March 19, 2012
By David Conway
Boaters Feeling the Pinch at the Pump Consider Bimini
Bahamas Gateway Island Is a One-Tank Round-Trip From South Florida for Many Boats
Today's headlines are full of rising fuel prices. So it's no wonder many boaters are seeking closer destinations for their cruising or angling trips. The challenge is to find a spot that offers the same laid-back island atmosphere and fertile fishing grounds as the far-out Bahamas and lower Florida Keys – without emptying your tank or wallet.
The folks in Bimini want you to know that they are within closer range than many Floridians think.
The closest Bahamas island to the U.S., just 50 miles east of Miami, Bimini (which is really three islands, North, South and East Bimini) is well worth considering. The trip over and back from South Florida can consume as little as one tank of gas, depending on your boat's power and fuel capacity.
“We have a 33-foot Contender with two four-stroke Yamaha 250's, are able to carry 400 gallons, and get about one mile to the gallon,” said Mary Mills of Miami, a Bimini Sands regular. “We go back and forth to Bimini on one tank and also run around the islands for two or three days when we're there.
“This is our seventh year taking our boat to Bimini Sands; we go twice a year,” said Stacey Abitabilo of Tampa. She and her husband trailer their 28-foot Hydra-Sports boat with twin 225-hp Evinrude outboards to Dania Beach, Florida, and launch it at Harbour Towne Marina. “We generally make it to Bimini in an hour in a half. We stay a week and come back without having to get gas,” she said. “It's one trip the kids never complain about going on.”
“People from all over the Southeast will trailer their boats to South Florida and launch them from one of the many boat ramps there in order to shorten the crossing,” said Frank Cooney, Owner and CEO of Bimini Sands Resort & Marina. “Of course, for most larger diesel boats, getting here and back to the States on one tank is a piece of cake.”
Boaters who tie up in Bimini Sands' protected marina can enjoy even more fuel savings once there, thanks to the resort's convenient location at South Bimini's northern tip. “There's no need for our guests to waste fuel running up and down Alice Town Channel at no-wake speed to get back and forth to their slip,” Cooney said. “Our marina entrance is right off the Gulf Stream, with easy access to all the great fishing, diving, snorkeling and sightseeing spots around Bimini.”
Popular with anglers year-round, Bimini Sands Marina accommodates boats up to 100 feet at its state-of-the-art, floating Bellingham docks. Clearing into the Bahamas is easy with the Customs office just a few minutes' cab ride away; on-site Customs check-in is available for larger groups. The marina's long list of amenities includes Texaco Starport gas and diesel at competitive prices, 30/50 amp shore power, free WiFi, marina store with bait and ice, dockside restaurant, showers, laundry, tennis courts, swimming pool, and access to Bimini Sands Resort's white-sand beach. Marina patrons also can book water-sports adventures with the Bimini Sands Activities Center and enjoy free bus service to the resort's upscale Bimini Twist Restaurant and Mackey's Sand Bar at the southern end of the island.
About Bimini Sands
Located just 50 miles from Miami on the Bahamas gateway island of South Bimini, this year-round resort features luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with beach or marina views, a full-service marina accommodating boats up to 100 feet, two freshwater swimming pools, upscale dining—including the island's only sushi bar—and a full suite of eco-tourism water-sports activities. Minutes from Bimini International Airport with service to the U.S. East Coast and Nassau, its idyllic location offers spectacular views of Bimini's luminous blue waters, sunsets over the Gulf Stream, coral reefs and a secluded ocean beach just steps from your door. Family-owned and operated for more than 15 years, Bimini Sands Resort & Marina is one of the Bahamas' best-rated family vacation destinations. For more information, visit www.biminisands.com