The distance from Miami to Bimini is about 50 miles. We arrived at 1900 on 12/27/14, pulled into a slip and settled in for a few days. The first part of the trip was a little lumpy but about halfway across the seas flattened and it became more comfortable. We were motoring directly into the wind. We have been in Bimini a number of times so we knew the channel into Bimini Sands in South Bimini but they have changed the markers since last year. A new large unlit channel marker went between our hulls and popped out under the dinghy. No damage to the boat, but sure sounded bad!
We enjoy Bimini Sands because it is so quiet here and the marina has wide slips and floating docks. It is the only Marina in South Bimini. In the photo below we are between a large powercat and Interlude. There are other marinas in North Bimini, but they aren’t this nice. Also the current is strong at the other marinasmaking boats rock in the slips. Today we watched a sportfisher try 4 or 5 times to get into a slip with a strong current at Big Game Club Marina. Bimini Sands Marina is surrounded by condos and there are two pools, a tennis court, and several restaurants here. The beach is nice for walking, and Sailor certainly loves running on it.
We are staying three nights and leaving tomorrow, December 30. As always, moving around on a sailboat is dependent on the weather. We are hoping to get to Chub Cay tomorrow and Nassau on Wednesday. If the good weather window continues we’ll go on to the Exumas, probably Highbourne Cay on Thursday. While here we had some delicious pizza last night at the Beach Club on South Bimini. Today we went to the phone company office. No matter how hard we try to activate our phone and iPad ourselves, something always seems to require a visit to the Batelco office. We took a colorful bus to the Beach Club and a water taxi to North Bimini. Lunch at the Big Game Club and Marina was excellent. (If you look closely, you can see the scars on my knees from the knee replacement surgeries in September and October.)
Mark had several jobs to do here. It seems that when we have the mast taken down for hurricane season, there are electrical repairs to make. This time, the anemometer (wind vane) at the top of the mast is not working. Also on the mast, the radar is not getting the information to our chart plotter. Much to his dismay, Mark had to climb up to the top of the mast to fix them. It is easier to climb a mast at a dock than when bobbing around at anchor. Still not a sailor’s favorite activity. After all this work he couldn’t get either one to work. I’m sure he’ll be back up again, perhaps at our next and last marina in Nassau, until we are headed home in May.
Even I know that when something on a boat isn’t working, often the most obvious solution is the one to try first. Sadly, our riggers did not do that. It turns out there was NOTHING wrong with the radar unit. It was sent away to Raymarine and sent back with nothing done because it works, all of this holding up the repair by at least several weeks. When the mast was taken down, with the radar not disconnected, one of the riggers cut the cable to it. Mark saw it happen. And it turns out that is probably the reason the radar unit is not working. We are now waiting for them to find a new cable. They’ll be back tomorrow, or Friday.
In the meantime, the anemometer is fixed. We have a new unit at the top of our mast. It’s nice to know the wind speed and direction again.
So quite obviously we won’t get to Miami to cross by Sunday. Monday and Tuesday might still be possibilities. All of this is very disappointing. We have had our cruise delayed because someone didn’t think of the most obvious fix first.
When you own a boat, you get used to making repairs, waiting for parts and changing your sailing plans. You also get tired of hearing the saying “It’s a boat,” meaning don’t expect to be treated by marine businesses like you are by a car dealer or any other company. We heard that within days of taking possession of Seas the Day in July, 2008. When we itemized a long “fix list” for warranty items, we didn’t understand why the company that sold us the boat wasn’t getting things done quickly. After three months we left Ft. Lauderdale with items not fixed. “It’s a boat” they told us. Slowly but surely we realized that everything costs more if it has the word “marine” in its description. We understood we needed to lower our expectations when dealing with these businesses or be forever frustrated.
When something stops working on the boat, which happens regularly, we know we’ll have to fix it and it might affect our cruising plans. That occurred last year when we had a leak in a fuel tank days before we were leaving Stuart to start our 2012-2013 Bahamas cruise. We got the fuel tank fixed and left a few days later than planned. When we reached West Palm Beach, our first stop going south, we dropped the anchor into sand and the windlass dropped into the anchor locker. Ordering and installing the new windlass took a week, again delaying our cruise. But it was OK…..unavoidable when you own a boat and we accepted it.
However, when workers damage something on your boat and then don’t bend over backwards to fix it quickly, that is not acceptable. In June our anemometer was damaged when the mast was being taken down (unstepped). We saw it happen. We’re not sure when the radar was damaged: when the mast was dropped, when the mast was transported to or from storage, or when it was put back on (stepped). But we knew on our way back to the marina with the mast back on in mid-November that it wasn’t working. Today, three months after the mast was stepped, we finally got our repaired radar unit back on the mast. It’s not completely fixed but we have been assured that they’ll be back tomorrow to finish the job, along with installing a new anemometer at the top of the mast. If, and this is a big if, the repairs are successfully completed tomorrow (Wednesday), we can leave on Thursday or Friday. Sunday looks like a good day to cross from Miami to Bimini, and it takes us three days to get from Stuart to Miami if we don’t sail overnight. I have my doubts that we’ll make it there by Sunday, but if we can just leave Stuart this week with all systems working, we’ll be happy.