Bimini island And Cat CAYs.

Having left Ft Lauderdale it’s only a short crossing to the Bahamas. The west most point is Bimini Island which is only 55 or so nautical miles away. It is an easy day trip but we had to stop a couple of times due to some successful fishing so arrived at sunset.

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

Unfortunately there was a very shallow entrance to the harbour which became even more of a problem with an extra red channel marker ! This marker was in a different place compared to where the chart had it so confused us greatly for some time. We later found out that it had moved from further up the island and hadn’t been repositioned – great help !

Because of this we spent a further hour trying to get into the harbour, it was so shallow in places we touched the bottom a couple of times. As it was dusk we really didn’t want to spend the night run aground so took our time.

Finally, wef made our way in but it was dark by then. We called a couple of the marinas, both by VHF radio and mobile telephone but nobody was answering. We continued to call and drive past a few but no one seemed to be around. As we were running out of patience we went back to one of the first marinas that had a free mooring on the outside and pulled up. A guy then appeared and said we could stay which was a relief.

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

We were on the south of the North Island (if that makes sense !). It was very run down, partly due to a lot of it not being repaired since the last hurricane, and partly due to the fact that a huge Hilton resort had been built on the north of the island. I believe we were also slightly early in the season so the place hadn’t opened up yet.

The coastline was very rugged in places as has been proved by this broken up ship –

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas
Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

There were a few abandoned buildings on this side of the islands, no doubt battered by the weather over the years.

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

We could see this deserted island from our boat, you could probably have walked to it at low tide.

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

The local church and graveyard –

Bimini ISLANDS bahamas

There was a small ferry that would take you to the south island. There was a private resort that had been built but at the time hardly any were occupied. The resort also had it’s own sheltered marina but unfortunately not big enough to get our catamaran through the entrance ! The only problem with the place was it suffered from sand flies or nosemes (or whatever they were), they ate me alive ! They seriously fed on my legs and arms so much I couldn’t wait to get back to the north island where they didn’t seem to exist. If you gave me one of those condos for free I wouldn’t go and visit – they were that annoying to me !

Waiting for the ferry at the south island –

Bimini island bahamas

After a few days (we stayed a bit longer than anticipated due to some stormy weather) we headed out and went further south.

Not too sure I would head back to the Biminis if I were honest, not really enough there to see and not a great gateway to the Bahamas.

Leaving the marina-

Bimini island  bahamas

Saying goodbye to north Bimini –

A short hop south was the islands of Gun Cay and Cat Cay. The north island of Cat Cay is privately owned but it allows transiting vessels to stop overnight and use its facilities. This island is apparently home to the rich and famous but the staff weren’t letting on who lived or stayed there !

Approaching the entrance to Cat Cay –

Cat cay bahamas

The entrance between Gun Quay and Cat Quay can be treacherous if the conditions aren’t favourable.

Cat cay bahamas

As we arrived one of the guys that welcomed us told us that there were lots of sharks gathering because the fisherman were gutting fish. We went over to see some big nurse sharks and a bull shark. Apparently this is a daily event.

We spent the night in Cat Quay and used the bar and restaurant facilities but they didn’t seem too friendly there. Maybe it’s because we weren’t residents and ordered the cheapest thing off the menu ?! I dunno.

The next day the weather was good and we headed off for our next destination – Cuba !

Boat Tour From Oban

I was lucky enough to be invited on a boat tour out of Oban by St Hilda Cruises. They operate two boats out of Dunstaffnage marina, one sailing boat and one motor boat. The cruises vary from local 5/6 day trips up to 11/12 day trips to the Outer Hebrides.

The trip i was on would take me along the Sound Of Mull, with stops at Tobermory, Loch Aline, Loch Spelve, and a trip to Duart Castle. Cruises around these parts are always weather dependant so be prepared for the schedule to be updated !

The trip starts from Dunstaffnage marina which is about 3 miles noth of Oban, a short taxi ride away. You are welcomed aboard and given a guided tour and safety briefing of the boat. You soon leave the quayside and head out to your first anchorage on your trip.

Dunstaffnage Marina –

SeaHorse 2 – an ex-Norwegian fjord ferry boat now converted to take 10-12 guests in comfort –

Looking out from the marina –

One of the many lighthouses on the west coast of Scotland –

After our first night at anchor we headed for the main town of Tobermory on the Isle Of Mull. Originally a fishing village it now mainly relies on tourism. With only a couple of bars and hotels, and a couple of cafes theres enough to feed and accomodate the visitors !! Theres an aquarium and the original Tobermory distillery which was founded in 1798.

The small town of Tobermory – Isle Of Mull –

Multi coloured buildings on the sea front –

Tobermory Distillery –

Tobermory distillery

View from the small marina to Tobermory –

View from the top of Tobermory out to sea –

Go fishing they said, throw a line over they said, enjoy yourself they said…………

After the night in Tobermory we headed off to have the morning at Duart Castle. The castle was home to the Maclean clan and dates back to the 13th century. It has been used a few times for TV and film work icluding tge films When Eight Bells Toll and Entrapment. It is currently undergoing restoration after a 2014 appeal was launched to raise funds for irs survival.

Being dropped off at Duart Castle –

View out from Duart castle back to Sea Horse 2 –

Duart castle

After the third day we heard warnings of another one of the big storms coming in. This was storm Ali coming in from the Atlantic.

With warnings of up to 30-40 knot winds we took shelter back in Oban where we could tie up safely to the quayside. Some of the guests went to the local castle in Oban and some toured around town.

We returned to our base in Dunstaffnage marina after our 5 day/5 night tour. Even with the inclement weather (it was late September !) we all enjoyed the tour. Theres stunning scenary to be scene everywhere you look.

Back at the marina in Dunstaffnage – the sun came out on our return (just)!!

Travelling the world by sea……..(and a bit of land)

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