Yacht Charter of the Month: Bimini and the Bahamas
With the worst of Hurricane Season behind us, and many parts of the country beginning to feel winter’s icy grip, there is no better time than now for a yacht charter vacation in the Bahamas!
Many of the Islands of the Bahamas were largely spared the worst of the wrath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and even those that were impacted, want to let yacht owners and other vacationers know loud and clear that they are open for business!
A Bimini Yacht Charter Experience
Bimini was spared a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. Bimini did take a bit of a pounding from the storm, and there was some localized flooding, but clean up efforts progressed rather quickly, and power and all of the services needed by the yachting community, have long since been restored.
From South Florida, few charter opportunities offer more than Bimini. Contrary to popular belief, “Bimini” is not one single Island, but a chain of Islands, in the western Bahamas, a mere 48 nautical miles east of Miami, Florida. That makes Bimini close enough for one or two day charters, and with enough things to do to extend to longer term bookings.
Bimini, and indeed all of the Bahamas are one of the most “yacht-friendly” of America’s Caribbean neighbors. The cruising, fishing, diving, and exploring opportunities are endless in this island chain, and the water is so calm and clear, it will seem as if your vessel is gliding on air.
Besides the benefit of proximity to the U.S., Bimini has an exceptional marlin, bonefish, wahoo and bluefin tuna fishery that has lured angling giants such as Ernest Hemingway and Michael Lerner to its deep waters.
Bimini has also long been known as one of the top scuba diving locations in the Northern Hemisphere. Crystal clear waters and an average water temperature of 80 degrees are only some of the reasons why. The waters beneath Bimini are home to thousands of sea creatures, an underwater mountain, and just maybe – a road to a mythical kingdom.
Scuba divers are attracted to Bimini because of its magnificent reefs overflowing with 100’s of species of marine life. Moray Alley, Hawksbill Reef and Rainbow Reef are just some of the popular dive sites off of Bimini. These Reef Dive sites offer depths from 25-75 feet so there is plenty to do and see for divers of all skill levels. The legendary “Bimini Road,” that some claim could be evidence of the lost continent of Atlantis, is here for divers to see and form their own opinions – as is The Bimini Barge, which has been consistently rated by Skin Diver magazine as one of the Top Ten Wreck Dives in the Bahamas and Caribbean.
Beyond diving, Bimini also offers: healing springs, nature trails, quaint bars and a nightlife similar to Key West, which is why Bimini has been a favorite of both Ernest Hemmingway and Jimmy Buffet!
Navigating the Bimini Inlet
Other than crossing the Gulfstream, the only challenge getting to Bimini from Florida is getting into the bay itself. The entrance from the ocean is guarded by a long sand bar on the seaward side, and a rock reef at the southern end. You need to stay outside the sandbar until you find the range markers, then run a heading toward them until close to the beach. Be aware that there is also shoaling north of the jetty of the new Bimini Sands Condo/Marina.
Of course, once you have taken your motor yacht over to Bimini, why not explore the rest of the Bahamas? The Bahamas Island chain consists of more than 700 islands! All along that chain you will find unparalleled hedonism, exotic flora and fauna, and both excitement as well as relaxation. Like any tropical cocktail you could pick up along the way, a yacht charter through the Islands of the Bahamas is an intoxicating blend of sun, sand, and color.
When most folks, especially Floridians, think of the Bahamas, we think of the popular Islands closest to us, such as Bimini, Nassau, and Grand Bahama. To be sure, these are great yacht charter destinations, and easy to get to. However, there is another “Bahamas” that is a little less known, but equally, if not even more enchanting – the Islands of the Southern Bahamas.
The most notable Islands of the Southern Bahamas are San Salvador, Eleuthera, Acklins Island, and Crooked Island. Others include Long Island, Inagua and Mayaguana.
Yachting Adventures in the Southern Bahamas
In 2015, the area, and particularly, San Salvador, was hit very hard by Hurricane Joaquin. It has been rebuilding ever since, and it is now once again a flourishing yacht destination. Fortunately for those recover efforts, again this area of the Bahamas was largely sparred during the recent Hurricanes. You can get complete updated information on recovery and yachting to the Bahamas and other parts of the Caribbean, at new website that has been designed to provide accurate, objective and up-to-date information in order to create a realistic picture of travelling to the areas affected by the recent hurricanes.
Fishing, diving, snorkeling, and all manner of other water sports abound in the Southern Bahamas. For fishing, take a cruise to Crooked Island, where there is excellent deep-sea fishing and stunning stretches of open, unpopulated waters. If you want some “on shore” adventures and shopping opportunities more like those you might find in some of the more northern Islands, drop anchor on Long Island.
As far as facilities go, the Flying Fish Marina on Long Island is a full service marina with access to world-class diving and fishing, and it’s the last place to top off your tanks before heading further South. San Salvador is rich in tropical splendor as well as history. San Salvador is the island Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on, upon his arrival to the New World. San Salvador is a world-class ranked scuba diving and snorkeling location. Most of the dive sites are underwater “walls”, such as the well-known Riding Rock Wall. It is one of the top five wall-diving destinations in the region.
On Eleuthera and Harbour Island you will find miles of pink sand beaches, pineapple plantations and classic examples of historic Bahamian architecture. Nightlife with a Caribbean flair is to be found all over the Island of Eleuthera, with live bands playing almost every night in the clubs and Tiki Bars. In 2015 Eleuthera was ranked “The Best Island in the Caribbean” by Travel & Leisure magazine.
Bahama’s Yacht Charters from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale
If you would like to explore this region, we can surely arrange such a charter for you. But, you do not have to charter a yacht all the way to the Southern Bahamas to have a fun Caribbean adventure. We have short-term charters to Bimini and Grand Bahama that are just a hop, skip and a jump away!
And did you know that you do not even have to leave South Florida fo and incredible snorkeling experience? There is an amazing wreck, reachable with only snorkel gear right off of Ft. Lauderdale beach, and you can enjoy it as part of our exclusive snorkeling charter experience. The S.S. Copenhagen, is located just off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach. Shipwrecked in 1900, this 325’ cargo steamer is both a fascinating archeological wonder and a vibrant artificial reef, home to a spectacular amount of marine life. The Copenhagen appears on the distinguished US Registry of Historic Places.
Contact one of our charter brokers today, and ask about our “yearend specials” on our charter experiences with 26 North Yachts, now operators of the largest yacht charter fleet north of Miami!
Choosing the right charter experience can be challenging. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Charter Specialists, or call us at 954-235-3468