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Old 02-07-2004, 10:05   #1
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Bahamas Is Still There and Nicer than Ever

Howdy again folks.

Now back from an Exuma trip and this is a short report:

Left Ft. Lauderdale around noonish and motored into a South 15 knot breeze to NoName harbour in Key Biscayne.
Had a knot or so current on the nose so the going was rather slow.
6 hours to get there and put the hook down...Just in time for sundowners and early din-din.

Next day the weather was resonable, but not perfect for the Gulfstream crossing: SE at 10 to 15...Beating into it once again and motorsailing...From hook up to hook down took about 12 hours, seas 3 to 5...Kind of choppy, but sometimes one have to break eggs to make omelette.
The forecast was the same for the next 5 days, so we just got it over with and crossed sooner than later.
(Have seen the Gulf stream flat as a mirror during previous crossings in June.)

Anchored of the West beach of Bimini and went in to Weeches Marina next day at high tide to check in.

Supposedly the entrance to Bimini were dredged last year, but saw no indication of it....Mesaured 6.5 feet of depth at high tide 50' of Sands Marina...No markers to indicate the "new" channel.
Coming out the next day also at high tide I went further West and mesured 7.2 feet 200' off Sands Marina.
Would have been aground at low tide for sure.
Tried to "read" the water and poke around to find deeper water, but can only conclude that the drifting sand bores has closed up the dredged channel and that things are back to where they have always been.

(If anybody has knowledge of deeper water from a recent Bimini trip, pls let me know where and how.)

The custom office in North Bimini has moved again, back to the old location in the pink building.

After we left Bimini Harbor, anchored again off the West beach and waited for a change in wind/waves to cross the bank.
Got a lucky break and crossed next day in SE 5 to 10, seas 2 to 3.
The CPT II Autopilot worked good and the wife was happy.
Being a rather slow boat we did not cross the banks in one day, but anchored 10 miles before the Northwest Channel marker.

Next day to Chub Cay and a quick trip to the fuel dock to top of the tank....29 gallons for an average consumption of 0.65 gallons per hour...The diesel price in Chub is currently $2.75 per gallon.
(Gasoline is around $4.50 per gallon.....Ouch.)

Spent the night in the anchorage and produced a perfect rum-punch in the galley that tasted really good as the sun went down.

Next day more motorsailing into more 5 to 10 and more 3 to 5.
A good 8 hours to "Bottom Harbor" just south of Rose Island.
Did an oil and filter change there before I popped the first beer of the day.

Next day MORE motorsailing into the same 5/10-3/5...Crossed the yellow banks with the coral heads and headed straight for Hawksbill Cay in the Exumas.
Nice day and even nicer as the anchor came down at 4PM and old friends dinghied over to greet us with drinks and sailing stories.

Hawksbill is in our opinion one of the most beatiful islands in the Bahamas...The softest beaches, the clearest water, AND off the beaten path so not many boats stop in there.
No bugs and protected anchoraqe from the prevailing weater.
(Ya guessed it: 5/10-3/5.... )

To be continued............
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Old 02-07-2004, 11:02   #2
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Old 02-07-2004, 12:00   #3
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Sounds nice. Keep up the stories. Its great motivation to get the projects done and the house sold!

Woody
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Old 02-07-2004, 19:23   #4
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Question

For my own ifo CSY man.......What is your draft?? Sounds like anything with a relatively deep draft needs to use caution around Bimini.
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Old 02-07-2004, 20:35   #5
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The draft Mr. Restless is about 5 feet and 5 inches.

From the factory my ship had a 5 feet draft, but as we all grow older, we grow heavier, and uh, deeper..

The happy ship "Rhapsody", a CSY 33 is not however guilty of too much beer and bacon like the owner, but rather a lot of added-on stuff, supplies and such.

Mucho anchor gear, spare parts, tools, solar panels, batteries, spare jugs of diesel, water, beer, and much, much more.

I can only estimate that every 1000 lbs of extra weight adds another inch of draft...And can only guess that I am about 5000 to 7000 lbs over factory specs in a crusing configuration...So, to answer yer question: The draft is about 5.5, give or take a little.

Yes, be careful with Bimini: when I started going in there in 1999, I ran up on ever sand bank there was.
Learned fairly fast that high tide is a good thing, and still is..

More to follow on the Bahamas cruising saga....Thanks for the feed-back....It sure was a good trip and I am going back this summer...It is just a fine line between calm conditons and the peak of the hurricane season.....Don't want to go too far and too deep in September or October....Would hate to have "Rhapsody" on the rocks.....

In July and August I can venture to the Berry Islands and be back in Florida in 24 hours if some nasty 'cane gets close.
In September I would rather stay in the Bimini/Gun-Cay/Cat-Cay area so as to get back to Florida in 8 hours and have 2 days preparing for the next Floyd or Hugo or them guys.

(Why did they ever go politically correct and label the 'canes male names instead of female...The old ways was just soooo spot on:
No 'cane has ever had more furry than a angry woman....In that regard we menfolks are just amateurs... )
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Old 03-07-2004, 15:46   #6
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Thanks for the info. Very informative. Restless is 5'6" without anything loaded so I imagine we'll be well on the way to 6'0" by the time we are fully loaded for an extended trip. I have brought up the subject of draft in the Bahamas before and it is always good to talk to someone who has "been there done that"
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Old 03-07-2004, 15:57   #7
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Yeah, ya won't have much of a problem with a 6' draft in the Bahamas.
Some anchorages ya will be further from the beach than the multi-hull guys with their 3' draft, but on the other hand, if ya are too close to shore there is always the bug problem when the wind dies down.
(One cruising guide for the Exuams says that that No-Seums can't fly out to get ya when the wind is over 6 knots)

In Hawksbill Cay for instance, I like to anchor a quarter mile from the beach even if I could get closer with my draft....:
More breeze, more room to drag without hitting anything in case of a nasty squall with an on-shore 40 knot breeze.

Again, Bimini is not really a problem if ya pay attention to the tide table.
Also at slack high tide ya won't have the strong currents in the harbour that have pinned folks side-ways against pilings after screwed up docking maneuvers. (Not me of course... )

The Exumas story is to be continued shortly, but I am still on Island Time and there is always a tomorrow......
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Old 04-07-2004, 08:07   #8
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CSY Man: we have a 58' wooden cutter with a draft of 9'. Great curising boat for the Pacific side. But we are leaving with the HaHa in Oct and heading for the Med.
Weve never sailed the Biminies and from what you are saying about the depth of water we could be in big trouble. What do other boats do that have big drafts when sailing in that area?
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:03   #9
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Well, ya can sail in the area, just won't be able to enter Bimini harbor.
At 9' ya will have problems in many places in the Bahamas, but it should not be impossible to transission the banks and get in to some harbors....I think Chub Cay can carry 10' up to the fuel dock.

Normally boats are required to be at a dock in Bimini for checking in with Custom/Immigration, but if yer draft is 8' or more, they allow ya to anchor off the beach and take the dink in to do the paperwork.

That being said, I have a hard time seeing how 8' can get in there at anything but the highest tides before they do moire dredging.
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:10   #10
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CSY Man: Thanks for the info.
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Old 17-07-2004, 10:14   #11
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sounds like a good trip! We have done the Exumas once and really want to go back again! Great diving and not a lot of people. All the things we look for
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Old 19-07-2004, 09:28   #12
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pirate Voice from the Past

Hey Dag, glad to see you still making the Bahamas trips, Jodi and I miss them. Send me an email at jaalderm@bechtel.com and I'll update you ang give you my new #'s

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Old 19-07-2004, 10:22   #13
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Okay Jim..Where have ya been.?

E-mail sent.

Should continue the Exuma story, but have been too lazy lately.
Stay tuned in case the laziness wears off..
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Old 19-07-2004, 23:40   #14
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This is so unfair. All these great trip stories are all from the east coast. It seems as though about 80% of members are all from there. I would really like to sail the east coast but I'd have to find someone to crew with as my boat is not mobile. Bahamas>>> I think of clear blue seas, good looking deck hands, gentle sailing. Am I wrong? Don't get me wrong, I love sailing the west coast. There are lots of challenges, places to go, things to do...but--the Bahamas sound so inviting.
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Old 20-07-2004, 08:13   #15
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I was born and raised on the West Coast and really thought I could only be happy there. A job took me to Florida, and I'm loving it here.

When I was sailing in San Diego the moto was "All dressed up and no place to go".

Both coasts have their merits, but it is hard to beat the gunkholing opportunities if the East Coast and the Bahamas.

Woody
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