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SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
Just wanted to say Hello to everyone, I am new to the site. I live in Tampa and the majority of my fishing is in the bay and off the west coast of Tampa. I have a 23' CC and I'm in the beginning phase of information gathering about doing the crossing over to Bimini in the spring (after the north winds die down). Besides reading 100's of sites and posts, I have one other boater (34' Cruiser), but he has not made the trip either. I also have a third boater that has made it. But you know how that goes, if he has to drop out at the last minute, you have lost your guide. So, I will continue to do my research and try to build my convoy. When I have the window that I would like to cross (plus or minus a few days on each end due to weather), I will post on the "Find a Crossing Buddy" page. In the mean time, any addition advice for a small boater would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance
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Replies

  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,139 AG
    Hi Dave, welcome aboard.

    There are lots of very experinced boaters and Bimini guys here and most will gladly help you. But do yourself a big favor and do as much research ahead of time, then ask any remaining questions. Be sure to use the SEARCH function and that right there will answer a huge portion of your questions, because they've ALL been answered here over the years. Use Google for more info as well.

    Here's a great place to start educating yourself!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Bimini-Bahamas-Vantage-Boating-Cruising/dp/0972958916

    I'd strongly suggest that you plan you trip no earlier that mid-May to make sure that no late season cold fronts mees up your plans. Mid-June until about mid-August would be the best times to cross over....... especially since you'd have to trailer over from Tampa first..... Enjoy the "anticipation" of your trip!!
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    Thank you very much for you reply Gary. I am a firm believer in doing my research. My wife laughs at me all the time over it. I think that I have pretty much read every article posted on line. I have a collection of checklists that cover everything from weather updates, spare parts, safety equipment and what items are expensive on the island. Now I am getting my flotilla together. I think all my years in the military did it to me.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Bimini DreamBimini Dream Posts: 407 Deckhand
    You're almost there with that approach. There are a lot of great guys here with a wealth of information that are always willing to lend out a helping hand to those who ask.
    A Part Of Paradise
    http://onetoughkitty.com
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    Hey Bimini Dream, it was good chatting with you the other day. As you can tell, I survived my shoulder surgery yesterday. I think that I may be the first person in history to have rotator cuff surgery and the next day be able to say that It doesn't really hurt that bad. Now for the long process of recovering.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,139 AG
    No sweat Dave, glad to help. I remember my first trip running a boat over and with 4 airline pilots we had a TON of safety gear, phones, VHF radios and on and on! :hairraiser All on a 20 foot Grady-White with a single 150 Yamaha! A great trip and a wonderful sense of accomplishment! It's very fun to run your own boat over to a foreign nation and back!

    Here's where you might want to stay. Super nice people, great rooms, ice, fish cleaning tables, etc. From Sea Crest, you're an easy walk up/down the road to places that you will want to visit!

    http://www.seacrestbimini.com/
  • snookyjsnookyj Posts: 1,687 Officer
    Welcome Dave,

    Since my family sold our bigger boat(38 Egg Harbor)...i'm going to be taking my 25 Mako over more often. Let me know when your ready, you could always drive over and go with us one of these times, we go over pretty often, even in the winter. Me and my dad just went over this past monday and tuesday and wahoo fished, the weather was perfect!
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    Thanks for the warm welcome Snookyj. I am looking at doing my first crossing in the first few weeks of June. I had rotator cuff surgery yesterday, so loading and unloading a boat is not in the cards for a while let alone going to battle with a line stripper. However, I will stay in touch and continue picking brains.
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  • biminibradbiminibrad Posts: 373 Deckhand
    The biggest piece of advice is it is no big deal provided you plan for the worst such as sloppy seas, mechanical issues, etc. As a pilot I was taught never let the plane get some where your mind was not already at 10 minutes earlier. So true. We get plenty of decent days in winter as well as some of the biggest seas. I Have crossed in 10-12's but planned for it. If you are prepared, no big deal. What gets people most often is poor weather or mechanical planning. Definitely file a float plan with some one or other wise coasties rule of thumb is not to start looking for 48 hours, by the time you are off the Carolina's!
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    I understand that planning is the key to success for everything you do. I take my boat 40 miles out into the Gulf all the time and I check the weather first. Crossing over to Bimini is only a 50 mile ride, a lot few miles than I would do on just about any trip unto the Gulf. When going across for the first time, you want it to be an adventure. A lot like going to a haunted house for Halloween. You know the monsters are not real, but you allow yourself to get into that mind set, because you are looking for it. You only get a chance to cross for the first time once, after that the ride becomes a "Been there, done that" sort of thing. I guess I'm still a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Like I said, I spent so much time in the military and every time I packed up to go somewhere, it was some big adventure. Now, I have to create them for myself
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  • biminibradbiminibrad Posts: 373 Deckhand
    SFDave wrote: »
    I understand that planning is the key to success for everything you do. I take my boat 40 miles out into the Gulf all the time and I check the weather first. Crossing over to Bimini is only a 50 mile ride, a lot few miles than I would do on just about any trip unto the Gulf. When going across for the first time, you want it to be an adventure. A lot like going to a haunted house for Halloween. You know the monsters are not real, but you allow yourself to get into that mind set, because you are looking for it. You only get a chance to cross for the first time once, after that the ride becomes a "Been there, done that" sort of thing. I guess I'm still a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Like I said, I spent so much time in the military and every time I packed up to go somewhere, it was some big adventure. Now, I have to create them for myself

    There can be monsters, believe me. A few notables are a front that moved thru 6 hours earlier than forecast. That produced 50 knt gusts that ripped my Bimini off!
    Another time had a sub surface a few hundred yards in front of me. That scared the crap out of me. Being buzzed by a black hawk while running I didn't see coming gets ur blood going.
    Limping back on one motor after a spun prop as a tstorms formed over us was a real joy.(yes I had a spare but I wasn't going in 3000 of water at dusk to change it!)
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    Yes, that does sound a little close for comfort. I think I will stick to a bigger buffer when it comes to timing fronts. Especially if I have my wife with me.
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  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,139 AG
    SFDave wrote: »
    You only get a chance to cross for the first time once, after that the ride becomes a "Been there, done that" sort of thing.

    I would be willing to guess that your second, third, fourth trips, etc over to Bimini or to West End, etc will still be 98% as much fun as the first one! Wait until you hit the wall coming up from 2,000' to just a hundred feet and then see the gorgeus waters passing under your hull and it will get your motor running ever time!

    Oh, and there will be the first time that you actually see land! That most likely will be 8-9 miles out but that's still a blast! 40 miles out into the gulf and then coming back in, you's see "land" but most likely tall hotels, condos, etc..... but with Bimini, you'll be seeing an island! A lot more fun!

    Where are you planning to depart from? Marina, boat ramp, city? The guys here can steer you towards some good places for that as you'll want secure parking for the trailer, etc.

    I had a big brave firefighter come home from the Abacos with me once and he was petrified to be out of sight of land. :willynilly That is not an unusual situation. I just kept pointing to my big chartplotter and tell him, "See, there's Florida right there"!

    Dave, you're doing a great thing by starting to plan early. We have seen some guys pop up here with, "Hey, I'm thinking about running to the Bahamas for the first time next weekend, what do I need to do"?

    You'll want to educate yourself on how to clear Customs and Immigration both over there as well as over here when you get back and the best thing you can do is get a "local boater's option" card for when you come back here. With that (its like a small credit card) all you'll need to do is make one phone call when you dock up and you'll be done.
  • SFDaveSFDave Posts: 85 Deckhand
    I plan to launch from Harbour Towne Marina and staying at the Sands on South Bimini. I already got my Local Boaters Option Card. I am starting to collect parts for my boat. Not just for this trip, but good stuff to have on hand any way. And of course I will bring these parts along with the proper tools with me. I know that every time I cross, there will be a rush. There is noting like the first. I have a lot of experience parachuting, every time you exit an aircraft, your heart races. But there will never be another one like your first.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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