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post #21 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Good Advice !!!!!!

The outward tidal flow at N. Bimini (Alicetown harbor) can be upwards of 3+kts at mid tide following a high-high tide, making it 'dicey' for entering/exiting the slips at marinas. So, plan on arriving at near slack water. Ditto on the timing for entering Alicetown during a NW 'blow' when the outer entrance channel can 'rage'. For a first time visit try to arrive in daylight.

Most charts will show anchorages on the south side of S. Bimini .... but hurricane Wilma scoured out all those anchorages leaving nothing but hard impenetrable marl ... unless youre a catamaran who can anchor quite close to the beach during calm weather.

I would suggest that you make a firm reservation at any marina on N. Bimini (or at Old Bahama Bay at West End of Grand Bahama), as there's usually a mob of boats making for N. Bimini, etc. after any long delay in the 'weather window'.
I prefer Browns Marina (and there's usually guards at night ... for reasons that I won't discuss here).

Also, do not swim, etc. in or near Alicetown harbor due to the high number of very large bull sharks that are attracted by the constant cleaning of fish by the sport fishing boats.

hope this helps.
Bimini Sands on South Bimini is nice also, albeit higher priced. I noticed their restaurants are closed and due to reopen soon, they had very good food (burgers, etc.) last time I was there. There is also a ferry between the north and south islands if you have a need to go over to North Bimini (or you could just dinghy over).
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post #22 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Cabbage looks tighter/shallower than Pelican...on the chart.
Most of the boats I've seen anchored there are on the east side of the GICW, closer to Useppa Island. Chart shows 9-12' deep there.
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post #23 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Originally Posted by born2bfree View Post
I'm looking for best way to cross to the Bahamas from Ft. Myers in late Jan/early Feb.
My boat draws 5 feet (w/o load) and has 50-foot stick (from waterline)
From my research so far it looks like this makes the most sense:
1. Ft Myers to Marco Island
2. to Little Shark River
3.to Boot Key Harbor, Marathon - cross under the bridge
4. to Rodriguez Key inside Hawk channel
5. cross over to Bimini

There are some holes in my plan. Namely:
1. What are the best spots to moor or anchor along the keys waiting for the weather change?
2. Is there a good provisioning spot along the keys?
3. Rodriguez Key to Bimini is around 80 miles. Is there a better place to anchor closer to Miami that offers a good protection?

Thank you in advance
The route you have described is fine. The Shark River maybe a bit buggy but is endurable with screening and a couple of Thermacell devices, one interior and a second in the cockpit. We've used these to good advantage on our own cruises.

If you are able to score a transient slip in Marathon, you can pretty easily sit out weather there comfortably. There is also a Publix market relatively near by for provisioning. The run from Rodriguez isn't too bad once you clear the coast. I suggest, however, that you might do better heading to Gun Cay/North Cat Cay rather than Bimini. Firstly, N Cat Cay it is a few miles closer. Secondly, there is far less of a mob scene trying to make the place. The North Cat Cay YC has fuel, a small store with essentials if needed and is a port of entry with Immigration and Customs agents on site. A transient slip might be a little costly but spending a night after a long crossing could be worth it and there are a couple of good anchorages nearby--off the Airport at N Cat Cay and at Gun Cay, Honeymoon Harbor. The locale is also a good jumping off point for a transit across the Banks.

For further information, you might click over the ActiveCaptain.com.

FWIW...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."

Last edited by svHyLyte; 11-29-2017 at 11:56 AM. Reason: add addendum
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post #24 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Originally Posted by born2bfree View Post
I'm not a fun of mosquito myself, but Little Shark River sounds like a good stopover if one wishes to have one.

Are there any anchorages available at Biscayne Bay, or marina is the only option?

Also, do you know of any good and well protected anchorage you can recommend between Marathon and Rodriguez Key?

For provisioning google Walmart locations.
There is a good anchorage just inside the cut south of Islamorada Key near the state park. Depth ranges 5 to 8 feet there. Bumpy on a northwest wind, though.

There are lots of sheltered areas where you can anchor in Biscayne Bay. The bay itself, however, is pretty shallow most areas, so you need to be careful when straying out of the marked channel areas until you get near the southern end of Key Largo, where the depths are more consistent.

Good luck,

Gary
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post #25 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Davy J View Post
Last time I was there, there was a few monohulls in there. Other than the entrance to the bay, where you need to hug, uncomfortably close I might add, to the east coast shoreline, the center of the bay seemed to be about 7-8' deep. Most of the large boats in the area will anchor across from Cabbage Key.
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Originally Posted by RegisteredUser View Post
On the chart for Pelican, it's showing 8, 7, 6 into the bay, then 4 at the dock.
Cabbage looks tighter/shallower than Pelican...on the chart.
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Originally Posted by Davy J View Post
Most of the boats I've seen anchored there are on the east side of the GICW, closer to Useppa Island. Chart shows 9-12' deep there.
The last couple of times I have been down there, I had 7.5' draft. I had favorable winds though, so was able to anchor off Sanibel one time and off Captiva the other time just 150' off the beaches.
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post #26 of 26 Old 11-29-2017
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Re: From Ft. Myers to Bahamas

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
If I were you I'd steer clear of the Marco Island and Shark River areas and sail directly for Marathon. It's only about 114 miles, so it's less than 24 hours. With anything but a southerly wind that's a pretty easy run and a lot less hassle and danger than the pass at Marco or the shallows of the Shark River area.
Getting to Biscayne Bay from Marathon will be directly into the prevailing winds, which could be a bit nasty. After that, time your crossing of the stream to Bimini so that there is zero possibility of any wind north of east or west, SW being the ideal wind.
Curious why Marco Island's inlet is marked as dangerous? Thats my home inlet now and I find it well marked in person and on charts. It *is*, however a winding channel, but its got sufficient depth for most pleasure craft. I actually had more trouble with the inlet at Gordon Pass (Naples) where my 4'9" draft touched bottom right in the middle of the channel going outbound.

As for Shark River - we used that anchorage too in very settled weather. The entrace could be hairy in a blow but once in, it was very nice and calm. Very buggy, but if you have fine mesh screens you should be ok for a night.

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