Exumas Trip - Any Advice

LadyDay

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Due to Covid restrictions we have rerouted a planned BVI trip to the Exumas for the first week in may. We will be self captaining a 50' power cat with two other couples. All parties are experienced boaters and owners of vessels of similar size in our home port. We have done the BVI trip several times however this is our first trip to Exumas. Looking for any advice or hidden gems that we should check out on our trip. Thanks!
 

Bruce Herrington

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Thanks for joining BE, LadyDay. We have several members with experience enough to help advise you.
 

boatbum

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Compass Cay, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Waderick Wells are all great stops. However, there are many moorings that are worth a stop. Hawksbill and Shroud in particular offer some good outings in a dink. Compass is a good stop because of the nurse shark dock. Take your left overs and toss them over the side and watch all of the fish. I took some frozen burgers over to the nurse shark dock and fed them for a while.
Given this is only a one week trek I would skip Highborne and perhaps anchor out somewhere. Is this a round trip out of Nassau and really only a week in length?
Edit: Great Guana Cay was pretty much a no-op for us. We dinked over from Staniel. However stopping in at Bitter Guana Cay was fun because all of the Iguanas came out to greet us at Iguana Beach. Big Majors (easy dink from Staniel) is a hoot with the pigs and it works well with Thunderball Groto on an outing from Staniel.
I think I would hold up at Staniel intead of going all the way to Guana, or consider other moorings.
 

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boatbum

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Well it looks like you will burn some diesel to make all of the stops LOL. We moved along at 8 knots or so down there. We did run over Yellow Bank on the way North tho and that helped us cut some time off of it. I have no idea what the charter company will dictate and they may of some "off limits" areas. You want the sun high in the sky when you cross that bank and other areas north east of highborne.
 

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PascalG

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We ve been here for the last 5 weeks or so and been coming forever then last 15 years doing many charters every year, currently on an 84’ MY

7 days out of Nassau is the standard charter but I ve heard that on sailing charters you can’t leave until the morning after you start.

Skip Highbore. Do Shroud, warderick, compass, Staniel (one night docked, one night at big majors), hawksbill, Norman’s.

Get the explorer chart book and download Aquamap on your phone of tablet.

once you ve been to the Exumas you ll never go back to the BVIs :). We ve had repeat guests who have been coming to the Exumas for years and still take them to new places...

Here is a video i out together of some of our favorites. It s south to north though and some are south of Staniel which you can’t do in a week

I have other videos on my channel highlighting various spots in the Exumas

 

boatbum

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I agree on the notion of Exumas vs. BVI but each has its draw. We fully intend to get back to the exumas and will probably do a charter out of Nassau analogous to what you folks are up to. However being retired, I am thinking two weeks :) The S.O. trades that off on the cost of other venues at that price point so she has a good argument LOL.
 

boatbum

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True that. BTDT.

I will say, that having been contributors to the Bahamas National Trust, we were granted priority at Waderick Wells. The deal is you call them at 9AM in the morning on the VHF. At least that is the way it was in '11 and again in '16 I think. So consider a contribution and get on their list of good guys. It doesn't take alot. This was us back in '11 on #9. It was great to be on the ball there and go ashore walking around. Get ye on up to the top of Boo-Boo Hill where all of the driftwood name boards are. If you are lucky the banaquits will fly out looking for a snack while you are on the ball at WW. Sweet crumbs worked well but not pineapple.
 

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PascalG

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Actually I prefer the emerald moorings to the main mooring field. Bunches of beaches to choose from... always a ball available.

here is a spot few people visit... shot this yesterday

 

RWS

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and here i was, getting all excited about another trip to Key West this summer........

Once I really do retire, I'd like to make the jump to Bimini from FTL, and do some exploring in that neighborhood.

Despite our newfound range with the diesels: 1.25 NMPG x 244 gallons capacity = 305 nm x .75% (assume a 25% reserve) yields a range of 228 nm

Limitations abound for a 33' Express cruiser with only 40 gallons of fresh water capacity in the tank

We can haul an additional 5 or even 10 gallons of water in the engine room but realistically, we need a real marina at least every 2 - 3 days

Any comments on how to do these kind of trips in the not too distant future with these limitations would be appreciated.

RWS
 

PascalG

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Sadly Bimini is not what it used to be, destroyed by development. We don’t even stop there anymore

you can usually extend your range by slowing down to hull speed although that may feel very slow on a 33 footer. Water problem can be solved by adding a water maker. There are even some portable units
 

boatbum

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RWS I agree regarding Bimini. We would only stop there to break up a long trip from Great Harbour or Chub. Since we traveled at 8 or so those are long runs over the bank. Instead we always enjoyed stopping in at West End for a night or two and fuel since it is a bit cheaper there than the outer islands. Depending on weather we would hold up there waiting for a crossing. From West End, some times we'd anchor out at Great Sale, but with Walker's Cay coming back online, that would definitely be a place to stop. The new owner is chucking cash at that place in a large way. See https://www.facebook.com/WalkersCayIsland/
From there or from Great Sale the Green Turtle Club was good. We used to run from West End to Spanish but one has to be careful there. Wind out of the West will make for a very difficult night. The place has been neglected and who knows what it looks like now post Dorian. From Green Turtle, Orchid Bay on Guana was fun when Nippers was online. Again look out if the wind is out of the West. They are rebuilding. From there Elbow Cay and the Hope Town Inn and Marina is where you want to be. A run down to Pete's Pub in Little Harbour was always good. Hang out on a mooring ball a couple of days. Be mindful that one has to cross North Bar Channel and it is notoriously evil. I launched a 17 foot Albury coming around Sandy Cay on the way to Pete's once. Note that is not yet in the Channel LOL.
Refer to Eplorercharts.com they have fuel and docking rates.
 

LadyDay

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Such great information. @PascalG and @boatbum Thank You! Charting our trip this weekend with the other couples. You are right Pascal we have to spend the first night at the Marina. Also need to get a Covid test on day 5, even though we are all received the vaccine. I don't care though, just so happy to get out there and out of the house!
 

PascalG

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It is supposed to be day 5 but you can stretched it out to day 6,7 even 8. Your options are either Staniel or Highborne although you can only do
It at Highborne if staying at the marina.

time it right so your Day 5 test can be used for your flight home as well. That’s within 3 days of travel.
 

PascalG

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As long as they still allow entry with testing....
I d rather get an oral swab PCR or even nose swab than the damn shot.
 

LadyDay

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And we are back.....What an amazing place. One can not compare exumas the BVI's both are great places to explore but my that exuma water is just breathtaking. Our trip
Day 1 - Nassau -> Normans
Day 2 - Normans -> Waderick
Day 3 - Waderick ->Compass->Staniel
Day 4 - Staniel -> Hawksbill
Day 5 - Hawksbill -> Shroud
Day 6 - Shroud ->Nassau :(

I would highly recommend to anyone considering this trip to make it at least 10 days, it would have been nice to slow it down a bit. Also do not charter a boat from the The Moorings out of Nassau. My 89 Tolly is in considerably better shape that the 2019 we chartered. Thanks for all the help @PascalG and @boatbum, we will definitely back!
 
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