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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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