Friday, April 13, 2007

FROM MIAMI TO BIMINI

On Wednesday, March 7 we left Miami’s Crandon Park Marina at 7:45 am under very windy conditions, sailing into the wind at a speed of between 7 and 9 Knots. The waters of the Gulf Stream were choppy, so at times, we had a rough going, although all in all, it was pretty good. At 2:15 pm we saw land, and arrived at North Bimini Island at 3: 30 pm. As you get close to land, the colors of the water are incredibly beautiful from dark blue to turquoise to aquamarine. The port were we moored is located between North and South islands in a very beautiful spot. Unfortunately the people who helped us with the ropes had no idea what they were doing, so it took us a while to secure the boat safely to the dock.

After we tied El Mico, we went off to explore the nearby beaches, and found a beautiful rusty wreck that might have been pushed into the reefs by one of the more recent hurricanes. The beaches are of very white fine sand, and the vegetation is unlike the other Caribbean islands farther south. There are two main areas on this island: Alice Town and Bailey Town. The architecture is quite eclectic and unattractive and there are very few palms. There are, however, lots of trees belonging to the acacia and pine families. We sat on top of a fallen palm to watch an unbelievably beautiful sunset and returned to the boat to have an early meal preceded by fabulous tequila with sangritas, a recipe that Libia brought from Mexico. They had been there for the weekend to see their son win a most exciting Busch race. There is a bar near the port, so we could hear the beautiful island music playing in the background. The evening was cool, so we had a great night sleep.

It is hard to believe how primitive the islands are when the distance from Miami is only 45 miles. As with all the Caribbean islands, the pace of their inhabitants is quite slow, all of them having the “Don’t worry be happy” attitude. No wonder people like Hemingway fell in love with these islands. We went to the bank this morning, and to change a $100.00 bill, it took the girl 20 minutes. Then again, who’s in a hurry?

Pablo and I washed the boat down the next day and then we all went for a bike ride to look for some charts we needed, as well as some of the famous Bimini bread and Kalik beer, both made in The Bahamas. On the north side of the island they are finishing a Resort called Bimini Bay, and what we saw of it is beautiful. They have beachfront houses, condos and studio apartments all in Caribbean architecture and gorgeous pastel colors. They will start the golf course soon. Although this project has generated lots of jobs for the islanders, many of the construction workers we saw came are mostly Central and South Americans.

We spent 4 nights at the Weech’s Dock Marina, where we so enjoyed ourselves. On Saturday, we took a water taxi to South Bimini and explored the island a bit after having left Pablo at the airport for an emergency trip back to Miami. The island is not as inviting or as charming as North Bimini, but it was interesting to see it.

On Sunday morning we went for another bike ride before the sun got too hot. Pablo returned at 11:00 am. and after having read for a while, Libia and I prepared a lovely
Lunch. Bill taught Pablo and Libia how to play backgammon, and I am afraid there is going to be a lot of playing on this trip. We then went for a swim in the beautifully clear waters of Weech’s dock and went inside to watch the Busch race from Las Vegas. It was a hard race for all the drivers due to the tire compound they were using, as well as to the new finish on the track. They had 10 yellow flags and only about 30 of the 43 cars finished the race. Juan Pablo finished 20, which was not bad considering the car had not been set up for the Las Vegas track.

As I write now, the band at the bar across from the boat is playing some fabulous Bahamian music, which will probably go on for a long time. Tomorrow, Sunday we will be sailing for a couple of hours to Cat Cay, where we plan to anchor, so we can see the Nextel Cup race where Juan Pablo will be starting fourth in the grid. We hope the weather continues to be as great as it has been all of this week.


First Breakfast in Bimini


Miami skyline


Old wreck


Our mooring on North Bimini


Lowering dingy


Catching grapes in the air


Warm and clear Bahamian waters

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