Photo #1 shows the Atlantic as we begin our crossing with the buddy boats ahead. Pretty smooth, huh?
Photo #2 shows Whitefoot checking out the local stingray under the dock at the Bimini Bluewater Marina.
Photo #3 shows the resident bull shark shortly after I got back in the boat after a little hull cleaning. Kathy reported that the fishing boats were back, and they were cleaning fish in the water, and I'd better get out. She was right!
Photo#4 is Kathy and Rachel on the Atlantic side of Bimini the evening we arrived (yesterday).
The Gulf Stream crossing to Bimini was a day of light winds less than 5kts. Seas were less than 2 feet, and we motored all the way at 2400 rpm which gave us a 7kt average for the 7 hour crossing. Our armada consisted of 5 sailboats with another group 1 hour behind us, consisting of 6 sailboats. One other boat followed us into Bimini, everyone else kept going over the north end, bound for Chub Cay, another 90 miles to the east. There is a brand new dredged channel with red and green markers at the entrance to Alice Town. However, upon entering the marina I had to cautiously edge my way in over a shallow bar. Another sailboat got stuck on the bar an hour later and was pulled off by a local who wanted $200. After some dickering, the price ended up being $60.
To make it easy to get to customs and immigration, we are docked at the Bimini Bluewater Marina in Alice Town for $35 a night with water and electricity extra, but we don’t need either one. Water is .50/gallon and electricity is $15/day. The permit to enter the Bahamas costs $300 which includes a fishing license.
The water has to be seen to appreciate the clear blue quality not seen anywhere in the States. We hopped off the boat onto the dock and promptly saw a 7 foot bull shark glide by underneath. Then a couple of stingrays with 3 foot spans, and a 3 foot barracuda. We walked over the hill to the ocean and saw a 5 foot sand shark in knee deep water. I’m still ready to go in the water, but I don’t think Kathy and Rachel are.
A couple of walks through town have shown us friendly locals, sleepy dogs, and narrow streets with 5 golf carts to each car going by. Kathy and Rachel are looking for bread right now. The first store to advertise “Fresh Bread Baked Daily” might have bread next Tuesday. A local pulled up next to us in his skiff selling conch. We’ll wait on that dish for later. The girls just returned with 2 loaves of bread, so lunch is forthcoming.
We’ll leave early tomorrow morning for Chub Cay on the south end of the Berry Islands. It will take 2 days, with an anchorage somewhere on the Grand Bank on the way. The weather looks fine for several more days. The NWS broadcast on marine VHF still comes in clear from the US, and we have a Grundig SSB receiver which can get the Bahama Cruisers Net at 7:45 each morning with weather and cruising news.