The Real Bimini

“Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.”  Ernest Hemingway from The Old Man and the Sea

Bimini is comprised of three major islands: North, South and East Bimini. Population of the islands is around 1,600 residents.

These coral islands are small, only 7 miles long and only 200 yards wide at their narrowest. Bimini is surrounded by shallow water (only 20 to 30 feet deep) to the north, south, and east. But to the west, the Gulf Stream current flows north through the deep water between Miami and Bimini, where the ocean is over 6000 feet deep. The Gulf Stream is a haven to hundreds of marine animals near to the shores of Bimini.

My friend, Gerald, has been to Bimini many times. I…haven’t. Yet. But Gerald told me story after story about catching fish and walking on the pure white sand and floating around in clear, cobalt water. This truly sounded like heaven. What I’ve been dreaming of. Gerald added, “We also went lobstering every day using snorkel and Hawaiian slings and catching our limit.” Water, sunshine, marine life…seafood.  “I hate to say it but I got tired of eating lobster every night.” Are you kidding? There has to be a down side, I thought. So I asked Gerald. What are the negatives?

After a couple of silent days of no email response from him, he finally added some things that seem to be paradise spoilers. Here’s just a couple of them:

He said, “Be inside before dark! The ‘no see ‘ems’ will eat you alive after dark.” I looked up “no see ‘ems” and found out that they are biting, blood sucking almost invisible flies. Man!

But wait, he also added, “During our first visit to Bimini in 1981, we went lobstering on a large cargo plane upside down in the water off the airport end of the island. While in the water, an 8-foot shark decided to check us out. He kept getting closer and closer to us. Our friend said this was very unusual behavior and that any shark that curious is probably hungry and could attack us. So we immediately climbed onto the belly of the airplane. The shark circled the plane for over 45 minutes before leaving.” Hmmmm. Do they make shark repellent?

Apparently Bimini has a checkered past, too. Rum-runners, drug dealers and pirates have flocked there over the years. That’s why there is so much wreckage off shore. Planes that didn’t quite make the runway in the dark and boats that tried to slip into harbors undetected make for interesting dive sites now…but it sounds a little creepy to me.

On the other hand…Ernest Hemingway loved the place and wrote one of his great novels while living there. Later he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and Islands In the Stream using these islands and waters as his setting. If Papa Hemingway liked it so much and was so inspired there, can’t I go there too and write the next great American novel? If only I could get there I know I could write that best-selling book.

Why do I keep waiting for that spot and time that lies out there somewhere beyond my reach? Hopefully, this journey will help me understand why I’m always peeking over the horizon to the next ideal.

Next I plan to explore “the myth of the greener grass.” Follow along if you want.


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