Starting to Get Our Feet Wet: Off to the Bahamas Soon?

Okay!?! Lisa and I are ready to try heading to the Bahamas again. Unfortunately, I’ve been out of commission for the last two weeks with serious Sciatica. The seems to be clearing up, and there’s a nice weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream later this week.

Since I’ve been out of commission for the past two weeks, we are planning to take it easy by doing two approximately 50mi hops on the first two days from Key West to Marathon and then from Marathon to Rodriguez Key off Key Largo. From there, we are expecting a 90mi hop to Bimini. The following graphic shows our planned route with the stops in pink place marks.

Key West to North Bimini

When most non-boaters hear this their response tends to be “Huh? Why so slow?” The answer is that Pearl moves at an average of 5 knots, or about 5.7 mph. Yup. That’s a leisurely pace. This can be further slowed by an unfavorable winds and current. The current in the Hawk Channel that we will be heading up is estimated at about 0.5 kt against us. Hmmm.

On the other hand, crossing from Rodiguez Key to Bimini, we should get about a 3kt lift to the north as the Gulf Stream seems to be ripping at the moment. What this means is we’ll be steering a course that’s about ENE to compensate.

As an aside, given that we will be using our trusty Auto Pilot (a.k.a. Otto von Helmsmann) he will likely be steering a heading rather than towards a waypoint. Why is that you ask? Steering a compass course or heading will minimize the course corrections required on a continuous basis. Yes, that’s geeky, but perhaps useful to someone.

Our current plan is to leave Key West on Wednesday and possibly cross the Stream on Friday, or perhaps Saturday depending on how things go. We expect to update our location at least daily if you want to follow along. If you decide you need to panic about our whereabouts at any time, call Jaywant, Brenda, or Chris, and then wait for about 24 hrs before you actually freak out. Note that we do have an EPIRB and Brenda and Chris are our contacts.

Let us know if you have questions, and we hope you have fun following along.

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