Bimini 2016: Day 2 – WildQuest, and Learning to Snorkel

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ok, big day. Time to grab a charter flight out to Bimini, and do this thing. (Snorkeling, specifically)

So, here’s the snag. I had a near-drowning incident when I was young that I don’t really recall, but I’ve had mixed feelings about being in water where I couldn’t put my feet on the ground as long as I can remember. But hey, if I can face acrophobia and stand on top of a mountain in the Alps (and take photos), I can handle this, right?
Time to find out.

When we were told to pack for the flight, one of the restrictions is 40 lbs total, per person. Total. My photo bag weighs that much when I’m fully kitted out, and that doesn’t include clothes. I was pretty sure that meant puddle-jumper prop plane.

I wasn’t wrong.

Britten Norman Islander, operated by Island Air Charters (Warren Schultz)

Britten Norman Islander, operated by Island Air Charters (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

What I wasn’t expecting was to be seated here:

Cockpit of Britten Norman Islander (Warren Schultz)

Cockpit of Britten Norman Islander (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

 

A bit more background: I grew up with computer flight sims. Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer was one of my favorites. It didn’t have the detail of some of the more realistic sims, but it was good for learning the principles. As I got older, I learned a lot more about the workings of real aircraft, and even got to take a turn flying a commercial flight simulator at Flight Safety International years ago during a tour. (I landed without crashing. The instructor was surprised.)

So, contrary to what some asked, it wasn’t scary or intimidating, but more the opposite. It was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever been on a plane, because I could see where we were going and understood everything the pilot did, and every gauge, dial, and switch on the (very basic, by modern standards) control panel. (Also note, in some ways, these are actually more complicated to fly than the private jets, as they require a lot more tweaking over the course of the flight. Wind is a lot bigger factor, and the trim needs to be adjusted to stay in a straight line, etc.)

And yeah, it gave me a pretty good view.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Warren Schultz)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

 

 (Warren Schultz)

(Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

 

Bimini is not a large island. It’s not even a small island. It’s two tiny islands that function as one.

 

The southern island primarily has the airport, and not much else. The northern island is where the majority of the people live, work, and shop. The two are connected by water taxis.

Bimini. South Bimini is in the foreground, North Bimini is separated by that small stretch of water. (Warren Schultz)

Bimini. South Bimini is in the right-foreground, North Bimini is on the left,separated by that small stretch of water. (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

 

Bimini airport, on the south island. (Warren Schultz)

Bimini airport, on the south island. (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

 

Our arrival was without incident, and customs was very straightforward.

Wildquest, the tour operator,  arranged for a water taxi to take us straight to their facility, which removed the step of having to take a taxi from the opposite dock to WildQuest.

This is what the pier looked like where we waited for our lift.

LCM-3 Landing Craft, left to rust in Bimini (Warren Schultz)

LCM-3 Landing Craft, left to rust in Bimini (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo

Yes, that’s a WWII-style landing craft. They’re scattered all over the islands in various states of repair.

 

On the next page, snorkeling!

 

One thought on “Bimini 2016: Day 2 – WildQuest, and Learning to Snorkel

  1. Pingback: Bimini 2016: Day 3 – Dolphins spotted! (Also, spotted dolphins) - Geek Field GuideGeek Field Guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *