20 January 2013 | Bimini
EVS: Hot and Calm
While here on Bimini, we have explored and enjoyed some different locations and points of interest. We visited and toured the Dolphin House, built of stone, cement, tile, flotsam and jetsam found on the beach, old bottles, pieces of ceramic, etc. One man, Ashley Saunders, built it – two stories so far – by himself. He comes from a long line of builders and he decided to build something that is hurricane proof. Whether it is so, we cannot say, but the decorations, particularly on the interior, are pretty incredible and speak of a labor of love and dedication, for 20 years.
Standing on the roof of the Dolphin House (which contains the beginning of a mosaic of compass points around the world – New York, London, etc.), we had a spectacular view of the ocean, and right across the side street, a former hotel, now on the market. Mr. Saunders indicated a pretty wise view of investment properties: the place was poorly constructed (he claims the balconies are falling off) so it would take a huge sum of money to restore it, the rooms (and balconies) face north and south so have no water views, the property is set well off the harbor so there is no boat access, it is well away from the beach and has no beach access, and there is no pool. From that came the discussion of how to make a small fortune – start with a large one.
We also located and toured the Bimini Museum. There is not a lot contained there, but what there is is interesting. It obviously notes Ernest Hemingway’s influence on and involvement in the islands, but there is much more regarding the locals and (primarily) Americans who loved the islands, came here to fish and invested huge sums in houses, hotels, and docks (much of which is gone), the visits of British royalty (The Bahamas became independent in about 1972 but still claim the Queen as their monarch), a visit by Martin Luther King, and a whole assortment of letters, photos, and odds and ends about local folk, nurses, teachers, land claims, etc. Virtually none of it is under glass, so its longevity is open to doubt. See it while you can!
While on our walkabout of North Bimini, on the Queens Highway, we saw a relatively new power boat up on the rocks. It sort of looked like people had come to shore to picnic, but it was well up and on the rocks, with waves washing over its transom. We later learned (from Sherry at her Beach Bar down the road) that the boat had been driven onshore only a few weeks ago by some Germans who were fleeing the authorities. After they crashed on the beach and ran down island, they were apprehended by the local police and determined to be wanted for murder in Germany. Sherry believes they now are in prison in Nassau. Let’s hope.
A short water taxi ride from the Government Dock took us to South Bimini, where we explored the Bimini Sands Resort. Several of the boats entering the Bimini Islands when we did went in there for its “hurricane hole” protection, floating docks, and various amenities, including island tours, ecological tours, shark feedings, etc. An nice and protected resort, but without the local flavor of Alice Town, where we are. We walked the beaches looking for sea glass, but found none that is ready. We wandered north along the beach adjacent to the entrance channel and had to climb up, over, and around the dredge pipes en route back to the water taxi dock. Along the way, we found another excellent (?) investment opportunity with a beautiful water view. As the sign says, they are asking $2.9 million, but it is negotiable. Another small fortune in the making?
We plan to depart Bimini today, after attending a local Methodist Church service (which we have been assured will not take more than 45-60 minutes!), and make an overnight passage to Nassau. The winds are forecast to be light and variable, so likely a motor trip all the way.