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About Explorer Chartbooks

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Uniquely Combined Charts and Cruising Guide for the Bahamas

In 1994, Lewis Offshore LTD began its quest to provide cruisers with the most accurate and easy-to-use charts for the Exuma Cays. As long-time cruisers, authors Monty and Sara Lewis knew personally the need for reliable cruising information so they used their own notations and surveys to produce the first Explorer Chartbook for the Exumas. The first edition, EXPLORER CHARTBOOK EXUMAS, was a looseleaf set of 24 charts of the Exumas accompanied by a small guidebook. It was followed by the second edition in 1995, which was the first bound chartbook.

How to Use Your Chartbooks 

Initially cruising the Bahamas on a 35' sailboat, the Lewises designed the chartbooks for their own use while living aboard a small vessel for several months. The size is ideal for a nav station or cockpit; the cross-referencing of pages makes it easy to find where you want to go next. The combination of small- and large-scale charts allow you to get the big picture first then map out the detailed route. Finally, the extensive listing of cruising facilities and services for each community in which you might anchor, in an alphabetized format, completes the package of Navigational Charts/Cruising Guide all in one book. There is no real need for any other publications in your library. If you can purchase only one book for the area you're visiting, the Explorer Chartbook Near Bahamas, Exumas, or Far Bahamas is the one to buy!


Why Use the Explorer Chartbooks?

The hallmark of Explorer Charts is accurate and up-to-date navigational data supplied by Monty and Sara Lewis and their experienced Research Team, who have done more surveys and research than is found any other source. Since the inception of the Explorer Chartbooks, the Lewises have cruised the Bahamas every winter, constantly updating the charts and Need-to-Know Info. Unlike other companies with armchair cartographers in stateside offices, Monty and Sara and their team are in the field doing the real-time research.


Chartbook Features

The Explorer Chartbook series has come to be known for its special "cruiser-friendly" features:

  • SCALE - Large-scale generally 1:25,000, 1:31,250 or 1:50,000 with even larger-scale closeups of harbours and settlements, plus a lat-lon scale on the chart's edge for easy use
  • ACCU-GRIDTM - One-minute grid (or finer) of latitude/longitude superimposed on each chart for quickly finding position (no need for nav tools)
  • DATUM - WGS 84 map datum for GPS navigation with frequently updated soundings, bottom contours, routes, distances, and accurate on-scene waypoints.
  • METRICS - All soundings in meters in keeping with international standards (Meters-to- feet conversion scales shown throughout the book)
  • TRUE COURSES -- All courses in true. (It's easy to set your GPS to read true and more accurate in calculating courses.)
  • COMPASS ROSE - Magnetic variation updated with each new edition
  • TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES - Land elevations and other important notations included on the charts; actual "road maps" of certain settlements
  • JOINS CHART - notation on each chart leading to adjoining chart page
  • CRUISING GUIDE - All the essential instructional information for boaters including general articles on Customs, history, weather, anchoring, use of GPS, communications, piloting and navigating, reading the water, snorkeling and dinghy safety, plus an expanded alphabetized list of specific tips in the Help Menu (Need-to-Know Info sections of facilities and services for each settlement)
  • IMPORTANT FACILITIES - noted on each chart
  • FULL-COLOR ENHANCEMENTS - intuitive water colors on charts contours, plus descriptive photos throughout the book
  • Long range TIDE TABLES
  • UP-TO-DATE table of recommended MARINAS and services for all of the Bahamas
  • SPECIAL ARTICLES (See each Chartbook for specifics)
  • FORMAT - easy-to-use cross references and notations to move easily from one section to the next
  • CONCISE STYLE - Alphabetical organization of services and faciiities with no need to search through lengthy text to find essential information


Kudos to Explorer Chartbooks

"If you can afford only one publication for cruising the Bahamas, these (Explorer Chartbooks) are the ones you'll want to have on board. They are the Best Choice chartbooks." Practical Sailor

"The 'been-there, done-that, got-the-tee-shirt' cruisers flock to these charts," says Bruce Van Sant, author of Passages South.

"The most accurate and detailed charts of the Exuma Cays ever produced. Far better than government charts." Bluewater Books & Charts

"Your Explorer Charts were extremely popular and went for 123% of value in our auction!" Defever Cruisers

"Anybody cruising the Bahamas should have Explorer paper charts aboard, and now they can have Explorer electronic charts as well (C-Map/Navico, Nobeltec, RosePoint, MapMedia, MaxSea, iNavX, AquaMap, etc). Bluewater Books & Charts

"Explorer Charts are clearly superior to anything else seen, with small lat/long grids enhancing transfer of GPS positions directly to charts without mechanical assistance, while still keeping eyes ahead of the boat and on the color of the water and fathometer. Jane and Howard Burdick of Seaburds

The Explorer Chartbook series is a must for any boater in the Bahamas. In the 80s I skippered a 158-foot motor yacht with a 10 1/2-foot draft in the Bahamas for two seasons. I would have paid a month's salary for your books! A satisfied customer

"Just bought Explorer Chartbooks - Great! I love them. I have never seen a more complete set of "stuff" for new cruisers anywhere."

"While at Masonboro Boatyard we met a couple on Diva who were getting ready to leave for the second winter. He said "We should all throw away all the other chartbooks. Explorer is absolutely the best available." Al and Gale Parmentier of Resolute



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