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Fort Lauderdale To Bimini, The Bahamas

Fort Lauderdale To Bimini, The Bahamas

From: The Captain – 

Conditions: Clear in the morning, sun and clouds in the afternoon, spot showers.  Winds from the Southwest 5-10 mph. Seas initially 2-3 feet, then 2 foot easy swells in the Gulf Stream. 

Distance traveled: 53.3 nautical miles

Time underway: 6 hours 5 minutes

Average Speed: 9 knots

Max Speed: 17 knots

When we awoke Friday morning at 6:00 we checked the weather again and quickly got to our departure procedure when we agreed that this was the day.  The forecast held as predicted – 10 mph hour winds out of the southwest and two-foot seas.  You can’t really hope for much better than that when crossing the Gulf Stream.  The Stream moves northerly at up to five and a half miles per hour so if the wind is coming out of any northerly quadrant it creates a wind-against-tide situation that can get downright nasty and even dangerous.  Not being on a schedule we were picking our day carefully even if it meant sitting around for a bit (it always bears repeating – the worst thing you can have on a boat is a schedule).  Because of our inability to fuel at Bahia Mar due to the super-yachts monopolizing the docks normally used for fueling, we were out of our slip at 6:45am to head to Lauderdale Marina to top off the tanks on our way to the inlet .  It couldn’t have been more calm and smooth as we pulled away from Bahia Mar.
Jasper can’t quite understand why OLOH’s on the move before 7am but he’s always up for a boat ride.
On approach to Lauderdale Marina.

After an easy fueling, we piloted OLOH to Port Everglades inlet and once clear of the jetties we adjusted our course to 125 degrees magnetic, our heading for the next approximately five hours, straight into Bimini.

When we were a few miles offshore the seas began to stack up a bit more than predicted and we proceeded with trepidation, wondering if it foretold what was ahead and if we’d need to bail out if it continued to get worse, which we were prepared to do.  But as we pressed on and arrived at the Gulf Stream things settled down quite nicely.  The autopilot is hard at work during this crossing as the stream wants to push the boat north while our bearing (where we were headed) was to the southeast.  So while you lose a little speed and burn a bit more fuel, it’s still very straight-forward navigating in the right conditions.
Jasper settled in easily as the smooth ride unfolded.  This was one of those trips where the Captain was sure to wear his “Sea Worthy” shirt.
As land disappeared behind us we did encounter a handful of boats out in the stream including a few freighters that you have to pay close attention to because of the movement of the stream (see the shift in our track at the top of this page).  And then something kinda crazy happened.  When we were about 30 miles offshore there was a boat coming at us, about five miles ahead on our exact course line.  As I’m about to hail them to make sure we were agreed on passing arrangements, I mentioned to Tim that the boat’s name, Cupecoy, was very familiar.  We met a couple on a boat by that name about seven years ago at our former home port on Long Island and ran into them again a year later in Atlantic City.  So I asked, “you don’t happen to be the guys on the 70 something Hatteras yada yada yada?”  And it was!  What are the chances?!  They were just returning from Bimini after two months in the Exumas and we had a great catch-up on the VHF.  And how terrific to be able to get a shot of OLOH in the middle of the Gulf Stream.  Great to see you guys!
OLOH Bimini-bound in the middle of the Gulf Stream as seen by our friends on Cupecoy who were bound for Fort Lauderdale. Thanks for the great shot and all of the Bahamas advice guys!
Like two ships that pass in the light! Great seeing folks we knew from Port Washington, N.Y. on the westbound Cupecoy.
When we were about fifteen miles out of Bimini, the first silhouettes of land came into sight and it really started to hit us that we were about to enter a foreign land on our boat.  We know, people do this every day, but we imagine that everyone must feel this way when they do it for the first time.  Heck, we felt something like this the first time we went to Block Island just a few miles off the coast of Rhode Island.  As we got closer we saw a wide swath of rain clouds that appeared to be stalled off to the south and we really didn’t want to end this perfect day in a downpour.  So we poured on a bit of speed until we came within a few miles of the first set of markers at Bimini.
As we closed in on Bimini, the slow moving rain cell off our starboard bow closed in on us. 
Because our Exumas plan all came together in the last couple of days, I didn’t do my usual over-research on where we’d be staying.  Based on some reviews and what looked from pictures like an easy place to tie up, I made a reservation at Bimini Sands Marina.  When we were a few miles out I hailed them on their working VHF channel.  As we got closer to their entrance channel we realized getting in looked much trickier than we thought it would be so we wanted to get some local knowledge from their personnel before proceeding.  When many attempts to raise them on their working channel and the general hailing channel proved futile we decided to hail another marina a bit further to the north that we heard answering other boaters on the radio (by this time the rain had caught up with us and we were a bit concerned to be in this unfamiliar place while the skies opened up without a marina that was ready for us).  This dockmaster was right on it, said they had space and told us to come on down.  I remember reading about the Big Game Club in the past and assumed it would be a big sportfish marina.  It may be at times but on this day there was a good sized motor yacht on their T-head, a boat the size of ours which had just pulled in and then your usual variety.
Approaching Bimini Big Game Marina. Our slip is between the two closest boats.
We eased OLOH into a slip and once we were secured I was off to Customs and Immigration.  When you first arrive in The Bahamas you fly your yellow quarantine flag and no one but the captain is permitted off the boat until he has gone through the process of “clearing in.”  This meant no walk for Jasper (or Tim) until I got back.
Every Bahamas guide book suggests you dress “neatly” for your clearing-in process. Far be it for this Captain to take any chances.
Fortunately, and unlike the marina we had planned to stay at, Customs was right on the property and as we had completed all of our paperwork before leaving I breezed right through.  Then it was a short walk down the street to Immigrations where I was in and out in three minutes.  Woohoo!
Quickly back to OLOH to raise our Bahamas courtesy flag in place of the quarantine flag and off to walk Jasper and check-in at the marina.  Then back to OLOH for the all-important, very well deserved arrival cocktail.  Sometimes you really feel like you’ve arrived and this was one of those days…
With our quarantine “lifted,” Tim raises our Bahamas courtesy flag which we’ll display for our entire stay.
Bimini Big Game Club

Because of forecast thunderstorm activity on our route to our next stop, Chub Cay, and a north wind that would have made our departure unpleasant we opted to enjoy our first full day in the Bahamas exploring what we could of Bimini – a bit on foot near the marina with Jasper and a bit more by dinghy (with Jasper, of course).  What we saw of the island had a great deal of character and being able to get Jasper to his first Bahamian where he played with another really cool dog was a highlight of our brief stay here.  So was the delicious, fresh conch salad at the BGBG (the Bimini Big Game Bar and Grill).
This one is for you Cuz Jules and Cuz Lisa – the two fabulous women who always made our teeth show worthy!! It’s definitely one way to live and work in paradise! We’ll go halves with you 🙂 Lisa you can set up Scully’s Dive Shop and Jules we can just set up a Sandbar Winebar!
Is there any tropical paradise that Hemingway didn’t go to!

There is such charm in the “not perfect” painted pink and unpretentious.
Our happy place – first dinghy ride in the Bahamas.
Jasper’s happy place – our first Bahamas sandbar.

Jasper’s sandbar buddy Benny.
The view from the writer’s desk.
Time to study the weather and plan our next leg on our way to the Exumas.  See you out there!
Please be sure to subscribe to the blog on the top right of this page to get notified when updates are posted.  And please leave any comments or questions below – we love to hear from you & know that you’re along for the ride!  You can also follow us on Twitter at @MYOLOH and for plenty more pictures and video find us on Instagram.  And the M/Y OLOH Facebook Page is live so please like us & follow us there as well.  
This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. OMG you guys... that looks just heavenly. You both look amazing, loving the long hair beach bum look! could that sand be any whiter? Jasper is one lucky seadog! Miss you much...
  2. Gorgeous photos really give a flavor the the place. And yes, hope the dental checkups were favorable! Next, the barbershop! xoxo
  3. Well done guys! Perfect crossing conditions (well, as good as it gets) and easy customs clearing (wish my first had gone that smoothly). Oh, and that natty nautical wears on you well Captain! As they say, "It's better in the Bahama's" mon.
    1. Thanks Pete! The Chesapeake might not be as blue but we have no doubt you'll enjoy its beauty to the fullest this summer.
  4. Wonderful post! So glad you arrived safely. Looks like a great spot. As usual, love your photos & videos...that pink library was so cute & jasper finds a bahama budy! So interesting....can't wait for more of your continuing travels. Have fun & safe travels! 😃⛴☀️🌴⚓️
  5. Cap’n & Admiral Once again our bread crumb paths have crossed. We stayed in Key Wesr, Fark Banco & Ocean Reef (wow) in ‘17, stayed in BahiaMar and crossed to Bimini/Big Game Club in July 18. We also have Abacos plans this winter and have thought of vectoring home through Exumas. Great posts and looking forward to hosting you for a “Karmarita” when our wakes cross.

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