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Author Topic:   Miami to Bimini
phatwhaler posted 03-02-2002 11:16 AM ET (US)   Profile for phatwhaler   Send Email to phatwhaler  
Anyone made a trip to Bimini from Miami in a small boat, say 20ft? It's only 44nm. Thinkin maybe in June when the weather is nice I'll give it a try. Anyone want to go with?
Blackeagle posted 03-02-2002 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Blackeagle  Send Email to Blackeagle     
You might want to read the BAHAMA RENDEZVOUS 2002 thread in the Trips and Rendezvous forum.

JFM posted 03-04-2002 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Don't try that trip during the winter, espeically in late December, in a small boat. We did it on a 50 footer and had a rough time. lhg, your advise was well taken. Regards, Jay
Bigshot posted 03-04-2002 09:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
gonna do it in my 17' in June. Maybe we'll caravan.
buster1389 posted 03-04-2002 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for buster1389  Send Email to buster1389     
I have made that trip numerous times in my family's 33' sloop. Those 44 miles of Ocean can be some of the roughest waters in the world. Pick your weather and go with a group. I have seen 10-14 foot seas for 10 hours there but I have also seen it like a lake. Afternoon thunderstorms, in the summer, brings with it lighting, high winds and water spouts on a daily basis. Late May is the best time to go. The cold fronts have died off, and its not quite hot enough for the afternoon thunderstorms to get violent.
phatwhaler posted 03-04-2002 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
I was thinking of going in late May. I figured I'd get a real early start. Probably could get there in two hours if no surprises. Are there any public boat ramps near government cut, ones that I would want to park my vehicle at for a couple of days?
buster1389 posted 03-05-2002 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for buster1389  Send Email to buster1389     
Crandon Park Marina has a fairly nice ramp that cost a minimal fee to launch at. I have seen many boats and motors stolen from that marina over my family's 20 year stay, but i have never seen a vehicle stolen from the marina. Its Key Biscayne location would be a great place to leave from as you could also explore some of the ragged keys. Hope that helps.
phatwhaler posted 03-05-2002 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
Thanks, sounds like a good spot to put in. I'm excited as soon as school is out that's my first order of business. Hopefully I can fall in behind a big sporty and take advantage of a smooth ride over.
Bigshot posted 03-05-2002 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Phat if I decide I am "definately" going i am gonna look for a local yacht club that will allow me to launch and store no problem and probably free(you too).

As far as I know me and my bud are going but again it is almost 3 months away.

lhg posted 03-05-2002 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I've made the south Florida coast crossing to both Bimini and West End many times, in my 25 Outrage.

Here are the essential guidelines:

1. If you have GPS, which you should, navigation calculations for crossing the 4mph northward flow of the "Stream" are not too important. But, KNOW how to do it anyway with just a compass in case your unit or power fails. As you cross, always know where you are, so you can re-calculate headings if necessary. Be sure your GPS is set to magnetic readings.

2. Start listening to the NOAA forecast several days before you're actually planning on going. Be flexible on trip dates if you can. Unless the forecast says "Light and Variable winds", don't go, if you want to maximize your pleasure and really enjoy the trip.

3. NEVER attempt a crossing, either direction, if the forecast has a "North" aspect. This builds up steep and dangerous waves in the stream.

4. Leave the INLET at first light, usually about 6 am. That will get you over there by 8:30 - 9:00 am. There are often early morning rain squalls to be encountered on the crossing, even though the rest of the weather is fair. Determine which way they are moving, and alter your course to go behind and around them. Don't leave after 11am, as you will get the sea breeze building by then.

5. Good months to go are May and June, except Memorial Day weekend, which is a zoo in Bimini. Every boat in So Florida is over there if weather is good!

6. If you're running a single engine, go in the company of another RELIABLE boat and crew. Out in the middle, you're basically out of communication with either shore, and the Gulf Stream northward drift can be a serious problem. You don't want to end up in Bermuda.

7. If traveling alone (one boat), carry extra water and have sun protection canvas, and a big bottle of #45 sun block. These items can save your life if stranded.

The center 1 1/2 hours of the run will be out of sight of all land. The Florida coast is visible for about 15 miles, but the Bahama shores are only visible for about 7-8 miles out.

But if you do all of the above, the trip over an back is an easy and exciting experience.

phatwhaler posted 03-05-2002 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
Thanks for the info. Why put the GPS on magnetic, as opposed to true? Does the GPS know what the variation and yearly change is? I always leave it set on true and factor variation and deviation for myself. I'm always interested in a better way though!
Bigshot posted 03-06-2002 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Bermuda huh....have not been there in about 15 years.
lhg posted 03-06-2002 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I think a GPS should always be set to conicide with the magnetic compass readings you are seeing. But either way, you'll get there. Magnetic GPS settings have made compass magnetic reading compensation a thing of the past.
phatwhaler posted 03-06-2002 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
This is assuming zero deviation or course. I'm gonna have to look in to this Magnetic setting in my GPS's owners manual. I figure the GPS has to know what the variation is in my area to be able to give a accurate magnetic reading. Do the satelites provide this info? Mystery. Personally I like to lay my track lines in true bearings and I'll steer my compass course after figure in Dev. and Var. I can't honestly say that I've ever maintained a plot while underway on my 19Ft OR. That's part of the allure of a crossing, I'll actually have to nav somewhere.
where2 posted 03-07-2002 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
most GPS can figure out the declination and correct Magnetic to True. Want to check your's? Go here: Enter your Lat/Long and get your current Magnetic Declination. Then compare it to the one your GPS figures. My Garmin 45XL can do it.
lhg posted 03-07-2002 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
All GPS and even Loran units read magnetic as the normal settings. Until we stop steering by compasses (which I doubt - what else do we have that is non-electronic as a back up), this will continue to prevail.
One should always know the magnetic deviation where you are in case your electronic unit fails.

I have always assumed the exact magnetic deviation is served by the satellites and DGPS/Loran towers.

Does anybody on this site run their GPS on a regular basis on True settings?

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