Another Day in Paradise - Alice Town, Bimini
Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
49Trip End May 26, 2009
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To our starboard are two couples, from France but lived in Gainesville for the past year, who have chartered a 30' Hunter from Miami. They need to be back by Saturday to turn the boat in - good luck on that! I believe they are leaving Thursday as are Dick and Pat. Across from us are three boats from Canada, two from Quebec and one from Vancouver. They have spent the winter in the Exumas and now are heading home. The two Quebec boats came in this morning. I walked down to their boats to ask how the Bank looked. They had just done a 22 hour trip from Nassau to Alice Town. They said it wasn't bad - 3'-4' chop. I asked their opinion about anchoring on the bank and they did not recommend it in these winds. So much for that!
Meanwhile back at the camp......Dave is checking all the websites we have - which by now is quite a collection - to predict our future. Passageweather.com has winds in the 15-20 range until they get up in the 25-30 kt range next week - oh goody! We'd like to be secure somewhere - other than Alice Town - before this new front comes through on Monday.
General consensus from anyone who will make eye contact with me is.....anchoring on the bank is OK when the winds are down but tough in higher winds because there is no protection from any direction. Time to rethink and rethink.
As if the Bank isn't enough to worry about - now I'm worried about the Northwest Channel at the Tongue of the Ocean. It goes from 20' to 3000' and when the tides change there is no place for the water to go except up onto the Bank so that could be very rough depending on when we hit it. Argh! ..and then...and then....and then - that's the problem with sitting on a dock - you have too much time to think about what you don't know but have heard about!
Our choices are to make a 22 hour run to Nassau, a 60 mile run to Chubb/Frazer Hog or Morgans Bluff or take our chances, anchor a night out and see. Very appealing choices. We've heard from more than one source that crossing the Bank at night isn't a big deal with our draft so that's a thought. Except.....always an except.....we want to be able to leave Alice Town in daylight to find our way out of here then head to somewhere, yet undetermined. Since we have stayed past our limit and are into our second day here at beautiful Bimini Blue Water Resort, we'll have to mull our options further into the afternoon and evening and probably still wake up in a quandary until we actually leave the dock!
Guys are about town with their bags of conch for sale. We opt'd to get ours cooked but can't help but think of Debbie on Air Force. She'd grab up that conch and come up with some really good fritters, I'll bet.
After reading the chapter in "Embarrasment of Mangoes" where they decide to serve up a surprise dinner of cracked conch and covered the galley and surrounding area with flying conch - I decided to purchase mine already prepared. I had a feeling it wouldn't be as good as the Abacos, but gave it a try and it wasn't. The Wrecking Tree on Green Turtle makes the best cracked conch. So, Capn Dave ended up with a larger lunch than anticipated because I donated my conch to him. Dick says when he offers up cracked conch - he goes down to Office Depot and buys up erasers and makes it with them. That's kind of what this conch tasted like - tough eraser. They didn't chop it up, or grind it or even hit it with a rock!
Interesting doin's on the dock - a 100''er is trying to tie up and needs the end dock. A Beneteau First was tied up there with an 8' draft! So they have to jockey the boats around - move the Beneteau to another position that has depth and let the mini-oceanliner have the end dock. There is always entertainment looking off the stern of a boat! Now that the boat is secure, we are getting the wonderful wafting smell of diesel exhaust across the marina.
Dick was telling us that he came over from Nassau a while back and went to the local liquor store to pick up his favorite coconut rum. He noticed the price was twice what he paid in Nassau and commented to the owner about the pricing. "This rum is twice what it is in Nassau - what's going on?", the owner "Ah - but here it's imported!".
You gotta love Bimini!
Despite our current position ... not moving ... the water is beautiful, the sky is bright and the temperature is moderate and it's lovely. Tomorrow's another day.
Life is good.
Cap'n Dave speaks:
Looks like we may have a plan for tomorrow. We're planning on leaving before dawn cracks with just enough light to make out the path out of harbor, then up to NorthRocks where we'll head East. Probably will want to put a reef in the sail before we make the turn. It will be 60 miles over the backs with a south wind of 10-15-20 off the starboard side. We should be flying all day. This is what a sailboat is supposed to do--sail. We'll be shooting for Chub Cay by late afternoon, if all goes well. If not, we'll just be that much closer to Nassau than we were today. When we crossed the Bahama banks in 2006 to the Abacos, we had the luxury of tucking up on the Leeward side of an island whenever we decided to quit for the day. We'll there's nothing to hide behind on the Great Bahama Bank for 60 miles. No marinas, no gas stations, not even a rest area where you could pull off the interstate-not even a Quicky Mart where you could grab a Slurpee. But I guess that's why we decided to take this trip.
So we'll rest up today-there aren't any big nightclubs or restaurants left in Alicetown anyway-and get an early start.