Our week in Bimini sadly came to an end, but what a joy it was. We towed Mermaid, Susan’s 15′ Whaler, over behind Sanctuary, and we are very happy we did that. We’ve had so much fun with that little boat. Before going over there, we had heard from a few that Bimini was a waste of time and that there was nothing to do or see here, and certainly not a place to spend even five days, much less a week. I found just the opposite. I guess it’s what you make of it and the company with whom you do it. There were six of us on the boat (Ed, Samantha, Martha, Susan, Brandon, and me). We were there for a week, and we could have spend another week because there is still more that we want to explore and see/do again. It was as if we only had time to sample things here in a week’s time rather than savor all of it.
We got there a day and a half late due to sea conditions in the Gulf Stream. Because we were towing a small boat over, we had to keep that in mind and wait for sea conditions that were conducive to that rather than just what the big boat could handle.
For me, the first full day here was a wind-down day with a lot of well deserved napping since I had had little sleep leading up to the trip, coupled with a lot of prep work, and I was exhausted once we got here. So, I welcomed a low-key day where I stayed on the boat most of the time. Most of the rest of the gang who had not been enduring the 3-hour-of-sleep-a-night went out exploring the little islands nearby and snorkeled wrecks.
We stayed at marina at Bimini Sands Resort on South Bimini. South Bimini is much more quiet and simple than is the busy North Bimini, by comparison. A lot of our fellow boaters have the misconceived notion that Bimini Sands is for small boats – that is simply not true. Heck, a large freighter delivered a load in here during the week, and there was an 80-footer, “Magnificent Dolls”, owned by our new friends, Bill and Lori, in the slip next to us which made Sanctuary look like a toy. By the way, I was delighted to find that the swimming pools at Bimini Sands were fresh water.
We met a lot of interesting people here during the week. We visited with Frank Cooney, the developer of this place for a while, and were impressed with his business philosophy and understand why Bimini Sands has been successful. We also met Steven, the owner of that freighter that came into Bimini Sands and spent an evening in their condo having cocktails. And the family on Magnificent Dolls was just awesome. Bill and Lori have four young children who will begin home schooling on that boat this fall since they are cruising for a while now. Even though they have a yacht that is of the category where you’d think they were “check writers” for everything; they are not. They get dirty in the engine room, and Lori doesn’t hesitate to help Bill carry an engine part through the boat. They run that boat themselves – very impressive. We want keep in touch with them as they travel and hopefully, we can meet up with them in the Exumas next summer.
On to the activities!!!! On Thursday, we set out looking for the infamous Bimini Road which is a formation of rocks underwater that appear to have been a road of some sort. When we thought we were over it, Martha was gearing up to go have a peek and see if we had found it. We were going to “troll” her over the area with a mask and snorkel to find the spot. Right at that time, Susan saw a giant shark and that ended all hopes of snorkeling that spot that day – nobody wanted to get in that water. Martha and Susan did continue to look for Bimini Road. We found it and marked it on the GPS. They would hang themselves over the edge of the Mermaid with only their faces in the water to see what was down there.
Later, we went to the Sapona, a shipwreck that stands up out of the water in about 15′ of water. We brought dive gear to dive it, but that wasn’t necessary. Everything there to see was close enough by snorkeling. It was too rough on the back side for me, so I didn’t get to see the stern and the propeller.
On Friday, we took Sanctuary down to Honeymoon Harbor with Mermaid in tow. Our neighbor in the slip next to us had been there on Thursday and reported hammerhead sharks in Honeymoon – something they had never seen there before. When we got there on Friday, we found nothing but friendly, playful stingrays looking for a handout. The beach quickly filled with boaters who obviously frequented the place often. It was no surprise that Susan became one of the highlights for some. The guy who all the others envied was the one who had a box of squid. He got to put the squid in the hip strings of Susan’s thong and the stingrays would come by and suck out the squid. It was quite a sight. That girl is so entertaining. We just love to take her places, turn her loose and watch other people. Susan is Sanctuary’s Mermaid.
On Friday night, the girls (Martha, Susan, and I) went over to North Bimini and took part in the junkanoo.
South Bimini has some of the most pristine beaches I’ve ever seen. I may revise that statement after we visit the Exumas at a later time. South Bimini, I think, is a hidden jewel in the Bimini islands. Everyone seems to gravitate to North Bimini, and I’m not sure why, having spent a week on South Bimini, and visiting North Bimini by dinghy or ferry whenever I wanted.
Sanctuary performed well and the only hiccup we had was a failed heat exchanger on the generator – not a show stopper, but I had my work cut out for me when we got back with replacing the heat exchanger and flushing the engine. I’m going to change all the hoses on the engine while I’ve got it all apart. Meanwhile, we just let seawater cool the engine…what choice did we have?