Part 1: Bimini – A Grand Marina Tour: Island Hopping The Bahamas
Ahhhhh, The Bahamas.
It’s easy to fall in love with this chain of over 700 islands that stretches from off the coast of Florida to the Turks and Caicos. There is the amazing food (can’t get enough of that conch!), the charming people, and of course that glowing blue water that literal steals your breath.
Because the islands are close to Florida, and relatively close to each other, The Bahamas are a boater’s dream. With Bimini being only 50 miles from Ft. Lauderdale and Grand Bahamas about 55 miles from West Palm Beach, it’s easy to hop in a boat and cross the Gulf Stream. You could have breakfast in Florida and be eating lunch in the Bahamas.
Castaway Crystal and I recently (April 2018) did a little island hopping in the Bahamas to investigate a few popular marinas. We wanted to see just what marina life would be like for people exploring the islands by boat, hopping from one marina to the next. From what we found, life would be goooood!
As one of my favorite islands in the Bahamas, Bimini just has this magnetic pull to it. What is that pull? It’s different for everyone. For me it’s the rustic island feel and the blazing blue water. For others it might be the world class fishing.
Bimini has long been famous for its fishing. The island sits right on the edge of the deep and powerful Gulf Stream, a current that is full of large game fish such has Striped Marlin, Black Marlin, Mahi Mahi and just about anything else you can think of. Then in the shallow bay waters of Bimini, anglers can battle Bonefish, shark and hunt for lobster. While small, Bimini is definitely a fisherman’s playground.
During our visit we stayed at the world famous, Bimini Big Game Club. This charming property is the perfect retreat for those coming over from Florida to fish, and those looking to explore what Bimini culture is all about. This resort and marina are located on the southern part of North Bimini island and has everything you need. From WiFi coverage in the marina to a full restaurant that will cook up your catch, it’s a great spot to call home when visiting.
For Boater: Bimini Big Game Club Facilities
Slips: 75 slips, capable of accommodating yachts up to 160 ft LOA
Controlling Depth: 9 feet mlw
Electricity: 100/200 + 30, 50 and 100 amp service, 3 phase electric
Water: City water
Internet: Wi-Fi coverage includes the Marina and resort.
For those who aren’t the fishing type (Like Us!) here is what Bimini Big Game Club offers.
Fishing: Deep sea, bonefishing and offshore reef fishing
Watersports Center: Kayaking, Paddle Boards
Dive Center: Padi dive instructor, snorkeling, swim With the dolphins, shark encounters, dive the reefs, wrecks, walls, Atlantis Road, Advanced and open water certification
Restaurant: Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill
Games: Billiards, Ping-Pong, Ring Toss, Horseshoes
Other Amenities: Barbeque area, swimming pool, Liquor Store
Shopping: Outfitter Shop for sundries and souvenirs
Golf Cart Rentals: Streetside at the resort
Non Smoking Resort: All accommodations, building interiors and restaurant and bars are smoke free
Pets: Dogs permitted in the marina area only (not on grounds, in restaurant, on restaurant deck or on lawn areas. Please walk dog in the designated area and pick up after (plastic bags available in refuse dispenser).
Life on the Docks
Like I mentioned before, Castaway Crystal and I aren’t anglers, but we do love marina life. You don’t have to be an angler to pull into a slip for a few days and watch life unfold in true island time style.
One of our favorite things to do was to find a shady spot and watch the boats come and go in the marina. We would sit up stairs to grab a stunning view of the docks, and the waters that stretched beyond. We also loved to settle into adirondack chairs with a cold Bahamian beer and watch as the fishermen unloaded their catch. It was an active place, so there was always something to see.
Speaking of things to see in the marina! There was tons of excitement under the water too! As we sat there watching marina life go by, we saw 3 or 4 Nurse Sharks, a handful of stingrays, some giant Tarpon and a wide range of smaller fish. Castaway Crystal loves wildlife and was squealing every time she saw a large animal slowly swim by. Also Bimini Big Game Club is also famous for its Bull Sharks. While we didn’t see any in the marina, we did see one off the beach and were told they are there almost every day to eat the scraps as fishermen clean their catch. So just a word to the wise, I would’t jump in the water to cool off anywhere around the marina. Watch these awesome animals from the dock, don’t become a news story.
Golf Cart Exploration
The best way to get out and explore Bimini is by golf cart. Just walk to the front desk at the Bimini Big Game Club and ask to rent a cart and they will hook you right up.
North Bimini is made up of 3 different areas; Alice Town where the Big Game Club is at, Bailey Town which is to the north of Alice Town, and Resorts World area to the far north. The main populated area of North Bimini is a long narrow piece of land, so it’s impossible to get lost.
Alice Town and Bailey Town are the rustic, authentic parts of Bimini. It’s the Bimini that I love. Resorts World is a big modern area with pastel colored condos, a Hilton Hotel, luxury homes, and a casino. To me, that’s not Bimini. I’ll leave my rant about that for another time, but let’s just say I’d rather be sitting on the old wooden deck of Sherry’s Beach Bar in Alice Town than throwing dice around a craps table.
The golf cart will quickly get you to amazing Bimini attractions like Stuart’s Conch Shack, the Dolphin House, Radio Beach, Sherry’s Beach Bar which I mentioned, Ebbie & Pat’s dock bar, and anything else you want to see. For being such a small rock, Bimini has a lot of offer.
As you might have seen, this story is titled Part 1. Meaning there’s going to be more to this island hopping bonanza! Part 2 is about Nassau and Palm Cay, the second stop during our 3 island trip, and it definitely opened my eyes up to another side of New Providence that I hadn’t seen before.
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