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Planning first trip to Exumas!

I have done so much reading… and then more reading…

320 EC World Cat – Two Adults – Two Children (6 & 8)… Past experience is running from Deerfield Beach FL to Fort Myers (Lake O, Ditch, etc.) as well as Deerfield Beach to Ft. Jefferson (Tortugas).  Generator, AC, Ability to ice.  Updated charts (Garmin G2 Vision and Raymarine Navionics +) and a Delorme Sat. Tracker…  Also have iPad with Active Captain, etc.

Caves, Pigs, Iguanas, Deans Hole (Maybe), Snorkeling, Lazy Beach Days…

I’ve read so many different threads and blogs… sorting through things… I just changed wireless carries from MetroPCS to T-Mobile, and it appears that they are pretty good in many of the islands that we are looking at.

So far we are leaving from Hillsboro Inlet (Pompano Beach, FL) and heading to Paradise Island (Atlantis Marina) for 2 nights. (Kids are begging to try the water park, and it looks like a logical place to do Customs, fuel, etc. (although we may stop in Bimini for fuel depending on circumstances).  After the 2 nights in Paradise Island, there are NO PLANS.  And this is 100% intentional.  We have plans as far as fuel, etc.  But we have no set dockage or anchorage plans.  We will maintain a list of anchorages and/or dockage based on our location, but we really want to just enjoy the time and do as we please.  Our only limitation is fresh water and fuel.  We can carry around 40 gal of fresh water in our tank (not *exactly* potable)… and will have upward of 10 gal. of potable at any given time.  This does not include our ice bottle system (Engel Freezer).

So… now that you have a decent idea of our plans.  Let’s hear it.  The good, the bad, the ugly… My goat with this post is get some ideas as to “don’t miss this” items… and still fit with our laid back no plans ideal.


10 Responses to Planning first trip to Exumas!

  • taulbee says:

    I believe your family would enjoy the Highbourne Cay area as a first stop. Fuel and water is available, good marina, mahi fishing on sound side, snorkeling, etc. Only 35-40 miles from Nassau. Good luck.

  • Tomrealest says:

    Forget Bimini. Complete waste of time better spent in the Exumas. I would fill some empty gallon milk jugs filled with water from home. It’s hot over there in June/July and I would have more water available. You have to go to Atlanitis for the kids but search for coupons, it’s ridiculously expensive to dock there. I would anchor out and go in for an occasional meal, especially at Big Majors. You have to have a dinghy in my opinion. I would not go any further South than Staniel Cay for the length of Your trip. that might be too far for Your time. Have fun and remember it’s all about the kids. PLENTY of #50+ sun tan lotion

  • BadnBlonde says:

    1. Explorer Chartbook required. More accurate than most charts and has great information on where to go and what to see.
    2. Hurricane Hole in Nassau is right next to Atlantis, if the Atlantis marina is full. Fueled last time in the marina directly across of Hurricane hole, price was good and quantity was accurate (not necessary the case in the Bahamas so be careful).
    3. Keep an eye on the water color first, charts second as shifting sand is common. We travel only during the day so we can see the water in shallow areas.
    4. Kids will love the Atlantis water park, pigs (only 7 left) , compass cay (play with the sharks) and the grotto. We like the grotto during slack tide as the current can really move through. The Exuma marine park has a nice anchorage and lots of sharks at night to watch.

  • DiveArcher says:

    When is your time frame and can you give your fuel economy for that World Cat. Thanks

  • kate says:

    Emailed comment:

    For the Gulf Stream crossing, esp with kids, my recommendation is do the simple set and drift calculation for a 90 degree approach to the Cat/Gun Cay pass. That’s the best straight line run for a Paradise Island termination I’ve found. Wind and swell of course being key.
    Can’t miss: swimming pigs and the Thunderball cave ‘complex’ and jumping off the cliff into Dean’s Blue Hole.

    Capt Patrick Harris

  • PetePetePete says:

    Oh boy! Lots to read here already.

    More details as per requests.
    Boat holds 240 Gal Gas… I use 1.4MPG as my guide, however, I get better. When I do my “worse case” I actually use 1MPG, just because I like to err on the side of worse case. So I can, safely, go 200 miles on a fuel load of fuel, have 40 gal. left and really have likely closer to 60 gal. in real world experience.

    Travel is set for July and will be a total of 14 nights, however we are only utilizing 11 nights in our mind to accommodate “what if” scenarios (if nothing unexpected happens, then we will have another 3 nights….)

    We already have standing accommodations at Atlantis Marina (two nights) so that is the ONLY part of the trip that is written in stone (as much as it can be with this type of trip LOL)…

    The only reason that Bimini was mentioned was for fuel. We would far rather going straight to Atlantis and doing our Customs check there. Weather permitting, as we usually do with these kinds of trip is to leave just before dawn so that we are not in unknown waters before daybreak. (We are fine with running familiar waters in the dark, however we do not run in unfamiliar waters after dark… although we did violate this rule in Key West when running to Tortugas… only because we had been in and out of the harbor several times and felt confident doing so.)

    I’d love to hear more thoughts and ideas. :)


  • kate says:

    Comment received via email:

    Wow, lots of potential topics here. That’s great that you’ve done a lot of research. We spent 9 months cruising the Bahamas in 2015 and much of that time was in the Exumas, so I’ll just throw out a few recommendations. You need to carry more water and/or get a watermaker. Use the Explorer Charts; they are packed with excellent information and are really a great cruising guide and chart book combination. Get a weather report every single day (I routinely used three sources) and plan your travels and your anchorages accordingly. Get a Bahama SIM card for your phone and use your phone as a hotspot; we had service throughout about 80% of the Exumas. And you are absolutely right about “no plans”; trying to adhere to a schedule takes the fun out, and makes you take unnecessary chances with weather. Have fun! We can’t wait to go back.


  • pascalg says:

    BIM is a pain for customs we always clear in cat cay. We re usually in and out in less than 30′ They have fuel too.

    I’ve only cleared in NAS once and it took 3 hours to get customs and immigration to the boat.

    I hate Atlantis,… it’s not the Bahamas,,,but if you have kids who have seen the photoshopped commercials on tv, you have no choice…

    We alsway stay at Bay Street marina when In NAS… best managed, best run marina in the Bahamas, and on the east coast. Fuel is avail. Next door at harbor central, much more convenient that the crowded derelict fuel dock a HHole.

    Highborne is ok, but nothing special. Must stop in the Exumas Normans, shroud, hawksbill, warderick, compass, staniel, little farmer, rudder, lee Stocking.

    Water will be an issue… few marinas, expensive water. Atlantis if I recall charges 0.40 a gallon… Bay Street charges per gallons too. Nassau harbor club I believe charges a. Flat fee per day of like $10. But double check as we never buy water (have a big watermaker)

    Exumas are where you wnt to go… it’s the real Bahamas.

  • pascalg says:

    Should have added…. been coming to the exumas for 10 years, 4 or 5 times a year.

  • PetePetePete says:

    This is the BEST information! PLEASE… keep it coming. I’ve ordered my Explorer book (so far on the Exumas one). I have read that Navionics is not so “great” in this area… but I do have an updated Navionics for the Raymarine side of my electronics. I also have an updated G2 Vision chip for the Garmin side (yes, I like to cover my butt LOL)… I also keep the iPad at the helm with the same data integrated with Active Captain.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Explorer book data is only available in this book? So it’s not like there is any chip data that can integrate with my navs?

    I really appreciate all the amazing information! We’re getting closer and closer to the big day!

    Right now I’m trying to home-in on the ice situation. I can make ice with my Engel 40… however, I’m toying with the idea of adding a Dometic CFX-65DZUS to the mix – likely not to make ice, but rather to keep other goods frozen… but I also don’t want the boat to be overly cluttered. I’ve located a great number of fresh water sources at various dinghy docks, etc. So I’m not too worried about that. I can hold enough diesel for 8 nights of generator + an additional 4 nights with a jerry can reserve. I cut this down by half for “just in case” so that’s a total 6 nights of diesel, so if I need to run the genny during the day for battery maint. or something, I’m covered.

    I hold 40 gal. of fresh water + 20 gal of jerry can reserve. This does not include actual drinking water (although the 20 jerry reserve could certainly be consumed (?)).

    I *think* I have a reasonably good list of reliable fuel (gas)… but I’m open to more (where you like, where you don’t).

    Any other thoughts or brainstorming would be terrific!


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