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Published: March 14th 2014
We left No Name harbour Wednesday March 12th at 6:30 am in the dark. We traveled slowly through Biscayne Bay and were able to put up sails when we came out of the Florida channels at 7:30 am as the sun came up. The ocean was quite confused for the first little bit until we got to deep water. It was a beautiful sunny day, 13 knot steady winds and no gusts. We had all sail out. We were averaging about 7 knots. The Gulf Stream was very narrow on Wednesday and less powerful than usual, so our only indication we were in it was the fact we had to correct our course about 10 degrees. The winds picked up as the day went on, rising to 18 knots steady and gusting up to 25 knots. The waves rose to between 3 and 5 feet with some well over 6 feet but they were more organized if not far apart. Caribee was happily balanced except for when random big waves came from other directions and knocked her. The wind started to shift a little and gust from different directions, and then the sea got a bit confused again. This was not
helped by the depth rising hundreds of feet at a time as we got closer to the Bahamian shelf. Caribee sliced through all effortlessly, but the helming was a bit more challenging. After about 7 hours we finally saw the Bimini islands! The water rises so quickly that before you know it your deep beautiful blue is replaced with turquoise. We were not able to marvel at the water for very long because the waves did not decrease as we expected them to on the shelf and we had to take in our sails. We should have reduced sail gradually earlier on to help ourselves- taking in the main especially in choppy waters with huge swells and wind gusts while close to shore was not fun. We keep forgetting how much more energy it takes to pull in Caribee’s sails, and how much more careful you have to be with inmast furling. You learn every day. We finally were ready to enter into the channel to bring us to Alice Town north Bimini.
It is scary to sail in clean waters. We are not yet experienced with eyeball navigation using the water colours to determine depth. You see the
dark coral heads, even in the channel where you know it should be deep enough, and you worry. I guess time will ease this a bit. We finally found the Blue Water Marina that Marty had booked us into. It was not well marked, there are four or five in a row, and there is a narrow dredged channel in front of them all with not a lot of room to move around when there are other boats passing. Marty had to call the marina to see which one it was and to have someone on the dock tell us where to go. We got tied up before the winds got bigger. Finally we were able to look around quickly at our beautiful surroundings. Marty went to check in with customs while I straightened the boat out.
We are here! This is definitely not like anywhere we have been before. Of course the water is the first clue, but the marina itself has a different feel as well. It is small, only 27 transient berths, but it has gas and water, showers, a bbq area and a little pool. Across the street it has a restaurant/bar and a hotel.
When you leave the marina you step right onto King Street….. literally. There are no sidewalks in Alice Town. The street is just large enough to have two cars pass carefully. There are just as many golf carts on the road as cars. From our little walk yesterday, King Street seems to be the business street: marinas, grocery and liquor stores, restaurants, government buildings and tiny little souvenir stores. King Street is on the east side of the island with shallow bays in front of it. The only other full length street in Alice Town, Queen Street, is on the west and deep ocean side. It seems to be more houses so far. We will do some more walking today, and at some point we will walk up to the top of north Bimini and visit the other towns along the way. The beautiful beach is calling me, but I have a feeling the waves will be too crazy to go in the water. The storm is coming through and the winds have already started shifting.
We will probably have to stay here until Sunday or most likely Monday…. Maybe even longer. The winds will be strong for the
next few days. Our next leg is very shallow across the Bahama Bank so it is important that we have the right winds and waves for this. Afterwards it will be less important because the water will be deeper, but we have to wait for weather for the Bank. I don’t think I’ll have a problem waiting here somehow- at 1$ per foot it is not expensive, and although small there is plenty to see and experience here. Alice Town has some interesting history to explore. And maybe some banana and mango rum to try!
having a hard time uploading the pictures.... i think i got a few in!
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