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Old 07-02-2009, 06:29   #1
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Bimini Bound? Current Notes

While waiting in N. Bimini for a weather window, I thought I would post some notes for those going this direction from a first-timer to Bimini.

First of all, this was also the first time for us crossing the Stream in this direction and I learned a few things -- first, from the Florida side, make your southing as close to shore as you can. Second, go at least 10 miles further south than you think is reasonable! We left from Ft Lauderdale and went to Government Cut, Miami before turning east. Not Far Enough! It was a slow slog across. Should have gone at least to Key Biscayne, shoot even Key Largo!

At Bimini, there are now two entrances to N. Bimini. The "old" south entrance -- still shallow; and the "new" entrance, dredged to no less than 8'. For the new entrance, you can trust the waypoint in the current Explorer charts (25 degrees, 42.60' N; 79 degrees, 18.50'W) which will put you about 1/2 mile due west of the entrance. However, the entrance markers shown on the chart do not exist. Neither do the second set, however the lone red marker at the north end of S. Bimini is there. (I was told that there are range markers, but despite both of us looking for them, we never saw them. Turns out they are green with white stripes -- located in some trees! Don't count on seeing them.)

So, after you arrive at the waypoint, proceed at 90 degrees for about 1/2 mile -- you are looking at the north end of some condos, directly at a rock pile just to the north of the last set of condos. You're on track. Watch for the breakers to your port and there's also shallows to your starboard. Your depth sounder should have regained a fix by now and you should be able to see the lone red to your port. When you hit about 9' at low tide, take your turn to the north on a heading of about 35 to 40. After making the turn, go about 50 yards and start to cheat a bit to the east (toward shore) and you should be staying in 9 to 12'. You don't want to go too far east when still at 90 due to shoaling in front of that big pile of rocks. As you come up to the lone red, you should be seeing 12' or more.

By the way, while it probably goes without saying, don't even try either entrance with strong onshore winds/seas. Visual Piloting Rules definitely apply. There's a nice rusting hulk of a small freighter just to the north to remind us of why. Also, about an hour after we came in, there was a really nice ketch that grounded when trying to take the "old" more southerly entrance. Fortunately, a power boat was able to help them get off, but it was touch & go and they were almost in the breakers.

Hopefully, we'll get a bit of a break from these fronts and we can get out of here and on to the Berrys!

ID
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:45   #2
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Thanks for sharing your experience. I had one trip where I left for Bimini from Angelfish Creek. The winds unexpectedly picked up out of E-SE to 35 knots (Instead of forecasted 20 out of the S-SE) and it turned out even Angelfish Creek wasn't south enough! I certainly agree it pays to give thought to the combination of weather and departure point.

I appreciate the updated entrance information. Hopefully not too long until I put it to use.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:42   #3
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Leaving from Biscayne, I found that I needed to steer the boat about 30 degrees south of my rhumb line at first, then this gradually decreased over the next 2-3 hours. I guess the gulf stream is strongest close to FL. and the boat was actually moving sideways!
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:40   #4
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ID,

We are at South Bimini and if you saw the grounded boat Friday, Jan 30th, just before the squall line came through, we saw it also as we were coming into the marina. As we entered the marina, the rain started, guess we SCUBA dove almost too long to beat the front. If you actually saw another one grounded, then your points are REALLY well taken.

The winds start turning Wednesday and we are getting ready to head to Chub then to Nassua. Hope we will see you on the bank.
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:43   #5
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There you go, Shawn, that was the one.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Wednesday, going down to either Nixon's or Gun and then on to Chub on Thursday.

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:03   #6
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Hopefully, we'll get a bit of a break from these fronts and we can get out of here and on to the Berrys!

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:28   #7
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Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post
While waiting in N. Bimini for a weather window, I thought I would post some notes for those going this direction from a first-timer to Bimini.

First of all, this was also the first time for us crossing the Stream in this direction and I learned a few things -- first, from the Florida side, make your southing as close to shore as you can. Second, go at least 10 miles further south than you think is reasonable! We left from Ft Lauderdale and went to Government Cut, Miami before turning east. Not Far Enough! It was a slow slog across. Should have gone at least to Key Biscayne, shoot even Key Largo!

At Bimini, there are now two entrances to N. Bimini. The "old" south entrance -- still shallow; and the "new" entrance, dredged to no less than 8'. For the new entrance, you can trust the waypoint in the current Explorer charts (25 degrees, 42.60' N; 79 degrees, 18.50'W) which will put you about 1/2 mile due west of the entrance. However, the entrance markers shown on the chart do not exist. Neither do the second set, however the lone red marker at the north end of S. Bimini is there. (I was told that there are range markers, but despite both of us looking for them, we never saw them. Turns out they are green with white stripes -- located in some trees! Don't count on seeing them.)

So, after you arrive at the waypoint, proceed at 90 degrees for about 1/2 mile -- you are looking at the north end of some condos, directly at a rock pile just to the north of the last set of condos. You're on track. Watch for the breakers to your port and there's also shallows to your starboard. Your depth sounder should have regained a fix by now and you should be able to see the lone red to your port. When you hit about 9' at low tide, take your turn to the north on a heading of about 35 to 40. After making the turn, go about 50 yards and start to cheat a bit to the east (toward shore) and you should be staying in 9 to 12'. You don't want to go too far east when still at 90 due to shoaling in front of that big pile of rocks. As you come up to the lone red, you should be seeing 12' or more.

By the way, while it probably goes without saying, don't even try either entrance with strong onshore winds/seas. Visual Piloting Rules definitely apply. There's a nice rusting hulk of a small freighter just to the north to remind us of why. Also, about an hour after we came in, there was a really nice ketch that grounded when trying to take the "old" more southerly entrance. Fortunately, a power boat was able to help them get off, but it was touch & go and they were almost in the breakers.

Hopefully, we'll get a bit of a break from these fronts and we can get out of here and on to the Berrys!

ID

Down in the Lower Florida Keys I am told to start at Moser Channel(middle of the 7 mile bridge) and head out south east into the gulf stream current for a smooth landing to the Bahamas(weather permitting).
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