Randy and Peri Hinden took their 55 Fleming, Dynamic Duo Plus, to the Bahamas during the summer of 2013 with a full crew on board including their teenagers, Max, Fallyn and Jenna. Marinalife members since 2007, Randy and Peri were previous owners of a 1996 Ocean Yacht 48SS, which they bought in 2001 and sold in 2012. They keep their 55 Fleming, Dynamic Duo Plus at Sunset Harbour Yacht Club in Miami Beach. Here is their story:
AND WE’RE OFF TO BIMINI, BAHAMAS
We awoke to a beautiful morning in Miami Beach. We left Sunset Harbour Yacht Club for Bimini at 6:10 a.m. Our ultimate destination was the Exumas. The bridge operator opened the bridge early for us. We started to cruise through Government Cut. It was a bit choppy, but things finally calmed down as we approached Bimini — 40 nautical miles in and four hours later!
We noticed that the water was gatorade blue as we pulled into the docks of Resorts World Bimini. My son, Max, rented us a golf-cart to get around — the main mode of transportation on the island. Some people bling them out like they would any other hot-rod with custom grilles, booming stereo systems and big, funky tires.
Once we cleared customs and we were approved to fly the Bahamian flag, we headed to a pristine beach behind the swimming pool. Getting to the beach was a little hairy — with treacherous staircases that didn’t quite reach the ground. But it was worth the trek. The water was even warm enough for my wife, Peri, to venture in! Then we relaxed around the pool for a while, and I enjoyed a glass of Cuban rum, something I can’t get at home. We arrived back to the dock in time to greet the arrival of M/Y Bimini, a 58 Viking sport owned by my dad’s brother and sister-in-law, Uncle Bernie and Aunt Jackie. We put together an impromptu cocktail party and enjoyed rum drinks and soulful tunes.
BIMINI TO CHUB CAY, BAHAMAS
We pulled away from the docks of Resorts World Bimini at 7 a.m. At around 11:30 a.m., M/Y Bimini passed us — I have to admit, at that moment I missed the speed of our old boat cruising 27 knots.
We traveled 85 nautical miles through the Northwest Passage headed to Chub Cay. The area is treacherous with sunken wrecks and interspersed areas of shallow water. Right after we pulled into Chub Cay Resort & Marina, Max caught a shark off the back of the boat — probably 6 or 8 feet. Lucky catch (and release)!
We ate dinner at the little restaurant at the marina and enjoyed conch chowder, conch fritters and cracked conch — the specialties of the house.
PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
We pulled off the dock from Chub Cay and headed roughly 38 nautical miles southeast towards Nassau. Storm clouds threatened in the distance over Nassau. M/Y Bimini raced by us through the choppy waters, and four uneventful hours later, we entered Nassau Harbour and docked at Hurricane Hole Marina, just in time for a severe thunderstorm. We walked over to the Atlantis for dinner at Murray’s Deli and explored the property. Max played the slot machines at the Atlantis Casino, and the girls headed to the aquarium. Unfortunately, the forecast did not look favorable for our journey to continue to the Exumas, but we were fortunate to be on Paradise Island, with full access to provisions and transportation.
The following day, after walking around the main shopping district on Bay Street, we headed to a local café for lunch — filled with both tourists and locals. On the menu: jerk chicken and conch. We later toured John Watling’s Rum Distillery, which is housed in a beautiful old estate dating to 1789, in historic downtown Nassau. The building and its grounds were used in the James Bond movie, “Casino Royale.”
THE ATLANTIS RESORT
We parted ways with M/Y Bimini as it cruised east toward Eleuthera and we moved our boat over to the Atlantis Resort for the second part of our trip. The mega yachts in the marina gave us a taste of what it would be like in Monaco. They were spectacular!
The following day, we saw that the weather forecast was not conducive to cruising out of Nassau, so we enjoyed being “stuck” at the Atlantis. If weather keeps one from cruising, this isn’t a bad place to be marooned. Rumor has it, Oprah was there.
Although the sun was out the next few days, the wind was blowing and it rained intermittently, we spent a lot of time at the water park. We were on top of The Abyss waterslide when we spotted M/Y Bimini approaching Nassau, on its way back from a few days at Eleuthera. Soon after they docked, a huge squall suddenly moved through. When we got back to the docks, I poured myself a rum drink with pineapple juice, coconut milk and my new John Watling’s rum. I could get used to this …
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
Uncle Bernie and Aunt Jackie (M/Y Bimini) joined us at the waterpark. That evening, we threw a birthday celebration for Aunt Jackie, aboard Bimini. Fallyn and Jenna baked mini-cakes filled with fresh whipped cream and chocolate chips, and we all enjoyed watching videos.
We had spent an inordinate amount of time checking the weather and ruminating about what to do. The weather the past week had been extremely unusual for the Bahamas this time of year. Tropical storm Chantal was potentially heading straight for us. Our anxiety began to rise. The debate was whether to keep Dynamic Duo in Nassau and hire a captain to take it back to Florida, or strike out and cruise back ourselves. This was very different cruising from what we have been used to along the East Coast. Cruising between Chub Cay and Bimini would be eight hours in the middle of nowhere, with nowhere to duck in. We now cruised too slow to outrun a storm. Boating is always weather dependent, and safety comes first.
As we were ready to pull out of the docks, the generator started and everything stowed, we listened to discussions on the docks, and realized we were more comfortable flying out of Nassau. So we arranged for a captain to take care of the boat in case of Chantal and take it back to Miami Beach. We breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the last of our days in paradise. When the captain we hired told us the crossing back to Miami Beach was very rough, we knew we made the right decision.