Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A couple of comments on what we've found so far...

Chris here... We're staying at the Bimini Sands Resort and Marina. Dockage is $1.10/night, which apparently is slightly on the high side, but the facility is brand new with security guards, floating concrete docks, clean areas, new buildings, laundry ($3 per load, washer or dryer), restaurants and apparently room service to your boat (no, we haven't tried that). The place is empty. Apparently it will fill up on three day weekends or holidays, but other than that it stays fairly empty. The facility has free wireless, and it works well with the Skype service we've bought ($2.99/month for unlimited calls into the US). I'll recommend it as one of the better facilities we've stayed at along our trip. Yes, I know we're not following the traditional cruising path of anchoring out all the time, but we enjoy the comfort of being tied up to a dock and the good sleep that tends to go with it. We can afford it for now, and the places we've visited thus far have good facilities, but I know we should relish in them while we still have the opportunity. Oh yes - it's also quiet (while there is nobody here). It's a very short dinghy ride (5-10 minutes) to Alice Town, and access to snorkeling via dinghy is easy. We don't have to worry about our dinghy either since there's security 24x7. Our Verizon cell phone works here, but it's $2/minute to use. The restaurant wasn't as expensive as we'd expected - most entree's were between $12-$20, and appetizers were $5-$10. I think we pay the same price at Red Lobster. I know things will change as we move farther in, but I thought I'd report on our initial entry point.

By the way - the whole aspect of leaving to cross the Gulf Stream to get to Bimini from as far south as possible? Totally true. If I could have started 20 miles farther south than Key Biscayne, I would have. The winds are almost never from true south, and with the current pushing you north, you have to be very far south to have a good angle to sail over. We ended up just north of Bimini, even while pinching at 20 degrees off the apparent wind. The course we should have sailed would have put us 5-10 degrees off the wind and we would have had to take our sails down or have them flog themselves to death. We ended up doing just that - taking our sails down - for the last 5 miles of the trip so we could turn south and actually make landfall. So the lesson to be learned? If you want to get to Bimini, the gateway to the Exumas, go south, young man, go south.

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