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Thread: Bimini Deep Wall Exploration

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    Post Bimini Deep Wall Exploration

    So I just returned from a trip to Bimini on the boat for two deep wall dives. Iím amazed about how little information there is out there on diving Bimini so I figured Iíd write up a little reportÖ

    Iíve been running big game fishing trips over to Bimini for a little while now on a large sport fish with my father, Tom Sr. One thing we do is a lot of Wahoo fishing along the continental shelf that runs the West side of the Island chain. Iíve been spending 12-14 hours a day sitting at the helm watching the depth finder jump from 100í to 1000í in a very short distance. While the fisherman in me has been keeping the boat in the correct depth range for wahoo, my true passion has been screaming ďI NEED TO DIVE THIS!!!Ē

    Cut to last week and I drove down from New York to meet Jim Wyatt (cavediveflorida.com) and put a plan together. After logistics were figured out we filled a bunch of bottles at Cave Country Dive Shop, and set out to Lauderdale where the boat is docked.

    The Crossing
    The boat ride to Bimini from Port Everglades Inlet is only about 40nm. In good weather many relatively smaller fishing boats, sporting triple 300hp outboards, make the run over in about an hour. We cruised over at a nice 18kts and got there in just over two hours. Crossing the Straits of Florida is deceptively easy. If youíre not vigilant of the weather you can have a pretty nasty ride over there. NOAAís online marine forecast is a great resource for the crossing. As long as youíre smart about it you shouldnít have a problem.
    Departure
    Before setting out you need to file a floatplan online with US Customs. This process is a bit of a pain the first time but in the future your information can be saved as a template for quicker entering.

    Arrival in Bimini
    On board were Jim Wyatt, Gwen Wyatt, Tom Sr. and myself. We typically dock the boat at Bimini Sands on South Bimini. Bimini Sands is a beautiful marine with concrete floating docks and a private beach. The marina is in a man-made lagoon and is surrounded by condos that are available to rent if you decide to come on a boat without living quarters.
    South Bimini is a great little island but you really need to bring everything you need with you. Thereís one nice little restaurant and bar (with a sand floor) on the southern tip and some small grocery that Iíve yet to build the courage to venture into. If you want night life go to North Bimini. Itís a short water taxi across the channel and youíre there. I prefer the low key South Island. I prefer to have as little dock traffic as possible when thereís a load of equipment strewn about the cockpit.
    When entering the Bahamas you need to fly a yellow quarantine flag until you check into customs. The customs procedure on South Bimini is pretty straight forward. Pull into the dock, ONE person collects all the paperwork and passports, leaves the boat and takes a taxi to the airport 5 mins away to check in the boat and passengers. The dock master has customs paperwork at the marina for arriving boats. Itís always smart to grab a bunch of extras so you can fill them out in advance on your next trip over.
    Their boat entry documents are a huge pain and you fill out the same information multiple times on each form. Customs charges a boat landing fee and a fishing fee if you want it. Itís a few hundred dollars but itís good for unlimited trips over for 3 months or one year if the boat stays in Bahamian waters. Once checked in you lower the yellow and raise a Bahamian Courtesy flag. (you can buy these online or at any boat store in South Florida.



    The Divesites
    The divesites in Bimini are all over the place and mostly shallow reefs. However if you want deep wall diving you are pretty much limited to the sites on the West Side of the Islands. There are a few moorings here and there and you can find many of the GPS coordinates for them online. We took a trip about 12 miles south just past Cat Cay (known for its exclusive private yacht and beach club) to Victory Cay. There are a few moorings down there that you can use, although from what I understand you are allowed to anchor pretty much anywhere over there.

    The Dives
    Our first dive took us down the mooring to about 50í of water. All I can say is thank God we brought DPVís for this trip. The currents along the wall are pretty substantial and I would hate to swim against them for any length of time. We decided it would be best to run a reel out to the drop off to make navigating a no-brainer. We took a compass reading and scootered out. The drop off was about 450í West of the mooring after a gradual slope down to 100í. The wall was absolutely beautiful. Pristine corals and marine life were abundant. We dropped down the wall to 330í (100m) and did our deco coming up the wall and reef. We even saw a huge hammerhead around 270í that seemed to be vaguely interested in what kind of creature Jim was. Shallow deco stops were spent cruising around above the reef with the scooters. Water temp was 81F top to bottom. We collected a few Conchs on the dive and headed home. That night Gwen made some amazing food that included Conch Ceviche marinated in jerk sauce and ribs.
    The next day we cruised back to the same location but to our dismay there was no mooring buoy. We decided to anchor her in a nearby sand patch we had seen and splashed shortly after. The current was a bit stronger here and the scooters made slow but steady progress on a 45degree angle to it on our way to the wall. This dive we dropped down to 360í. As expected the O2 feeds stopped working and we flushed with a rich diluent for the short time we were at depth. Deco was another beautiful reef tour and Jim collected a bunch more conchs for dinner. Back at the dock Gwen whipped up an amazing Conch Stew that is reason enough for me to go back to Bimini.


    Heading out
    When leaving Bimini you have to give a departure slip to the dock master at the marina. Once stateside checking into customs is a breeze. You have 24hrs from arrival to go to the nearest customs office (ours was at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport). There is also a ďLocal Boater OptionĒ which is essentially a card with a number you can call to check in once you arrive. You donít even need to go in person.

    Sadly I didnít get any bottom photos for this trip. My housing only works to 300í. Iíll definitely be upgrading the springs soon though. In all it was a great trip and I hope to go back as soon as I can!

    -Tom McCarthy
    EastCoastWreckDiving.com


  2. #2
    Cave Country Dive Shop Jim Wyatt is an unknown quantity at this point Jim Wyatt's Avatar
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    Re: Bimini Deep Wall Exploration

    It was a great trip...breath-taking walls, Rum Punch and conchs...

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