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  #1  
Old 08-31-2009
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First time charter - Going to Bimini

I've chartered a Lagoon 440 to take my family and a few extended relatives from Ft Lauderdale to the bahamas and back. I would have rather done Belize, but schedule conflicts didn't allow it.

Can anyone give me some good recommendations on anchorages and dive sites? Also, will it be worth the time to sail to Andros island? If so, any recommended anchorages and dive sites there?

Any other recommendations or warnings about Bimini and Andros?
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Old 08-31-2009
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How much time do you have? If you have ten days you can get in a lot of sailing. If you want to miss Bimini, and go straight to Nassau. You can be in the Exumas in less than 2 days, unless an easterly is blowing snot against you.

This gives you 6 days of day sail, and a new anchorages with fantastic snorkeling. The it's across the bank, and into the tongue of the ocean. Less than days you will be back in Lauderdale with a 600 miles under the keels.

Many would just do the Abacos. I have only approached the Abacos from the east both times, and I am honestly not that familiar. cam is the man to ask. His knowledge is extreme there.........i2f
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Old 08-31-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
How much time do you have? If you have ten days you can get in a lot of sailing. If you want to miss Bimini, and go straight to Nassau. You can be in the Exumas in less than 2 days, unless an easterly is blowing snot against you.

This gives you 6 days of day sail, and a new anchorages with fantastic snorkeling. The it's across the bank, and into the tongue of the ocean. Less than days you will be back in Lauderdale with a 600 miles under the keels.

Many would just do the Abacos. I have only approached the Abacos from the east both times, and I am honestly not that familiar. cam is the man to ask. His knowledge is extreme there.........i2f
I only have 7 days, plus the charter co wants me to have a captain aboard for the stream crossing on the way out. I'll have to drop the captain in Bimini, then go do what I want. I doubt that I'll make it much past Andros or Nassau.
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Old 09-01-2009
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Nassau is a party town on the front side of it. Just south of Bimini is an old wreck that's a great dive. In April I forget what kind, but sharks come in, and give birth. Couple miles more south is Honeymoon harbor. I always anchor east of the harbor, because it can get crowded. Lots of rays come in, and you can walk through them. A couple of good reefs on the west side of the harbor entrance too.

It's a nice distance sail to Chub across the banks From Bimini, and the dominate wind is on a beam from Bimini. Another 40 miles, or so is Nassau. A trip to the Aquarium at Paradise Island is worth 3-4 hours. There are snorkel spots just on the east channel where they dump tourist from large day cats.

Have a great time no matter where you go. It is not even the tip of the iceberg for the Bahamas. It will take a lifetime to see it all, and it's all beautiful.......i2f
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Old 09-01-2009
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how long does it take from florida to bimini? also thinking of heading, is december a good time for going? I think it might be dodgy going now us27, but not sure,
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I was just reading an online cruising guide to Bimini. According to the guide, December may be more than a little iffy to cross the stream. It's showing a 47% chance of a North, Northwest or Northeast wind in January. It's also showing a very good chance of 15+ knot winds in the winter as well. North winds at 15kt or more (according to the guide) make the stream impassable.

I certainly don't want to "cure" my wife of any desire to go cruising ever again, so if the weather report shows strong north winds, I'll be going to the keys.
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Old 09-01-2009
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Bimini is a great place to visit. Very laid back and not commercialized at all. There are a number of great cays to visit where you can stay and not see anyone at all. One that we liked was Honeymoon cay. You do need to have all your paper work in order and I believe you can download the papers to fill out. At arrival only the captain can leave the boat and go to customs while all others have to stay on board. You have to check everyone in that is aboard your boat. One of the places I liked best to visit was The Complete angler but it burned down in 06 i believe. There are some cool local places to visit like the sand bar restaurant. Be sure to get some Bimini bread from a local roadside vendor, you won't regret it. The people are great and will give you a lift on their gulf cart, the main source of transportation.

Injoy, everyone should go once.

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Your date changes everything. Sometimes people wait several weeks to cross 42 miles. Maybe Florida Yacht Charter out of Miami would be better? They use to have one way to, and from Key West. That's a nice sail with tons of stuff to do. They also have cats in Abaco. Out of Miami Biscayne Bay is a great sail, and anchorages everywhere all the way through the Keys......i2f
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Old 09-01-2009
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As i2f said, it's not definite that you'll make it back if you go across. We had to wait a week to make it across before the north wind stopped. Bimini is a neat place but the town itself is somewhat dying - ever since the Ernest Hemingway hotel/museum burnt down a few years back. The wreck of the Sapona, just south of South Bimini, is pretty neat. There's also a shark research facility and nature trail on South Bimini. On the northwest side of North Bimini is the "Road to Atlantis", a neat snorkel site. If you like marinas, I suggest the Bimini Sands Marina - not too expensive, good facilities, nice people and highly protected. South of Bimini are several cays that are nice to anchor around. Getting to Nassau from Bimini is an overnight trip for the most part. I'd highly recommend getting the Explorer Charts - they are the best charts of the Bahamas and will tell you about what's there. Don't forget that you'll have to buy a cruising permit for a couple of hundred while there.

A couple of links... Bimini Islands Scuba diving sites and snorkel spots with GPS coordinates - Dive Spots and Bimini Guide, Bimini Island Bahamas.
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Old 09-01-2009
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Too bad I didn't get to read the cruising guide before I put the deposit on the boat and bought plane tickets. I found the web site, but when I tried to access most of the info, it said that the file was damaged. Well, all the pdf's worked today, and now I know what my odds are. Still, it's a little better than 50/50.

I don't think I'll share that info with my wife until a few days before departure, and only if it looks like we'll have north winds. What she doesn't know won't kill her. Then I'll leave it up to the captain we'll be hiring whether he thinks a stream crossing is possible or advisable. If he says go, we'll go. His local knowledge and experience will outweigh anything I read on the net.
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