Bimini Day One: Who’s on first?

I finally arrived at my hotel after traveling via planes, boats, automobiles, golf carts, and my own trusty two feet. For being only 50 miles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, it seemed like it would be an easy jaunt across the gulf stream right into my hotel room. Nope.   Let’s just say the island is working out some communication issues, hence the title of this post.

Cape Air is a small commuter jet company with non-stop service from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Bimini (NSB) via a seaplane with “Resorts World Bimini” slathered along the side of it. I chose this airline for two reasons: 1. It flew out of Ft. Lauderdale and avoids the customs clusterf*ck in Miami. 2. It was a seaplane and I was ecstatic to land on the water in lieu of a standard runway.

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The check in and security process with Cape Air and FLL were unbelievable easy and I would do it again in a New York minute. The airline is so small that the check in lady at ticketing is also the check in lady at the gate who is also the ground crew lady. They are multitasking mofos. On a side note, the pilots rolled into the gate area in shorts, aviator sunglasses, and baseball caps. I love small companies!

The flight to Bimini was an easy 30 minutes on a plane that seats 9 plus the two pilots. Needless to say, flying on a plane that small is certainly different than on a 737. I could tap the pilot on the shoulder if I wanted to, there is no security brief, and you can feel every bump and gust of wind. Naturally, I read the seat back card about the plane and the exits so I was fully prepared to survive should the plane go down. But alas, it’s amphibious so I was pretty confident that even if it did experience engine failure, we could just gently coast onto the surface of the ocean and float around until someone could come get us. At least that’s what I was trying to convince myself.

We arrived safely to Bimini but it sure wasn’t where or what I expected. Everything I read indicated we would be flying right in to the hotel area via water. Instead, we landed on solid ground in South Bimini. Now we had to figure out how the hell to get to our hotel on North Bimini. And that’s where the shit show started. It seemed as if it was well organized but one has to be proactive to figure out what the hell is going on. They don’t just voluntarily tell you how to get to the hotel, you have to keep asking people along the way. A bus quickly picked us up and took us to the “ferry”, really just a water taxi pontoon boat. The water taxi took us to a dock and dropped us off with no instruction on where to go. Everyone we asked told us something different. But through trial and error we figured it out and finally arrived at Resorts World Bimini.

First thing to know if you are planning to visit Bimini is that Resorts World Bimini is a quasi-secured resort area with shops, restaurants, a casino, villas, and the new Hilton that is currently under construction. Fortunately, the Hilton website made this clear so I knew what to expect. However, the frustrating part is that the new restaurants and bars are only open occasionally and no one seems to know when. It’s literally one big clusterf*ck here but, hey, it’s an island and we’re on island time, so who cares. It takes getting used to.

The Hilton, by the way, is gorgeous. They are still constructing the main lobby but this place is stunningly beautiful and modern. Clearly they are still working out some kinks (like how to operate the room safes and how to stop the toilets from running), but the customer service is actually fantastic. If you’ve been reading my blog or know me well, I’m not big on chain anything or staying in resorts. It’s just not my thing. But I wasn’t really sold on the other couple of hotels here. Now I’m wishing we stayed at the Bimini Big Game Club and Marina. Seems like something much more up my alley with its casual old island rustic feel.

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The “parking lot” at Bimini Big Game Club.

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Bimini Walmart.

Anyhoooooo, the goal for the trip is to swim with the wild dolphins and get some good snorkeling in at Rainbow Reef or the Sadona ship wreck. At this point, there is but a glimmer of hope that either will happen as the weather has really turned and the winds are obnoxious. There’s an inherent risk when planning a trip to any tropical island and we’re certainly trying find alternative ways to keep us entertained. And oh have we. The primary mode of transportation on the island is golf cart. So we called up a lady we met in the parking lot and rented one from her. Left side driving is comes quite easy since my extended stay in Exuma so we spent the evening driving all the way from one end of the island to the other, a whopping 5 minutes. J We ended the night at the casino of course but can’t say we’re “Winning!”. Hoping this wind dies down enough to take a boat trip on Tuesday. Otherwise, looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time playing blackjack.

 

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