Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bimini, the Bahamas

We left Miami in the dark at 3 am, the last of four sailboats heading about forty miles through the Atlantic and the Gulf Stream to Bimini, the Bahamas. Here are some pics of nautical and civil twilights and sunrise.


The crossing itself turned out to be a breeze. We had a perfect, light wind from the south, and we sailed for some hours without the engine, listening only to the boat's rushing with the chop-free water. Unfortunately, I had taken a Dramamine just in case I got seasick after being a mountain lady for a Wyoming month, and it knocked me out for most of the crossing. I did, however, wake up and stay up long enough to enjoy the royal blue of the Gulf Stream.

Then we arrived in Bimini!

After we cleared customs and immigration, Evan and I set out to explore the island. We passed up the opportunity to rent a golf cart for $60 a day and just walked around, taking breaks from the sun under shady trees every 1000 meters or so. Even so, our pace far outstripped the locals. They not only took frequent breaks under some shade, but they also walked extremely slowly when under the sun. Counterintuitive it might seem, but they weren't sweating nearly as much as we were.

Ah, cool relief...
What else? Evan and I feasted on delicious coconut bread, which is doughy and elastic and subtly sweet in a way that made me consider it a wild ancestor to French toast. We finally went swimming! We saw our first close-up wreck.

We learned about Ernest Hemingway's affection for the town--he lived here for several years and wrote about it in what was posthumously published as "Islands in the Stream." According to one talkative local, he was much loved there.
The hotel he stayed at (now gone)
I'm curious to read "Islands" now, to see what Hemingway loved about Bimini. After Evan and I spent a lovely few hours on the terrace of an empty restaurant in Porgy Bay called Sarah's, I have my own idea. Sitting on the shaded patio, looking at the green and blue striped sea, and the terns swooshing white and black, it was as though the coiled up noodle of my brain relaxed and dissolved into my blood, floating throughout my body, no longer trapper in my hard skull, feeling the cool breeze just on the other side of thin skin. Thoughts crossed unhurried, unwilled and completely free.

Here are some pics...more to come later.

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