Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crossing Over

We left No Name Harbor at 3:30 a.m. in order to get an early start.  The winds were forecasted on our nose and since we would be fighting the Gulf Stream a bit, we wanted to have daylight on our side.  As with any inlet, you always have to fight the battle between coastal waters and ocean swell but after we got to a depth of about 300 feet the ocean won and there was a nice rhythm to the waves.  We have been watching the weather for months and wanted to pick the right day with good conditions and other than maybe a better sail angle, we certainly had a great crossing!  Seas were mellow at only about 1 - 3 feet and winds never got above 15 knots.  And...just about the time we forgot the fishing line was in the water, we caught a 3 ft barracuda.  He tried to steal our lure, but we negotiated the lure or his life so he spit it out, wiggled his tail and jumped overboard.

Getting into Bimini was another story.  The Bimini approach has shoaled and chart plotters, paper charts, and even captain's reports from a couple months ago cannot be considered reliable.  If we had used only those to navigate, we would have run aground.  In fact, one of the four boats that we approached Bimini with, did run aground.  I stood on the bow pulpit and helped Baxter navigate through the shoals turn by turn.  With that behind us, we headed to the channel behind two other boats.  Who knew that they thought Monday afternoon would be a great day to lay a pipe across the middle of the channel?  All three boats had to turn around precariously with only 7' of water under the keel.  Finally as they lifted the pipes, we headed into the inlet like a parade.  The boat who previously ran aground pulled into the marina and we followed him.  Well, wouldn't you know he ran aground again?  As we tried to avoid him, our depth sounder started screaming (yes, its just a beep but it sounds like a scream to us).  We got out of there by the skin of our teeth and headed to the next marina, Bimini Big Game Marina.  This place is great.  The wifi here is better than any marina we've stayed at in the U.S.  They have all the amenities including guest housing, a pool, swim up bar, ping pong, billiards, darts and nice slips.

We will only stay for a day or so.  We are off to the Grand Bahama Banks with four or five other boats - all with different destinations, but celebrating and relishing our experiences together along the way.

Sunrise as we sail away from Miami into the Gulf Stream
A great day to cross.
We want to avoid big ships like this one!

The "Q" (quarantine) flag.
Cleared in the Bahamas and raising the courtesy flag. 
I love the beach in Bimini.

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