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Sunday, October 4, 2009
North Bimini and Bimini Cays
TheBimini Cays, 75 km east of MiamiandFlorida, mark the highest point of a submarine ridge that emerges from the turquoise water at North Bimini, and runs the length of the island along theGulf Stream. There in complete contrast to the sandy slopes of the bay side where most people live, there’s only a narrow coastal ledge before the ocean floor drops into a sudden deep. This is the fishing capital of the Bahamas, the site of the world record catches of marlin, sailfish, giant tuna, swordfish, wahoo and bonefish.
The big game fish bring divers as well as hunters toAlice Town, the commercial centre ofNorth Biminiand the cays. It’s bisected by the King’s Highway, the main drag lined by Government buildings, hotels, restaurants, stop-at-nothing bars, shops, tattoo parlours, the Straw Market, resort and marines.
This concentration of amenities leaves Bimini’s most beautiful beaches empty: Queen’s Highway, on the island’s west, stretches past the endless sand ofRadio Beach,Blister BeachandSpook Hill. Divers head for the bonanza of colourful fish on Rainbow Reef or the Bimini Barge wreck in 28 m of crystal-clear water, and the shallows of North Bimini’s enclosed bay also provide a rare opportunity to explore the extraordinary marine life of Red Mangroves.
The combination of lush tropical mangroves and the crashing spume of the open ocean proved an irresistible lure and feel the same visceral attraction to Bimini’s primal appeal.
When to go:Year-round. The fishing tournament season runs from March to September.Population:1,800.How to get there:By scheduled air to S Bimini, from Nassau or Florida, or by weekly mailboat to Alice Town or Cat Cays, from Nassau.You should know:Tourists may rent only mopeds, bicycles or golf cars- and you must drive on the left, because British rules apply.