Bimini to Highbourne Cay

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…Our Team of three…

We spent one lay day at Bimini Sands Marina in South Bimini to allow the East Winds to shift to SSE as forecasted. This gave us time to shuttle down to the airport in the AM to check into the Bahamas and get our cruising permit and fishing license. All of us were granted only 90 days, but asked if they would kindly allow us 120 days and they did. After customs, we washed our boats because non of us had been to a dock for many weeks. The day was spent with the teams going to north Bimini to BTC for SIM cards for their cell phones and Radeen and I stayed back and did a few network jobs and hit both pools. That night Team IP 380 PLAN SEA cooked us a delicious dinner of roast pork with sauteed apples and onions.

Hayden and Radeen raise the Bahamas Flag

Tuesday, we departed Bimini with a planned passage like Jim and Cynthia of Crealock 34 NEVERLAND did last year, running all night past New Providence to Highbourne Cay, a 28-30 hour run. That sounded great to all of us as we really do not like Nassau and wanted to take this calm weather window East as fast as we could. Remember, it is 200+ nautical miles EAST of Miami to reach the Exumas at Highbourne Cay. The trade winds are ALWAYS EAST so it is very difficult to go east. These weather windows only show up every 7-10 days, so many times you are simply waiting back in Miami for the winds to go South or to die down enough to power east. This time, we had 3-4 days of calm before the next front arrives on Thursday night, so we motor sailed the entire 200 nm.

We did have a fantastic sail out of Bimini, sailing south on East winds, to Gun Cay / Cat Cay cut where we turned East and headed out onto the Great Bahama Bank. Cuts in the Bahamas are to be respected because the current runs fast between them and the shore is always very hostile, rocky and jagged. God help you if your engine would ever die when running a Bahamas Cut, if it did, it would be very serious. Because of that, we always keep a sail up when motoring into cuts. In this photo you can see buddy boat IP380 PLAN SEA powering around the point with his sail up in the rocky cut. Very cool photo.
Running the NW Channel

Once up on the Great Bahama Bank, we enjoyed the flat conditions for making lunch and dinner as we motored east til the sun set behind us. We motored on towards the scary and always challenging Northwest Channel where the the 10 foot waters of the banks flow out into the 5,000 foot depths of the Tongue of the Ocean. This small slot of water framed by rocks and coral reef on each side is the only way through. Due to our speed and the long distance, we always arrive in the dark of night. For safety we are running two independent GPS systems on board, one the new B&G Zeus with a rooftop GPS antenna, and one a Samsung Tab2 tablet with builtin GPS and Navionics software. Between these two systems, we feel confident that we know where we are, even though they present the chart data slightly differently. Once through this cut, we bashed our way into big waves as the winds were 10+ knots EAST (all forecasts were for 4-5 knots from t SSE).

Sunrise peeked through the scattered clouds as we approached the west end of New Providence and we all were happy to be able to see beyond the bow of the boat. Now we could see the salt spray all over the windshields from taking bow waves of salt spray all over the entire deck and canvas. We are so glad we washed the boat yesterday! It is crazy how the wind forecast is rarely right, it may be close, and it may be from the right quadrant but it is not right on. We left the Tongue of the Ocean and crossed up onto the next Bahama Bank and NOW the Exumas were in reach. Just another 50 nm (7 hours) and we reached Highbourne Cay where we always re-fuel. We used 32 gallons since Miami….$2.69 a gallon there and $4.41 here. We were grateful to drop and rest after 39 hours of moving. Next stop, Warderick Wells (30 nm south) in the Exuma Land and Sea Park! Wait until you see that…..
Look at the water, this is why we sail to the EXUMAS. 

Here are more photos, Photo Boy loves to take pictures….

Fun Selfie at the infinity pool at Bimini Sands

Radeen, my favorite photo subject
Photos of: Setting Sail off Bimini, Our FIRST Bahamas Sail of 2017

Ocean water color right off of Bimini, BLUE BLUE BLUE
We set full sail, Jib, Staysail and Main….ahhhhhhh

IP 380 PLAN SEA sailing with South Bimini in the background

Sailing photos are always the best 45 degrees off the bow

IP 380 PLAN SEA, Jim and Loretta ocean sailing

Crealock 34, NEVERLAND sailing off South Bimini

The Crealock 34 is a sleek double ender

The new NEVERLAND with Jim and Cynthia at the helm
Photos of: Running the cut between Gun Cay and Cat Cay, notice the harsh shoreline

IP 380 PLAN SEA off Gun Cay Light

Look at the shordline, all rock and no beach here

Harsh jagged rock of Gun Key with abandoned buildings

Neverland powers through the cut at Gun Cay and Cat Cay
Photos of: Sunset on the Great Bahamas Bank as we motor sail East
The sun sets over the stern on the banks as we power east

This is the view from the helm, all night long, know your radar system well

Photos of: Day Break and Sunrise as we approach West end of New Providence Island

YES, we are alive! We can see, look there is the bow….yahooooo

WHAT? Salt spray up to the roof, OK, time to fire up the watermaker and clean this off
Sunrise around the jib as the winds have finally gone SSE

We learned how to customize the Zeus2, screen making our own layouts to choose from. Very cool!

Photos of: SUNSET, our first 2017 at anchor off Highbourne Cay

The winds are west, the front is coming, the sun is setting, time to find shelter tomorrow

Our conch horn from friend Carey which I blow at sunset…”Welcome to Da Bajammas Mon!”

Sunset, bow facing west which means a new front is coming
I know this blog post was a little long, but we are so excited to return to the Exumas and I had so many great photos. I shot 375 on two cameras over the past 36 hours. There are so many photo opportunities and I really enjoy the hobby. Thank you for sailing along. Next stop Warderick Wells and the Exuma Land and Sea Park.
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0 Replies to “Bimini to Highbourne Cay”

  1. Very exciting trip….must have been tiring.
    Do both of you stay up in the cockpit all night or do you take shifts or what?
    For about 10 miles before you got to Highbourne Cay there is a gap in the plot..did you turn the Delorme off for a while?

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