More About Bimini Island
Courtesy of the
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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