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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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Discussion Starter #10
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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If you can't cross. Sail down to Biscayne, and do some of the Keys. It beats sitting in Lauderdale waiting. Have fun, and WELCOME to the darkside of multis.:laugher :eek: ;) .......i2f
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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Discussion Starter #12
If you can't cross. Sail down to Biscayne, and do some of the Keys. It beats sitting in Lauderdale waiting. Have fun, and WELCOME to the darkside of multis.:laugher :eek: ;) .......i2f
That's the plan. No way I'm sitting it out waiting on the wind to move. I've been on a cat before, and a big cat is in the retirement plans. I did my ASA classes aboard an FP 42, and went from Ft Lauderdale to the keys and back.

I meant to ask you about your boat. What model is it? What are the pros and cons about it?
 

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She is a Simpson 13.7 with a wee bit added in the stern. She is cold molded, built in Berlin did the truck on the Autobahn. Her layout is unique that's for sure. The German engineer who built her built her for 2. I have a ton of interior pics at multihulls4us.com My pride, and joy is the huge workshop, and 2 large benches.The only thing I would do different is add 10 more feet of length, and make a true living room with well reclined couches.....i2f
 

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I posted this a week or so back on another thread, but it pertains to this discussion.

"There's nothing to prevent you from enjoying the Keys in December in your SJ23, other than the weather.

During the winter months strong E and NE winds are apt to blow hard and long. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of good, sheltered anchorages to choose from on the Atlantic side and marina space will be at a premium.

When you arrive in Miami, if the weather forecast calls for strong E winds for some length of time, launch your boat, but do not head out into the Atlantic to the Hawk Channel. Rather, follow the ICW down Biscayne Bay, under the Card Sound Bridge, through the drawbridge, and into some of the most protected waters in the Keys.

On the Florida Bay side you will enjoy the shelter of the land, lots of quiet places to anchor out, and you can follow this route all the way to Key West.

I followed this route north from Marathon in May, 2004 and had a nice quiet trip up to Biscayne Bay, while a strong E wind stirred thing up on the Atlantic side. Once things quieted down I made my crossing to the Bahamas.

If you want to want to start your trip in the Keys, there are boat launching ramps in Key Largo, on both sides.

I hope the weather cooperates for you and that you have a great trip!"

I once waited 3 weeks before making an October crossing to Bimini and December weather is even more dicey.

Even if you have no weather delays getting to Bimini, there's no guarantee that the weather will cooperate for the the return trip. Getting stuck somewhere on your chartered boat for a any length of time is going to get real pricey.

It seems that you've got 2 choices:

1. Stick with plan A and go over to Bimini, but go over the long-range weather forecast with the charter company before making your final decision. Also, find out up front what they'll charge you if you don't return their boat on time.

2. If the weather looks iffy, go to plan B and cruise the Keys instead. East side if the weather's fairly calm; west side if it isn't.

Even if you don't make it to the Bahamas this year, lots of folks would give their eye teeth for a cruise around the Keys. You're going to have a blast wherever you go!
 
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