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!



s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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