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Log: 3869

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Location: Bimini, Bahamas

Distance Traveled Yesterday and Today: 95 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance:  1230 Nautical Miles

Perfect Deckhand James and I have had a perfect trip. Beautiful weather, interesting stops, good food, good company, and we now reach the last leg of our trip together, crossing the Gulf Stream to Florida tomorrow morning.

We departed Nassau Tuesday morning in calm seas for the 40–mile, 5–hour crossing to the southern berry islands. We headed up what is known as the Northwest Channel to Frazier’s Hog Cay, just east of Chub Cay. Our mission was to see if the Berry Island Club still existed. It had been a somewhat wild joint run by two Cajun brothers when I last saw it and we had read that it was closed. We had to check for ourselves. The club was open and we were welcomed at their dock. The two crazy Cajuns sold it a few years back and returned to the states. Now it is owned by a Bahamian man who is busily fixing up the place. Three new rental rooms have been added in a new building out back and the general appearance of the place is greatly improved. Unfortunately, the Cajun food is gone but we enjoyed a mediocre Bahamian dinner of lobster tails.

Yesterday, we departed early for the long run across the Banks to Bimini. We covered some 83 nautical miles and anchored just before dark on the east side of Bimini, as it was too close to dark to attempt coming around the island and into the harbor. We thought we had found a perfect anchorage off a beautiful beach but it became very rough when the wind moved around to northwest during the night and swells came around the island, hitting us from the north. The boat rolled and doors rattled, and our anchor dragged slightly. But we made it through the night. This morning, we came around into the harbor and tied up at Brown’s Hotel and Marina, right next to the famous “End of the World Bar”, which we’ll check out tonight.

Bimini has seen some improvement since last I was here. A gigantic development is going on at the north end of the island called “Bimini Bay”. We checked it out by golf cart today and it is going to be very nice. Unfortunately, the Compleat Angler Hotel, hangout of Earnest Hemingway, had a fire and may be gone for good. The outside walls are still standing but we don’t know if it will be salvaged or torn down. The remainder of Alicetown is still pretty rundown, but there are signs of improvement, including the new docks at Brown’s where we are staying.

The crossing tomorrow is just 47 miles to Ft. Lauderdale. I plan to leave the boat near Palm Beach for awhile and head home but that is 75 miles and a much longer day at sea. We’ll probably cross to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow, send James home on a flight Saturday, and I’ll mess about up the waterway over the weekend and get to the boatyard near Palm Beach Sunday afternoon.

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