Cruising the Caribbean
This is it folks... The Big Banana - the Academy
Award of Cruising - the Super Bowl of Voyaging -
And the greatest part of it all is -
that it is the
perfect cruising grounds for the first time
cruisers. It is also some of the safest waters in
the world, and can be your ticket to living very
well, on a very frugal budget.
    That's right! The very best waters in the
world, are also the very best waters to break in
those brand new sea-legs of yours.  Why?
Mainly because of the consistent weather, the
amount of islands, and the level of traffic...
    If you plan your trip at the right time of year,
you have a 95% chance of sailing in perfect (or
very near perfect) weather. Additionally, from
Florida to Bimini, to the Berry Islands, Nassau,
Andros, all the way to St. Thomas, St Kitts,
Barbados, Trinidad, and Tobago, your longest
island hopping stretches of water between
islands are 88, 82, 76, and 70 nautical  miles of
open sea. So you only have these three
locations where you will have to pull up anchor
before daylight in order to reach your
destination before sunset.
Los Roques, Venezuela
Wreck of the Sapona
Caribbean Island Hopping
Especially for the first time voyager,
and certainly for the frugal voyager, one of the very
best cruising areas in the world is the Bahamas and
Caribbean. From Florida, Bimini is just a short 50
miles across the Gulf Stream. That's one good day's
sail that leaves you plenty of daylight on both ends
of your voyage for departure and arrival.
   
 On Bimini Island, you'll find more fishing, diving,
sailing and more to do per square mile than
anywhere in the Bahamas. The true "Island in the
Stream" is perched at the edge of a sheer
underwater cliff that falls thousands of feet into a
blue abyss. The Gulf Stream rushes north, washing
past Bimini Island, feeding and warming its coral
reefs and serving as a watery highway for
everything from marlin to dolphin to sea turtles.
    For Ernest Hemingway, it was love at first
sight; gin clear water, pristine sandy beaches, and
great rum. He returned often, and once there, you'll
know why.
So... What does all this mean to you, other than great places to see, visit, and explore? It means a safe harbor at night, all tucked
into a cove at an island in Paradise for a good nights rest. If the seas or weather do kick up? So be it...
You just wait until the next day to make your next crossing. Traffic? Well... That is to your benefit too.  While still maintaining the
right amount of solace and solitude, you have just enough traffic from other cruising couples to give you a helping hand, or bit
of advice, if you need it. The comradely among boaters voyaging the Caribbean is unmatched anywhere else in the world.  Being
friendly, following the rules, good manners, good helmsman ship, and an open willingness to learn, will get you invited to a lot of
beach barbecues and lobster bakes with other boaters.
When it comes to cruising on a frugal budget... If you avoid the tourist traps and casinos - there is probably no where else in the
world you can live so cheap, and so very-very well.
    You will find many frugal American voyagers in Trinidad. Boat repairs are very reasonable, boaters also can safely store their boats on the
hard and fly home for the hurricane season. You will also meet a few that have stumbled upon this Island Paradise and decided to stay awhile,
and who can blame them. Where else in the have a great full course meal for $2.50 and find virtually any item for your boat in the local
boatyard, or Marina shelves. Haul-out rates seem reasonable at $5 per foot including five days on the hard and launching (all USA dollars).
Bimini Island is actually two small islands,
North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island,
connected by a shallow flat it has a fascinating
history, and is the closest  Bahamian island to the
United States. Bimini served as a convenient offshore
speakeasy and liquor store during prohibition. Rum
runners stored their hooch both ashore and on a
concrete Liberty ship called the Sapona that still rests
where it grounded during a hurricane – it’s one of the
Caribbean’s very best shallow-water wreck sites for
divers.
Close to home, yet a whole world away... you simply
will not believe your eyes  when 50 miles across the
Gulf Stream from Florida you find yourself
surrounded by the most beautiful aqua blue/green
seas and clean pristine sandy beaches in the world.
In addition, you'll definitely want to lay back a rum or
two at the World Famous "End of the World Saloon".

Beyond the fishing, and diving, Bimini
Island offers voyagers a safe quiet escape of empty
beaches and boisterous camaraderie with other
cruisers. Menus at the local restaurants are naturally,
heavy on fresh seafood and Bahamian favorites like
cracked conch and Lobster.
 Living so cheap is a bonus of frugal voyaging, and
you can't live any cheaper (or safer) then you can on
your boat cruising the Caribbean between Bimini and
Venezuela. This is the only place on earth you can
cruise so far and yet, your longest passage between
Islands is only a day's sail away.
 Why is living aboard in the Caribbean so cheap?
You are not tempted to spend...when at anchor the
only person urging you to buy something might be a
local in a rowboat with lobsters to sell or exchange for
toothpaste or beer; and when you go out to eat you
look for a restaurant where the menu is on a
chalkboard - which means the seafood was caught that
day - and it's not only delicious - it's cheap as well
.
     To all our friends (present and future),
whether you are sailing off to Paradise, on around the
World, or even cruising America's Great Loop - in the
right boat - you simply don't want to miss a visit to Bimini
(only 50 miles from Florida). Additional, this entire,
magnificent, island hopping opportunity is an adventure
you will forever cherish and remember. . .

    Fact is, and we know it, sailing across the deep blue
sea is simply NOT for everyone. So if doing so is not in
your future, we strongly encourage you to consider
cruising America's Great Loop. It is certainly a safe
(protected) voyage anyone can make.
Capt. John's Caribbean Island Hopping Route
It just doesn't get any better!
Bimini Island
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White Cay in the Caribbean Islands
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