Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everything. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-05-2016 Thread Starter
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Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everything.

Good day everyone. I just made reservations today to charter a Lagoon 440 from Fort Lauderdale FL to the Bimini Islands for 1st week of June. We will only stay in the Biminis for our first 7 night trip. I talked to the charter company and they feel I'm qualified and will allow me to travel to the Bimini on their boat.
I've been sailing for about 1.5 years.
I took ASA 101, 103 and 104. I bought a 30' liveaboard I have been living on and sailing for the past 6 months and have logged about 110 hours this year.
I'm "thinking" of taking a 114 (catamaran) class, but not sure. I've been out in 30 knot winds, reefed many times, single and double, and have flow my symmetrical spinnaker twice. I'm very good with engines/diesels, electrical, mechanical stuff.

What do I need to know/do to prepare for this summer, such as tips on inspecting a charter boat, provisioning tips, sailing recommendations, check in tips getting into the Bahamas etc?
I have passport cards for all members already.

1988 C&C 30MkII used as a live aboard in MD. Sailing experience: Started 2014; 6-mo on Hobbie Cat Wave 13', 1 year on a Potter P15 sailboat, and ASA 101,103/104 classes. Power boater for 20+ years.
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post #2 of 23 Old 12-05-2016
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

I love Bimini that's where they filmed the final scene in Silence of the Lambs. There used to be a really cool Bar there, The Complete Angler, one of Hemingway's favorite haunts. There were pictures of 1500# Marlin bit in half reeling them in. Ill never forget it. Corona seaplane landing strip was just outside our Marina. Enjoy. Its been many years, we just stayed aboard while the skipper cleared us, then rented some golf carts and drank coconut Rum.
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-06-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

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Originally Posted by albrazzi View Post
I love Bimini that's where they filmed the final scene in Silence of the Lambs. There used to be a really cool Bar there, The Complete Angler, one of Hemingway's favorite haunts. There were pictures of 1500# Marlin bit in half reeling them in. Ill never forget it. Corona seaplane landing strip was just outside our Marina. Enjoy. Its been many years, we just stayed aboard while the skipper cleared us, then rented some golf carts and drank coconut Rum.
Thanks, how was clearing in? Easy? What was the cost?

1988 C&C 30MkII used as a live aboard in MD. Sailing experience: Started 2014; 6-mo on Hobbie Cat Wave 13', 1 year on a Potter P15 sailboat, and ASA 101,103/104 classes. Power boater for 20+ years.
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-06-2016
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

What do you mean by 'passport cards'?

I think by need a proper passport, don't you?

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https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/card.html

Says good for Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico. Hope it's OK. I'll have to check.
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

If youre a U.S. citizen and planning to cruise to the Bahamas, you can use a U.S. passport book or passport card to enter the country. Both the United States and the Bahamas are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which aims to simplify travel between the United States, Canada, Mexico and most of the Caribbean nations.

Looks like I'll be good.
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

The US Passport Card is a DHS/DOS issued SecureID that is the same size as a driver's license, and legally may be used instead of a passport for limited purposes/places. The program has been so obscure that even TSA agents have been known to ask "What's that?" when shown one as domestic ID.

And just like a passport, they show no address or residency, so many domestic agencies and companies refuse to accept them as ID, even though in theory they are the best level of ID that you can carry.
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-06-2016
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

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Originally Posted by serpa4 View Post
Thanks, how was clearing in? Easy? What was the cost?
Before 911, easy peasy nobody even came to the Boat, but I understand even then moving about un-cleared was pretty serious and it was insignificant less than a bottle of coconut Rum maybe.
Looks like the current clearance is pretty well covered as well.
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-07-2016
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

N. Bimini from Ft. Laud. is a course of ~125M. Adding +20 for GS set = 145M course 'sailed' ..... which results in 55 'against the current flow of the GulfStream', for an approx. 40-45% reduction in forward speed and a increase of up to 45% of total time travelled.

From Lauderdale to the Bimini's, my usual practice is to either first head down 'tight' along the FL coast to below Miami / head of Biscayne Bay and then cross over.
Alternatively, head straight for the Bahamas 'toward' the North West Providence Channel at ~90 true until across the Gulf Stream quite near the Bahamas , then turn and go straight south (in 100 - 200 ft. of depth) to Bimini. This avoids 'bucking against the Gulfstream's northerly current' ... by keeping its flow at 90 (or more) to your direction of travel. If you 'buck' the Gulfstream, your boat speed can be drastically slowed-down depending on how fast the northward speed of the current is for that day.

Of the two tracks, the Miami/Biscayne starting point is usually always faster; even faster if you spend the extra time and leave from the southern end of Biscayne Bay (Anglefish Creek) and let the GS flow on your stern quarter 'boost' your boat speed.

For the first time, do NOT enter into N. Bimini (Alicetown) at night ... the entrance cut is narrow and the sides of the channel are blasted through ancient coral. This entrance also 'rages' during peak ebb tidal flow when the winds are at or above 20kts. from the SW-W-NW. The entrance to N. Bimini/Alicetown was relocated several years ago, so make sure you have up-to-date charts on board.

Simple speak: always ADD ~20M course direction to compensate for the northward flow of the GulfStream ... for a boat that 'averages' 6 kts of boat speed.



An aside warning for customs and immigration procedures in Alicetown (N. Bimini): be totally sure of the 'absolute correctness/compliance' of all entry documentation, etc. before leaving; as, if you dont, you 'may' be subject to 'whimsical local interpretations' of fees, etc.

Last edited by RichH; 12-07-2016 at 01:27 PM.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-07-2016
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Re: Charter from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini. 1st charter, 1st crossing, 1st everythin

I think you better recheck the Passport Card stuff.

The Bahamian entry website says different...

It says for people entering on PRIVATE BOATS "US citizens must present a passport."

Cruise ships its different.

You want to double check this. Entering/Exiting Policies | The Official Site of The Bahamas

Has someone here ACTUALLY cleared into the Bahamas on a PRIVATE boat with the Card and not a whole passport?


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