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Cruising Bimini

Bimini is an easy cruise over from Florida and yet it’s a world away.

September 9, 2020
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Bimini
In Bimini, the scene is blissfully the same as it was this past year. Zach Stovall

Nadia Rolle says little has changed on Bimini since this time a year ago—which is a great thing. The Bahamas took a beating from Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, but Bimini was largely spared. While the Abacos archipelago is still working to clean up the disaster that Dorian created around Marsh Harbour in particular, over on Bimini, it’s business as usual, with boats arriving from the United States in about the same numbers as in years past.

“Everything is pretty much the same,” says Rolle, a senior executive with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “We’re the gateway—the first stop out of Florida. Things have been pretty good. It’s only when the weather is bad that we can see a difference.”

Bimini is about 60 nautical miles from Miami and has long been a first stop for Americans cruising to the Abacos or the Exumas. It’s also a place known for fantastic fishing. The season for blue and white marlin typically peaks in May and June, right around the same time Allison and bluefin tuna, along with grouper and snapper, tend to be lurking around.

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Ansil Saunders
Ansil Saunders, now in his late 80s, is synonymous with bonefishing in Bimini. His most famous client was Martin Luther King Jr. In the mangroves, they talked about the beauty of life all around. Zach Stovall

Also in June is the boaters’ delight known as the Bimini Boating Fling. (There are actually two this year: June 17-21 and June 24-29.) It’s a guided crossing from Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Bimini Big Game Club. Each flotilla can have as many as 30 boats, making them ideal for first-timers or for cruisers who simply prefer to cross in a group.

In fact, the crossings have been happening for a number of years, with some boaters returning multiple times. They know Bimini hasn’t changed—and that’s exactly what keeps them coming back for more.

Bimini Basics

Bimini is the closest region of the Bahamas to the US mainland, located about 50 miles east of South Florida.

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Resort World Bimini Bahamas can accommodate yachts up to 100 feet length overall. The marina is directly in front of the Hilton resort and casino. Bimini Big Game Club can take boats up to 140 feet length overall, with one slip for a 160-footer. A dive center is among the offerings on-site. Brown’s Marina has slips for boats up to 150 feet length overall. It shares 200 feet of waterfront boardwalk with Bimini Big John’s Bar & Grill. Bimini Sands Marina can handle boats up to 100 feet in length. Mackey’s Sand Bar is on-site, known for seafood pizza. Bimini Bay Marina has dockage for yachts up to 200 feet length overall. The controlling depth at the marina is 12 feet.

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