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More About Bimini Island



Courtesy of the Bimini Guide

The island of Bimini lies 45 miles from Miami. Physically close but spiritually a whole 'nother world...It's the Bahamas the way it should be.


Bimini, The Island
A couple of miles long and a few hundred yards wide. Maximum elevation is roughly one palm tree high. Twin dirt roads optimistically named the King and Queen's Highways. No cruise ships, tour-boats or shopping malls. Golf carts but no golf courses. Traffic is defined as a boat anchored in the path of the seaplane. The island of Bimini has been called a glorified sandbar. And therein lies its enduring appeal.


Nestled on the border between the Gulf Stream and the Great Bahama Bank, the island and nearby cays provide some of the most sparklingly clear waters in the western hemisphere. The dazzling neon shades are as vivid as anywhere in the Caribbean, with underwater visibilities over 100 feet common.


Ponce De Leon - Still Pretty Much Dead
Discovered in the early 1500's by Ponce De Leon, Bimini’s long history is replete with literary figures, sport-fishing pioneers and numerous celebrities. Among them Ernest Hemingway, Adam Clayton Powell, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Buffett and many others. But equal billing over the years has gone to the pirates, rum-runners, ship-wreckers, outlaws and modern day cocaine cowboys. Indeed, the island is infused with a certain sense that things are just different here.



Geographically Close But...
Yes, Bimini in the Bahamas inhabits a wonderful dichotomy. As the crow flies it's less than 50 miles from Florida. But between the skyscrapers of Miami and the shacks of Alice Town stalks the fabled Gulf Stream. The world's most powerful ocean current, it can be a benevolent companion or your worst enemy. This explains much of Bimini's character, physically close to the US but spiritually a world away.


Politically Incorrect
Bimini has always had a reputation as a colorful place for a vacation or getaway. Many would argue crusty is a better description. In a sense the island is a throwback to the 50's. A bit boozy and laced with machismo, it's a place where small boats square off against the Gulf Stream and tales of the one that got away are ubiquitous. A place where no one thinks twice about a cold beer before noon. A place where politicians slink away to after falling from grace or, in the case of one would-be President, Bimini is where they go to fall from grace in the first place.


Bimini island is actually a misnomer. More correctly Bimini is one island in the Bimini island chain in the Bahamas. There are two main islands, north and south Bimini, and a string of islets running south to Cat Cay, a private island for the rich and famous. About 25 miles north of Bimini on the edge of the Northwest Providence Channel lies the haunted island of Great Isaac, its picturesque lighthouse standing lonely watch over the nearby waters.


Fishing First
Bimini can rightfully lay claim to being the birthplace of modern sport-fishing. The International Game Fish Association, the IGFA, was essentially born on Bimini. In fact its first President and Vice President, Michael Lerner and Ernest Hemingway respectively, both lived on the island and fished it's surrounding waters. Deep sea, bottom fishing or fly casting on the flats - the variety is nearly endless. It is the ideal fishing destination, with a story on every dock.


Summer Season
In summer months the winds and seas of the Gulf Stream typically lay down, at times forming a glass smooth surface as far as the eye can see. It is these favorable conditions that prompt south Florida boaters to head across in droves. It's not uncommon to see boats under twenty feet making the trip, including the author who's crossed in a 17-footer with his 66 year old father. Indeed Bimini during summer weekends exudes an air of festive revelry, often bordering on debauchery.
But that's only half the story. During the rest of the year the visitors number in the dozens, not hundreds. It is remarkable to witness the change in atmosphere from the rowdy summer months. If you're looking for a low-key island vacation, Bimini in the winter is it!


Junkanoo Dancer


Hotels and Nightlife
In terms of hotels and nightlife, Bimini right now probably won’t be confused with any of the Saint somewhere islands. The hotels are generally modest, but things are changing. Development in the past few years has finally taken off with a number of successful communities. Bimini Sands Resort & Marina on South Bimini is thriving and has been completely sold out.


Bottom Line
Bimini’s real charm, however, lies in its beautiful waters, easy fishing and slightly shady, but always colorful atmosphere. It truly is, as Hemingway wrote, an island in the 'Stream.



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