Grand Bahama Bank to Bimini
Grand Bahama Bank to Bimini, 80+ miles passage from The Berry Islands, Chubb Cay. We figured it may take us as long as 12+ hours for this passage. We left Chubb before day break at about 5am, pulled the anchors, and set off. It was amazing to see absolutely nothing for the whole day, and the depth did not change for the entire trip, basically average of 10 to 12 feet deep. The water was crystal clear, and you could see the odd coral head about a foot or two in diameter. You would not want to hit one with your keel, they looked so close but are actually deeper than they appear. Apparently many of these are formed from boaters throwing a pop can overboard, that begins to rust, and various life forms start to attach, and eventually turns into a live coral head. Hey I could be wrong about this, but legend has it! Love to hear your comments about this.
Taking a short cut to Bimini. We were nearing our approach to Bimini, the total trip did take about 14 hours. Nearing the end of the day and nearing the end of our fuel capacity, I started getting a little worried we would run out of fuel. So I decided to take a short cut to Bimini, just north of the wreck “SAPONA” Pictured below. The charts were a little vague about the depth here, and did look like we might just make it. This would shorten our arrival by a few miles and maybe as much as 45 minutes quicker. Unfortunately the tide was falling and so were we. We grounded at about 7:30pm. Nothing to worry about, just sandy bottom, but we were not going anywhere for at least the next 9 hours. We dropped the anchor for the night, and decided to make the most of it. Fired up the BBQ, and had a beautiful evening under the moon light just short of Bimini.
In the morning, we pulled up the anchor, and took the proper route around. I was still worried about fuel, and did not tell Roxane our fuel situation so as not to worry her. So what is a sailor to do in this situation? Sail of course. I raised sails, and away we were, but at a crawling speed of about 1.5 to 2 knots. She asked me what the heck I was doing? I responded racing in Lake Ontario! Well I had to admit that we were getting low on fuel and wanted to make sure we had enough to enter Bimini Alice Town harbour. After a few hours of sailing, we gave in and turned on the engine. We made it to the harbour entrance, which is very shallow, and we could use a little more depth, the tide was rising, so waited out in front for an hour or so. It is amazing how clear the water is, now we were in 50+ foot depth, but you can see clear to the bottom, and you can see your rode and anchor as if it was just 10 feet deep. This is a tricky entrance, and you really need to know what you are doing. We were very fortunate and had a good experience in all the Bahama islands. Our draft is 6.5 feet dry weight, about 6′ 8″ loaded. We only grounded this one time, trying to take a short cut to Bimini. The moral of the story is don’t take short cuts, always be cautious, and diligent and you’ll be fine.
Bimini and Alice Town. Tied up in Alice town, the marina we were at had a cute little pool we were able to use. We did a little shopping and the laundry. We rented a golf cart for this occasion. The kids loved going up and down the narrow streets in the gulf cart. There are a lot of cute restaurants and small beaches to hang out in.
This was going to be our last experience in the Bahamas on this trip. Next stop Fort Lauderdale and then the offshore race from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, and the delivery up to New York and eventually Toronto, Canada. See other posts on this blog for those adventures!