We spent over a week at Bimini Sands Marina. There are not really any good anchoring spots for the wind strength/direction we had so we were thankful for their steal of a weekly docking rate of $150. Interestingly the add on electrical rate was $30/day – that would be a big NO thank you. Water is also available (not potable) at $0.35/gallon, again no thank you. A lot has changed since our brief stay here last year. Unfortunately the "resort" itself has not been maintained and the sun, salt and nature are quickly taking over. We heard rumors that a new owner has taken over in the past month, hopefully they can restore the place.
We tried our best to keep occupied and at times it was a struggle but in a small way it was kind of nice to have some forced down time. We did cross some of lingering boat projects off the list. I caught up with maintenance on our hull (trying to keep it looking shiny after the work we had done on it in Pensacola, FL a few months ago). Kent got our water maker up and running again (it has been pickled since we returned to the US last April). We both dove into good reads on our Kindles. Finally we are among good company since 20 or so other boats were also in the marina with us waiting for the next weather window to move. We had great neighbors – Windsong (Eric & Jenny) who are in their mid 30's and on their first cruising adventure. They reminded us a little bit of ourselves when we took off on S/V Hiatus ~13 years ago.
We tried to take advantage of what there was to do around us. There is a ferry that you can take from S Bimini to N Bimini. It is only 200 yrds or so between the two islands so the ride is no more than 3 minutes. One of the days we met up with Jacques & Karen (Gyp C) who we crossed Lake Okeechobee, FL with back in mid December and went in search of conch salad.
We also spent our time walking some part of S Bimini each day. Our discovery was that S Bimini has the airport, one restaurant, one bar and a few homes but other than than that it is very very quiet. The main point of interest on S Bimini is the Bimini Biological Field Station (aka The Shark Lab). Always interested in learning we visited the lab one day for a brief tour. We heard about the programs that are currently under way, had a chance to see a small nurse shark up close and learned that that there are 9 species of sharks around Bimini. If you like sharks check out their site – Bimini Shark Lab
What kept us so long in Bimini? This weather did –
N Part of C Bahamas (N Andros-Nassau-N Exumas-Eleuthera): 070<090@22-31g40 today; 090@24-32g40 Fri10; 100@22-32g40<120@18-26g34 Sat11; 100-120@18-26<15-22g27 Sun12; 090-110@15-22<14-20g25 Mon13.
Example – "today" (which was Thur9) it was wind from 70<90 degrees (east) between 22-31 knots with gusts to 40 knots. We subscribe to Marine Weather Services – aka Chris Parker. We feel it is well worth the money as we get daily weather emails for the Bahamas and if we have good enough internet service can stream the live webcast daily. Should we need it we can also get vessel specific routing.
While on the topic of weather, we hear questions from friends asking about where we are and where Hurricane Dorian hit back in late Aug/early Sept last year. The quick answer is that Abaco and Grand Bahama islands were hit hard. The Cat 5 storm sat over this area and wreaked havoc. They are still very much in the process of recovering.
As we look toward more favorable weather for travel our hope is to leave Bimini 1/15 or 1/16 and land in the Wardrick Wells area. This would be a 200 mile/24 hour leg but would allow us to get to the Northern part of the Exumas before the weather turns unfavorable again. Our internet access will be minimal (at best) once there, will post the next time we have good enough access to do so.