Crossing to Bimini
03 January 2016 | Gulf Stream
EVS: warm and sunny, nice breeze
Happy New Year! We now are in Bimini, The Bahamas. We crossed the Gulf Stream from Rodrigues Key, south of Miami, on January 1 and arrived in Bimini just after 3:30 (anchors up and away by 6:30 am). In order to make sure we made it in daylight, we (and Steve and MaryAnn on Living Well) motor sailed, close hauled in a 13-15 knot SE breeze. The day was warm and sunny, with 3-4’ seas. It was about as perfect as we could hope to enjoy and we made good time, traveling at about 8.5-9 knots with the help of the Gulf Stream (king of like walking up an up escalator).
As we left the outer edge of the reefs off the coast of Florida and pulled away from the Continental Shelf, we set a line with a cedar plug to see what we could catch. After about an hour of trolling, we say the line jump and Van reeled in the fish. We thought it was a skip jack tuna, which is not very good eating in our book (just ask us how we know), so Van released it and the fish disappeared beneath the waves. Of course, then we consulted another guide and it may have been a yellow fin tuna or a black fin tuna. The former are very good eating; the latter may be questioned. Oh well, if it was a yellow fin, we did not eat it! We reset the plug, but got no hits for several hours. We then set another type of lure, but again nothing.
Along the way, we noticed a red triangle on our AIS unit showing a ship heading our direction. We could not see it with our naked eyes, but we decided it was worth paying attention to. At about 8 miles out, we could see the ship way down on the horizon; it was about 600’ long and heading our way at 15 knots. After watching it a bit more, Van called the captain of the ship (AIS identifies the ship, its heading, speed, and time and distance of closest point of approach) to make sure he saw us. The captain advised that he did and he had altered his course 10 degrees to starboard. We kept a close eye and, although it did not look as if the tanker would pass ahead of us, ultimately it did, a bit over a mile away.
The rest of the passage was uneventful, and we docked and cleared customs and immigration. We now have 120 days to enjoy The Bahamas. We’re sure we can manage that.