FEBRUARY | MARCH 2018 BoatU.S. Magazine | 47
from mixed data may not be right on
the spot. “Right on the spot” is critical
when you’re navigating an inlet that’s
only a few hundred feet wide with rocks
and reefs around it and swells rolling in.
Remember, Bahamas aids to navigation
are rare and often not maintained.
Unlike the more
forgiving waters of,
Bay, the Bahamas
are riddled with
reefs, rocks, and
brown bars (rocky
ledges) that can
quickly hole a boat,
and there’s no U.S.
Coast Guard daily
are some very
good salvage firms,
but the waters to
which they must
respond are vast.
Lack of infrastruc-
ture means incon-
often long periods of time required for
repairs. In many areas, there are few or no
secure marinas or good anchorages avail-
able for storm protection. The Bahamas
is mostly beautiful wilderness, so take
care and navigate conservatively. To do so,
you’ll need the most reliable charts.
Sara and Monty Lewis began cruising the Bahamas more than 35 years
ago. They produce and update The
Explorer Chartbooks ( explorercharts.com).
Experienced cruisers swear by these
Lewis charts. The waypoints provided
are, they say, based on the Lewis team
actually having gone to the rock, the
deep part of the inlet, or the reef and
recording the exact GPS reading while
on site or verified with satellite photos or
trusted advisers’ data. Not only do they
provide accurate full-color navigational
charts, they also include cruising guide
“need-to-know info” with informative
articles and updated details on facilities
and services throughout the Bahamas.
(It’s information from The Explorer
Chartbooks that we heavily relied upon to
bring you this article.)
Introducing the Bahamas by region
Coming by boat, you’ll prob- ably get your first impres- sion of the Bahamas from its western boundary. Here, the water and reefs are beautiful, and there are some anchor- ages for settled weather, as well as some marinas. Most
of the small islands have rocky shores and
lack good all-weather anchorages.
The Bimini Chain, a series of small
cays (pronounced “keys”) lies across
the Gulf Stream from Miami and Fort
Lauderdale. North and South Bimini
and Cat Cay are settled. The mysterious stone slabs of the Bimini Road lie
under nearby waters, fueling stories of
Atlantis. Popular with the sportfishing
fleet, Bimini has a village, several marinas, restaurants, and now a resort/casino
and a Hilton Hotel.
To accommodate those who want to
experience the beauty, often the beauty
is sacrificed. Bimini has suffered, in my
view, as have many of the islands, from
the negatives of tourism. In recent years,
them well in
during hurricane season
(June 1 to
Green Turtle Cay
Great Guana Cay