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Old 11-08-2008, 16:30   #1
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Bahamas - Expectations . . .

Considering a family trip to the Bahamas in mid-June (2009). Had some questions, for those who have done this. Considering heading out from North Miami to Bimi, I hear this is the closest point. From there heading to the Berry Islands and back.

Has anyone done this trip before? Recommend and great ancorages in the biminis and the berry's?

One question I have, is while I'll be sailing a bit, I do have a 50HP honda outboard. I expect to motor from Miami area to bimini. Goal is to get to the area quick. Then take my time when over that area.

Depending on the seas I am expecting I can motor at betwee 8 and 12 MPH...is this reasonable? What does the journey from miami to bimini usually take? What kind of seas can I expect in mid june?

Once I am in bimini...what are the waters like to the berry island? Rough, smooth? etc?

How safe is this whole area? any reports of robbery in this general area?

Any tips and hints?
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Old 11-08-2008, 23:08   #2
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Hi Corkscrew and welcome to the Cruisers Forum - Lot's of knowledgable folks around here and plenty of Bahamas sailors.

I am sure someone will pipe in soon with some advice.
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:40   #3
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I am not sure how long you plan to be gone but here are a couple of points.

You want a good weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. Motor sailing is often a good idea.

Bimini has an easier entry than it used to (better channel).

Lots of folks love Bimini but unless you are fishing or diving, IMHO there is not a lot to it.

There are many places to visit in the Berrys. Condition of the water is entirely dependent on weather but you can usually find a anchorage protected from big swells.

Plan a some extra time to allow for unfavorable weather. Remember, it is better to be safe on the hook wishing you were out there than to be out there wishing you were safe on the hook.

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Old 12-08-2008, 09:23   #4
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Does anyone have experience sailing in June? How is it? If I motor from miami to bimini, what is the expected time? I assume I could motor at around 8 to 12 mph, but not sure how currents will affect the speed. How much time could I expect?

I assume once I get inside the islands....going from bimini to berry...the seas will be calmer?
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:33   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkscrew View Post

I assume once I get inside the islands....going from bimini to berry...the seas will be calmer?

Not to put you off but the Great Bahama Bank and the Tongue of the Ocean, once you get off the bank, can be a bit of a slog if you have strong headwinds. It's not anything like the Stream in a blow but with a strong easterly, quite an uncomfortable chop happens in the shallow waters of the bank. If you get good weather I would not bother with Bimini but go directly to Chubb. I think you can check in there now but I'd check that out first. They are building quite a development there and are flying in prospective customers. Lots of good spots in the Berrys. Get Pavlidis' guide and Explorer charts.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:46   #6
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I am planning on going in June. Is that a good time of the year for florida/bahamas?

If you had 7 days to sail what would you do? We love empty islands and white sand beaches, turquise waters, hidden coves, and nice small harbor towns with cool beach bars and restaurants. Also in bimini, abacos, berry islands...recommend any good marinas for catching our breath?

any expectations on sail times from florida to bimini and bimini to berry?
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:55   #7
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Frankly seven days is too short, in my view, for this trip. Although crossings are usually easier in June everything is still weather dependent. As far as I know there aren't too many marinas in the Berrys. The old Chubb Cay marina is now a fancy resort, dockage $3.50 a foot plus $30 a day for electricity!!!!CHUB CAY

If you want to go to the Bahamas for seven days just clear in at Bimini and stick around Gun and Cat Cays. There's a few nice secluded spots there.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:00   #8
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What about just heading straight for andros island?
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Old 12-08-2008, 14:00   #9
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Two gulf stream crossings and the Berry Islands is more than I'd be comfortable committing to in a 7 day trip, even in summer.
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Old 12-08-2008, 14:09   #10
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50 HP outboard????, what kind of boat are we talking about? I think I would forget this trip on a 7 day schedule altogether. Even a 30 day schedule would be tight. June is also hurricane season and it started early this year. Who knows what next year will bring.
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Old 12-08-2008, 14:29   #11
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I've crossed in june, not to that area but the abacos, we crossed memorial weekend here a couple months back, we've done two week trips to the abacos and had fun and not felt rushed, but 7 days would be nothing but stressful. I am however a bit afraid to ask what sailboat you have with a 50 hp outboard strapped to the back of it???
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Old 12-08-2008, 15:55   #12
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june's a great time to cross the stream(make sure you got weather forecast---no big n. winds) but if you want to go to the berries, why go to bimini?? the stream will carry you about 2 kts faster to the nw channel and under grand bahama from miami so plan for that--don't want to arrive at your anchorage in the night. suggest buying the explorer charts and using that to find quiet secluded anchorages---not a whole lotta boats in the berries.
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Old 12-08-2008, 16:07   #13
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7 days?

hmmm. I came back to FL in very late May once and it was flat calm. Did see some Water spouts to avoid with the Radar though. It is Hurricance season, but with 7 days you should be able to time the trip. I figured 8 hours to cross from Biscayne to Bimini. (early spring type weather though) If it is windy, wait for the wind to go SE. (there goes a day or two)
I think it is very dicey for one week though, unless you just want to cross to Bimini. I didnt stay there long but was not aware of much for nice anchorages...? I was pretty deep draft though for The Bahamas. It sounds like a real hectic trip... is that what you want?
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Old 12-08-2008, 16:14   #14
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Corkscrew,

First, I have to say, that if you don't know how the current will affect your speed, you should not be attempting a stream crossing. It's not only going to affect your speed, but more important, your direction.
Navigation is an important skill, especially calculating set and drift.

Not sure where you are coming from, before your crossing, but be aware that you don't want to cross with any winds of a northerly nature. Unless very light.

I have waited over 2 weeks for a weather window to cross over.

Good luck.
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Old 13-08-2008, 04:58   #15
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I'd mess about down in the Keys if I were you with your timetable. The Bahamas are nice but not so nice in a rush.
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