We would like to thank Sara Lewis, co-creator of the Explorer Chart Book series, for this guest blog.
We are so thankful to be cruising the Bahamas again this winter season after missing last year, having sold our boat. Our beloved Saranade has gone to live in Staniel Cay and be enjoyed by the Millers there, while we get to experience cruising on a power catamaran. Miss Agnes is doing nicely with a safe crossing from Florida to Bimini then the short leaps across the Bank to the Berry Islands and through Nassau to the Exumas. Ahhhh! Then we can sigh and relax and slow the pace with staying awhile in our favorite places and visiting friends on land and at sea. Now we are in Salt Pond, Long Island, which is where we began to conceive the idea of doing the Explorer charts.
Initially, we were using Klein’s Yachtsman’s Guide and the BBA Chartkit, both of which were lacking in hydrographic detail. Wanting to go farther afield into lesser known parts, such as the Ragged Islands and Bight of Acklins, we were fortunate to have some older and more salty sailor friends who had been there and pointed out on the topographical maps where we could and couldn’t go with our draft. That knowledge was enhanced by getting together with some of the Long Island fishermen, who also shared their local knowledge of these areas. So we ventured forth and started making notes. Our friends would ask to trace the primitive charts (none of us had copiers aboard back then!) and then began suggesting that we publish what we were charting out for ourselves.
That led to the first iteration—20 placemat charts of the Exumas, which eventually had text added and became the first Explorer Chartbook Exumas and Ragged Islands in 1995. Of course, then we had to cover the rest of the Bahamas, which led to the Explorer Chartbook Near Bahamas (the islands closest to Florida) and the Explorer Chartbook Far Bahamas (the easternmost and southernmost islands). Now the Exumas and the Near Bahamas books are in their 7th editions and the Far Bahamas its 6th. We continue to survey and update both the hydrographic data as well as the Need-to-Know Info for land facilities and services.
We are blessed to be able to share this beautiful country of aquamarine waters, powder blue skies and its lovely people.
Sara and Monty Lewis