keys

Homeport: NASHVILLE, TN Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Jun 15 2017 :  09:00:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's not bad... yes it s almost all minimum wake between PB and MIA but the bridges opening times are set to you don't have to wait unless you go too fast or too slow Easy to time it right

Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

ranger42c

RO# 32710

Posted - Jun 16 2017 :  07:24:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tim, FWIW, at least a couple FL-based members in the owners club go back and forth from the Bahamas semi-often.

-Chris


Selby Bay, South River

Homeport: Londontowne, MD Go to Top of Page

Capt. Bill1

RO# 2017

Posted - Jun 16 2017 :  17:36:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With a faster boat like yours I'd go outside for a lot of the trip. But that would be based on weather of course.

And I prefer to fuel up at the end of the day. Telling a marine you will be buying fuel when you get there can end up being the difference between them having a slip for you or not. And in many cases if they don't have a slip you can stay tied up to the fuel dock and just pull away early in the morning after getting fuel the previous evening.

Are you looking for payed crew?

And are you going other places in the Bahamas besides Palm Cay?




Homeport: Sarasota/Ft. Lauderdale Go to Top of Page

boatbum

RO# 36

Posted - Jun 16 2017 :  17:41:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The ride up the New River is a hoot. Stop in at the 3rd Ave. bridge public docks for a nite or two. Plenty of good dining in the area. We've done the WP to Ft Lauderdale trip a few times and it isn't all that bad. There are Aholes that blow by so mid week travel on the ICW in that area is probably a better bet.
While Palm Bay on Nassau is a good stop, I will challenge staying there for an extended time unless you have folks on the island. Abacos is way more fun for an extended Winter over. Check out the royal marsh harbor yacht club RMHYC.COM because they have presence at Boat Harbour and offer some discounts. Elbow Cay was our favorite for Wintering. Green Turtle, Man O War are ok but Elbow has much more to offer. A day or two trip to Guana is ok to check out Nippers but Orchid Bay can be nasty when a Westerly blows.



Homeport: Go to Top of Page

TimHenn

RO# 126



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  10:08:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Pascal, others, wow, sorry I didn't see all your replies sooner. No email notification (?) and after checking back a couple of times figured there was no interest in responding...

My Update: Wife and I flew to Nassau / Palm Cay. The Palm Cay property and marina were everything we expected, BUT, outside the Palm Cay gate was not acceptable as a place to live for 4 months. After thinking about Freeport and West End, we decided to stay in the good ole USA for a bunch of reasons. For me this is still huge because I've always wanted to do this trip (as some of you know from postings years back). Not only do I have a crew committed to moving the boat, I will be following my New England dock neighbor thats does this trip every year. I'll end up in Stuart, F (Loggerhead) for Nov, Dec just to store the boat. We'll drive down by car end of Dec to move the boat to Soverel Marina in Palm Beach Gardens (PBG) - this will be our home base. I can plan trips from PBG to Biscayne, Keys, West End, ++ which is great. At least thats the plan. I'm flying to PBG in two weeks to check everything out.

The trip, based on my neighbors preferences, is about 8 days at the outside with an intentional stop in Charleston for 2 nights (they Love Charleston!, never been there myself...). We'll take 2 days to run from Rhode Island to Coinjock and then basically stay on the ICW unless we get good weather to run outside. I'm happy to follow someone who's been there and done that. And we have compatible cruising boats/speeds.

Capt Bill, good point on the marina's and fuel. The plan is to come in early enough each day to fuel up and have reservations where needed. But I'm sure a reservation coupled with fuel will help land us a spot. From what I'm told, we're moving with the "heard" right at the end of Oct into November so slips can be a little harder to get along the way.

Pascal, you're like the third person who's recommended "skipping" bimini. Seems (on paper) like an incredible stop but those who have been say its not worth it. From PBG I'll be targeting Grand Bahamas and maybe a trip down to the Exumas if I can pull it off.

Thanks for the replies,





Homeport: Portsmouth, RI Go to Top of Page

boatbum

RO# 36

Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  10:19:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good move. Your alternatives of Freeport and West End for an extended stay are beyond my tolerance as well. Again, if you are going to the Bahamas for an extended stay and you will park it at a marina, check out the Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club and marinas on Elbow Cay or perhaps Green Turtle.
Marsh Harbour has some good places as well but we preferred the outer islands.

The RMHYC at Boat Harbour (marina at Abaco Beach Resort) are a great gang and they get seasonal discounts for dockage etc.. If you could make it to Freeport/Lucaya/Palm Harbour the Abacos are certainly within your capabilities.




Homeport: Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  11:23:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I m not a big fan of the northern south Florida area (Fll - WPB). Just not much to do there with a boat besides goign up and down the icw. Going outside especially in winter is rarely fun...also, crossing conditions to the northern Bahamas are usually worst than further south from Miami as swells from the northeast are stronger, wind too.

WPB To Biscayne bay is pretty much a full day, each way. To key west it's 230 miles... lots of time, lots of fuel

RI to coinjock in two days isn't going to happen, and that's if you get good weather for the offshore run along the jersey coast. It's about 5 hours from Norfolk to coinjock alone because of the bridges, locks and congestion.

winter dockage further south is harder to find and more expensive, but you get what you pay for

Nassau and Freeport are pretty much the same... you don't venture outside te marina gate at night... I wouldn't even consider grand Bahama as there isnt much to do there anyway. At least from Nassau you are only 40nm from the Best cruising grounds on the east coast or Caribbean People who keep their boats there basically just spend a day or two when they fly in and then head to the exumas.

You could also find dockage in Nassau. Again, you won't want to wander outside the marinas at night but security is good. Plenty of flights to NAS from the northeast and if you just go fro a quick week end and don't have time to go to the exumas there are some day anchorages near NAS (Rose island)

The way I see it is that it is a long run from RI to SoFl so you need to leave the boat in a spot that's easy to fly to but also as a lot to offer, otherwise it's not worth it.


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  11:26:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't think I posted this link before, it's a video I made about the exumas, pretty much covering our favorite stops. Again, the northern end of the Exuma is just 40nm from NAS

https://youtu.be/_XEuaz1_3V8


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

TimHenn

RO# 126



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  18:02:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cool Video, nice boat, nice camera! I'd vote to visit all those places... The water views are spectacular.

"winter dockage further south is harder to find and more expensive, but you get what you pay for" This is the issue. We've looked everywhere in south florida and the Bahamas. Pascal, you've consistently not liked the WPB area and I respect that but I haven't found better options for us. If you know a place you'd recommend for a month or a season, let me know. I'm not interested in Fort Lauderdale, or Miami proper but south Miami and the keys sure look nice. We looked at Key Largo, Ocean Reef I think the place was, and you can't even get a transient slip in that place unless you know someone. There just aren't a lot of places you can "live" and boat from what I can see. To be clear, I still work for a living, not retired any time soon. So we want a warm place to live in the winter (work from the boat) and hopefully put some trips into the Bahamas and other points south.

What's the go to resource to determine crossing conditions? Is it NOAA forecasts or something else? I've certainly heard about "windows" and such but is it really that bad in "winter"? when does it get better? March or May?

MM1 to coinjock is like 50 miles so I hope we can do better than 5 hours. The last logged trip (my dock neighbor), he didn't quite make coinjock after a 10 hour run from Cape May. He was ~10-15 miles short last fall according to the logs he shared with me but said he could have made it if he pushed another hour....but he also left late November so maybe thats the difference -- lots of traffic slowing things down.

On a different note, Pascal, you used to use some service/technology when you moved the boat north/south where others could track your progress. The technology has likely evolved by now, but, what are people using these days? I will want to set that up for a handful of people interested in the trip.



Homeport: Portsmouth, RI Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  18:28:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I mostly use www.passageweather.com/maps/florida/mappage.htm. Bith the wind and wave graphics are accurate and you can easily spot the trends by cycling thru. Basically if it's 3-6' i try not to cross. In winter usually you have 4 to 5 days of N to NE winds at 12 to 15kts or more (no crossing) followed by a couple of days where winds are moreeasterly and 12kts or less when you can cross. And then the next front comes down with go back W then N. off PB the windows are shorter or sometimes non existent for a couple of cycles.

You could also look around Hollywood (there is a loggerhead marina that's pretty nice) or aventura (waterways). Closer to the he keys.

What I like about Miami (I m in. Coconut grove just south of downtown) is how once I walk on the dock I don't feel like I m in a city. We re right on the bay and feels so far away. The grove is very safe... I don't lock my car or my boat and we often walk late at night back from a restaurant



Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

TimHenn

RO# 126



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  19:41:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I posted a reply but I don't see it...hmmm

Are you at a marina in Coconut Grove? If so, which one?

Loggerhead Aventura is a great location. We've spent time in SunnyIsles (by land) and really like that general area. Aventura is possible for a month or two. I'll have to check that out when we visit in a couple of weeks.



Homeport: Portsmouth, RI Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 27 2017 :  20:47:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I ve been at dinner key for 14 years... love it. Great location.

Nearby you also have Prime Marina, aka Monty's.thats where we had charmer the 70 Johnson I ran for 8 years. Good Marina and location but expensive The last one here is grove harbor, good spot too

Marinas in Miami don't offer any resort services like you may see up north...


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

boatbum

RO# 36

Posted - Aug 28 2017 :  07:29:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't forget Chris Parker at https://mwxc.com/ for weather and crossing opportunities. Depending on your requirements, if you wait until October to go across the stream, you may find yourself spending more time in Florida than you planned.


Homeport: Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 28 2017 :  08:31:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One problem with aventura is that traffic is just horrendous. Population must have doubled in the last 10/15 years there, and they re still buildings ... and the roads are the same.

Crossing. This is why I like crossing further south. There is a difference in sea state even though it s only 60 or 70 miles. In winter the graphs on passage weather shows the difference


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

TimHenn

RO# 126



Posted - Aug 29 2017 :  21:34:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://www.rmhyc.com strange site, no information about the marina, slips, amenities, etc. But I'll keep this on a list of possible places to visit.

I'm going to check with the misses again - I'd love to be in south Miami/Biscayne Bay because of the proximity to the keys and other points. We could drive down during our 24 hour trip to check things out if she's onboard. Since I will be working and traveling, a little, she needs to feel comfortable and safe. Thats the bottom line. Thanks for the marina names because they didn't come up with the searching I did for possible places to stay. The price at Dinner Key is compatible, if not the same, as what I'd pay in the Palm Beach area.

As for crossing, I'd likely be looking in late February and multiple times in March and April. Not sure what the windows look like then but we would wait for good conditions to do our first crossing.

We could always run outside from PB to Miami and then cross, right? Just need conditions along the immediate coast to be good. 50 mile run in good conditions is ~2 hours for me.



Homeport: Portsmouth, RI Go to Top of Page

PascalG

RO# 12212



Posted - Aug 30 2017 :  08:48:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Problem down here is that slip are very hard to get so the sooner you ask the better. Dinner key has a long wait list for annual slips but they sometimes have monthly spaces

In March April is the weather is dominated by cold fronts although they are not as stong by April but usually the northerly wind is enough to cause trouble. Whenever we need to pick up a charter in Nassau I always give myself a one week window to make it. If I see we have good conditions early in the window and a front is coming I will cross 5 or 6 days early just to be sure.

If you look at the passage weather sea state chart at the bottom of the link I posted you ll see that even now conditions are better off Miami than off PB, which has some 3 to 6 footer ( darker blue)

Don't forget active captain to look for Marinas


Pascal
1970 Hatteras 53 MY
26' Starfish sloop
12' Westphal Catboat
16' Hobie Cat
13' Sandbarhopper

Homeport: Miami, FL Go to Top of Page

boatbum

RO# 36

Posted - Aug 30 2017 :  12:21:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The RMHYC needs to be joined before you get to see all of the details. If you are going, it is wise to sign up. The first year is more expensive but it is much cheaper after that. If you review the Hope Town Inn and Marina website you will see that they get a discount there.


Homeport: Go to Top of Page
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