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McNally Goes to Bimini

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The Great Adventure Luxury Yacht Sailing Charters

Here we come! This was a simulation of ideas for charters out of Palm Beach.

Somebody has to do it so dog gone it I volunteered. Been pondering this idea for a while and where would I go what would it be like, how many miles, could we anchor here or there, how are the wind angles, stuff like that.

The boat is a brand spanking new 2016 Jeanneau 54 “Agua Especial”. Her sailing team “Brogan” has had her now for 2 months or so getting her super equipped for this very purpose. On board this trip, the good Captain Jim, and great crew- his adventurous wife Kelly and daughter good sport Emily to go sailing, bring toys with you, bring technology with you, bring super comfort with you, be fast, stable, self-sufficient and unbelievable comfortable away from the dock.

First day out of Palm Beach we headed south. Destination Hillsboro Inlet, 26 or so miles. We had a late start, 3 pm but motor sailing down the coast we stayed tight inshore in 30 to 20 feet deep to keep out of the clutches of the Gulfstream that wants to slow us down. We did good, 7 knots most of the time! Hillsboro Inlet is an awesome spot with a beautiful lighthouse perched on the north side. The entrance is a little tight and you need to angle in from the south a little, but she is well marked. The plan was to meet the Owners and family members at the famous Caps restaurant for dinner. Coolest spot, been around since the 1920s, only get there by boat. Al Capone use to love this place, I sure do! Interesting fact the draw bridge we thought we would go through to get a little closer the Caps opens just fine but being a single span-er she has limited clearance of 60 feet when open. Hmmm good to know tall guys at 73.5 feet!  So, no problem, we anchored up in our nice little spot near the light hours in 10 feet of water and buzzed over to Caps for a great time and good eats. I did in fact, really enjoyed myself. Everyone did!

Back to the boat, the half moon was rising right next to the lighthouse how cool was that. The lens for the light house seems really unique, very cool to see her making her way around sparkling her lights into the dark skies. Cool! Sitting on the fold- down transom with our feet in the water gazing into the light filled water from our very special underwater lights, fish began to gather for the evening festivities. The faint beat of ‘We are Family’ is waffling across the water, what the heck, oh there is a wedding party over on the beach under the light house living it up! Way past out bedtime, big day tomorrow planning to go 50 plus miles to our favorite Key Largo destination Angelfish Creek.


Day 2 6:30am Tides cranking out, we have swung around the east. Time to get moving and head on down the road, as they say. First a couple sunrise pictures with the lighthouse! Awesomeness! Fasting forward past Ft Lauderdale Inlet, Haulover Inlet, Miami, and Fowey Rocks we go. Ah there are Bache Shoals, that’s where we stopped and snorkeled that time coming south from Angle fish.

Gliding through the clear blue waters the whole day, we caught nothing on a very pretty Dolphin catcher lure we been dragging the entire day dang!

Angelfish creek is a tight entry just south of Broad Creek and Caesar Creek. If you go all the way through, you come out to the ICW, there is a nice cozy inside anchorage in Card sound, next to Pumpkin Key. It does look like you can’t navigate a boat more than 5-foot draft but that is not true! We have navigated up to 6’3” draft safely and at high tide of course, best with-it coming in. We found a sweet spot just west of the little mangrove creek then wound through Palo Alto Key to the north. Captain Jim coasts her up and Kelly releases the anchor with ease. Nice view of the ocean, 15 feet of clear blue water beneath us, the tide still coming in, but getting ready to change. Plenty of time to un-load the paddle boards and do some exploring. I grab my mask and go dive on the anchor just for fun and see how she’s doing. Looks good, nice sandy area, mixed with rocks perfect!

I love this spot not much traffic, good breeze every time I’ve been here. Exploring the waterway Jim and Kelly spotted a huge white heron, a couple stingrays and Barracudas darting about. Emily enjoyed some time just floating off the back on her slice of heaven (pizza float).

Next big event was dinner, marinated shish-a-bobs on the barbie of course! More great sunset pictures and watching amazing fish swimming around the transom underwater lights. Tonight’s show was shrimp of all sizes and color darting between our feet. I love these underwater lights.

We had a team meeting before we hit the pillows what to do tomorrow? Go to Bimini across the Gulfstream or chill out on this side of the pond. Wind forecast is not the best but what the heck lets go check out Bimini, somebody’s got to do it, might as well be us! Tide is super low at 8:30am tomorrow not good to navigate Angelfish creek until she starts her flow in. So, we will enjoy some more paddle boarding in and the morning.

Day 3     12 noon off we go Bimini bound, with light winds, 50 or so miles to go across the Gulfstream. Just seven miles out the water changes from Key Largo emerald blue green to Gulfstream deep blue and 400 feet -bam! Just like that! We are still dragging that dang fishing lure, but nothing biting.

Fast forward, 25 miles out making good time, 8-9 knots with this angle the Gulfstream is giving us a push. Time to stop and go for a swim 4000 feet beautiful deep dark blue clear, did I say deep already WOW! So cool, even stopped we are doing 5 knots going north from the Gulfstream, amazing!

Fast forward -Land HO! 12 miles out on the horizon, trees and structures start to emerge first to the left then all the way down towards the south. Still the water is over 2000 feet. This is going to be awesome!  I’m really enjoying myself now, again!

A half mile out we can finally see the opening, which angles in from the south. The shoal runs parallel to the beach. The water looks amazing as it ebbs away dancing around the straining bell buoys, bobbing to stay up right. It’s low tide, but still, plenty of water depth. Even though we can plainly see the bottom it is comforting to see the depth registering 12 feet on the displays.

Powering up some, to make way in the current we can see the ferry navigating across the channel from north Bimini to South Bimini. Rustic marinas line the east shore.  We are going to the fifth one down, Bimini Big Game Resort and Marina just past the fuel dock at Bimini Blue Water Resort.

Just past 7 pm, made pretty good time getting across, we can see Steven, the dock master waving us in. Jim glides past, scoping out the landing area, pretty tight on the inside of the outside pier the approach is with the current. It’s a great marina for our first night, easy to check into Customs right on sight, little restaurant, nice pool, close by markets, golf cart rentals and as we found Charlie’s Bakery for the Bahama bread!

Captain Jim guides her right in on the 2nd go around, tide and all is well on board the ship! Good job crew, the team has completed her first Gulfstream crossing!

The horizon is glowing many shades of red as the sun dips below the horizon. Relaxing now, enjoying one of the many features the Jeanneau 54 has to offer is the amazing comfortable giant cockpit. Quickly the steaks are sizzling on the stern pulpit grill as we enjoy front row seats watching jumbo size Tarpon curiously glide in the underwater light arena for an easy snack on the bait fish gathering under our transom. Never get tired of this.

Team meeting after dinner, we make our plan for the next day. Good looking snorkeling north of the inlet near Spook Hill beach. There are 3 rock heads that stick up in 15 feet of water. Great for snorkeling. If light southeast winds hold and the weather stays nice, we will stay out and anchor up offshore for the night. With the light offshore breeze, it will make for nice calm water all night long.

Day 4 Early morning we watch the most beautiful sunrise! A few rain showers pass by and nicely wash our boat off. Time to check in at customs, then off for some provisioning and lunch at our now new favorite lunch spot CJs overlooking the crystal blue water beach, we will soon be snorkeling and paddle boarding in. It’s easy to rent golf carts from Big Game to buzz around sightseeing and check out all the small stores and do provisioning. We now know exactly where Charlie’s Bakery is for the yummy Bahama bread.

After lunch we are quickly away back out the channel, the showers that were around have now stopped, it’s very light wind. Tblue water is so perfect for snorkeling off the North end of Bimini in 12 feet of water, near the rocks we call Shark rocks. There are 3 rock areas surrounded by thousands of fish, and coral fans swaying back and forth. Just 200 yards from the rocks we drop the anchor in a nice sandy spot. The Team quickly deploys the paddle boards and Kelly is off paddling towards the out cropping. Jim looks up after deploying paddle board # 2 and says WOW look at that! Carving along the bottom passing between the boat and unsuspecting paddle boarder is a beautiful 8-foot shark trolling the reef. So cool! Neither of us said anything to Kelly as she happily stroked towards the rocks in the other direction.

Jim and I explored while snorkeling and found the middle and largest formation has an underwater arch way opening just enough to swim through. Yep, so Jim of course has to swim through with only minor scars because floatation discrepancies.

This turned out to be a wonderful a day, a fantastic snorkeling spot, so why not, we decide to stay the night. Dining in the cockpit was superb as another day came to an end with the glowing array of orange and gold rays sink into the western horizon as the sun disappeared and the night sky took over for the evening show!

The evening show was something else as the sea and the sky blend together and the stars came out. The underwater lights came on and everyone started to arrive.

Slowly at first, small shrimp darted at our feet. Shrimp seem hypnotized by the glow, needle fish came, green minnows came, blue minnows came, everybody came to see what was going on. Schools of tiniest little minnows of all colors gathered under the boat. Nothing could resist the alluring under sea party. Not even Jim, disregarding every warning he could remember since he could swim as a child, “do not swim at night !!! You will not be the top of the food chain!” So, there he was, camera in hand in there with the whole university of fish EWWWW AHHHHH WOWWW! Unbelievable! Truly incredible this clear blue water light show was something to remember that’s for sure! And yes, he is safely back in the boat just in time for a late evening night cap.

DAY 5 Up at the sunrise the crew is asleep, Jim and I way anchor. It is a Glorious morning our Lord has made as the ripples on the water tell us where the wind is! The most we have seen in days. As quick as you can push a button the sails are deployed FWAP! We see small rain storms off in the distance. We call these wind makers! A quick pit stop to top of the fuel tanks at Bimini Blue Marina fuel docks. Perfect way to start the day, 8 knots of wind pushing us gently down the beach towards the inlet. 70 some miles back to Palm Beach with the Gulfstream, going to be an easy day sail. Jim has the way points ready to go on the chart plotter. With 20 to 30 degrees adjustment for the Gulfstream currents with up to 5 knots of push North, we will be home in no time.

Another successful trip with SailMcNally Adventures

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