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Old 09-04-2015, 08:19   #1
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Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Hey Cruisers!

I'm currently anchored at Bahia Honda state park and looking to get to Bimini from either Marathon or Key Largo. What are your thoughts on this plan? I figure with the strong ESE winds and the northward Gulf Stream it would be a sleighride heading NE from here, but I've heard a person or two insist we should go straight across from Miami/FtLa.

Any suggestions?

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Old 09-04-2015, 10:10   #2
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Are you the boat from Corpus Christi? I'm in Saga Blue behind you; the guy who was asking you to play dinghy babysitter for my exit! Too funny. Also en route to Bahamas once I get to a mechanic in boot key.


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Old 09-04-2015, 10:23   #3
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

We have crossed from No Name Harbor (just south of Miami) twice. It's shorter, but slower than leaving from Boot Key or Rodriguez Key. Take your pick.

Last time, we just skipped Bimini altogether and went to Great Harbor in the Berry's to check in. Bimini doesn't have much to offer.

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Old 09-04-2015, 10:26   #4
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

No Benefit to leaving from that far west as you will be paralleling the keys for the first day anyway. However leaving from Tavernier /Key Largo is a benefit compared to Miami.


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Old 09-04-2015, 10:32   #5
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

If you are already south it would be insane to sail north along the coast before crossing the stream. My boat was kept in Miami, and I almost always sailed to Angelfish Creek (first channel north of Key Largo) to depart. There is absolutely no reason not to leave from Key Largo. Marathon may be a little further south than you need to be when you head offshore, but if you want to plot a course from there it will work. I would probably head off from around Rodriguez Key if I were you. But don't sail to Miami first, and definitely not Ft Lauderdale. Not only are you losing time, it may make it impossible to cross. Last I looked (a few days ago) the center of the stream was moving around 3kt, which will make your vector from Miami impossible without motoring. Pete
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:30   #6
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Sailed from Marathon to Bimini in January. Headed out to the lighthouse, then a straight shot. 18 hours.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:08   #7
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

I would not leave for Bimini North of Angelfish Creek.
10 knots over the bottom !! Fun.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:15   #8
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Hard on the wind punching into a large Easterly swell is no fun - sure, it's better than a northerly against the stream but that's not saying much.

I'd go part way back towards Miami but focus on keeping the wind and sea at a fast and comfortable angle during the crossing. Try to stay to the east early if possible. You can always turn north.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:20   #9
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Took us 14 hours from Tavernier key, our friends left from elliot key and it took them under 8. The stream didnt effect them that badly...

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Old 10-04-2015, 11:57   #10
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

I would think the question is moot unless your ultimate destination is Bimini. Does anyone ever think of Bimini as an ultimate destination, unless they live there? I have not been there in a long time but we always avoided it as it was once considered to be a haven for drug runners.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:12   #11
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Since we brought up drug running; what about taking the southing for cay sal and then having a close reach up to great harbor? Anyone been to cay sal recently? Still a smuggling operation? US registered boats too tempting to human smugglers?

One runs afoul of anchoring in the Bahamas before clearing customs by doing this, but pretty similar to anchoring on the Bahamas bank, no?


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Old 10-04-2015, 12:41   #12
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
I would think the question is moot unless your ultimate destination is Bimini. Does anyone ever think of Bimini as an ultimate destination, unless they live there? I have not been there in a long time but we always avoided it as it was once considered to be a haven for drug runners.
Bimini is usually my final destination. I have never felt less than safe there, and I've gone there single handed and eaten and drank at the local watering holes. Pete
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Old 10-04-2015, 13:06   #13
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

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Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
I would think the question is moot unless your ultimate destination is Bimini. Does anyone ever think of Bimini as an ultimate destination, unless they live there? I have not been there in a long time but we always avoided it as it was once considered to be a haven for drug runners.
Definitely not much in Bimini. Really no decent place to anchor (that I've found). Easy check in, no doubt. Problem is, it's still a long way to Nassau and on to the Exumas. If you leave for Bimini with a short weather window, you're stuck paying marina fees until you get a window to go on.

Last time, we crossed north of Bimini, and went on to Great Harbor. Actually anchored in Bullock's Harbor after a 23 hour crossing, put up the Q-flag, and went to sleep. Called Great Harbour Cay Marina to let them know we needed a slip and to check in. One official comes to your boat to clear you in (both Customs & Immigration). One day in a slip, and be on your way. Plenty of good anchorages no matter the weather in the Berry's. We spent Christmas at anchor in Bullock's Harbor -

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Then on to Nassau to meet our son and his girlfriend for Junkanoo on New Year's Eve. It's an easy run from Frozen/Alder's Cay.

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Old 10-04-2015, 13:30   #14
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

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Bimini is usually my final destination. I have never felt less than safe there, and I've gone there single handed and eaten and drank at the local watering holes. Pete
$150-300 to check in seems like a lot of money to just hang out in Bimini?

Bimini does hold a special place in my heart though. It was our first time checking in to the Bahamas.

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If this is your first time in Bimini, BEWARE of the current! It rips through north Bimini. Check your tides if you are taking a slip.

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Old 10-04-2015, 13:36   #15
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Re: Keys to Bimini Bahamas - your 2 cents?

To each their own. Bimini is not a tourist destination, it's basically a fishing village (although with developments like Bimini Bay it's clear that it won't be that way for long). The water is spectacular and it's worlds away from the USA (despite being only 48 nm from Government Cut). I'm always happy to go there (although I think $300 is extravagant). pete
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