AfterBlue Sailaway

Tips on Navigation, Charts and Chart-plotters

As mentioned before having a chart-plotter this time took a lot of drama out of coming through a narrow channels, cuts and inlets.

For paper charts most carry Explorer Chartbooks for the Bahamas – a set of three chart-books each covering different area. Don’t get too hang up on having the latest, if you can do, but the difference between last year and this will be minimal as far as chart coverage goes – they’ll be using the same soundings and observations from 2003 and will in either case be inaccurate, despite their claims. Same goes for electronic charts. Sea bed changes in the Bahamas are more frequent than elsewhere, especially near the cuts or after each hurricane. You’ll be reading the water and eyeballing your shallow route passages. The big name for it is VPR – visual piloting rules, and is not as difficult as one might think.

Tides in the Bahamas are not overly dramatic, in the 2.5 foot range, but the currents in the cuts, in and out of the Banks and the Sound they create can be significant. When going spearfishing or lobstering on the reef near the cuts you always want to go on a slack tide, unless you are all right with being drag with the current and wave the lobster good bye, in passing…

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