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Bahamas Cruise
2011
Bimini Big Game Club Docks
~ Bimini Big Game Club Docks ~
Alice Town, North Bimini
The Wonderland of Alice Town
Even after our 4 hour snooze the day before, it took another full night of sleep before we fully recuperated from our crossing. A bowl of Grape-Nuts and bananas began the day, and then we splashed the new dinghy for a trip to Alice Town, North Bimini's main settlement.

We cruised up the channel past empty marina slips and sea walls, searching for someplace to tie up. Drifting into the anchorage area, we observed a crew tying their tender's line through a hole in a crumbling seawall. They successfully ascended the rusty ladder, but scattered between us and that wall was a lot of spiky, sunken debris and the danger of a duel with our Mercury's long-shaft made us pass on this precarious path to shore.

Motoring back and forth, this transcendental cay taunted us into a tiff. I was of the "Let's just tie up there!" attitude while Don's stance ran along the lines of "That's somebody's backyard! We'd be trespassing on private property." After a thorough tour of the shore, I eventually convinced Don to pull up alongside the Big Game Club so I could ask for directions.

"Where might we find a dinghy dock?"I inquired to a Bahamian clad in the BBGC's signature swordfish uniform.

Quite confused, he replied "We don ‘ave anyting like dat. Iz no problem you jez tie up near de ladder over dar and climb on up. Welcome to de island!"

Coming from the capitol of capitalism, Don and I were fully expecting to be directed to some designated dock where we'd fork over some funds. But we'd departed from the overly-regulated land we knew and sailed into tangible freedom. Don secured the tender and the two of us headed into town.

Bimini's Answer to the Mega-Mart
~ Bimini's Answer to the Mega-Mart ~
We emerged on the south side of Kings Road, made a requisite rum stop, and then proceeded toward Bimini's Board of Tourism situated in the straw market. But alas, we were out of season and, like most of the market stalls, the office was vacant – leaving us map-less.

No Worries! Spontaneity and aimless exploration on shore was a welcome deviation to the likes of us who meticulously chart every course and precisely plan every seaside passage. Besides, it's rather difficult to get lost on an island that's only 7 miles long and 700 feet wide!

The royal road took us past the island's abandoned International Airport – a 1940's style edifice that would easily fit into a Bogart film noir. Next door, the general store advertised tackle, batteries, garden supplies, dive equipment; most any oddment imaginable in a shop the size of a rabbit hole.

The Island in the Stream
At the southernmost tip of the island road, we happened upon a totemic, hillside cemetery. Graveyards are a community's interred, eternal history and they always entreat me to meditate on the memorials of the beloved, and ruminate over the remnants of the forgotten. We climbed up the crest toward the beach, and beheld a pulse quickening grave that, as a sailor, ran shivers up my spine.

Bimini, 'The Island in the Stream' is poised on the edge of a sheer cliff carved by the torrent Gulf Stream. This underwater precipice falls thousands of feet into the abyss, resulting in a horizon painted with most every hue of blue. And on this picturesque shore, a decomposing, rusty hulk of a skeleton collided with the aquamarine, turquoise, and cerulean blue backdrop.

Wreck of the Gallant Lady Bimini Bahamas
~ Wreck of the Gallant Lady Bimini Bahamas ~

Our impromptu tour led us to the wreck of the Gallant Lady, blown to her final resting place during 1997's Hurricane Mitch. Breath-taken, this indescribable contrast of nature's brutally destructive sovereignty against her serenely beautiful artistry compelled awe for the ocean's power and reverence for the seafarers forever lost in her deep embrace.

Bimini Wesley Methodist Church – Established 1858
~ Bimini Wesley Methodist Church – Established 1858 ~
Bimini's History
The surrounding buildings appeared to have also fallen to some of time and tide's destruction. Remnants of grand curving staircases, glossy tiled patios, and pastel stucco walls lay as crumbling fodder for the elements. We'd been warned that Bimini was a shabby, derelict locale, but we weren't exactly jet-setters seeking manufactured opulence and bustling high-society. These modern ruins however, made me ponder the temporary whims of tourism, and the lavish waste that remains after the vacationers evacuate forever.

We continued up the ocean-side ridge until we came to an occupied cottage, then turned north onto Queens Road. A beautiful little Baptist church beseeched my camera lens and as I paused to frame the circa 1858 chapel, a curate welcomed us to enter. The gently curved wooden ceiling, sturdy white pillars, and stout buttressed rafters heralded the handiwork of shipwrights, who architected this humble house of worship to safely sail parishioner's souls to salvation.

Beach Time with a Pink Flamingo
We'd not yet explored the island too deeply, but once outside, the siren song of the waves caressing the sands prompted us to pack ourselves a picnic and return for a romp in this mesmerizing spectrum of blue. Some brie, summer sausage, apples, and nuts made a splendidly carefree fare. We beached our dinghy onto a shore littered with conch shells, the perfect setting for a Pink Flamingo picture.
Dink on the Beach
~ Dink on the Beach ~

I'd won this funky, floating drink cozy years ago and just prior to departing from the Florida Keys, chanced upon it while cleaning out a cubby. I stashed it in our cooler, then blew it up and bedecked my beverage during our next 'Sandbar' hoopla. (Note that hooplas – aka random celebratory affairs – frequently erupted amongst our Florida Keys Vortex.) I interpreted the numerous waggish comments made about my beverage bling as covetous envy, so of course from that point on Pinky came out for every libation.

For our Farewell hoopla, I provided all our Vortex mates with their own personal Pinky Flamingo, to spark a memory of all the amazing hooplas we'd shared. Since most of our buddies are wayfarers like us, we've all taken to posting Pinky pics snapped at exotic ports as a sort of postcard and this particular place was perfect for the pose.

Bimini Postcard
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