A Smuggler’s Isle
Winding down the shoot now as my departure looms.
Today I went on a tour of the islands by boat, and thanks to local guide Grant, I’ve now seen every side there is of Bimini. We stopped off at the ‘Concrete Ship’, a beached vessel dating back to the First World War which is now a local ‘hangout’ spot for picnicing locals and tourists. It was also once a warehouse for the ‘rum runners’ during the prohibition era in the 1920s, but as it’s decayed over the years, the ship now acts as a mini reef that attracts fish, and makes for good snorkelling in the summer.
Heading out towards the east side of the island group, we approached the next ‘tourist spot’ – and a smuggling theme began to develop. This aircraft came down in the 1980s, and although there are many stories as to why it did, it is widely thought that it was a drug plane which mistook the white sands for the runway nearby on the South Island. I heard tales of armed Colombian militia patrolling the remote areas of South Bimini in the 1980s to protect their drug stashes, and many more years previously these areas were famous as Pirate campsites. Nowadays the only Pirates here seem to be the foreign property developers, as they destroy large areas of the mangroves to make way for concrete condos. Grant explained how these areas are crucial for the marine life, as they’re breeding grounds for all the diverse species of fish and birds before they head out into the wide open sea. However, the expansion is being closely monitored by locals to make sure their way of life is preserved, alongside the hope that the new builds will bring much needed cash into the local economy.
We continued around towards the Northern tip, and spotted a school of Spotted Eagle Rays (about three feet wide each) as well as a giant Loggerhead Turtle in the shallow waters. We waited for a while, as it had to come up for air sometime… and this is the result. Bit of a lame shot really, but the moment was magical to see.
I’ve got a few shoots left to do before I go, which is tomorrow’s job of the day, but considering these will take an hour at tops, I’m looking at a lazy day. Sadly I finished my book already, and the weather looks like it’s turning for the worse, but I’ll be soaking up the smiles as long as I can, and hanging around chatting with my new pace of life. Things to change very soon… the edit is starting to play on my mind.