06 January 2016 | Brown's Dock Bimini
We are in Bimini, sitting out a blow. The weather has been unusually hot and humid since the beginning of this trip, but yesterday it cooled considerably as two fronts merged and now cross over the area (with a focus on the northern Bahamas). We are tied to the docks at Brown’s Marina (the first one as one enters the harbor on North Bimini) and fortunately, we were able to secure a slip with Gratitude facing north as that is the primary direction from which bad weather comes.
As the storm approached, we added more lines, as did our neighbors. The boats were pitching and lunging in place, which was most disconcerting as the lines would stretch and creek with each lunge. Normally, we anchor (i.e. do not tie to a dock) so Gratitude is free to swing with the wind and lie bow directly (most of the time) into the wind. The action of the boat is far gentler – there may be some rocking and pitching, but no lunges, no slams against a rod tight line, and no severe pressure points focused on one chock (a fitting on the boat through which the lines are fed to the cleats where they are tied off). Although Gratitude looks like she is gathered in the center of a spider web, she acts like a bucking bronco being broken in a corral. While we are dealing with this action, a sailboat down the dock is tied stern to the wind so her action is even more extreme, not to mention noisy as the wind roars over her decks and rigging from stern to bow and as the waves slam into her transom and undersides.
But, we seem to be fine. The winds subsided a lot during the night, so we were able to sleep soundly. They started to life again at 5:00 am, so the first “bang” of a wave against Gratitude’s hull woke Van up. The wind is shifting slightly to the east, so it no longer is coming directly across our bows. This puts even more pressure on the boat and fittings on one side. Another reason we like anchoring out!
Being at a dock has its advantages too. There is a community of others to help set and adjust lines and there are other boats to visit without having to clamber down into a bucking dinghy. And, on most of those visits, there is some sort of food or beverage provided. This morning, we are invited to Knot 2 Fast (a trawler) for pancakes and more explanation (Bob is a newbie) of the charts and cruising areas in the Exumas. Not shabby at all.