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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Paradise Next Door
Bahamas Cruise
2011
Bahamas Blues
~ Bahamas Blues ~
Bimini
Safe, Sound & Lounging Around
After a mere 4 hours sleep, we rose from a fitful night of bouncing around to find ourselves floating in the most beautiful crystal clear blue seas. I found myself spellbound by a skiff wandering around our little cove towing a diver in search of conch. I wanted so much to join them – just jump into that mesmerizingly seductive sea for a sunrise swim.

With South Bimini just to our North, Don and I radioed to the Bimini Sands Marina to confirm dockage was available. The operator assured us there was plenty of space, and suggested we tie up to any of the slips near the fuel dock. Coming in on a high tide, he also proclaimed that our 6' draft shouldn't be a problem. Believing the marina was just ahead we aimed for the group of pilings we saw in the distance, and entered what appeared to be an almost abandoned marina with no fuel docks in sight.

Bimini Sands Marina
~ Bimini Sands Marina ~
Navigating Over Crystal Clear Water
I double checked the cruising guide to discover this deserted basin was the Bimini Sands Yacht Club Marina – not to be confused with the Bimini Sands Marina (creative naming is not a Bahamian trait). We made our way out and around to the western side of the island. The narrow channel into the Bimini Sands Marina had some pretty skinny water – at its shallowest we'd only 1 foot under our keel, and the translucent water gave us an amplified and alarming view of the jagged boulders sliding by underneath. We'd have to wait for a weather window AND high tide to leave.

Inside the marina was a big rectangular basin with floating docks on each edge, nearly all of them empty. Busy season doesn't start for these folks until May, so we were a bit of a distraction to their pre-season preparations. But this facility appeared far more luxurious than the dilapidated Yacht Club at the other side of the island. We tied up to an empty slip and before I could finish cleating the stern lines, the only other mariners in residence were greeting us and peppering us with questions.

Don on South Bimini Beach
~ Don on South Bimini Beach ~

Mia and Dietrich were Germans who had chartered their American boat for a few weeks. We chatted for just a moment before they kindly excused themselves to allow us to get settled. I felt that they were perhaps lonely and looking forward to having company, but our first order of business was clearing customs.

Don took all our necessary documents into the marina office and soon returned with the forms that needed to be filled out. After some debate as to whether I was 'Crew' or 'Passenger', my captain took a cab to the airport to officially check in. Upon returning he claimed it took longer waiting for the cab than it did obtaining clearance. $160 rendered from the cruising kitty, and we were free to move about the country.

Great Beach Chairs
We were completely beat and finally able to succumb to a much needed nap. There is no deeper slumber than the one that falls upon an exhausted sailor tucked safe in a harbor. Around forty winks and 4:00 PM we managed to roust ourselves and begin our Bahamian fling. Soaking up some sun on that azure shore was the perfect proposition. I could not get enough of the vista of breathtakingly blue hues, so we slung our chairs over our shoulders and stretched our legs straight over to the resort's little spit of sand.

Back in the Keys, Don and I had a set of folding beach chairs that, despite all the exposure to sun, salt, and sand, continued surviving quite well oddly enough. However, at our local marine chandlery I'd begun lusting after new and improved chairs that were ingeniously engineered with integrated awnings. I just couldn't come up with an excuse to spend the money until one fortuitous evening when yet another hoopla broke out on our dock and those interminable surfside stools were engaged.

Diana on the Beach
~ Diana on the Beach ~
Brought to a state of total ambivalence, Don and I marooned our rust-laden recliners on the dock when we retired in the early AM, heedless of the heavy winds ensuing. Apparently Poseidon needed a portable throne. Earlier risers Rick and Debbie tried to rescue the chair that blew into the bay, but alas it was firmly and forever sunk in the muck.

When we all eventually gathered for our hangover huddle, I told Don that his chair was lost at sea. As the two chairs were identical, Debbie inquired how I knew the casualty was Don's, and not mine. "Well mine is still safe and sound on the dock. If I claimed the one in the water then I wouldn't have anything to sit on. I mean, what's the point of claiming ownership of something that's gone?" I explained. In any event, it was the excuse I needed to buy the deluxe beach chairs that I'd been coveting.

Comfortably shaded in our next-gen loungers with cerulean seas before us, Don was all full of smiles until I reiterated the question I'd been asking over and over during our exhaustingly arduous month of cruising preparation: "You know what you gotta do?"

"What?" Don replied apprehensively.

I flashed him a mischievous smile and exclaimed – "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!” Thus, our island Zen began.