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I live North of Houston, and just South of the Woodlands. We got hit with heavy rain on Thursday and Friday. People in the area say that it's the worst they've seen in 20 + years. The creek behind our house overflowed its banks, but my house was still a couple feet above the crest, so we didn't flood.
Most of the roads are flooded and closed.
We stupidly left our house yesterday morning to take our son to his soccer tournament. While there, the water continued to rise back at the house. We weren't sure if we would be able to make it back home at the end of the day. Traffic was pure chaos. For the first time in my life, I know the feeling of driving in a Zombie Apocalypse. I learned that my Durango RT has just enough clearance to do a U-turn across a fully-curbed median. I was pretty good at driving in the opposite direction on the hwy 45 service road, and I was a super star when I "merged" onto hwy 45 via the off-ramp because I could see that the road was flooded out about a mile ahead of where I was.
The bright side of all of this is that I think it might help prepare my wife for the #Bimini Crossing.
Here is some great drone footage of the area:
The water level behind our house is about 2 feet lower than when it crested, so the worst is over until we get more rain on Tuesday. Just over a year ago, I suggested to my insurance agent that I might get flood insurance. He said that there was no reason for it because I don't live in a flood zone. Hmmm.
I'm gonna relax in the pool today.
I designed a fast 25' catamaran with two sho motors that can probably be built for about 35,000.
Anyone got the motors for me? Lol
I hope to someday use my garage for building a model of it but honestly the real thing may never happen.
As far as what they actually come out with, i bet it is similar to what is overseas. Nice, but different tax bracket. Would make #bimini easy though!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bimini has always been a loosely organized event with group crossings to and from and one or more group activities while in Bimini. This Gathering was pioneered by @upperdeck, @andy07sx230ho and, I believe, three other boats five trips ago. We owe those pioneers a debt of gratitude for paving the way for us.
Many requests have been made for a date for this years Bimini Fling. To set those dates we need to determine how long we want to go, when lodging is available and what date ranges are good for the participants. In 2014 we arrived just after the Boston Whaler group had emptied the island of supplies including fuel and were invaded by a much larger Guy Harvey group at the end of our stay. In 2015 we were able to time our trip to avoid these inconveniences.
The Registrants so far are;
Propless captained by @Bruce from The Sandbar, Arkansas with 2 Adults and 2 Children in Unit 11F
Crews Control captained by @ACrews from Nahunta, GA with 2 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 21M
YamaDog captained by @ThatJeepGuy from Brooksville, FL with 3 Adults and 0 Children in 15B
La Yankee captained by @Jr15g from Williamsburg, VA with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 7E
Geraldine captained by @zedxmike from WINTER GARDEN, FL with 2 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 12B
Indian Princess captained by @shane hric from Hobart, IN with 5 Adults and 1 Children in Unit 11?
Might as Well captained by @BgTravis from Calvert City, KY with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 21?
Manchild captained by @Manchild from Frisco, Tx with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 15L
Miss Scarlett captained by @chris24 from Spring Hill, FL with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 16B
Radiant Hope captained by @Glen from Fredericksburg, VA with 2 Adults and 3 Children in Confirmed
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Proplems! captained by @MrMoose from Lake Conroe, TX with 3 adults and 2 children in Unit 2A
Jewels captained by @Kevin Sargent from Marietta, GA with 3 Adults and 3 Children in Unit 18L
Renovatio II captained by @wadeup from Hico, TX with 4 Adulta and 0 Children in Unit 21A
Wake Me Up captained by @latitudeadjuster from Lake Anna, VA with 2 Adults and 3 Children in Unit 17P
CC captained by @swatski from Des Peres, MO with 2 Adults and 3 Children in Unit 21R
@Valerie with one boat and 6 skis in Unit 15H (1 boat, 5 skis)
Belle Marie captained by @javi from Tega Cay, SC with 4 Adults and 2 Children in Unit 20F
Shark Bait captained by @SFThoen from Rock Hill, SC with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 17M
Per-Diem captained by @Augusto David Rodriguez from Williamsburg, VA with 2 Adults and 2 Children in Unit 8F
H captained by @Jim Hernandez from Williamsburg, VA with 4 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 21G
Cheese captained by @Majorsmackdown from Portland, OR with 2 Adults and 2 Children
Tim H's Group
Big Ass Boat captained by @tim h from Land O Lake with 4-6 Adults and 5-7 Children in unit 14A
FarFrumWerkn captained by @DieselCamel from Winston-Salem, NC with 2 Adults and 0 Children
2 skis captained by @veedubtek from Winston Salem, NC with 4 Adults and 1 Children in Unit in Private House
Mako Adventures captained by @Rob Schultz from Dunedin, Fl with 2 Adults and 2 Children in Unit 3D
What Now What Next captained by @Andy S from Chapin, SC with 1 Adults and 0 Children in Unit 16L
Enterprise 1 captained by @JROD from Oak Island, NC with 2 Adults and 0 Children
@1948Isaac, please register so I have your details.
Big J's Group
Hellcat captained by @BigJay17 from Kissimmee, FL with 5 Adults and 3 Children and one ski.
Thin Blue captained by @Jose galvez from Miami, FL with 6 Adults and 0 Children
Jetason captained by @justason from Roxboro, NC with 3 Adults and 1 Children
Ferrera Family captained by @Jerry Ferrera from Tampa, Fl with 2 Adults and 0 Children
Key West captained by @Pedro Rodriguez from ..... with 2 Adults and 0 Children
Puddle Jumper captained by @David Short from Martinsville, VA with 6 Adults
Yamaha 242 captained by @Gus Montoya from Maimi, Fl with 3 Adults and 1 Child
You can register using the form at https://jetboaters.net/forms/bimini-2016-registration.6/respond . The registration process includes an opportunity to vote for the length of trip. So far the traditional Monday to Saturday trip is leading in the polls.
Completing the form will also create a new post with a little info about your boat and crew. This linked post is an example #31
I have contacted Bimini Sands who have agreed to extend a discount to our group again this year. The amount of discount will depend on how many participants that we have but I am pushing for the same 15% that we had last year.
I am also working with Bimini Sands to identify potential dates. So far what I have learned is that they are fully booked June 10-13. @robert843 was able to determine that is a group of 75 skis. The big unknown at this point is when the Boston Whaler group will be in Bimini. We need to avoid their dates and the week after. In 2014 we arrived a few days after they left. They had consumed all the fuel, supplies, resteraunts and fish in the area. The lack of fuel limited our activities for the first two days of our trip. The skies are unlikely to consume all of the fuel so we could plan for the Monday after their trip. I will report back as soon as I am able to determine the dates of the Whaler trip. Once we know their dates I will post a poll to choose the date for our trip.
Saying that we need to get some things out of the way up front....
The Bimini Crossing is more than 50 miles in length, crosses The Gulf Stream and is in The Bermuda Triangle. The weather for the crossing is unpredictable and can change rapidly. We have no idea what the weather will hold when we pick dates six months in advance. There is a real possibility of damaging or losing your boat on the crossing. Two Jet Boaters were swamped and disabled during the 2015 crossing. It is possible that lives could be lost. Two experienced young men lost their lives last July. If your boat is disabled during the trip the cost to tow, salvage or repair your boat could be more than you planned to spend on the entire trip
There is added safety in numbers when we cross as a group. But as the Captain you are responsible for your boat and crew. Any boat or crew member that is not prepared to pound waves for six hours to spend a week in paradise should not attempt the trip. You need to have quality flotation, signaling, navigation and communications equipment on your boat. Boats should not be overloaded. For me that means that I would not want to transport anyone beyond my family of four to Bimini. All boats need to carry sufficient fuel to reach Bimini with a reasonable reserve. For most of our boats that is simply a full tank but for 192s that is perhaps an extra 25 gallons. All boats should maintain sufficient speed to keep up with the group. At minimum that speed will be planing speed. In decent water our speed will be around 30 MPH at which our boats are most efficient. All cargo in your boat needs to be secured. Any heavy cargo in the bow area needs to be secured in such a way that it can be quickly moved backward. All crew should be seated in the cockpit area with the windscreen passage closed.
Moving on to the fun stuff......
Bimini is an amazing place. My families trips there have been the most relaxing and enjoyable vacations that we have ever had. It is something that you will talk about all year long and be counting the days until you can go back again. The experience is similar to camping in a condo with the most amazing scenery and wildlife that you could imagine. You will want to bring everything that you need for the entire trip but also pack light. It is an adventure and will test your boating, navigational, communication, planning, camping, cooking and survival skills. It is a great learning opportunity for my children. You can find lots of info about the location and trip in the Preparing For Bimini Thread https://jetboaters.net/threads/preparing-for-bimini.3800/ .
And now the organizational......
2015 was the biggest JetBoaters group to ever go to Bimini. We experienced much larger water than was forecast. Due to the water conditions we experienced two unexpected issues during the crossing to Bimini. Initially we had two boats that were swamped and had to be towed back into Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale). After refueling we set off again and were able to avoid the swamping problem by avoiding stopping but by that point we were nervous about water conditions and the entire group slowed to speeds that were not compatible with arriving in Bimini with the fuel onboard.
When we leave Port Everglades many Captains and Crew in our group will be entering the ocean for the first time. I have been there and understand that experience. Our boats are capable of way more than our bodies and minds are. For example;
View attachment 31934
Knowing that my boat and family had been in rougher water in the Gulf helped enormously with our 2015 crossing.
For 2016 I want to make changes that I believe will address past issues;
1. Focusing on the responsibility of individual Captains for their boat, equipment, crew, cargo, fuel and crossing.
a. Boat - our boats need to be in optimal condition. Everything on the boat needs to be tested. I would recommend having a free US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check and will do so myself.
b. Equipment - at a very minimum you need to add a handheld VHF and flares. Even though you are crossing in a group you may venture out on your own once in Bimini. Please consider what safety equipment you will have. In 2014 we added Type 1 Life Vests, a fixed VHF radio (up to 20 mile range), two handheld VHF radios (up to 5 mile range), a chart plotter for navigation with a tablet for backup and a second bilge pump. In 2015 planning for a single boar return crossing we added a Delorme inReach satellite tracker and messaging device.
c. Crew - if any of your crew has back or medical issues it would be a good idea to fly them over. On the relatively smooth return portion of the 2015 Fling an experienced Captain hit a rogue wave and suffered a back injury. There is plenty of fun to be had once we get to Bimini. If they are not suited for a long rough crossing of pounding waves please fly them over. I have been in the drivers seat with a screaming passenger where I had to make the decision to ignore that passenger rather than take on water. I would prefer not to experience that again.
d. Cargo - In 2014 we had much better water than 2015 but we had a number of stops to secure cargo. We pack our boat so that the only cargo that is not inside of storage areas is limited to ice chest(s) and an inflatable SUP in the bow. Everything else is inside a door or under a seat. The ice chests are secured so that they can be easily moved into the cockpit without needing to stop the boat. If you have other cargo outside of the storage areas your boat is likely too heavy. If you have to stop to secure cargo in good water you impeding the progress of the group, in rough water you are creating risk for your boat and any others that stop with you.
e. Fuel - Any four stroke Yamaha except for a 190/192 should be able to cross with the fuel in the tank. Many members have done this for years. Even though his crew were the saints at the back of the pack taking care of the slower boats during the 2015 crossing @andy07sx230ho's SX230 made it to Bimini without refueling. In comparison I accelerated to planing speeds around the 20 mile mark and burned 38 gallons with my family, two weeks of food and ham for the group in our SX230. My perspective is that carrying fuel cans increases your boats weight and fuel consumption. It is your decision if you want to carry extra fuel. If you do please do not place the fuel cans where they make clean out ports difficult to use. It is recommended that a 190 carry 10 gallons of extra fuel and a 192 carry 25 gallons of extra fuel at a minimum.
f. Crossing - It is your decision if you want to take your boat out of Port Everglades and attempt the crossing. I am sure that we will all be monitoring the weather and wave forecasts but we learned in 2015 that the forecast may be wrong. If you do venture out of Port Everglades it is your responsibility to get your crew safely to Bimini or return them to Port Everglades. If you experience difficulties other boats will attempt to help but in conditions such as those experienced in 2015 there is very little that another boat of our size and type can do. If you do take on water please keep your crew on your boat. Last year a crew member was injured exiting the stern of a swamped boat. Once in the water your crew will be moving at an average of 4 mph in the Gulf Stream. It is much safer to stay in the boat and wait for rescue. You need to monitor your fuel consumption. If fuel consumption becomes an issue you need to travel at a more efficient speed.
2. Splitting into smaller groups departing at ten minute intervals. The most experienced boaters making the crossing will each lead a small group of four to six boats. I believe this addresses several potential issues;
a. Inaccurate Forecasts - the first group will be several miles out of Port Everglades before the second group exits the port. This lead group will report back about the water conditions. This will avoid the other groups being surprised.
b. Leadership - Each member of the small group will have a leader running immediately ahead. They will be able to see how the leader is taking the waves. This should allow members of the group to emulate the leader and have confidence that they also can handle the upcoming waves.
c. Stopping - each group will handle any issues that occur within that group. If a boat needs to stop the others in the group will either circle or stop depending on the conditions.
d. Communications - it is difficult to hear radio calls with all of the water, wind and engine noise. Each group will use a specific VHF frequency for the group. That way any call on that frequency will be relevant.
e. Observation - After we exit Port Everglades the group members should fan out into a line running beside each other at safe, perhaps 100', intervals at a safe distance behind the leader. This will allow a spotter from the lead boat to observe all of the boats in that group.
3. We will not have a tail. In past years a specific boat has volunteered to be the last and watch for any boats to fall behind. It is unreasonable to ask any boat to take this position. In 2015 the tail spent hours of extra time suffering through rough and dangerous waves. We will not need a tail with small groups that stay together. Our leaders will not travel at unsafe speeds or above the speed that the slowest boat in his group is capable of. Unless the water is very smooth this will be a top speed of 25 to 30 mph. It is the responsibility of the individual Captains to keep up with their leader.
Rough water tips ......
1. Keep your boat above the water and the water below your boat. Our boats have open bows, a bilge pump and limited self bailing capability. Some boat designs allow water to run out almost as fast as it gets in. Ours do not. So staying on plane and avoiding stuffing the bow into waves is important.
2. Move your crew as far back as possible while staying in the cockpit. Your boat is basically hinging on the stern when it goes over a wave. The farther back they are the less impact that they feel.
3. Some small crew members in a lightly loaded boat may wish to lay on one of the side seat cushions while holding on to the nearest handle. The seat cushion will reduce the impact for them.
4. I find it easiest to stand with my legs bent slightly while crossing rough water. That way my leg muscles can take the force of impact. I have the seat bolster up and in place to catch me if I find the waves to be too rough.
5. Make sure that you have the kill switch lanyard on.
6. When the water is rough but not tall enough to come over the bow adding weight to the bow will help to prevent the bow rising which will reduce the impact. Adjustable trim tabs accomplish the same task without the need to shift weight and make it much more convenient to raise or lower the bow.
7. Regardless of speed you will use more fuel in rough water. On a smooth lake our SX230 should get around 3.4 MPG. On the way to Bimini in 2015 we achieved 1.4 MPG. I believe we saw around 1 MPG when we were caught in a 30 MPH cross wind in the Gulf of Mexico. Even on the lightly loaded and relatively calm return trips from Bimini we have experienced around 2.4 MPG. Our boats are most efficient in undisturbed water so you want to avoid running in the water that has been churned up by the boat in front of you for long periods of time.
8. Have everything in your boat secured before you enter rough water. It is much more difficult to secure items when you are bouncing around.
9. If you need to stop decelerate slowly. Coming off plane quickly causes the bow to dip and may result in taking on water. Using reverse will definitely cause your bow to dip.
10. If you get something in your jet(s) continue on until you find an area of smoother water before stopping to clean out your jets. Having seaweed or something else clogging your jet(s) is unfortunate but not nearly as bad as taking on water while your boat is disabled to clean out the jet(s). We experienced a lot of seaweed around Port Everglades in 2015. It was mixed into the waves and often was impossible to avoid. Once we had a jet clogged we gave it a little time to see if it would free itself then we would move to the leeward side of the groups wake and stop when it looked like the big waves had settled for a while. We decelerated slowly and cleaned out the jet(s) as quickly as possible. @Rana and I would each clean out a jet so that we could complete the task in half of the time. After cleaning our jets we would accelerate to a speed that was sufficient to allow us to catch up with the group and move into our previous position. It is important not to have fuel cans or anything else on top of your clean out plug hatch. It would be good to practice this skill before you venture into rough water.
11. When you cross large waves you will hear your jets spinning in the air. This is normal. Many of us have heard it hundreds or thousands of times.
12. If you do get water in your boat stay calm and stay on plane or at minimum keep the bow up. The water will run out through the scupper valve at the stern. Stopping is the worst thing that you can do.
13. Your boat has built in flotation. It is very unlikely to sink. Even when filled with water our boats maintain significant freeboard. If your boat were to become disabled stay in the boat. Your boat is easier for rescuers to locate than individuals who will likely be separated once they are in the water.
Here is the start of an agenda for our trip.....
Please hold off on booking reservations until I have the discounts agreed with Bimini Sands and Bahia Mar Yacht Club.
June 19th before 4:00 PM. This is the time to stock up on supplies and food for the trip, pack everything in your boat and launch.
My family will spend the night of the 18th in Fort Pierce, FL which is a little under 2 hours from Fort Lauderdale. Being close will give us more time for final preparations on the 19th.
Last minute supplies - There is a very large Bass Pro Shop with a nice aquarium and restaurant that is likely on your way to launch. A Divers Direct is also located in the same parking lot.
Groceries - We shop at the Publix Grocery Store near the Harbor Towne Marina and load the groceries directly into the boat. There is a Winn Dixie a few blocks to the West.
Launch - I recommend launching your boat and leaving your tow vehicle and trailer at Harbour Towne Marina on the Dania Cutoff Canal. They have 24 hour security and have charged $8 per day cash for parking in the past. Harbor Towne is 5 miles by water from the Bahia Mar Yachting Center. You will be boating through slow speed areas. I was pulled over for 7 MPH last year so it will take approximately an hour to boat from Harbor Towne to Bahia Mar. You can view the route at http://tinyurl.com/zpzh8yu or download it from http://tinyurl.com/hu8r32u .
June 19th before 5:30 PM. Please have your boat docked in a slip at Bahia Mar with a full tank of fuel. We will not stop for fuel on the way to Bimini on the 20th. The fuel dock that is open at that time has asked us to fuel up during the day on Sunday as they had difficulty handling our group in 2014. So please fuel up on the 19th. I will do so at Bahia Mar's fuel dock which closes at 5:30 PM. Lauderdale Marina which is NW of the 17th Street Draw Bridge is another option which offers bait and tackle as well as fuel.
June 19th 6:00 PM Captains meeting(s) at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. I would like to break captains meetings up into groups that will be making the crossing together. So we will have three or four smaller captains meetings at locations to be determined. The group leaders and I will work out the split of confirmed participants into groups in April.
June 20th 6:00 AM Departure from the Bahia Mar Yachting Center for Bimini Bahamas. I will update the times for departure as we get closer. Current intentions are to have groups leaving at 6:00, 6:10 and 6:20. Please have your boat loaded with all cargo secured before your departure time. Your group will conduct a combination radio check and roll call ten minutes before departure. You can view the route at http://tinyurl.com/zlatnzu or download it from http://tinyurl.com/jo45osd .
June 21st ~ Noon Pot Luck / Party at Honeymoon Harbor, Gun Cay Bahamas. This beautiful location is 9.1 miles south of Bimini Sands. There are many locations to explore along the way including an airplane wreck, the Sapona, Turtle Rocks and a lighthouse a little further south. The rays are friendly so be sure to bring squid or other suitable food to feed them. You can view the route at http://tinyurl.com/hb556av or download it from http://tinyurl.com/jaaggpl . If water conditions or fuel availability make this destination undesirable we will change the location to the beaches on the North East or North West sides of North Bimini Island.
June 23rd ~Noon Exploration of the East Side of North Bimini followed by an evening dolphin cruise. My family has enjoyed this long deserted beach in 2014 and 2015. @JROD has explored the mangroves and @waterboy has found some amazing starfish at the southern end. This is an area of shallow water and shifting sand so we will need to be careful but should be a great time. If anyone is really adventurous the wreck of the Hesperus is perhaps 10 miles further west and is covered up in sharks and barracuda. There are many reef areas West of North Bimini that you will pass on the 12.6 mile route to this location. I recommend visiting the Three Sisters rocks where you will find mooring buoys to tie off to, amazing scenery for snorkeling and smaller but hungry reef fish are an easy catch. You can view the route at http://tinyurl.com/zy75fsb or download it from http://tinyurl.com/h5ufatb .
June 25th ~ 6:00 AM Departure for Fort Lauderdale. You can view the route at http://tinyurl.com/j8gu5ng or download it from http://tinyurl.com/zwuw56q .
Booking Bimini Sands Condos
Bimini Sands has confirmed that they are ready to accept our registrations. In fact after weeks of delay they are asking us to register quickly to make sure we all get units.
I have attached the Guest Registration Form. You can register by completing and emailing the form to the email address indicated on the form or faxing it to +1 (242) 347-3501 (international rates). I have also attached the agreed condo and slip rates for your convenience. The form asks about a Cruising Permit #. We will obtain that when we clear customs. I simply entered "to be obtained". For condo size I specified "Ocean View One Bedroom with Loft". I completed the dates value and added a note about the discount.
You also can make reservations on the phone at (888) 588-2464 which is the office at Bimini Sands. If you call in your registration please specify that you are with the JetBoaters group and are booking under the discounted rates agreed with Jonisha.
@MrMoose volunteered to and has arranged our discount for slips at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.
Please use the attached form to register for a slip at the Bahia Mar Marina (our Bimini departure location).
Our group rates are as follows:
$1.25 per foot (with no minimum length requirement) if you stay for 2 or more nights.
$1.50 per foot (with no minimum length requirement) if you stay for 1 night.
As an example, for a 24 foot boat, you pay $36 if you are staying one night, and $30 per night if you are staying more than one night.
Print the attached form, fill it out, and email or fax it to:
Fax: (954) 627-6356
Tel: (954) 627-6309
You will also want to make your hotel reservations with Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. Currently rooms are available starting at $150 per night. I would get your reservations in early to avoid the hotel and slips filling up or the hotel rate increasing.
@andy07sx230ho is handling orders for the Bimini 2016 shirts. These shirts are great. My family prefers the long sleeved versions which come in handy after a few days of sun exposure. The info is in this thread https://jetboaters.net/threads/2016-bimini-fling-shirts.8328/
Tagging those that have expressed interest; @Chris-MS, @MrMoose, @Mike Coultas, @sstegh, @swatski, @swatski, @shane hric, @Greg M, @Glen, @Augusto David Rodriguez, @Jr15g, @blacksapphirez, @robert843, @2nazt, @Bimini
Please remember to fill out the customs form (also attached). We also hope to have the immigration forms available at the captain's meeting. The custom's form needs to be completed by the master of the vessel. This form should be downloaded and filled out prior to departure. Each person/family needs to fill out the immigration form but cannot be downloaded. More info on customs/immigration can be found at Bahamas.com/boating or http://www.bahamas.com/boating-enter-exit
Here is a map of interesting places to visit in Bimini