Noname Harbor at Key Biscayne and Passage to Bimini

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Florida, USA

025-40.560 N
080-9.900 W
Marine forecast for this location

I'm running behind on my logs, so before I get further behind I'll try to update things.

On Thursday we moved from the Miami Beach anchorage to No Name Harbor, which is on Key Biscayne. We did this to give us a slightly better wind angle for the trip to Bimini. The winds were supposed to have shifted to the SW, but I didn't trust the forecast and I decided that it would be worth the time to move. No Name Harbor is about 7 miles S of where we were anchored, but by moving we'd gain 8 degrees of wind angle. That may not sound like much, unless you're close hauled and trying to squeeze every degree that you can.

No Name Harbor is located at the S end of Key Biscayne and is within the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It's a well protected, relatively small harbor and from what I've read, is quite crowded on weekends with people who don't know how to anchor. There's a $15 overnight fee to anchor within the park. They have a FREE pumpout. It's a very nice anchorage. When we arrived there were lots of boats in the harbor, so we decided to anchor just S of the entrance to the harbor. We had fair holding (at best) with the anchor skipping when backed down hard. But the forecast was for 10-15, so I wasn't overly concerned.

We arose at 5 AM for the passage to Bimini and pulled up anchor at 5:45. With the new daylight savings time rules in effect, it was dark as the sun doesn't rise until about 7:20. After dodging the boats who didn't have anchor lights we headed into the channel. The charts show 6-7' in many areas, but I don't think that we saw less than 10'.

The wind, which was supposed to have been S to SW was out of the SE which caused a steep chop. It took an hour or so to get though that and Sue wasn't at all happy with the boat pounding into the steep waves in the dark. Once we cleared the bank and it got light, Sue was much happier.

The rhumb line from the S end of Key Biscayne to the Bimini channel is 91 degrees. You can't steer that as the Gulf Stream is moving N at between 2 and 3.5 kts. As a result you have to steer a lot more S to compensate. I started off with a course of 121 degrees and dropped that down after we got through the strongest section. The wind was blowing out of 145 degrees, which made it impossible to put the main up. We ran with the jib as tight in as possible, which really help stabilize the boat and gave us 1-2 kts of boost. About 7 miles from Bimini the jib halyard chaffed through and we rolled a LOT more.

It was definitely a bumpy ride across the Gulf Stream. We managed to out-pace a couple of strong thunderstorms. Some of our friends had decided to pull into a marina in Miami and got a later start got caught in one of the thunderstorms and saw gusts to 61 kts. I'm glad that we missed that and I'm glad that we had the additional 8 degrees as they couldn't sail for most of the trip.

We pulled into the Bimini channel at around 2 PM. The Explorer charts show a winding path along the beach that takes you into a deeper channel, but there's a new lit channel that carried 10'+ that's much easier. We didn't take that, but I sure would do it in the future. We checked out multiple marinas on North Bimini, but decided to pull into the Bimini Sands Marina on South Bimini. Bimini Sands was more expensive, but the facilities are first rate. Many of the marinas on N Bimini looked like they had a lot of hurricane damage and they weren't that much cheaper when you include power and water. The only anchorage in the Bimini channel is small and marked as poor holding. A front was forecast to move through with high winds and I didn't want to find out just how poor the holding was.

By 4 PM Interlude and Carry Okies were tied up and the dock and we celebrated their first Gulf Stream crossing. We're going to be here for a while, but that's a story for another day.

-- Geoff & Sue

Log ID: 940

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