Bahamian Secret Spot "Surfari"!

sleepwalkersleepwalker Posts: 101 Deckhand
I hope that you all enjoy a few pics and a short write-up of a recent Sleepwalker trip to a "Secret Spot" in the Bahamas that's not too far way from S. Florida. This is of course a totally fictional account of "camping" in the Bahamas as it's not legal to do so... Of course we all actually slept on our boats.

This piece was put together by my friend Rick Iossi. Thanks Rick! Let's do it again sometime soon.

PS. The islands that we visited were all left in better condition than before we visited. If you pack it in, pack it out. Plus it's good karma to pack out a little extra as the birds, fish, and turtles will appreciate it!


More pics to follow.
RickI wrote: »
Kent Marinkovic had a great idea, no wonder there, there have been lots over the years. This one involved a group of boats heading
over to the Biminis in the Western Bahamas for diving, kiting, SUP, cookouts and having a great time. The first trip was set up as a
dry run and just an over nighter. Gilligan had his three hour tour to make history, we were targeting about 36 hours to cram in
some superlative experiences in down island way.

Dawn the day of the trip. There is no wind, forecast good for crossing and diving.

Kent and Paula's 29 ft. "Sleepwalker," a Strike, powered by twin Cummings 370 diesels. This vessel is FAST, easy riding in the seas
and has a deceptively large amount of room.

The gang's all here and loading up.

We're off, being trailed by our companion boat for the crossing.

Kent and Garry in the fly bridge for a very nice crossing in excellent summer conditions. Kent is President of Pryde Group America,
distributors throughout the Americas of Cabrinha, Neil Pryde, JP-Australia and a good deal more. Kent had a stellar Pryde Group dealers meeting in Bimini
with no end of great times and sights. a while back. More at:
Garry Menk is a principle in Fuacta Sports distributing Jimmy Lewis boards throughout the Americas.

Motoring out of Coconut Grove past Stiltsville via the Biscayne Channel and into the Straits.

Heading to the Biminis, shown here on an 1816 chart

Crossing the Straits of Florida in good seas and light breeze.

A short three hours later we head into Bimini Sound with Paula, Alexandra and Maui in the bow beanbag chairs.

Passing by the old Chalks seaplane ramp in Alice Town, North Bimini. There is Tropic Ocean Airways now flying passenger service
to Bimini from Miami, FL.

Heading north up Bimini Sound passing Weech's, where we used to dock regularly back in the day.

Alice Town

We are heading up to the Big Game Club to dock and clear Customs.

Chris Quinn moved Bimini Water Sports to the Big Game Marina offering kite, windsurfing, wake boarding, SUP gear
and lessons, diving and small boat rentals.



Preparing to clear Customs, Brian Green, Kent's colleague looks on. Kent as the Master is charged with taking down all the documents
to the Customs House. It is a slow process unfortunately, but ultimatly worth the wait for what lays on and beyond the island.


The Big Game hotel and pool area.

Kent with Mike Weber, the General Manager of the Bimini Big Game Club.

Chris, Paula, Garry and Maui hang out by the pool.

The upstair restaurant at the Big Game festooned with Bahamian artwork and classic photos.

North Bimini Beach from Kings Highway.

A panoramic view east across the marina and Bimini Sound from the restaurant deck at the Big Game. You can see Chris' kite rigging
platform just to the south of the island in the center of the frame. You can ride in shallow flat water with wind from all directions in that area.
CLICK image for full sized photo

Paula, Alex and Maui stroll back to the boat looking good.

So, we load up and head south down the Biminis to Kent's Mystery Island.

We tow divers along the way looking for dinner.

We arrive after a while and approach from the sheltered flats side to anchor. The island is about 1200 ft. long and uninhabited, by
people anyway. There is a lot of life there to be sure.

We need to tender in supplies for dinner and hanging out on the island. Kent paddles a cooler ashore amid rays and a few small
sharks swimming through the shallows.

Sunset comes to our island.

Kent and Louie clean the day's catch for dinner. Paula had brought some superlative ceviche makings for the fish. Garry and crew
cooked dinner over an open fire and life is good!


I strolled down the beach a bit later on and came across a large loggerhead. She had laid her eggs close to the rocks and was resting
on her crawl back to the water. I used to tag these guys and recovered endangered nests in Florida back in high school. Folks enjoyed
getting a look at the female on her trip back to the water.

Dawn the next day


We had brought kite gear, thinking if we didn't, perfect 9 m winds would come through. It was to be a calm but beautiful summer island day.

Let's go checkout that wreck off the north end of the island.

The sun is up and the day is on!

Hitting the shallows on the way to the shipwreck.

Kent and Maui paddle around the island to checkout the wreck.

The bow of this as of yet unnamed freighter. The hull is of riveted construction aiding with the dating a little bit. It seemed to be over a
100 ft. long from the plate strewn over the bottom to the southward. The bow at and below the waterline is still somewhat intact
with the rest if the ship aft of this point pounded flat.

Nurse sharks are usually pretty docile but this one swam directly at me and slammed into my camera mounted on a Quikpod monopod.
It just swam off and didn't linger however. I have others show more persistent interest, made for a nice shot though.

Paula goes out for a paddle in all that incredible Bahamian flats water.

I swam up on another nurse shark on the wreck for a close shot.

The Marinkovic's have a family moment on the water.

We raise hook and ease around the island to run down the Biminis to Riding Rock. You can get a better look at portions of the wreck.

We dove at points along the way.


Louie got a good sized mutton snapper. Kent and Garry did well too.

Paula and Alex head out to explore this incredibly scenic place on an SUP.
CLICK image for full-sized photo


Alex in the cut between the western and eastern islands of Riding Rock.

Kent had told me about a swim through further south down the cay. I went looking for it and finally found it. I free dove through the
shallow cave and came upon Kent on an SUP on the far side of the island. You want to stay close to the bottom to avoid slamming
your head on the low rock ceiling. The current was pretty strong from the west so you needed to pull yourself through along the bottom.

Paula and Alexandra hang out with Maui in the background. These ladies put together a very nice Waterlust video recently, "Azul."
The video used imagery in part shot on this trip. They did a marvelous job on the clip, you should check it out.


"Azul - A Waterlust film about women in water
by Waterlust PLUS 1 week 17 hours ago / via Final Cut Pro
A short film by Paula Marinkovic & Alexandra Menk that explores their aquatic lifestyle.
Shot entirely on GoPro cameras with the
Blurfix lens by Snake River Prototyping.
Powered by Adventure Sports Miami."

A look at the small cave, swim through passing from the west to east side of the island. Someday this will be a cut between two islands
but for now it is a solution feature in the limestone comprising the island.

Swimming into the cave from the west side. There is this startling red algae just at the cave mouth. I was shooting with two GoPro HD2
cameras in the new Underwater Housings mounted on a Quik Pod monopod to catch things both forward and back.

This is the view heading back west beneath the cay.

The Biminis are a marvelous place!

We pulled anchor to boogie back to Florida before sunset. Kent dropped me for a short time to try to find the wall off Riding Rock.
From what little I could see it might be more gradual there at least in shallow water under a couple of hundred feet deep.

Conditions were lake-like on the return crossing, so it went fast. Before we knew it, we're back at Scotty's Landing in Miami.

What a fantastic 36 hours, it really is better in the Bahamas! Thanks to Kent, Paula and all the gang for a great trip.


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