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Cruising with Osprey
Crossing the Banks
03/19/2010

After reviewing the weather forecast, we realized we had to make a break for it or else we would be stuck in Bimini for a while. So we topped off our water tanks, dropped the dock lines and headed out of the harbor. We had to head North for about 6 miles and then we turned East and crossed onto the Great Bahama Banks. The geography of this area is amazing; as the Banks are a large shallow patch of water stretching East from the Bimini Islands. After about 65 miles the depths drop off again as you hit "the Tongue of the Ocean", here depths are up to 9,000 ft! Light northerly winds were forecast and this is what we got so we had a nice easy motor-sail. There was a bit of a northerly swell but nothing too uncomfortable. Initially we thought we would continue through the night the whole way to Nassau but as usual we under estimated the time it would take us and our ETA would have been 04.00hrs - way too early. So, after an amazing sunset and supper underway, we kept going until 10.00pm and dropped anchor just short of the Northwest Channel Beacon. We actually motored a couple of miles off the rum-line so as to be out of the way of any nocturnal traffic. It was a surreal experience to be anchored completely out of sight of any land, in 13 ft. of water and not another soul in sight. The stars were amazing and it was so quiet we could almost hear our heartbeats. We turned in early to get some sleep. The winds died down and the swell and chop subsided somewhat but we were still bobbing about. (Note to self: no matter what people say it would be rough and uncomfortable if there was any kind of wind). I spent much of the night lying awake and trying to identify various creaks and groans from Osprey that I have not heard before. Tom snored!

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Bimini
03/18/2010

Thursday 18th March

We have had a lovely day here in Bimini. We had heard mixed reports about this island, with some people really not liking it at all. We always like to reserve judgement and see for ourselves. The Seacrest Marina is good, helpful staff, clean bathrooms, very convenient for town and $1 a foot - what more could a cruiser want? Oh..... And free WiFi! Bimini itself is a bit "gritty" and is perhaps not the most picturesque or affluent of Bahamian towns. However, it has been a good stop over for us. We have been able to sort ourselves out with a new SIM card for the cell phone, configure the WiFi antenna ( which has really helped as we can connect from Osprey vs. sitting by the bath house like everyone else), plot our routes for the next few days etc. etc. It has been a beautiful sunny day and we had a lovely walk along the beach.

We also had a private tour of the Dolphin House. This is a house built by Ashley Saunders, started in 1993 and is still continuing. Basically it is a poured concrete house with steel girders to provide structural support. Mr Saunders has spent all these years building and decorating the house. Virtually all the decoration is material scavenged locally, a lot of it came from the beach. The walls are lined with coral rock and there are conch shells cemented into the corners of the rooms. Sea glass mosiacs, antique mirrors and dolphins made of marbles (donated by the local school children) are all part of the d├ęcor. Most of the tiles that line the walls and floor were salvaged from local buildings or were left over from various building projects. Dad - I hardly dare put up the photos as I'm afraid you will try to emulate it - similar to the Venetian Tea Room!


Tomorrow, all being well, we will head East across the Great Bahama bank. We are not sure where we will end up - it will depend on the wind and the weather!

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Bimini or Bust!!
03/17/2010

After a few hours sleep we were up at 1.30am and hauling anchor by 2.00am. We crept away from our anchorage neighbors, crawled out of the Florida Straights Chanel into the mighty Stream! It was a dark night, cloudy and no moon. There was a loom in the sky from Miami but nothing to see ahead of us to the East. We hit the stream much earlier than we were expecting based on the forecast position of the West wall. We encountered large Northerly swells from the big storm that hit the mid-Atlantic states earlier this week. We were expecting the swells but not the Northerly winds gusting to 17 knots!!!! So all in all the first half of the trip was not too much fun. I soon became seasick - the worst I have ever had it (not actually puking but mighty close). Thankfully Tom has an iron constitution and has never had any form of motion sickness in his life. Just as well as I was pretty useless. We made satisfactory progress and as the sky began to lighten, the winds died right down and the seas were much less choppy, although we saw swells the whole way across. After a heart stopping few minutes when we altered course to investigate what looked like a body wearing an inflated life jacket - but was actually a cluster of red mylar, heart shaped ballons, we spied land. We had a bit of a white knuckle approach to Bimini as the skies were cloudy which means it is hard to "read" the depth of the waters. The entrance channel is not marked and all we had to go on was a GPS co-ordinate from a web update! But we went slow and I was perched in front of the mast with the hand held radio on "intercom" so I could talk to Tom and help guide us through the shoals. We never cease to be amazed at the character of the waters here - words just cannot describe it. You can see the shells on the bottom in 12 feet of water and what a blue! We finally got into Alice Town, North Bimini at about 11.30, were met at the dock by a very friendly Dock Man, were tied up and cleared through customs in no time - a very easy check in. Unfortunately, it poured with rain all afternoon but that did not stop us walking through town and exploring a bit. After buying a couple of bottles of Rum it was back to Osprey for well earned cocktails and a lovely dinner. It is now 8.00pm and I am going to bed.

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03/18/2010 | tim
Hooray!!!
Well done. Sorry to read of your sea sickness...its not a lot of fun, is it? Bodies in the water sounds a bit grim...what would you have done if it had of been a corpse?
And 2 (!) bottles of rum? Anticipating getting through them both? I should come and help out....
03/18/2010 | dad
So pleased you made it. I can now follow progress through Google world again, like old times!.
Love
Dad
XXX
03/18/2010 | CORNING Townsend
Hip Hip....! Maybe like forbidden fruit, it wall all seem better than ever this year. Hope to see you but understand if we do not.

We are in Harbor Is, Eleuthera for a couple of days and then off to Little Harbor on Sunday.
Love Corn
No Name Harbor
03/16/2010

The seas are calm. The wind is soft. We are anchored outside of No Name Harbor off Key Biscayne. Bimini is 48 miles away. We are poised........

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03/17/2010 | dad
You are poised, so are we!
Good Luck
Love
Dad
XXX
03/17/2010 | Tim
On your marks....
Get set........



GO!


Sail safe, and have a good crossing :)

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