Bimini Island forms the northwest corner of the Bahamas and is the closest of the islands to the U.S. mainland, lying approximately 45mi/73km east of Miami, Florida. The fishhook shaped cluster of islands includes North Bimini, South Bimini, and numerous cays extending south from Pigeon Cay to South Cat Cay, with the entire length of the string stretching 40mi/64km.Known as the "Big Game Fishing Capital of The Bahamas", Bimini hosts numerous deep-sea fishing tournaments throughout the fishing season (March to September). Eastern North Bimini boasts three large marinas, while the western side of North Bimini is comprised of one long stretch of beach. Diving and snorkeling opportunities abound, interesting attractions including the Bimini Barge Wreck, Little Caverns, and Rainbow Reef. Other attractions are the Straw Market, the Gateway gallery of Bahamian Arts, as well as the Healing Hole and the Fountain of Youth.Bimini was first populated by the Lucayan Indians in 1000 AD. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León then "discovered" Bimini in 1513 during his search for the "Fountain of Youth", believed to exist in the pools of South Bimini. English settlers arrived on Bimini beginning in 1835. Earnest Hemingway made his home in Bimini, finding inspiration for the novels "The Old Man and the Sea" and "Islands in the Stream".There are two small airports: NSB (Alice Town and North Bimini) and BIM (South Bimini and the Southern Cays).
Long Island lies in the center of the lower half of the Bahamas Islands. Almost 80mi/129km long and no more than 4mi/6.5km wide, Long Island has contrasting environments of sandy beaches on the west coast and rocky cliffs on the east coast. The inlands are comprised of swamps, green hills and lagoons.The Long Island Sailing Regatta is largest annual event taking place at Salt Pond in either May or June. The Regatta features boats made only by Bahamians. The coast and surrounding cays offer reefs and caves for bonefishing, diving, snorkeling and exploring by glass-bottom boat cruises. There are some historic churches and plantation ruins to tour as well, and hiking, tennis and biking are also popular activities.The first known inhabitants of Long Island were Arawak Indians who called the island Yuma. Columbus landed on Long Island in 1492, and salt was extracted on the island long before the arrival of North American Loyalists in the 18th C, when cotton plantations were then established. After the 19th C when cotton-growing declined, Long Island began stock farming and cultivating vegetables, which remain important industries today.Long Island has two small airports: SML (Cape Santa Maria, Stella Maris) and LGI (Deadman's Cay, Mortimers).
In the Southern end of the Bahamas is Crooked Island, with a cumulative area of 92sq.mi/238sq.km., 30mi/48.4km long, Crooked Island includes Long Cay and is separated from Acklins Island to the south by the Crooked Island Passage.The surrounding waters are a good area for deep-sea, tarpon and bonefishing, while 45mi/73km of barrier reefs surrounding the island are ideal for snorkeling and diving. Beaches are abundant on the island as well.The Bird Rock Lighthouse (1872) and the Marine Farm fort were built by the British to protect and guard Crooked Island Passage from pirates.Columbus led his fleet through the Crooked Island Passage in 1492, which later became an important route from the Old World to the West Indies. North American Loyalists settled Crooked Island in the 19th C in hopes of farming cotton. More than 1,000 slaves worked about 50 plantations, however they were mostly unsuccessful. The emancipated slaves remained and made their living through fishing and farming.One airport, the CRI, serves Pitts Town on the northern tip of the island.
At the southern end of the Bahamas lies Acklins Island, with a cumulative area of 137sq.mi/355sq.km. Actually a small string of islands that adjoins Crooked Island to the north, Acklins includes Castle Island, Mira Pos Vos, Fish Cay, Plana Cays and the Samana Cays, which enclose the shallow Bight of Acklins.The terrain of Acklins is rocky and hilly, including long beaches, odd rock formations and varied animal and plant life. Off the southern tip of Acklins lies Castle Island, home to the Castle Island Lighthouse built in 1867. The surrounding Bight of Acklins, a good location for swimming, snorkeling and fishing.American Loyalists settled the island in the late 18th C in hopes of cultivating cotton, which proved unsuccessful. Instead, the settlers turned to diving for sponges and extracting salt from the sea. Today, the island's main industries are tourism, fishing and farming.One airport on Acklins, AXP, serves the small villages of Snug Corner, Lovely Bay, Delectable Bay and Pompey Bay.
Mayaguana is the most easterly island of the Bahamas, located in the south of Bahamas Island chain. Mayaguana is a small island, with a total area of 110sq.mi/285sq.km. Mayaguana is comprised of dense forests and unspoiled beaches.Yachters will find a relaxing and private environment on Mayaguana as there is little development on the island. The main settlement is Abraham's Bay on the south coast, and two smaller settlements, Pirate's Well and Betsy Bay, lie on the west coast.Mayaguana remained uninhabited until 1912, when it was settled by immigrants from the neighboring Turks Islands.Mayaguana has one airport, MYG, serving the entire island.
Conception Island National Park
The entirety of this small island is designated as the Conception Island National Park, covering 2,100ac/850ha of unspoiled land. The park is a sanctuary for sea and migratory birds and sea turtles, as the island is a breeding site for the Green sea turtle. Conception Island also has historical importance as it is known as one of three islands in the Bahamas landed on by Christopher Columbus.