Apr 7, 201309:36 AM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
North and South Bimini
This photo is looking south from South Bimini Island, actually from the tiki hut at Mackies Sand Bar at the Bimini Sands Beach Club, but more about that later.
My blogs may not contain as many pictures as I'd like to publish while we are here in the Bahamas. Our current data plan only allows 800MBs of data transfer per month, and while this is an upgrade from the plan we instituted last week, it's still falls way short of what I'd prefer. We'll save data transfer on our MiFi device for email, weather and an occasional blog, hopefully at least once per week. Less pictures, and smaller ones, will allow us to retain the data transfer for the services we really need.
After finding out at BaTelCo that we couldn't put their SIM card in our iPad, another boater at the Bimini Blue Water Resort came by late on Friday afternoon and announced that he had just gotten a SIM card installed in his iPad at the local BaTelCo store in Alice Town, and he now has 1G of data transfer, at a cost of $20, plus the cost of the SIM card of $14. I suspect that our boater friend had been imbibing some Kalik's, in fact, a few of them. I don't dispute his claim in general, but I feel like I need to visit the BaTelCo store in Alice Town again on Monday.
So, for this reason, and one other, we are still in Bimini. The other reason is that I'd been watching the weather all week, and the calm period due to arrive today did arrive, but is only to last a day or two. This is plenty of time for us to travel the 80+ miles to Great Harbor in the Northern Berry Islands, but the waves were still to be coming from the north, meaning at least a three-foot beam sea on our port side for a whole day...not a pleasant situation. Weighing all these things, plus our rule of not venturing out on purpose when the wind exceeds 15 miles per hour, we decided that hanging out here in Bimini is not a bad thing, only we wanted a change of scenery.
We stayed at Bimini Blue Water Resort and Marina for four nights, and we went to breakfast twice, once at CJ's, and once at Captain Bob's. We had a good take-out lunch at the Taste of Heaven. I've already mentioned our overpriced dinner at Sherri's Diner. We'd checked out the menu at the Bimini Big Game Club and decided that the management there must be nuts. It's a nice place, but prices are too high. I don't know where all these Bahamians are getting so fat, but they aren't eating out much, and the prices in the little grocery stores leave us scratching our heads too.
On Wednesday, at our marina, a trawler came in and docked next to us, blocking some of our view. Also, first thing the captain says to Rosie while I wasn't around was that our lines were too tight and our rub rail was squeaking against the rubber protector on the piling. I'd already taught Rosie the solution to that problem, so Rosie says, "I'll fix that right now," and then whipped out our bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid and squirted some on the rubber. No more squeak. I also let the captain of this boat hear me say to Rosie that what we do with our boat is no one else's business. I may have used a couple of cuss words, too. His demeanor towards us became pleasant after that.
It was during one of my sleepless midnight episodes that I decided to change harbors. The wind had let up on Saturday, so we fueled up the boat at $6 per gallon, taking on 83 gallons of diesel. (This is what we burned crossing over from Key Largo.) We paid our bill and pulled out of the North Bimini Harbor and into a rolling Atlantic Ocean, where I dumped our holding tank in 2,800 feet of blue water. Don't gasp. There are no pump-out stations in Bimini, and most folks just dump in the harbors.
Our destination was the Bimini Sands Marina, just less than a mile away on the island of South Bimini. No sooner than we left the cut going out of North Bimini than we turned around and aimed for the cut going into the harbor at the Bimini Sands. This entrance is not to be traversed in a westerly wind, as it's very narrow and shallow. The wind was coming from the northwest, and lots of waves were making our steering difficult. I put some throttle into Swing Set, so I could steer better, and we sailed right into the harbor without a hitch...but we were both nervous as hell.
I have pictures, but can't show them. The harbor here is a square-cut into the rocks, lined with nice condos. There's a restaurant on site, a customs office, ships store and grocery, and two pools, one of them is a very nice infinity pool overlooking the ocean. But even though it's full of water and we can use it, the deck isn't completely finished and there's no furniture. We don't care. I think we'll be using the pool quite a bit in the coming days.
There is another "marina" just south of here owned by the same company. They have another restaurant and a sports bar called Mackies Sand Bar. We went there yesterday evening to check it out, and also to see what the marina looked like.
We hopped on the complimentary shuttle bus that connects both properties and also takes vacationers and travelers to the small airport nearby, and we rode the 2.5 miles on the gravel road to the Bimini Sands Beach Club. The marina there is exposed to southerly and southeast winds, and is surrounded by dirt road and sand beaches, meaning a dirty boat in my mind, plus there's no one there, meaning not many boats in the marina. It's a little too secluded for our tastes if we're going to leave the boat for any reason, especially with patrons leaving Mackies in various stages of inebriation.
The good news is that bottled Kalik beers are "only" three bucks, a deal around here. I didn't know Bud Light was included, too, but it was nice to find out. The bar menu was reasonable, and we found out there were two happy hours, one on Wednesday and one on Friday, where the same beers were $1.50 between 3 and 6. Pinch me, I may be dead. I'd say in heaven, but that notion falls into even greater fantasy territory for me.
After Monday, the wind will kick up in the area on the Bahamas Banks like it has been for the last few days, so it appears we'll be here at least until Saturday. I've spent every day looking at our options as far as other destinations go, considering not only the Berry Islands but also the Abacos, Andros and New Providence Islands, but the sea conditions to all places are not going to be pleasant after Monday, plus after our expenses with the wind generator and bottom painting in Marathon, it won't hurt our budget to stay put for another week.
You might think the marina expense could be eliminated by anchoring out, but there's only one decent place around here where we could drop a hook, and it would only be calm for a night or two. The cost of running the diesel generator is nearly the cost of our slip here at the Bimini Sands, considering the cost is only $1.10 per foot and fuel is $6 per gallon. Four to five hours of generator running makes plugging in at this marina an attractive proposition. Almost as attractive as happy hour at Mackies on Wednesday.