When we went to bed on Saturday night in Key Biscayne there were 24 boats, when we awoke at 6:30 a.m. there were only 12 and when we pulled up the anchor at 7:10 we left 4 behind…the result of a great forecast for crossing the gulf stream. The perfect weather is when the wind does not have an N in it and the obvious, calm winds and small waves. It was truly a perfect day to cross to North Bimini.
The automatic pilot had to aim us about 30* south of our destination due to the 5.6 mi current in the gulf stream. It was pretty amazing to think of the depth of the ocean floor below us.
One must display the quarantine flag upon arrival in Bahamian waters. As soon as we tied down the boat the Captain, and ONLY the Captain is required to report to the Customs office and then to the Immigration office. It took Scott 2.5 hours to complete the process as it was extremely crowded. As I waited impatiently on the boat I felt like I was grounded and couldn’t go out to play! I couldn’t wait to go to the beaches and explore the tiny towns. After checking in the quarantine flag is exchanged for the Bahamian flag which we display while in Bahamian waters.
On the first day of being in the Bahamas I was already in love! We saw 3 flying spotted eagle rays, a bull shark, as well as beautiful fish, all from our boat! The water is tap water clear with a sand bottom so you can see all the exciting marine life.
This shark was our entertainment during dinner the first night.
We had 3 activities planned and did none of them. Scott spend hours upon hours beating his head on the wall while dealing with communications: ATT, Batelco (Bahamas Telephone Company), the new satellite phone and Whatsapp. He has way more patience than I do. My only challenge was with the marina wifi which wouldn’t reach the boat. I was required me to sit at the tiki hut on shore and watch the 10′ bull shark search for food. My goodness, life is exciting while using the internet.
We took a long walk on the narrow King Road through Alice Town and Bailey Town and explored by dinghy. Sherry’s Paradise Beach Bar served up a fabulous cracked conch dish, fresh conch that has been pounded with a meat mallet or a frying pan, lightly battered and deep fat fried with a squeeze of fresh lime. Sherry’s tostones, fried smashed plantains, were thin, salty and equally yummy. Both were totally unhealthy but we MUST experience the local cuisine! I ate my lunch so quickly I didn’t have time to take a photo!
Bimini is only 50 mi from Florida but a world away in terms of living conditions. The houses were in deplorable states, electricity goes off frequently, and the grocery stores are a blog all unto themselves! It was home for a short time to Ernest Hemingway and Dr. Martin Luther King where they both spent time writing. The island is well known for bonefishing but we visited during the slow season so the marinas were fairly empty, mostly overnighters that were heading on to the Exumas. The Bahamian people are extremely friendly, polite and go out of their way to be helpful.
Next up…Great Harbour, Berry Islands.