Laid Back Beauty
Bimini means Mother of Many Waters, (in ‘Taino’, the native American Indian language spoken here in years gone past). Deserted white sand beaches, shimmering crystal clear warm waters, welcoming islanders, funky colourful architecture, reggae and restaurants. Hello relaxation!
Bimini is made up of three islands, North, South & East Bimini, which together form its characteristic horseshoe shape, with a lagoon in the middle. Because it’s the closest island to Florida (50 miles / 80 km), many boaters make the trip in a couple of hours and dock in the marinas for short stays, or use the islands as a base for deep water fishing trips.
Surrounded by shallow reefs (20-30 ft) near shore, sea depth increases to 80 to 100 ft off the West coast, before dropping into the profound depths, over 6000 ft, of the Gulf Stream between Bimini and Miami. The Andros Barrier Reef (southeast of Bimini) represents the second largest reef complex in the western North Atlantic.
Some say Bimini is home to the ancient ‘lost City of Atlantis’; more recently the island was infamous as a favourite location for rum-runners during Prohibition. Today this gem of a playground has become known as the deep-sea fishing-capital of the world and the very best place, anywhere, to swim with wild dolphins.
The horseshoe-shaped island is very narrow, so the Retreat Centre is seconds away from stunning beaches, often deserted, where you can swim, sunbathe and take moonlight strolls. On the Retreat Centre’s doorstep, nature treats us to a splendid sunrise every morning overlooking the bay, where our catamaran, DolphinQuest, is moored.
Sparkling turquoise by day, golden orange by night, the waters in Bimini soak up your cares, leaving you purified and new.
WildQuest’s home is on the The North Island, a mere 7 miles (11 km) long and 700 ft. (210 m) wide, home to 1600 residents.
Alice Town is known as ‘downtown’ where you’ll find shops, the larger marinas & a few bars along the main road that runs north to south known as the King’s Highway. The Police Station, Medical Clinic, Museum, Post Office are also along this strip. A second road, the Queen’s Highway also runs north/south. Golf cart and bicycles are the best way to get around.
Further down the ‘highway’, Bailey Town is mostly residential with a few grocery/variety stores and churches. Next is Porgy Bay, a fishing village and WildQuest’s home. There are a couple of stores next door and a Medical Clinic.
The North island has incredible white sand beaches along its western side. There’s Radio Beach, Blister Beach, and, closest to WildQuest, Spook Hill Beach.
South Bimini has a much quieter, residential feel, with fewer tourists because up until the recent addition of luxury resorts, there were very few rental accommodations. Bimini’s airport is on this part of the island.
Sites of Interest
Apart from the beaches and the local village there are plenty of other things to see and to do. There are several esoteric sites to be explored, that folklore claims have mystical properties. A rented golf cart or our complimentary bikes are the most comfortable way to get around on land. If you want to explore the sea by kayak, we have a couple you can borrow.
- Healing Hole – On East Bimini, lies a 6 km saltwater, mangrove swamp. Here is what the locals call the healing hole which marks the end of an underground network of freshwater tunnels, pumping cool, curative, mineral-laden springs of sulfur and lithium into a pool, anyone can enjoy.
- Bimini ‘Atlantis Road’ – Off the west coast of North Bimini, snorkeling and free-diving reveal underwater rock formations, all in a line, under 18ft of water. Could these be the remains from the lost continent of ‘Atlantis’ as predicted by one of the famous prophesies of Edgar Cayce, who claimed the lost City would rise again at this spot.
- Fountain of Youth – The sixteenth century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León led the first successful expedition to Florida, in search of the Fountain of Youth and made reference to its location on Bimini. Islanders suggest it might be the small freshwater well that emerges from the shallow pools on South Bimini, marked by a commemorative plaque on the road to the Airport.
- For shark lovers, Bimini is also home to the world famous ‘Shark Lab’, the Bimini Biological Field Station, on the South Island. Here researchers and conservationists from across the globe gather to study species unique to the island. Owned and operated by biologist Dr. Samuel Gruber, the Lab has captured and catalogued thirteen shallow-water shark species from around the island, four from the surrounding deeper waters including Shortfin Mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus), Bigeye Thresher sharks (Alopias superciliosus), Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias), and Sixgill Sharks (Hexanchus sp.).
- Other notable locations of interest include the Bimini Nature Trail, at the Bimini Sands Resort on the South Island. Explore on your own or take an expert guided tour through this wild habitat of indigenous flora and fauna, home to birds, animals, iguanas, lizards, geckos and the endangered Bimini Boa, a snake that can grow up to eight feet long in adulthood. A mile long, the trail is mostly flat and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
- Bimini Sands Resort – A complex of luxury condos and marina right on the beach on South Bimini, this resort is where many deep sea fishing enthusiasts stay. Complete with beach-side infinity pool, organized activities like mangrove kayaking and Ship Store selling all kinds of frozen fishing bait and tackle. Bimini Sands also has a great Beach Bar restaurant.