Jet Life: Bimini Bliss

August 14, 2019

“Just look around you and see God in everything …” is the refrain that echoes in my mind when I think of Bimini, Bahamas. It’s a fitting description of the feeling and reality I experienced while on the island in the westernmost district of the Bahamas. It’s also a line in a poem written by Mr. Ansil Saunders. Saunders recited it in entirety when I met him and spent time hearing about his life on the string of islands 50 miles from Miami.

Boat that Saunders took Dr. King in

The isle’s beloved chronicler, guide and revered bone fisherman, Saunders is Bimini’s key ambassador and can take you further than most into the nuances of what makes it a captivating place to getaway to, from his own family history — Saunders is the fifth iteration of boat builders who migrated from Scotland – to the time spent there by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King who visited the island in 1968, and composed parts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech while sailing with Saunders. Learning of Bimini life through his recollections adds dimension to an already rich experience at the gateway of the Bahamas.

Part of it is the soft island breeze that greets you at the dock as you disembark the seaplane that transported you abroad. Part of it, the proper place to settle. And by proper, I mean Resorts World Bimini  750-acre premier luxury beachfront resort spanning approximately half the intimate island and providing the ideal backdrop for both relaxation and exploration. The Hilton hotel and casino, surrounded by vibrant vacation homes, is as much a destination as the locale itself and is unlike any other resort in the Bahamas. Overlooking Bimini Bay, it’s a blend of private island getaway and accessible luxury.

The Tides for its breakfast buffet and a full lunch and dinner menu of fresh seafood, pastas, wood-fire grilled pizzas, will leave you satisfied. But you’ll surely want to make room for at least one sushi meal while on property. Hint: It won’t be just one.

Home to one of the largest marinas in the Bahamas, Resorts World Bimini also has the largest and only live-action gaming casino in Bimini. Resort suites have a private pool deck leading to the lagoon pool for direct room-to-swim access while the rooftop adults-only infinity pool hovers over the beach below. Rent a golf cart and let the roads take you from one end of the island to the other. Choose one of the property’s 305 rooms or opt for heightened seclusion with a private condo. You’re a golf cart or bike ride away from the freshest conch salad — insert Joe’s Conch Shack in Bailey Town — and shipwrecked “Gallant Lady” at Radio Beach that will have you asking yourself if all of this is real. It is.

Bimini, noted for its big game fishing and uncrowded shores, is also well-known as author Ernest Hemingway’s retreat and well as for its constant lure of King who started visiting the island to meet with politician and fellow civil rights vanguard Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Powell was living in Bimini because of controversies back home in New York City. He introduced King to Saunders who took the civil rights icon to a spot where he’d been bonefishing since childhood, Bonefish Creek. This was Saunders’ usual go-to spot for flat-fishing clients, but this time, his client didn’t come here to fish. As the two arrived at his favorite spot, the expert guide cut the motor, making it nice and quiet to fully take in their surroundings. And the rest is, well, history. The blue handcrafted vessel he took Dr. King out in one last time just days before his death still rests near his workshop.

Of course, on Bimini, getting out onto the water is a must. The Sapona Shipwreck and Honeymoon Harbor Excursion offers up-close view of the SS Sapona — a concrete-hulled cargo steamer that ran aground Bimini during a hurricane in 1926. The wreckage of the ship is easily visible above the water and has become a popular dive site. Boat to Honeymoon Harbor, a small cay surrounded by beautiful water just southeast of Bimini, for a unique opportunity to swim, feed and interact with stingrays in their natural environment. Or on land, rent a bike and meander the streets. You won’t regret it as it’s better the closer you get to the island’s essence. Edith’s Pizza, locally famous for its lobster and conch pizza, is on the route. You’re welcome. 

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