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Re: Miami to Bimini
1. Channel entrance and depth we have a 7 feet deep keel.
The channel into AliceTown is relocated by blasting through the coral bed. Its deep and well marked; but watch your drift in this channel if a 'rip' is running. Use your EYEBALLS in this channel as the markers have changed probably since you were last there.
Dont do this channel at night until you are very familiar with it.
Be aware that there is now a high-speed fast-passenger ship that goes between Miami to the Bimini Bay resort on N. Bimini .... see the schedule on the Bimini Bay Resort website and time yourself not to be in the entrance channel when this ship is also there.
2. Which marina to stay with?
There are 3 smaller marinas 'just inside' AliceTown near the ferry terminal: Browns, Bimini Blue Water & Seacrest ... I prefer Seacrest but it really doesnt matter. Of course there is the Bimini Bay Re$ort
3. What is needed to clear customs and immigration.
US Passport and either $300 (or $150 if ~35 ft or less in boat length).
Animals need a Bahamian Import cert. $10 ??? and a Certification of Health from a US vet.
Beware of the dog pits there, so keep your dog WITH YOU at all times.
4. How to properly choose a bearing to beat the Gulf stream and not over sail south or north.
To Bimini, I typically add ~20° to the compass heading until I start to be 'released' from drift then straight to the Bimini entrance channel to AliceTown. Dont sail a straight-line waypoint course across the GStream; but, add that 20° early and then 'adjust' when past midway. This will cause you to sail a 'soft S' course to Bimini.
The chart listed 'anchorage' just to the south of S. Bimini is now scoured out; but, shallow drafted catamarans do still anchor there quite close to shore.
Best weather info to cross the stream is Chris Parker @ Caribbean Weather on Single Side Band (listen in)
4045 USB 6:30am AST / EDT, 1030 UTC
WINTER: (November into March):
8137 USB 7:00am AST / 6:00am EST, 1100 UTC
4045 USB 7:30am AST / 6:30am EST, 1130 UTC