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  #51  
Old 12-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estopa View Post
Here's my Bahamas Itinerary for now:

Fort Lauderdale to Bimini (8 Days, 160 + nautical miles)

Saturday, March 10 – First night - Depart Fort Lauderdale to Biscayne Bay via the Intercoastal waterway (ICW) to Elliot Key (part of the National Park system); Anchor out the rest of the night.

Sunday, March 11 - Day 1: Leaving from Biscayne Bay at first light to sail to Bimini. You need to allow between eight and twelve hours to make the fifty-mile crossing to BIMINI. Head to Bimini Blue Water Resort in Alice Town. The dockmaster at your marina will give you all the Customs and Immigrations paperwork to fill out. Explore Alice Town, Rest, walk over to the beach, and have some cracked conch for dinner at one of the local establishments.

Monday, March 12 - Day 2: Spend a gorgeous day sailing to the north end of North Bimini. Anchor off the beach and carry a picnic lunch to a wonderful swimming beach. In the afternoon sail out to Bimini Road for a nice snorkel or shallow dive. Go back in near the beach and anchor out for the night.

Tuesday, March 13 - Day 3: Sail south to the wreck of the Sapona. Snorkel around this old 1940’s concrete hull sunken freighter. Pick up anchor and head south, sail to Gun Cay and anchor on the east or west side depending on conditions.

Wednesday, March 14 - Day 4: Dinghy into Gun Cay and explore this uninhabited island. Check out the lighthouse and the nice beaches. There is also good conching around the east side of the island. Sail on down to the south end of North Cat Cay where there is a protected bay and a beautiful beach. Spend the night.

Thursday, March 15 - Day 5: Sail out to Tuna Alley, hook up with a mooring ball, and enjoy a world-class dive site. This is a 50’ to 80’ dive with coral caverns and giant crevasses. You will see lots of reef fish and an occasional turtle, shark and other wildlife. In the afternoon sail to the east side of North Cat Cay and spend your last night at Cat Cay Marina. There is fine dining there at the marina as well as a more casual dining room.

Friday, March 16 - Day 6: Sail down to South Cat Cay. Anchor off the west side and do some snorkeling. . If we don’t have to leave for Ft Lauderdale sail down to Dollar Harbor at South Cat Cay. Sail boat out to WEDGE ROCKS for another afternoon of snorkeling. You can either stay at Dollar Harbor tonight or run back to the Gun Cay anchorage. Either location puts you in a good position for your departure tomorrow.

Saturday, March 17- St Paddy’s Day 7: Head back to Ft. Lauderdale so you arrive before dark. Go out to dinner in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Sunday, March 18 - Day 8: Back in Ft Lauderdale, well rested for our flights Sunday Night!

Estopa,

You really need to rethink this. You might be stuck in Miami for two weeks waiting for a window to cross. March can still be bad as far as fronts go. It is silly to plan such an itinerary.
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  #52  
Old 12-01-2011
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Estopa - most of us have done numerous trips to the Bahamas - you're getting some good advice here - as for the possibility of a front getting in the way of your Bahamas trip - it's 100%. You either won't get there, or won't get back for your flights. Do the Keys and enjoy yourselves.
Seriously - leave the Bahamas for when you have more time.
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  #53  
Old 12-02-2011
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I just returned from my third trip to bimini from ft Lauderdale. I can tell you that I have always had a plane to catch at the end. I have never made a crossing without a north wind except the return trip a couple of weeks ago where we had to motor all the way back. It can get down right uncomfortable, but if you watch the weather carefully you can easily do this trip on a schedule.

Looking at your plan there are a few things I would do differently. I would not spend the first night in Biscayne. Just time your departure so you arrive in bimini at about 10am. Don't forget to figure in travel time to the PE entrance. It takes me about an hour to go from the middle river near sunrise blvd to open water. We bareboat a 44 foot cat when we go, and slipping the dock lines at midnight works well for us.

I would also think twice about anchoring overnight in honeymoon harbour. It's an awesome place to visit for the day, but tucking in close at north cat has better protection.

I'm guessing that you're using fun in the sun. If so, just pm me. I'll give you the skinny.
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  #54  
Old 12-02-2011
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I believe Estopa and friends plan to use a 35' cat and as best we can tell only one has experience offshore. I think " down right uncomfortable" for a experienced sailor on a 44' cat could be down right dangerous for a smaller boat with inexperienced crew. Watching the weather is great but if you have to go to meet a schedule then why bother. N S E W 5 to 25 who cares you are stuck going and I think that is the situation we are suggesting they avoid. Dan S/V Marian Claire
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  #55  
Old 12-02-2011
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Originally Posted by marianclaire View Post
I believe Estopa and friends plan to use a 35' cat and as best we can tell only one has experience offshore. I think " down right uncomfortable" for a experienced sailor on a 44' cat could be down right dangerous for a smaller boat with inexperienced crew. Watching the weather is great but if you have to go to meet a schedule then why bother. N S E W 5 to 25 who cares you are stuck going and I think that is the situation we are suggesting they avoid. Dan S/V Marian Claire
Yeah, I noticed that he's on a 35 after I posted. A little small for fighting a north breeze. I would still look at going to Bimini, but have a strong plan for doing the keys if the weather is less than ideal. I can't seem to bring up the same wind speed and direction polars that I used when planning the last trip, but if I remember right, the wind should be coming more out of the east in March.

I mentioned keeping a close eye on the weather because you need to keep your trip flexible if the weather changes. On our last trip, the wind was NE at 18kn with 5-7 foot seas. Perfect. The forecast was dead on, until sunrise. After sunrise the wind built to the mid 20's and gusting to 30. The seas also came up to about 12 foot. Nothing we couldn't handle, but uncomfortable.

Our return trip was moved up a half day due to incoming weather. The forecast for Thursday was very light wind out of the SE. Friday was supposed to be our return day but the forecast said NE at 25-30 with 12-15 foot seas. Hourly graphs showed the wind coming around 3am and the waves following at 6. We timed our return to get us in the slip at 1 am. Piece of cake.
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  #56  
Old 12-15-2011
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you can sail from FLL to bimini? or you motor most of the way? -against the stream...
(miami is about same latitude, ft laud is pretty north... so FLL is good for west end/abaco, not so good for Bimini)


I would advise leaving from miami. either anchor near key biscayne, (hurricane /noname harbor) or head down to anglefish creek. (not much for ocean cuts south of stiltsville).

and consider the west coast of FLA as plan C. beautiful, & unspoiled area. but the water is not a clear as the keys or islands. With a cat you can get into some nice areas... and the 10k islands offer plenty of hide outs for the weather. (and some great fishing!)
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  #57  
Old 12-15-2011
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you can sail from FLL to bimini? or you motor most of the way? -against the stream...
(miami is about same latitude, ft laud is pretty north... so FLL is good for west end/abaco, not so good for Bimini)
Depends on what you're driving. If you're in a very slow boat or don't have wind, then you should go south. The cat I was on the 3 times I've gone will do 8-9 knots easy if you have a breeze. You can make bimini in 7-8 hours even going against the current.
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Old 12-15-2011
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Ok, fair enough... a Catamarans is a different animal that a monohull.


for monohull's doing less than 7knts, I'd advise going to miami or further south.
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