Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Florida to Bimini, Bahamas February 2011

A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step 

Finally Fun has begun her journey of approximately 1,795 nautical miles (2,066 statute miles) from Ft. Lauderdale to Grenada for a total of 5,132 statute miles round trip.  I've added an extra 1,000 miles to the total to allow for travel up and down the island chain from the US Virgin Islands to Grenada and back over the two year period we plan to be there.   Simple math and estimating that we’ll burn on average one gallon of diesel per mile & assuming an average of $4 per gallon, we will spend $20,528 on fuel.  Thus far, we’ve spent a high of $3.71/gal in Ft. Lauderdale, but anticipate spending more once out of the USA.  Hopefully, when we get near Grenada and the out islands closer to Venezuela we can get it for less than a dollar, thereby lowering our ‘average’ price.

Wednesday, February 23 & Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ah, the weather forecast gods were with us.  We pulled anchor about 6:30 AM, headed over to Bimini from Ft. Lauderdale, following in the wake of Sea Dog, a 60’ DeFever trawler we met on line recently when we asked if any boats were headed over at about the time we were.  Remember, there is always safety in numbers and it is more fun! 

Following Sea Dog in the Atlantic Ocean
The trip over was unremarkable, with seas 2-4 feet and a few higher and some rocking and rolling, even with the stabilizers.  Andy made the mistake of going into the hot engine room that really rocks and rolls  to start the water maker -- he stayed quiet & pukey green in color for the remainder of the day.

A highlight was seeing a small pod of whales out in the Gulf Stream -- a whale with a bulbous head and a large dorsal fin on top.  A search on the internet makes us wonder if we spotted a very rare False Killer Whale, which are nearly extinct.  They are found in these deep waters -- but mostly found in Hawaii.  Exciting no matter what as they swam right in front of us!  Other than that, didn’t seen much of anything - a few boats in the distance, no birds, nothing.  No fish either!  I’d set two rods out and the only thing I caught was a huge pile of seaweed that took 5 minutes to pick off the hook! 

Bimini from Big Game Club Marina Deck
The Bimini Sands Marina at South Bimini is very nice, very inexpensive @ $1 a foot and $10 day for electric.  We pass on the water at 35 cents a gallon.  Customs & Immigration were quick and easy, and no issues.  We’ll spend two nights here, allowing weather to settle and take a moment to explore Alice Town, across on North Bimini from here.  The island is a tiny place, nothing here at all.  Sport fishing is it’s claim to fame.  The water surrounding the island is beautiful, with the greens and blues. 

Up at the crack of dawn, wanting low tide, I hiked to the beach with baggy in hand.  I am on a mission to find that ‘sea glass’ that I never could find on our last trip to the Bahamas.  Sea glass is simply ground up bottles, whatever, that have tumbled and tumbled until tiny, smooth pieces which can be made into jewelry.  I love the green (probably old Coke bottles) and black is a rare find.  I hit the motherlode this morning and will keep on doing this till I have lots -- and hope I can find similar shapes and sizes so I can have earrings made.  I also found two small beautiful, pink, EMPTY conch shells which I brought back.   They’ll make nice bookends or something.....

Andy & I took the ferry to Alice Town, ($2 per person each way) & wandered about.  Absolutely nothing in this town to really see or do - it is one street, pretty humble. How people make a living here is beyond me.   The locals are very friendly - especially the woman in the telephone office that sold us our SIM card and air minutes.  She could not have been nicer, making certain we figured out the phone and how to insert the card, etc.  Andy did not have his glasses with him and I could not understand the directions I was reading.....between us, we were clueless and probably humorous to all who observed.  Dumb Americans......

Prize Catches
We’re told that the summer is their ‘busy’ season as is any time that the island sponsors a fishing tournament.  .. which is often.  This is considered the sport fishing capitals of all time., with over 100 fishing world records set in these waters.    Up on a fence are two 1,000 lb. plus sailfish, caught by Guy Harvey (he makes lots of T-shirts)  ON THE SAME DAY.  Some kind of luck or is it great fishing skills?

Ugh.  The winds that picked up during the night, with much howling and flapping and banging about of our American flag.  Finally, I got up about 3:00 am and took the flag down, realizing that we probably could not pull out as scheduled.  The winds would whip up the shallow water in the Bahamian Bank, creating rough, confused seas that would smack us around.  Sure enough, at 6:30 AM, much discussion between Sea Dog and us and the right decision was made to NOT go.

Termite Nest on Bimini
No matter, I hiked the local nature trail (not much to see) and wandered about.    The only real sighting were two huge termite nests  and lots of no see ums that ate me up.

Discussion:  What exactly is a termite nest?  What do termites do?

And when you find out, please tell me!

Tomorrow’s trip, headed toward Nassau, will be very long (10 hours underway till we can find a spot to anchor) across The Great Bahama Bank - a significant fairly shallow (5 1/2  feet at low tide to 15 feet deep) body of water not to be underestimated and so large that we cannot make it across in one day.  Navigating at night is NOT an option and far to dangerous to even think about!  This entire area (actually ALL of the Bahamas) are fraught with reefs and shoals and one must navigate very carefully, following charts (a chart is a map, especially made for navigating in water) but most importantly, reading the water.  We will have to anchor out in the Bank, picking a spot well off the beaten path near the NW Channel light  & near Frazier’s Hog Cay in the Berry Islands so a Bahamian mailboat or fisherman doesn’t mow us down in the dark night.   I intend to leave the saloon lights on all night with blinds open - well lit!   We waited a day so we can continue the trip with Sea Dog -- that safety in numbers takes on a new meaning on this leg of the journey.

Saturday will find us headed into Nassau Harbor across the NE Providence Channel, where we’ll probably hit confused seas, rocking and rolling toward Nassau.  Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, on New Providence Island, is a place we’ve been to before via air.  A Been There, Done That kind of place, so we won't stop.

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Manta Ray

As yes, “we shall see”.  The weather held us in South Bimini until 6:30 this morning, when both Sea Dog & Finally Fun (and a few others) pulled out.  It was a calm flat day on the Bahamian Bank, with good visibility.  I love peering down from the flybridge into the clear, aqua water, spying huge reddish starfish, manta rays and an occasional nurse shark on the bottom - sometimes 10 feet under!

1 comment:

  1. Up on a fence are two 1,000 lb. plus sailfish.

    Imagine all that relating to the fish we eat. Like(Talipia,Mullet,Trout,Snook,Cod,Bass,and or Cat-Fish.