Bimini

Beautiful Bimini Bahamas and a Stolen Golf Cart

I recently took a cruise with my friend Terri over July 4th weekend. We had both been to the Bahamas but neither one of us had ever been to Bimini.  As part of the Bahama Islands, Bimini is closest to the U.S. and Florida.  It is 235 miles from Sarasota and 50 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Miami. There are two islands of Bimini, North and South. In total Bimini is 7 miles long and there is a ferry that takes you between North and South.

Bimini Docking

North Bimini is where the cruise ships dock. Our ship docked on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are excursions you can take to various beaches, resorts, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins. Another big thing to do in Bimini is rent a golf cart and drive around the island. This was our plan, we had looked into renting a golf cart before our arrival but after reading various information, we decided to wait to rent the golf cart once we arrived. There is a tram at the dock that will take you to taxis, golf cart rentals and excursions. We were told that there were no golf carts available at this location due to the holiday weekend. We were quite disappointed about this turn of events. We took a taxi and asked our driver if he could take us to some other golf cart rentals around the island. He was a very nice young man who tried to help us get a golf cart for our day. He drove to several golf cart rental businesses and no one had any golf carts available. Then he ran into a tour driver he knew and asked him if he knew of any golf carts available. He did and we followed him to pick up the golf cart. We paid $80 for the golf cart, which is the going rate especially on a holiday weekend. We excitedly hopped on, Terri drove and I was camera ready to start documenting our adventure seeing Bimini!

The streets are very narrow in Bimini so golf carts are the perfect means of transportation. There are some small vehicles like the taxis and privately owned cars, but mostly everyone is driving golf carts. We made our way up to the southern tip of North Bimini. A beautiful view of the beach and a small Methodist Cemetery is there.


Bimini

Two famous visitors who frequented Bimini were Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both men loved Bimini. Hemingway loved it for its deep-sea fishing and is said to have written several articles and a book while he stayed in Bimini. King loved the solitude and wrote his Nobel Prize winning speech while boating in the mangroves in Bimini. We saw the remains of what was left of the hotel Hemingway stayed in which had a fire in 2006.

We moved on to “Joe’s Conch Shack”, which is famous for its fresh conch fritters. I went to order, while Terri got us a table. Food is made to order at Joe’s, don’t expect fast food here. The conch fritters are amazing! While waiting for our order, I saw a man talking to Terri. I walked over and the man said the golf cart we were driving was his and it had been stolen! We were totally shocked! He said he had been looking for it for two days. We explained we had rented it through our taxi driver. Another tourist guide was with him and vouched that it was his golf cart. We weren’t sure what we were going to do. The golf cart owner said he was taking his golf cart. In the meantime, other tourists saw what was happening and offered us rides back to the ship.

Bimini

This is a small island and news must travel very quickly because then the manager of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Karenda Swain, arrived. She apologized for the incident and wanted us to know that Bimini cares about the tourists who come there and they wanted to help us. She and her husband took us for a short tour around North Bimini and told us more about the island. They took us to Radio Beach and to the Dolphin House Museum, which was built by artist Ashley Saunders, out of completely recycled materials. Terri talked with him briefly about the museum.

The most stunning turn of events was yet to come when Karenda stopped in front of an apartment building and asked us if this was where we got the golf cart. We were pretty sure this was the place and she went in & spoke with the man who rented us the golf cart. She explained to him the golf cart was stolen and that we needed to get our money back. We were absolutely blown away by this! We were reimbursed and apologized to for the misunderstanding. There was apparently a mix-up with the golf carts.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Bimini should be proud to have such a representative as Karenda Swain! As for us, they took us back to the ship. We didn’t get to see as much of Bimini as we had planned but we left Bimini with a great feeling about the place and the people! I plan to go back but next time I will go when it’s not so busy and rent a golf cart from one of the real golf cart rentals on the island!

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Vicky Sullivan Photos

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Adventures, Bahamas, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Bimini, Bimini, Bradenton, Fun Stories, Golf Cart, Memories, Sarasota, travel, vacation, Vicky Sullivan


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