February 24, 2018
Bimini provided a great first stop for us.
The Customs & Immigration process turned out to be a breeze; actually getting to the offices took longer than getting through them.
We would have preferred anchoring on the west side of the island, which provided a much more authentic exotic tropical ambience worthy of any postcard. However, we learned that the direction in which swells were approaching the beach would make for a thoroughly unenjoyable rolling motion of the boat. Continually pitching back and forth, ten to fifteen degrees to one side followed by ten to fifteen degrees to the other, did not sound (nor did it look, from the beach) to be a very pleasant or comfortable way to exist.
Consequently, we compromised on the less photogenic location in favor of comfort while sitting at anchor.
Our two shore excursions were long overdue. Local Biminians (?), or Bahamians, proved to be exceptionally friendly folk. It seemed as though every person who passed, whether walking, biking, in a car, or a golf cart (which appeared to be a very popular mode of transportation), offered a sincere greeting accompanied with a smile.
The laid back and welcoming demeanor was contagious and quick to catch on… who wants to be an asshole when some smiling guy on a bike asks how your day is going?
Fried conch and local Kalik beer at a food shack on the beach was a treat after walking a couple of miles along the island through the town.
On the other hand, our fuel leak was a pain in the ass to deal with. When contacted, Stacy from UFS was very apologetic and, had we been two hundred and fifty miles to the west, they would have sorted it out. As it was, we got about half our money back and I had the pleasure of fabricating a new sending unit gasket and sorting it out myself.
Nice that we ended up only paying what we would have paid to replace the diesel in the tank originally. Nonetheless, we would have rather had paid the full amount and not had to deal with diesel leaking under the floorboards of our salon.
Oh well. As we have learned… it is what it is.
We had to wait a few days for fair enough weather to continue on, which meant a number of days spent doing less than glamorous tasks and maintenance chores. The rule of thumb is to get at least something done every day. There is always a long to-do list, but it can be slowly and continually chipped away at.
The plan for departing Bimini was to come up around the north side of the island and cut across the Great Bahama Bank – a very shallow stretch that runs about seventy miles east of Bimini. From Bimini to the eastern edge of the bank depths never exceed twenty five or so feet.
Because of the distance, we knew that we would have to find a sandy spot somewhere along the way, hopefully with depths of about ten to fifteen feet, and anchor overnight. The idea of being thirty miles from solid land in any direction, anchoring in ten feet of water in the open ocean was intriguing, to say the least.
We were told the key was not dropping anchor right along a navigational line that would be taken by other vessels traveling across the bank, and keep lots of lights on… advice we would remember.