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As we sit in Georgetown, enjoying the daily (and nightly) activities, we have also been discussing where we shall go from here. An obstacle to making a lot of ground south of here is that we have yet to acquire any charts. We have both paper and electronic charts for all of the Bahamas but nothing further. In Bruce Van Sant’s book The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South he lists a number of guidebooks for the islands and we purchased all that we could some time ago. He suggests the following as a chart inventory to go along with those guidebooks:

Medium Scale Charts:

  • One chart for the Leeward Islands
  • One chart for the Windward Islands
  • One chart for the Virgin Islands (this one came with the guidebook so we have it)
  • Hispaniola: Wavy Line Graphics Waterproof Chart #16
  • Puerto Rico: Waterproof Chart #53
  • Eastern Caribbean Yachting Series
  • Turks and Caicos: Gascoine and Mintys double-sided chart of the Caicos Bank

Pilot (Routing) Charts:

  • US Pilot Charts of the Central American Waters

We also need to purchase the Garmin chip for our chartplotter with data for the South-Eastern Caribbean.

We have none of the above. Purchasing them here I think is a non-starter. We’ll make an announcement on the radio net letting others know that we are looking for them but we have also heard several other people doing the same so I’m not sure how much luck we’ll have with that route. I think we’ll probably have to get someone in the US to collect them for us and then mail them here. We have heard that there will be a lot of tax payable should we do so but we do need to get them.


  1. Ummmmmmm! 3 girls and one guy? Your buddy up North?????

  2. Good Morning!
    You guys are making great progress! Its a great blog to read and one of the first things I do in the morning, thank you for sharing. I know you are big fans of apple products and I have been wanting to mention the App from Navionics available for the iPad. I know you don’t have an iPad but it may be something to consider in the future…
    I could be wrong but I’m guessing the iPad with the Cellular option has a built in GPS and will work even if you don’t activate the cellular feature (my iphone gps works when there is no cellular coverage so why wouldn’t the iPad).
    You can purchase the Navionics App for large areas for very cheap and I have found them to be excellent. (ie; we used them when we were in the BVI spring of 2010).
    There is a bit of an expense to get the iPad but what an amazing way to view the charts with GPS.
    Check it out at:

    Cheers guys and take good care.
    P.S. -27 degC and feels like -36degC here in Kingston today 🙂

  3. Mike & Linda (II the Max) - Reply


    You might want to post on the PDQ site to see if anyone is leaving the US soon for the Bahamas. Try Bess and Bill on Alibi II they may be setting sail soon from Marathon. There blog site is

    Good luck…

    Mike & Linda

  4. You two have any idea when you plan to be in the Virgin Islands? We’re taking a trip to go pet-sit for some friends on St. John in March.

    • Hey James!

      Funny seeing you here – I was just recommended to check out this blog on CruisersForum and saw your name in the “recent comments” feed!

      Kiki is looking forward to your trip down here to cat-sit her…. *grin*

      Mike & Rebecca –
      Great looking blog – I am sure I am going to lose myself here for a few hours. We are contemplating moving to water next after our years of RV adventuring around north america. I look forward to meeting you guys on the water or road someday.

      And if you make it down to the USVI while we are still here, definitely say hello!


      – Chris //

    • Hi James

      I’m sorry but all I can tell you for certain is that we are NOT leaving Georgetown tomorrow and that we’ll be in Grenada for H-Season. Between those two things we have no idea. 🙂

      I am looking forward to the Virgins though!

  5. Mike,
    The US NGA pilot charts are a free download, if you have a decent internet connection. The OpenCPN team converted them to BSB raster format for use in most nav software:
    original PDFs:
    details on OpenCPN project’s conversion:
    bittorrent download of BSB pilot charts:

    There are some CM93 vector chart databases floating around the Net, too, although there may be copyright issues with these in some jurisdictions… they’re pretty comprehensive and cover the Caribbean pretty well, although I have heard complaints about their lat/long referencing being off by a few hundred feet in some places. OpenCPN and most C-Map compatible plotters can display them. I’ll often print off a few letter-size pages from these sets before heading into unfamiliar territory or areas where my paper charts are too large/cumbersome to have at the helm. (Feel free to email me….)

    • Hi Matt

      I will look for the pilot charts that you mentioned IF I can get a reliable enough web connection. Thank you!

      I have computer charts for the entire Caribbean but strangely when looking through them today, there is virtually nothing for the Dominican Republic. Weird.

  6. There may be cruisers returning from those waters who either want to get rid of their charts or will let you make copies of them.

  7. If you can’t find the charts in the format you need, you can download them from NOAA, ( for free. And your friend on Big Dumb Boat ( has the software to run it on your computer for free.. Then, all you need is a way to connect your GPS to your computer.

    Free is good.

    • Hi Larry

      NOAA doesn’t have free charts for the Caribbean though, right (except for PR and the USVI)?

      I do have a computer program for navigation (G{PSNavX) and the cables to connect my handheld Garmin to the laptop. It’s not exactly what I want though. We love the Garmin chartplotter at the helm and paper charts are great for planning.

  8. It might happen on the cruisers net – we bought our SE Carib Garmin Bluechart charts from a fellow cruiser/adventurer in GT 2008.

    If you can figure out a way to nurse along to Puerto Rico and/or the USVIs, you might get them a bit easier. We had a bunch of stuff sent to us by our mail forwarder (aka Susan’s mom!) when we were in the USVIs, shipped via USPS. No duties, no big shipping charges, etc, just a bit of a wait because everything was held up in Puerto Rico due to……..????


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