The Bimini Island Chain in the Bahamas
Across the Gulf Steam from Florida’s east coast lies the Bimini Island Chain. These sub tropical low-lying islands are a fantastic destination for a weeklong sail. Bimini offers some of the finest SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing and beachcombing anywhere. These “islands in the stream” offer water clarity, which is nothing less than spectacular. You may rent snorkel gear at our office in Ft. Lauderdale if you have not brought your own. For those who are certified divers we recommend renting your SCUBA gear from Underseas Sports in Ft. Lauderdale before you head across the Gulf Stream.
The Bimini Chain is lightly populated with the center of village life located on North Bimini, in Alice Town. There are many small restaurants, shops, and bars, as well as the Hemingway Museum at the Complete Angler. Marinas are abundant if you decide not to anchor out. The beaches on North Bimini offer miles of un-crowded fine white sand and snorkeling from the waters edge. Golf Carts and Mopeds are available for rent so you can explore the island. One of the most interesting dive and snorkel sites off of North Bimini is “Bimini Road”, which some say is the ruin of the lost city of Atlantis.
South Bimini is primarily residential with only two marinas. The new Bimini Sands Marina is located at the entrance to the harbor and has a Customs and Immigration office so you can clear in there without having to take a taxi and ferry over to North Bimini. The other marina is located at the south end of the island. A new channel has been dredged in Nixon’s Harbor that takes you into the marina. Not far from the south end of South Bimini lies the wreck of the “Sappona”. This is a great snorkel and dive site.
The only other island in the Bimini’s with a marina is on North Cat Cay. This is a private Island with some “high profile” homeowners. For this reason the local authorities limit the accessibility of the island for non-members. You are welcome at the Marina for transient dockage but they prefer for you to stay in the area of the marina where there is a fine dining restaurant a store for provisions, dock bar, and gift shop. It is a truly beautiful setting at the marina and we recommend this for your last night in the Bahamas. Just off the coast of South Cat Cay is a fantastic dive site. “Tuna Alley” has mooring balls and is 50’ to 80’ with deep caverns and crevasses in the coral.
There are many other Anchorages such as Honeymoon Harbour, Dollar Harbour. Moxom Rocks, and Nixon Harbour. Please call to speak with our knowledgeable staff for more details.
One Week Itinerary to the Bimini Islands
Day One – Arrive at Fun In The Sun Marina before mid-day. Part of the Crew goes to shop for provisions while the skipper and mate run through the inventory and do a systems check out. Skipper and mate should rest late afternoon and early evening. Finish loading the boat and depart for Bimini between 10:00 PM and Midnight. The crossing is done at night so that you arrive in daylight hours (due to no lighted navigational aides in the Bahamas).
Day Two – Arrive in Alice Town, clear customs and Immigration. It is recommended to spend your first night at a marina since you will be very tired when you arrive. Bimini Blue Water Marina is a reasonable marina to stay at. Explore Alice Town, Rest, walk over to the beach, and have some cracked conch for dinner at one of the local establishments.
Day Three – Sail to the north end of North Bimini. Anchor off the beach and carry a picnic lunch to a wonderful swimming beach. In the afternoon sail out to Bimini Road for a nice snorkel or shallow dive. Go back in near the beach and anchor out for the night.
Day Four – Sail south to the wreck of the Sappona. Snorkel around this old 1940’s concrete hull sunken freighter. Pick up anchor and head south, sail to Gun Cay and anchor on the east or west side depending on conditions.
Day Five – Dinghy into Gun Cay and explore this uninhabited island. Check out the lighthouse and the nice beaches. There is also good conching around the east side of the island. Sail on down to the south end of North Cat Cay where there is a protected bay and a beautiful beach. Spend the night.
Day Six – Sail out to Tuna Alley, hook up with a mooring ball, and enjoy a world-class dive site. This is a 50’ to 80’ dive with coral caverns and giant crevasses. You will see lots of reef fish and an occasional turtle, shark and other wildlife. In the afternoon sail to the east side of North Cat Cay and spend your last night at Cat Cay Marina. There is fine dining there at the marina as well as a more casual dining room.
Day Seven – Check out the gift shop at the marina on Cat Cay in the morning. Sail down to South Cat Cay. Anchor off the west side for a couple for hours and do some snorkeling. Head back to Ft. Lauderdale so you arrive before dark. Stay at the Fun In The Sun Marina and go out to dinner in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
Day Eight – Clean up the boat, pack up your gear, and depart by 12:00 noon.
To add a little excitement, try fishing while you are sailing. It’s a thrill catching Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Tuna, Pompano, Mackerel, and Wahoo, not to mention the occasional billfish. There is nothing like fresh caught fish for dinner! You can also take along a kayak for island exploration and/or a windsurfer for the water sports enthusiast.
Obviously there can be a lot of variation on this itinerary, but it shows there is plenty to do in a week charter to the Bimini Island Chain. If you would like further information or would like to plan a different Bahamas trip give us a call and speak with our knowledgeable staff. We can provide you with a cruising guide to the Bahamas Islands as well as charts of the area.