Cuba to Old Bahamian Bay Marina via Bimini
The Bimini Islands and Grand Bahama
Sunday May 22nd to Friday May 27th
We left Darsena marina at 08.30 Sunday morning. We had managed to catch the marina man the previous evening just as he was leaving for home, so we could pay our bill. He doesn’t work on Sundays and no one else would be available to pay. We decided to leave at short notice as our weatherman (Chris Parker) said any later than Sunday, and we would risk running into deteriorating weather. As we were keen to leave Cuba, we decided to go. Ian and Gerry stayed as they are going to Florida as they need to buy some more charts for the US.
The coastguard arrived at 08.00 to check us out. In Cuba, once checked out you have to go there and then, as the coastguard waited until we left. Rather a hurried departure but all went well as there was no wind to make our exit difficult.
The overnight trip to North Bimini island was uneventful and a bit boring as we had to motor all the way. Very light and variable winds. But there was quite a bit of large shipping around but nothing to cause us any problems.
We arrived outside the channel into North Bimini – not a straight forward entrance as there are lots of shifting sands. A big motor boat was going in so we followed him. Depth went down to zero once momentarily. We had tried calling a couple of marinas on the way in and eventually one replied – Browns – the first one we came to. We tied up ok, side to. The marina man told us we could only stay until Thursday as the following weekend and Monday is a US federal holiday (Memorial Day) and the marina was fully booked Also there is nowhere to anchor there or relatively close by that would be safe! As the weather was forecast to be not good for getting from Florida eastward we debated whether to risk hanging around to see if there would be any cancellations, or try and find somewhere else. We decided on the somewhere else which is a marina 70 miles north on Grand Bahama with plenty of space for as long as we wanted. However, the weather was against us for that marina, so the next morning at 06.30 we left and headed north to the western end of Grand Bahama, to Old Bahamian Bay marina and hoped they could accommodate us for a few days.
Getting out of the marina slip was interesting as the marina man (maybe he was the security guard) let go of our stern line when Chris had asked him to hang on to it, the back drifted out and we ended up across 2 slips. With much pushing, shoving and scraping a bit of gel coat we managed to get out. Next heart-stop moment was in the channel going out when the boat suddenly lurched but kept going!
Trip up to OBB marina quite enjoyable, managed to miss the only squall we saw and arrived here at 16.30 yesterday (24th). We can stay until Friday morning, and then we will go along the coast to the Grand Bahama Yacht Club. Cheaper than here and with some shops nearby. OBB marina is eye-wateringly expensive, but it is a resort as well, so we are just off to sit around the pool.....