Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Visit in Bimini

Jan. 21-29

Days 71-79

After waiting patiently for our weather window to cross the fearful Gulf Stream we have finally succeeded.  Our flotilla of 6 trawlers left Pumpkin Key before the sun peeked its head above the horizon.  Roger and Mary on TaTa had made their way through the channel the previous afternoon leaving bread crumbs for us to follow in the darkness of predawn.  Other than being waked by some rude fishermen in a hurry to get out to their favorite spot on the reef we had no problems. The blue of the water was amazing, unfortunately my photos don't do it justice.  One of the trawlers with us is a Albin 40.  It is a little strange to look across and see almost our mirror image cutting through the waves.  We arrived in Bimini about 2:30 with beautiful sunshine, huge rays leading us in to the marina, and clear turquoise waters.  This is an island of contrasts.  The south end of North Bimini (where our marina is located) is where the Bahamians live.  The north end of North Bimini is owned by foreign  interests.  There is a large 1st class resort with a casino and marina, as well as, a huge new Hilton being built.  There is basically 2 classes here: locals and tourists.  Everyone is very friendly and always ready to offer assistance and advice.  We have enjoyed our walks on the beach, did a little snorkeling, a bit of fishing, covered pretty much every corner of our end of North Bimini, and ferried over to South Bimini.  We are ready to move on.

Ta Ta in the lead as we make our way toward the Gulf Stream.  The stunning sunrise promised us a wonderful crossing.

We were certainly alone out here in open water.  This is just one of several cargo ships that we had to maneuver around during our 8 hour trip to the Bahamas.

                              Arriving safely into the harbor at North Bimini.  

Off the boat for a walk about town.  This is the "world famous" Dolphin House.  The builder greeted us as we checked out his handiwork. He builds with materials he picks up on the island.  The entire building is covered with shells, bottles, broken tiles and anything else he finds.  He is now adding a second floor and says that he has nephews that will continue his life's work when he is gone.

A quiet day on the beach.  This is a great place to pick up sea glass, conch shells and just take a nice walk.

One of the many conch shell piles along the water's edge.  According to what we have been told the shells can't be left in the ocean because the conch would leave the area if they found all of the dead shells.  Don't know if this is true, but it sure gives the locals a good excuse to just dump the shells allover  the place.

Not all of the conchs have been harvested and thrown into piles.

This ship is a prime example of what salt water can do to steel.  I don't know how long ago this one went aground, but it doesn't appear to have much time left.

Another "world famous" establishment.  Joe was preparing his famous conch salad for a large lunch crowd.  I know I will have to give in eventually and try some conch, but to be honest it took him so long to chop it up, with a very large knife, that I am not sure that I could chew it up.

There are surprises on every corner in Bimini.  We really have no idea what they were celebrating, but Sunday afternoon must have been special.  We heard the music from the marina and rushed out to the street just in time to watch the parade go by.  Really didn't need to hurry, they went down to the end of the street and turned around and came back.  I guess if you live on a small island it is no big deal to march up and down the road twice.  By the way, for you late sleepers out there, Sunday services at the Methodist church start at 2:30 p.m.  Remember we are on island time here.

Haven't seen any lawn mowers, but these guys appear to have everything under control.  They don't seem to have near as much problem avoiding the traffic as we do.  Between remembering that they drive on the opposite side of the road than we do, the fact that the streets are very narrow, and that obviously pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way here, there have been several close calls.

Thought this was an interesting addition to the local flora.  We found this cotton plant growing wild in amongst other tropical plants.  I suppose it looked a lot like this before it was tamed as a cash crop in the south.

The waves are not always calm here.  We have actually stayed in Bimini longer than planned because there has been so much wind.  From what we hear that is typical during the winter months, but it usually starts calming down in February.  Hope they know what they are talking about.

The entrance to the resort at the north end of Bimini.  A beautiful development, but it is largely empty at this time of year.

Another picture for Tammy.  This is the infinity pool at the resort.  You can see how busy it is in January.

We took the ferry over to South Bimini on our search for Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth.  Yes, it seems Florida does not have the monopoly on these wells.  Roger has to work fast to get his drink, the  bottom of the rusted bucket isn't capable of holding water for long.  

Can you tell how much more youthful I am after my drink from the well?  Hey, no point in passing up the opportunity to give it a try.

This was a very nice little nature trail through the tropical forest.  We found out later that this is the preferred home of the local boa species.  They evidently are nocturnal, live in the trees and rock crevices (like the well).  I would have spent a lot more time looking up on my walk if I had known about the snakes.  I have a not so great history with snakes in trees.

A potluck was organized last night so that we could get together one more time before we scatter across the many islands of the Bahamas.  Some are headed for the Berries, others to Nassau and the Exumas, others on to the Abacos.  We are headed to Nassau with Ta Ta, then on to the Exumas to find a perfect spot to enjoy with Melinda when she meets us in February for a short visit.

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