As Will left off, we made it to the Bahamas after nearly 7-hours at sea! It turns out, the other group that headed straight into the storm arrived about 45-mins before us.
We all met up at customs and immigration, flying our yellow “Quarantine” flags, which signal that our vessels are “healthy” and request clearance into the country.
Walking back from the immigration building, we were mesmerized by the raw beauty of the simple things in Bimini. The bright colored buildings contrasted perfectly with the turquoise water – it was straight out of a magazine.
The water was so clear that you could even see the Bull Sharks swimming around, about 20 feet from our jet ski. Yes, I said Bull Sharks!
The narrow roads with cars, go carts, bikes and people going every which way reminded us a lot of Barbados.
The culture shock wasn’t as dramatic this go-round… that was until we pulled into the Hilton Resorts World marina. Entering the marina, we set eyes on a couple of massive center-console boats, with a bunch of 50 year-old white women blasting rap songs and partying on the docks.
“What on earth,” we echoed, both a little drained and extremely hangery after our long excursion. I actually felt embarrassed walking by as they blasted Ludacris’, “Move B!tch, Get out the way,” song which seemed to have a million times more curse words than the “parental advisory” version I listened to in middle school.
Scuba Steve In The House
Anyway, there were HCB flags all over the Hilton grounds, which queued us into the fact that Hydro-sports Custom Boats club was IN THE HOUSE.
Walking through the Hilton lobby looking like Scuba Steve with our wet suits, lifejackets, face shields and water shoes was a sight to see.
Compared to the million dollar boats outside with their thousand-dollar fishing rods still in the wrappers, we felt like the REAL salty dogs.
But, to be honest, we were SO DONE with anything water-related by the time we arrived. However, with five layers of sea salt caked on us, we had no choice but to shower as soon as we checked-in.
We flipped through a couple photos and videos from the ride, and both groaned at the sound of waves and jet ski’s slamming into the water. “Oh, make it stop,” we cringed, laughing at what we had endured.
Starving, I unpacked our things to get to the few snacks we brought that I knew would hold up during the ride. Turkey sticks, chewy bars, Twizzlers and Pringles, you know, because they come in that sturdy cardboard canister.
My mouth salivated as I opened the can of Pringles only to find the Pringles in shattered little bits and pieces.
I shook my head, laughed, and questioned, “What is this life?,” as I drank my Pringles in my white Hilton bath robe.
That evening, we gathered ourselves, caught a taxi to the “downtown” area of North Bimini, tasted the local brew and feasted on the best Conch fritters we’ve ever had.
The SS Sapona
The next day, we hopped back on the ski, despite our bodies pleading with us otherwise. Surprisingly, we weren’t crazy sore despite all the pounding the day before.
We headed to the SS Sapona, a shipwreck just off Bimini, which was a popular dive site for visitors. It was nice to break out our dive gear and do some snorkeling around the site.
Being underwater is so calming, once you remember to slow down your breathing and take in the sights and sounds around you. Will and I played with the GoPro some, pulled some seaweed out of the jet ski’s intake, and made our way into the ship underwater.
We couldn’t figure out how to get to the top of the ship, where people were climbing and jumping off… but I was just fine with swimming around, and exploring life below the sea-line.
The group headed off to another snorkel-site while Will and I broke away to do our own thing. We ended up at Stuart’s Conch Shack, where we had the most amazing fresh Conch Salad and local Rum Punch.
We enjoyed talking with Stuart’s daughter who was making the salad right in front of us and sharing some of Bimini’s history with those of us at the bar.
We met up with the group at Joe’s Conch Shack just a mile away, and couldn’t get over the massive piles of Conch shells at each Conch stand.
So many shells! I can’t believe we paid $6 for a Conch shell souvenir while in Key West this year. 😒 Oh well, at least my toe nail polish matches the water… life is good.
So Long Hilton
Our time in Bimini was short, but we didn’t feel rushed to “do it all,” knowing we’d certainly be back again. We enjoyed the Hilton, but next time we’ll likely stay at something not as fancy-shmancy.
At 6am Sunday morning, we Scuba Steve’d our way back through the Hilton lobby, and prepped the ski for the trip home.
Will calmly informed me that the key to our steel cable lock was not working and that our ski was stuck, locked to the ramp.
“Are you serious?” A million thoughts raced through my head about how there probably isn’t anything on this island that can even cut through a steel cable!
I must have said about 17 prayers in the span of two minutes before FINALLY the lock popped open and we rejoiced… Praise God!
Can you imagine just how differently this blog would have ended otherwise? We might still be on North Bimini Island!
The ride home was MUCH better than the ride there. What took us 7 hours to arrive, only took us 2.5 hours on the way back, and that’s with a few stops still.
The big debate was how to handle a 25-mile wide band of storms hovering between us and Miami Beach. We opted to “shoot the gap,” where we could see a separation in the clouds. It worked out perfectly, without a drop of rain!
We were riding up front with Kyle and Sara again, and before we knew it we could no longer see the group trailing behind us. Whoops, they must have stopped and we didn’t notice. Oh well, onward we went until we were about eight or nine miles off the coast of Miami.
We stopped and Will asked Kyle to take a photo of us with the Miami skyline in the background. A pretty cool pic I thought, not expecting what was going to happen next. Will then stood up and put both feet on one side of the ski. “What are you doing, sit down!,” I exclaimed as we tittered on the water.
I adjusted my hair, which was a mess from the ride, and the next thing I know, he’s facing me on the ski. “What are you doing?” I asked again, trying to figure out why he’s taking a break when we’re literally SO CLOSE to land.
Out from the Camelback he had been wearing all weekend, he pull’s a tiny floating keychain container that came with the jet ski. Inside, was a faux diamond ring, which I still had no clue about.
As soon as he started talking, I immediately knew IT was happening. Kyle must have overheard the convo as well, and started recording what was THE PROPOSAL.
It was so unexpected, but so perfect. It felt very natural, and I was surprisingly so relaxed and at ease during the big moment.
Of course, without hesitation I said Yes. Will then explained that this was a placeholder ring, since he didn’t want to drop my family heirloom rings in the water.
FYI – we are using a combination of my mother’s and grandmother’s rings to customize a ring for myself… photos to come. For now, I was happy for my “fake ring,” which was so convincing that I thought he actually bought me a real diamond ring as a placeholder.
Back On Land
We were so busy with calling into customs and unloading that it didn’t really set in that we were ENGAGED.
It wasn’t until the drive home, that he explained the proposal on the water was actually “Plan D,” a last resort. I’ll let him explain more in the third and final blog in the Bimini Series… Stay Tuned!