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Old 01-09-2003, 07:29   #1
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water depth

got the bahamas guide book. confused about water depth
around Bimini. we draw 5.5 on a hunter 34.5 and wonder if
bimini is too shallow? guide book seems to be more for
power fishing boats.

thank you for previous responces. helped alot

Red 44
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Old 01-09-2003, 13:40   #2
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Red44,

The entrance into N.Bimini is indeed a tricky one. My 26 footer draws 3'2" and it looked like I was going to drag bottom when going in at low tide.I think all boats that draw anything over 5 ft.make the entrance at high tide.Even at high tide,I don't believe any boat drawing more than 5'8" could make it in without bumping a time or two. When I left N.Bimini,I was traveling with a Beneteau 38.Their boat drew 5'6.We waited until high tide and they got out without any problems. If you decide to go in,be sure to use the range markers that are South of the entrance.To line up with them, you'll basically be heading somewhat towards S.Bimini as you approach the two islands.Line up the marks and head straight towards shore,then swing North into the entrance to N.Bimini. There is a very large shoal on the West side of the entrance,but it's very easy to see. N.Bimini is a great island to visit."The Complete Angler"-Ernest Hemingway's old hang out is pretty cool!Hope this helps. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2003, 21:57   #3
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thank you stede. im sure i will be in touch with you again.
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Old 02-09-2003, 03:53   #4
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Bimini

As Stede said:
Approaching Bimini (APPROX. 25-42.01N x 079-18-80W) you'll line up on the white Range Markers, running in to within about 100 feet of the beach on South Bimini, at which point (APPROX. 25-42-17N x 079-18-23W) you'll turn North towards the end of the stone jetty & Alice Town. As you approch the visible sand bar, bear more Easterly towards the Island of North Bimini. Follow the the Eastern coast into the harbour and dockage.
Unlike Stede's advice, I've never carried less than 8' in, even at low tide. Nonetheless, high tide is always better (if otherwise practical).

Pilotage, on the Bahamian Banks is (mostly) by eyeball. I came from the deep dark waters of Lake Superior, and first approached the Banks with some trepidation (specially since my depth sounder gave out on day 1). I was pleasantly surprised at how easily & quickly one learns to read the waters. It helps to have the sun high to your back (when practical), and to wear good polarized sunglasses.

The Explorer Chart Books and Cruisers' Guides do a good job on Bimini, and etc.

ALWAYS TAKE (others) WAYPOINTS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT (including mine) - CONFIRM for YOURSELF.

Best regards, & Good Luck!
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Old 02-09-2003, 06:02   #5
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Red44,GordMay,

When I went into N.Bimini at low tide on my 26 footer,there were bigger boats anchored off shore.One called me on the VHF while watching me go in.He asked for soundings as I entered.My depth sounder showed nothing under 5'8" ft.while in the actual channel going in. His boat drew 5'6.He opted to wait for high tide.A couple of other items worth mentioning.When I was entering,there were a couple of white buoys in the channel.My chart book showed nothing on them.After repeated tries on the VHF,I finally was able to find out what they were for.They were marking a new shoal that had formed in the channel. Apparently the channel is bad to shoal up,and is constantly changing.I guess they occasionally dredge the channel,but I don't know for sure.From my experience,I wouldn't take any boat in that channel that draws over five feet unless it was high tide.Even then,I would contact some of the marinas on the VHF and inquire about any changes in the channel before entering.The channel bottom isn't all soft sand,there are some pretty major coral heads in various spots. Anyway that's my opinion for what it's worth.Fair winds to you!
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Old 02-09-2003, 09:26   #6
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Gord,

After reading your comments this morning,the remark you made about entering the N.Bimini channel has captured my curosity. You said "I've never carried less than 8' in, even at low tide." There is obviously a ~2 ft.discrepancy between your observation(8ft+),and my observation of (5'8"-) at low tide. If I remember correctly,the tidal range in that part of the Bahamas is 1ft.+? While I don't dispute your observation,I'm trying to understand how there could be such a large discrepancy between our findings? Could storms have shoaled in the area since you were there? Maybe my depth sounder wasn't performing properly? Your recorded depth is way more than what I personally observed,or what I heard other cruisers say they had experienced. I entered that channel in May of 2002. When were you there? Perhaps other cruisers that have entered that channel could report there findings? Regardless of what the actual depth is,I believe this to be an area that should not be guessed at. To Red44: If you go there, I highly recommend falling off South if you're not absolutely certain of where you're at. There is an anchorage at South Bimini that you can use if you have any doubts about getting in safely. While I was there (three days) I saw a 30 ft.boat run aground on the shoal on the Southern end of the island,and the only boats I saw moving at low tide were fishing boats. I'm not trying to make this area sound like a major problem, but do give it a lot of respect.Maptech has a very good chart book of this area.After the short trip in, you can chug a few down at the "End of the World Saloon" to settle your nerves. The women's under garments hanging from the walls and ceilings is a little bizarre,but after all, it's the Bahamas,Mon!Also, if you like to snorkle,try the southwest side of the island. This is right before the big shoal. Usually,huge Stingrays hang out there.Also a few Moray eels. Good luck!
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Old 02-09-2003, 09:51   #7
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Bimini

I was very remiss in (and apologize for) not indicating:
1. My last local knowledge of Bimini was 1997.
2. Sand bores (shoals) move.

Please note:
1. Stede posts more recent knowledge from 2002.
2. Stede posts more conservative opinion - always go conservative when in doubt.
3. I wouldn’t expect the coral heads to move nearly as much as the soft sand
4. I think the tidal range (hi / low) is over 3 Ft; but the difference between Neap & Spring Low tides (highest-low & lowest-low) might be closer to a foot (as Stede says).

Thanks Stede - I (gratefully) stand corrected!

Regards,
Gord
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Old 02-09-2003, 11:29   #8
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Hey Gord,

Your gracious apologies aren't needed. You're obviously a very experienced sailor,and my intention wasn't to dispute anything you've said. I have the upmost respect for the postings I've read of yours.I was just trying to get a better understanding. However, please note that I'm now listed as a "Senior Cruiser" here. While I don't have as many stars as you, I am working at it

P.S.-- I do have more pretty pictures than you in the photo gallery though
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Old 02-09-2003, 18:13   #9
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And here is my 5 cents on Bimini and the entrance:

The sand moves around a lot..

I was able to sneak in at "half" tide for a while, but abandoned that last year.

Only went in and out at high and then sometimes kissed the bottom. The shallow spot is just a few feet to the North of the entrance to that new marina half way up the channel.

There was strong rumors about at a dredging projet last year, but found it shallow first time in this year as well as last year.

Came back in June and started sniffing around a bit, anchored out and took the dingk in to explore.
Found out that yes, they dredged, but in a new location...So if ya go in as before, that is a boat-lenght or two from the beach, ya will still touch the bottom at anything less than high tide.
Go further out and ya will find 6 feet at low time....For a while anyway, another hurricane, a few passing cold fronts with the Westerly winds, will surely screw it up again.

I go at high tide anyway to make docking easier. (To check in with custom and immigration.)

At slack tide...(Either high or low) there is no current in the harbor and around the docks. Between the tides, strong water is flowing and that can really screw up yer most carefully planned docking maneuver....Been pinned hard against the pilings a few times.
No more of that.

The tide difference is usually right around 2.3 to 2.5 feet, with the occasional 3.2.

Yes, the anchorage to the South is called Nixon Harbor and I have some firsthand knowledge of it.
Excellent protection for a North and a North East wind..But have had big problems there in a Souther...

Going over again in a few days...Full report will follow...
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Old 02-09-2003, 20:46   #10
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Thumbs up Bimini

Man or mon did we find the right web site. thank you to all the fine sailors for their advice. we have gone aground in florida and in galveston so we are trying hard to avoid future mishaps.we actually have more ? but are waiting for charts to arrive so our ?s will be more pointed. again thanks to all. Red44
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Old 03-09-2003, 04:21   #11
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Okay Red.

The best charts for the Bahamas is the Explorer chart books.
They have kept my bacon out of trouble more than once.
Highly recommended.

Charts however won't do ya much good once ya start the approach to Bimini, but the explorer books have way-points to get ya lined up with the range markers.

As for the getting in there: I asked one of the old-time dockmasters once what the secret was to get in there:
He said READ THE WATER.
In other words, all the charts in the world won't do all that much good as the sand banks shift around a lot and the charts become obsolete before they are printed.

If ya go in at high tide the first time, ya should not have a problem with either the bottom or the current.

Good anchoring outside the West beach on a East or East South wind..(To wait for high tide) but that anchorage tends to be rolly as the swells roll up from the South while yer ship is pointed into the wind to the East...Easy to fix with a stern anchor however, pull the tail around so that yer bow is pointed into the swells.
Bad holding ground and strong currents inside Bimini harbor. Be careful if ya plan to anchor there.
(Heard there is some rental moorings there for $10.00 per night or so, but would not trust those unless ya dive on 'em before ya settle in for the night....)

So, uh Bimini can be a fun place, but sometimes a pain in the butt to deal with: Shallow entrance, tidal current, custom and immigration and their love affair with paperwork, etc.

Good luck
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Old 03-09-2003, 05:36   #12
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CSYMan,and all,

While we're on the subject of the Bahamas. Have any of you sailed the upper Abacos? When I sailed to N.Bimini, my original plans were to sail from Ft.Lauderdale to West End,Grand Bahama.I ran into bad weather half way across,and turned back.I headed down through the Keys waiting on a good weather window(winds out of the SE) and eventually was able to head over to N.Bimini.I didn't have time to go further on that trip. On a previous trip, I sailed aboard a 38 footer as crew in the lower Abacos.I joined the boat in Marsh Harbor,and then we headed on around to Hope Town, then continued on around to Nassau,Chub,Gun Cay,and then back across to Ft.Lauderdale.I was really disappointed during me last trip that I was unable to follow my original route,but the trip was a great one anyway. Going by what I've read, there are some very nice anchorages in the upper Abacos. Green Turtle Cay is one of the islands I really wanted to visit. If any of you have sailed the area,could you share your opinion/experiences of it? Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2003, 13:01   #13
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Hi Stede.

Never been to the Abacos, but plan to go sometime...

I have ben to the Berry islands a few times and to the Exumas once...Really enjoyed the Exumas and want to go back, but don't have the days off right now..Figure I need at least two weeks to enjoy the Exuams and I like to stop each evening on the way over and back, instead of sailing non-stop for 30-40 hours.
(It is supposed to be a vacation)

Then again, who knows? Perhaps I see ya in the Abacos one of these days Mr. Stede.....
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Old 04-09-2003, 06:14   #14
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CSY Man,

Yes, you need to check out the Abacos. Most of the area is pretty shallow.You can see huge starfish as you glide over the grassy seabeds.Also, there are a lot of Conch.Great if you like Conch fritters There are many great "get away from it all" anchorages all through the Abacos. Unfortuneatly,as you reach the southern end of them,you've got some long sailing legs to cover if you're headed eastward. What seemed like one of the longest was from Royal Island to Nassau. As we were headed towards Nassau,I remember we kept seeing this huge outline of an object ahead.We had to still be ~16 miles from Nassau. We couldn't figure out if it was a huge cargo ship,or what. As we got closer,we realized it was the resort "Atlantis" on Paradise Island-Nassau. Man,that is one big resort!! Here's an interesting tid-bit of nautical history. While talking with some of the "old salts" in Nassau, it seems that the island that the resort is on was originally called "Hog Island." They said a lot of the old charts refer to it as such. Well, the developers of the resort must have thought the name "Hog Island" didn't sound very resort like,so they somehow ($$$$$$) got the name of the island changed. The "old salts" didn't think much of the name change,or the super resort. Don't know what made me think of that.My mind was a terrible thing to have wasted Anyway, I think it would be great to cross paths with you in the upper Abacos. We could toss a few back while listening to the band "The Gulley Roosters" on Green Turtle Cay
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Old 04-09-2003, 08:32   #15
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Sounds good Mr. Stede.
See ya in the Abacos one of these days.

As for the Atlantis.
Yup, been there, done that.
A couple of years ago we took a slip in Nassau for a day and wifey wanted to check out the Atlantis.
As far as I am concerned it is way over the top.

To have Las Vegas on a tropical island makes no sense to at all and all the flash and air-condition and slot machines, seems to be the maximum of No Taste...
If I never go back to the Atlantis, it will be too soon.

Oh well, the rest of the Bahamas is nice enough, but Nassau is the place to stay away from IMHO.

See ya out there.

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