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Old 19-09-2008, 08:44   #1
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Ideas on Bimini and Berry Islands

Wonder if anyone has sailed to the berry's via bimini...any tips? Where did you leave from (biscayne..any recommendations?)

I'll be sailing as well as motoring....Sails + a 50 HP Honda. I expect I'll check in @ Bimini, stay there for a few days and then sail to the Berry's. I'll sail much of the time, but if there's slow going I'll kick the engine on. If I motor from miami to bimini any expectation on the time?

Is there a good reference for the berry's? Seems like a lot of islands and cays, but noted that many are private....

Looking for a few great anchorages, marinas, and unihabited beaches and cays to stay at. Any notes or experiences would be great!

Thanks
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Old 19-09-2008, 09:05   #2
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I would go from Miami to North Rock (this is the entrance onto the Banks just north of Bimini) to Chubb Cay and check in at Chubb. Skip Bimini altogether. Get Stephen Pavlidis' "On and Off The Beaten Path" and Explorer Charts. Getting onto the Great Bahama Bank from Government Cut is only about 60 miles so you can work out how much time it'll take you.
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Old 19-09-2008, 09:36   #3
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At Bimini, I highly recomend you stop to snorkle the ferocement ship that is half submerged just a few miles from South Bimini. It lays in about 20 feet of water and is one of the only ship wrecks that I know of that you can snorkle through. It is one of my favorite snorkling spots in all of the Bahamas. The ship was used for bombing practice by the US in WWII.
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Old 19-09-2008, 09:41   #4
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Yes - I agree - go to North Rock from No Name Harbor. One year I went between Cat and Gun and found it shallow on the east side. on the east side on Gun we had about 7 feet of water for several miles. Rounding North Rockafter dark was not a problem.
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Old 19-09-2008, 11:02   #5
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Quote:
Wonder if anyone has sailed to the berry's via bimini...any tips?
Yup, many times.
I usually check in @ Bimini, but time it right, otherwise ya have heavy current in the harbor and it becomes a pain to dock the boat.

Been to Chub many times, but lately they have built a mega-yacht marine there and don't think the welcome real sailors...:-)
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Old 19-09-2008, 13:31   #6
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I've been that route a couple of times, I leave from Angelfish creek and head pretty much due east. The stream does all of the northward work. You can anchor in the lee of Pumkin key to wait for a weather window if necessary. You didn't say how much water you draw, but angelfish could be a bit iffy if you draw more than 5 Ft. Last winter I made it in 7.5 hours at about 7 knots. I went across on a 5 knot boat and it took about 10.5. There's also a couple of areas near angelfish to snorkel . I check in in Bimini just for convienience. Bimini cut a new entrance chnnel a couple of years ago and it's much easier to enter than is used to be. Chub is certainly not interested in cruisers, only mega-yachts, They even charge you a $100 fee to go to the grocery store if you don't have a slip. If the wind is right you can anchor just outside of chub. Don't miss snorkeling at Mama Rhoda Rocks. Most of the anchorages in the Berry's are pretty shallow. On a Northerly wind there's an anchorage on the West end of Whale cay that is pretty nice. Whale is private so you can only go ashore if invited. There's an anchorage on the north east end of Whale that is prtty protected from the south, but watch your depth it comes up to about 4 feet pretty fast. The water to the west is very shallow and won't support large waves even if it gets breezy. We found an anchorage last year just north of Devils cay just behind White caym. Pay attention to the explorer instructions for entering, but we had 8 feet plus well inside. There are actually two anchorages on the explorer charts, we used the outer on for a cold front passage. There was grass on the outer one and it took a little effort to get the Delta set, but when the front passed we held firm in 30+ while two boats on the scoured inner anchorage drug. For our security we got to put up with a little surge that they didn't. Your call on what you prefer. Also don't Pass up Flo's conch bar on little harbor. If you have a real shallow draft you can get into the inner harbor. I was once there on a boat drawing 2'9 and barely cleared at mid tide. Have fun and enjoy!
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Old 19-09-2008, 15:06   #7
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The Berrys

Do stop and check in at Bimini; they are friendly and helpful. Do explore what is left of Alice Town, as we found a number of friendly cruisers and bars and restaurants and inexpensive Marinas (Bluewater).

The Berrys are wonderful, with clear water and some good anchorages. Ditto on White Cay / Fowl Cay. And exploring nearby Hoffman's. And go visit Flo's on Little Harbor for the punches and conch. No place better in the Bahamas for "ambiance" and great conch.

Not much in the Berrys, but a slice of laid back Bahamas pretty close to Florida.
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Old 19-09-2008, 15:32   #8
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I really like Bimini. If you are going right past it, you might as well check it out.
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Old 20-09-2008, 19:27   #9
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First, THANKS FOR ALL THE GOOD TIPS!!! I expect I have maybe 2 weeks and will go mid to late June 2009. I expect I'll leave from somewhere in Miami (any recommendations? especially since I'll be leaving my car and trailer)

I figure a Half day to bimini. I have a 50HP SailBoat...so I can speed things up. It's also a MAC...so I can retract the keel and drafy in less then two feet, which should allow me access to many great areas.

That said....so you think a few day's in the biminis and then a few days in the Berry's would be good?

I love crystal clear shallow waters and deserted beaches and towns with local flair.....that said and with the above plans....can you all recommend......

(lets say I have 4 nights in bimini and 4 nights in the berrys)

Good anchorage spots that you have seen in the berrys and bimini
Great Beaches...deserted prefered...in both.
Secluded Anchorages in Both
Nice old school bahamas towns and marinas for fuel and such...in both areas.


Are both areas pretty much crystal clear waters and great beaches?
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Old 29-09-2008, 08:40   #10
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Do think 10 days for bimini and the berrys is doable?
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Old 29-09-2008, 09:45   #11
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Couple additional things...as I noted above...I have a 26 foot Macgregor...sailboat with a 50HP engine....centerboard down I can draft in 4 feet, up....18 inches. That being said....with regards to Bimini...

1.) Are there good beaches and anchorages? I was looking at the north east side...looks fairly nice and uninihabited. Also, there appears to be a string of cays and Islands south of bimini...anyone know about these?

2.) While most people sail the islands in the winter, because of my schedule looks like June or July will be my time. I just read somewhere that the stream crossing is much calmer in the summer....is this true? anyone sailed acress to bimini in June/July?

I guess I am just considering spending a week or so in and around Bimini for a first trip to the bahamas. My biggest "want" is for uninhabited beaches, nice anchorages, and crystal clear water.
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Old 29-09-2008, 09:55   #12
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The cays south of Bimini, Gun and Cat are quite quiet. There is a nice little anchorage on the north side of Gun called Honeymoon Harbour also you can anchor on the east side of Gun but you have to watch the holding there as some spots are scoured out.

Crossing in June or July should be better than in the winter but you still have to watch the weather for any crossing.
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Old 29-09-2008, 12:20   #13
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10 days in the Berrys

First thing is that it is further from Bimini to Chub than it is from Florida to Bimini, so plan on blowing a day just on that passage and a day back, If you are sailing it could take longer. Iíve only done this passage in the winter or early spring and you will have the advantage of a lot more daylight hours. It also sounds like you'll need to return to Miami to pick up your car on the way back. The stream will force you north so you need to plan on either a long day fighting the stream to get back to Miami or planning a landfall north of Miami and then hugging the coast or down the ICW. I recommend hugging the coast as the ICW from Lake Worth to Miami is a bridge nightmare. I would think that you can do a nice tour of the Berry's in 5 days or so, but keep in mind that a number of the islands are private, so you can't use the beaches. The other issue is that some islands don't really have much in the way of beaches. Bimini and Alice Town are pretty off the tourist path. The locals don't seem to use the beach that much. The north end of North Bimini is pretty secluded. Your draft allows you to go some places I can't so enjoy. I haven't been to Honey Moon Harbor in about 5 years, and I heard it was destroyed by hurricanes in 2005. Does anyone have a current status on Honey Moon harbor? If you want really out of the way remote beaches you should look at the Joulter keys. They are completely uninhabited and have some beautiful beaches. Be warned that anywhere in these Islands in the summer that bugs are going to be a problem. The horse flies think that deet is barbeque sauce. I suggest a screen enclosure.

I donít know what the situation will be in June, but I had trouble finding Fuel in the Berrys last year. The only place I was able to get it was in Morganís bluff on Andros. You may have to sail more than your planning on as Iíve heard that there are still fuel availability issues. Anyone else have any fuel info? In any case you should check before you go.
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Old 29-09-2008, 12:53   #14
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Thanks! Great info. I see the joulter cays on google earth...looks nice...about a dozen or so islands and cays? Has anyone been there? Beaches and water nice? Any good anchorages?

Where about is Gun Cay? Is it just above Cat Cay?

Also, anyone anchor up near the north east corner of Bimini....from the satelitte the beaches and water look great and there appears to be no roads or buildings....
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Old 29-09-2008, 14:22   #15
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Joulters

I have actually anchored up off of Joulters only once. It was in a Maine Cat 30 which draws 2'9". On a west wind we anchored just off of the beach on the northern most island in about 5 feet of water. Drawing only 18" you can probably get pretty close. The west sides of the islands are very very shallow, often being exposed at low tide. The approaches to the two northern islands are pretty clear with regards to reefs. The south of the second Island there are some very shallow reefs off shore so come in and depart from and to the NE. The reefs to the SE are about awash at low tide. I have snorkeled these reefs and they are quite pretty, but there are a few broken up sailboat hulls in them, so steer clear. Drawing as little water as you do, you might be able to pick your way into the gap between the two northern Islands if you need a sheltered anchorage. If you are uncomfortable staying in the Joulters, its a short journey to Morgan's bluff or Chub. In the summer, this could easily be a day trip from either.
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