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Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:52 pm
We'll be spending NOVEMBER paddling in BELIZE or the EXUMAS.
One tentative route is from Belize city, a charter boat to the atoll & from there on traveling North hoping from island to island. I presume to carry about 250 lbs in total (boat & suplies, seems a lot but consider just the water to begin with).
Anyone out there with info to share?
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:38 am
Not personal knowledge, but check their Journals and photos http://www.caske2000.org/caske/maps/belize.htm
(linked at the bottom of the Itinerary page, which is also very useful - with GPS coordinates of campsites). It didn't appeal much to me upon reading - less than Exumas Land and Sea Park. In Exumas outfitters are carrying on trips between Norman Cay and Staniel Cay (From South to North, due to prevailing winds, if memory doesn't fail me). If 250 lbs is without fresh water, - it's going to cost you a fortune in Exumas, with their tiny planes from Nassau and Fort Lauderdale (Florida), 35 lbs luggage allowance per passenger (I understand, ALL your luggage weight, in total), plus $1 per 1 kg one way over that. And plane itself isn't cheap, with steep departure taxes - Staniel and Norman are millionaires' retreat places, fancy yachtclubs and locals living on tourists: http://www.stanielcay.com/flights.asp
. They don't say about 35 lbs limit htere, but I saw these restrictions on other local flights. I suspect, it will be the same as here in BC - you paddle few days, getting to some remote and desolate (in your understanding) location, only to find next morning 2 or 3 motor yachts having beach party 50 meters away. To them it's just few hours of drive. But please, post brief info here after you've done.
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:25 pm
The 35lbs allowance is not surprised. Excess baggage cost a fortune in plane. I KNOW that for sure. i work for an airline.
I go to an archipel north venezuela, Los Roques. A wonderful place. But I deal a overnight boat ride with the locals to save a fortune on transport charges. Wife & kid travel by plane at discount price, me, the emplyee, travel by boat with the rats....What a family does to save money...
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 8:20 am
I just got back from a week in the Exumas, this year attempting to retrace
my trip of two years ago flying into Staniel cay, paddling north to Normans
and flying back to Nassau from there. 2 years ago cost $160 round trip. At the start of planning this years trip I called the pilot/charter service I've used in the past, Harry Nixon Charters. Figuring the cost had gone up, I wanted to see how much and book the flight. Nixon assured me "no problem" so I went about planing the rest of my trip. Two days before I left I called to confirm flight and was told he wasn't flying to Staniel until
2 in the afternoon, as opposed to 9am as we had previously agreed on.
I figured I would just go to the General Aviation airport and buy a ride to Staniel sunday morning,which I did, for $100 one way 150lbs baggage included. What I then found out from the other pilots at the airport was Nixon was barely flying anymore, had left passengers stranded, and that everyone else that flew to Normans charged $375 for private charter. Got to go ... more later
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 8:37 pm
I figured I would just go to the General Aviation airport and buy a ride to Staniel sunday morning,which I did, for $100 one way 150lbs baggage included. What I then found out from the other pilots at the airport was Nixon was barely flying anymore, had left passengers stranded, and that everyone else that flew to Normans charged $375 for private charter.
Interesting. I've got 2 different questions.
Is flying from Nassau to Staniel and back from Norman to Nassau more reliable than from Fort Lauderdale, - more flights? How busy and how frequent were those regular $100 flights, what company? $375 charter seems normal, if this is the price for the whole aircraft with 4 or more passengers, - of course not everybody is flying with a group of 4 people.
Is there any hardware or camping store in Staniel, to buy propane or alcohol fuel?
2) How did you enjoy the trip - any other kayakers there, any problems with campsites (some islands in the "Park" have been somehow sold out to private owners, I've heard); How protected were waters from wind?
more on Exumas
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 8:49 pm
there is renovation and new building reportedly on Normans Cay so there may be more flights of the $100 one way type in the future. Anyhow, with my being picked up on Normans out of my budget suddenly on this trip, I
just paddled up into the Exumas Land and Sea Park for a few days and then headed back to Staniel. Not the trip I'd planned but very enjoyable just the same. Last year I flew into Georgetown and paddled the southern Exumas and this next year, starting Easter Sunday I plan on doing the whole chain from Great Exuma to Normans in 7 days and hiring a charter flight to pick me up on Normans and fly to Ft Lauderdale. It would be nice to split the charter cost. Any stout paddlers interested reply to this post and we'll compare notes.
even more on Exumas
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 9:23 pm
I live in Kansas City, I flew to Nassau with a stop in Ft Lauderdale for $330
round trip. There are planes flying to Staniel all the time on a loose kind of "island time" schedule. A $100 for a flight is the going rate this year. I don't even know the name of the outfit that flew me down but they did not pick up anyone and were not interested in picking me up in a week. They suggested Flamingo Air who I booked a return flight with. They were and hour and a half late arriving to get me and had a plane load of locals they brought down to Staniel And I got the impression rubbing elbows with some millionaire types waiting for Flamingo that they were"poor man's flying service" It made me think, I'm flying with the right outfit! I just had to realize that they have to hang around as long as possible trying to fill up their plane. As I mentioned though, next year I want to fly commercially to Georgetown and then schedule a charter back to Ft Lauderdale and see how that works.
Staniel Cay has Isles General store that on 2 different Easter Sundays has opened up long enough to sell me propane for my stove and 7 gallons of bottled water. Very nice people.
There was an abundance of beautiful water and beaches, because I spent more time than usual near Staniel this year I ran into more yachtsmen than ever, also no kayakers this year like I had in the past. But the yachtsmen vamous around 4pm and I had the beautiful beach to my self.
A great source for info on tripping in the Exumas is the Explorer Chartbook "Exumas and Ragged Islands"
Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 5:32 am
Thanks. Have to get that book. It must be more than 100 nm from Georgetown to Normans, - seems to be too much rush to make it in 7 days.
I like to paddle
Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 7:25 am
Alm wrote:Thanks. Have to get that book. It must be more than 100 nm from Georgetown to Normans, - seems to be too much rush to make it in 7 days.
This will be the fourth time I'll be paddling this area.
In the southern portion it is pretty built up with string of islands that doesn't allow landings. The prevailing wind is out of the SE and I run a Spirit Sail. I've done 30+ miles a day there and still had time to snorkel.
Unfortunately, I have limited vacation time and will try to safely stick to this schedule so I can do my 10 day BC and Baja trips. plus, cell phones work [with bahamas card] anywhere there so I'll be able to stay in touch with the charter pilot should I get pinned down