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Date: 06 Jan 2010 16:57:26
Title: In the Biminis

Here are some notes and pictures from our Bimini visit......
 
28th December.  We caught the water taxi over to North Bimini to post our visa forms back to the USA and change some money, however, everything was closed as Boxing Day had fallen on the Saturday so they had Monday off,  but we did view the remains of 'The Complete Angler' hotel where writer Ernest Hemingway spent so much time during his wild game fishing days in Bimini. It had burnt down - strangely enough like quite a few properties on North Bimini, so we are wondering if there is a pyromaniac loose somewhere on the island, as apparently the jail burnt down a year or so back after a newly installed officious police officer shot one of the locals for being out of control. Of course all this is hearsay and maybe a little local myth to add some spice to the visitor's experience. But the remains of the jail can clearly be seen. However, we have found the locals incredibly friendly and no walk up the main street in Alice Town or Bailey Town passes without good wishes or waves from the many golf carts and mopeds that are the preferred means of transport around the island. Here are a few pics of North Bimini....
 
     
Picturesque seat on the waterfront                                               Howard's friendly Tailoring - "We keep you in stitches"  Tee Hee      Ruins of The Complete Angler Hotel - Hemmingway's old haunt
 
     
Wall murals - they're good at painting fish in these islands!            Bimini North - looking across Florida Straits                                     Only vibrant colours allowed! 
 
     
Bailey Town with it's colourful washing                                           Another artistic beach shot                                                             Two car families are the norm here + the odd digger and lorry!
 
 
29th December - We visited the local nature trail just a short distance from the marina. This was an interesting walk which led us in a circular route of approx 1 mile through woods just back from the beach. As well as various signposts describing the local fauna there were two glass cases at different locations one containing a local Iguana, the other containing one of the Bimini Boa Constrictors, that, along with the smaller version are the Bimini islands' only snake species and, thankfully, very rarely seen.
 
30th December and it was back over to North Bimini to post the visa forms and find some bread. There are about 3 private bakeries in Alice and Bailey Town and generally you have to knock the front door of somebody's house to get served. As we were late getting to town all the bread had gone to the market and we declined to pay the $5 asking price for a loaf when we got there. We did buy some groceries and then 6 bottles of local rum at the liquor store which was cheaper than the sum total of the vegetables - hmm -a slippery slope looms!  We 'staggered' back to the boat with our purchases.
 
    
South Bimini 'Beach Bum'                                                             Walking the nature trail - local Poison Wood Tree - to be avoided     Local ferry just about squeezes through the narrow entrance
 
 
31st December. A benign weather day, little wind, lovely warm sunshine - a perfect opportunity to head for the sandy beach about 200 yards away from our mooring in the marina, which by now had become more occupied by boats arriving from the USA. Being about a mile long there were just a couple of other people on the beach in the distance as we waded into the crystal clear waters for a New Year's Eve swim. Perfect, apart from a cold current circulating a few yards out from the waters edge. What a great way to bring the year to a close. In the evening we decided to go up to the Bimini Sands Club and watch the firework display and have a meal with OCC friends. The brightly painted shuttle bus of 1950's vintage had seen better days, stank of unburnt diesel but had a happy driver. At the restaurant we chose lobster tails after a Conch starter and finished with Guava Duff (don't ask). The firework display started around 2100 and went on for a full 20 minutes. The most impressive display we've seen put on for so few people (100-150 at most). The evening had turned a little chilly and only a few locals were dancing to the live group outside the club.  At midnight free champagne was dispensed and we beat a retreat as the cheap bubbly was liberally sprayed round the bar by the youngsters - best thing for it really, before the more energetic amongst the revellers were climbing onto the club bar to dance into the early hours. Not an option for Phil as he doesn't like heights, so we boarded the ancient bus for the trip back to the marina. On the way we passed many unlit golf buggies overcrowded with happy holidaymakers frantically shining torches to avoid being flattened by the bus and it's happy driver. (We saw the bus being towed back into the marina complex 2 days later, having expired on one of its daily shuttles between the marina and the beach club 1 mile away - maybe that diesel smell had something to do with it!)
 
   
The fireworks were great.......                                                         We all had fun..............                                                                         Including the 'crew'
 
   
After the firework display, beach littered with launchers                For Sale - Beachside villa with superb views - needs slight attention     "Leave the Red 4 buoy well to starboard on entering N.Bimini"
 
 
1st January 2010.  Weather has turned a little windier and cooler so swimming is out for the time being. We decided to visit the Fountain of Youth situated somewhere along the airport road on South Bimini. We found it, or at least the sign over the entrance announced it was indeed the place we were looking for, however, there was no fountain, just a well with an ancient leaky bucket from which to pull up the 'magic' water. Well, we took a few sips - it was good sweet water but neither of us are showing any signs of morphing 'Dr Who like'  into the young people we once were. However, for good measure we did skip a few yards down the road after leaving the well (when it was clear there were no cars or people about).
 
    
Desperate man sips water from the 'Fountain of Youth'                    Nixon Hbr at low water                                                                     Nixon Hbr - different view
 
 
5th January - Still at South Bimini waiting for a weather slot to head across the banks, having missed a window a couple of days back when OCC friends 'escaped' into the blue yonder. However, it's turned colder with artic winds funnelling down the east coast USA bringing unseasonable weather to these parts. It's blowing 25-30 knots and overnight produced even stronger winds. A lighter news item to dull the frustration of not being able to move on is that Florida has had freezing weather causing Iguanas to fall out of their trees as their bodies shut down at 40 deg F and their limbs can't grasp the branches any more............Hmmm Phil developed that problem years ago.
 

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