Bimini Bahamas N25° 43.500' W79° 17.857’
14 April 2009 | 25 43.500N 79 17.857W
A quick note to say we arrived in Bimini this morning at 0800 as planned. No sleep last night with the overnight passage, so we are tired and going to bed right now for a while. Will write more later today after the nap.
Continued: As planned, we departed Nassau at 1100 yesterday and sailed 122nm to Bimini, arriving here at 0730 today after 20 hours of spirited sailing. We left early to hit the northwest shoal channel west of Chub cay at flooding tide, and also to ensure we arrived here at Bimini as early as possible as the winds were forecasted to increase to around 30kts today. We also had to time this so that we did not arrive here at Bimini too early and in the dark.
We had light winds heading north across the Tongue of the Ocean and motor sailed for a couple of hours. The winds finally started to pick up about 4 hours into the trip and we were flying from that point on. So much so that we were going too fast and would have arrived here at Bimini two hours early and in the dark. That is important because the approach to the marina has several sand bars with two narrow channels, that while marked on the charts, the markers are no longer in place (or maybe never was). All we know is it was a bit of a nail biter coming in this morning not sure if we were truly in the channel or not. As it turned out, after an aborted approach when we felt we had missed the channel, we got it right the second time and made it without issue. Thank goodness for Joe and Deb's (Sea Note) advice on hugging the beach (they know this is important as they ran aground here a couple of years ago. So we reefed the sails and slowed things down for the last 8 hours. The winds and seas built steadily all night. Sustained winds of 15 - 25 kts with gusts to 30 kts and quartering seas of 6' - 8' seas made sleeping difficult for Nikki, but she managed to get a little sleep after about 0300 this morning. Kristinly is built for this kind of stuff and handled it extremely well, but you just can't stop the roll when conditions are like that.
It was a great trip, and the highlight was catching a Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish) just as we were entering the Great Bahama Banks in about 2000' of water. We were very excited to see this beautiful 3 foot long yellow and green fish leap out of the water. We got it up to the transom and as I was lifting it out of the water (no gaff, which Nikki has added to the boat list!) it got off the hook. For you doubters, we have proof, as Nikki was videoing the whole thing. I would send the video, but the file is huge (19 meg) and I don't know how to edit it down like we do the photos. If any of you fishermen and women would like to see it, I will be happy to send it to you.
You will see a couple of photos regarding the auto helm being repaired by me. It broke just as we left Rock Sound the other day and we had to manually steer for 8 hours, which really sucks and you realize just how important it is to have that on the boat. But we got it fixed and it worked flawlessly last night - thankfully!
We are going to be here at the Bluewater Marina in Bimini at least until Saturday, and may Sunday waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. At least for now, that looks likes the first good opportunity to do so. Will write more before we leave if there is anything of note. Otherwise, will write to let you know when we plan to depart for Florida.