Bimini 2016: Day 1 – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Just a quick update from the road. I’m headed out to Bimini (one of the Bahama Islands) to swim with dolphins, and the first leg of the trip is complete.

Wildquest sets the group up with reservations at the Bahia Mar Doubletree in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the Sunday night before the charter flight out. We won’t spend much time here, but the facilities appear to be decent. Check was delayed by having two rooms requested next to each other however. Once we got to the room, however, the view was pretty nice

The view from the Bahia Mar hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Warren Schultz)

The view from the Bahia Mar hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Warren Schultz)

 

Now, I said “group”, but as part of getting into the spirit of the week, the group of humans is referred to as a pod. (As in, group of dolphins.) It’s a bit cheesy to me, but it’s just part of the experience. So, when I refer to it in subsequent posts, just bear with me if it makes you roll your eyes.

Our pod meets up with a coordinator and everyone introduces themselves before a dinner at one of the local restaurants on the waterfront, the Casablanca Cafe.

For table bread, they brought herbed foccacia with a pesto that was outstanding. I rarely get foccacia in a restaurant in the U.S. that reminds me of what I ate in Italy, but this definitely qualified.

For starters, the table split an order of calamari fritti and a jumbo crab cake. The calamari were also excellent, with a nice balance between crispness and tenderness. (There’s a photo of this dish on their website). While the crabcake’s flavor was also excellent, it was a bit more breading than crab meat by my preference. (But I may be spoiled by Annapolis lump crabcakes.)

The main course, however, was one of the better fish dishes I’ve eaten. A Chilean sea bass filet, accompanied by “julienne vegetable medley, mango-chili glaze, crispy taro chips”, was wonderful. Everything balanced well against each other, and the glaze may have been the best I’ve had on fish. (Comparable to, but an entirely different style than what I had in Norway last year.)

Chilean sea bass main course at the Casablanca Cafe. http://www.casablancacafeonline.com/ (Warren Schultz)

Chilean sea bass main course at the Casablanca Cafe. http://www.casablancacafeonline.com/ (Warren Schultz)

The group… sorry, “pod,” all walked back to the hotel, which was a good plan, because we were all stuffed from a delicious meal.

Tomorrow, we rise early (with extra “rrrrrrrr”) and grab a short charter flight out to Bimini.

 

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