Stay in an ice hotel, attend a winter festival and wander through an ice castle.
From far away, the SS Sapona resembles a series of limestone pillars emerging from the Atlantic off Bimini, the closest Bahamian island to the United States. It’s only as you get nearer that the remains of the 1926 shipwreck’s battered concrete and rebar structure take shape. Close to a dozen boats are anchored around the wreck, and people jump from its top into the water below, as the heads of snorkellers bob in the water.
For an island full of water activities, this shipwreck is one of the most popular. Floridians have been making weekend getaways to Bimini—a 90-minute ferry ride from Miami—for decades, but only in recent years has the island’s popularity risen, largely thanks to the 2016 opening of its only luxury resort, Hilton at Resorts World Bimini.
Visitors are now discovering what Floridians have always known: the island is rich in marine life and full of historical puzzles. Its lagoon is perfect for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, and the chances are good a snorkelling or diving trip will result in an encounter with dolphins, stingrays or hammerhead sharks.
There are also plenty of mysteries, such as the Bimini Road, a nearly one-kilometre-long formation of limestone rocks on the ocean floor that looks like the surface of a road or the top of a wall, leading some to claim it is the remnants of Atlantis. And, there’s a natural spring fabled to be the Fountain of Youth sought by explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513.
[This story appears in the January 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]