A Movable Piste
Ernest Hemingway produced most of his writing between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s. He won a Nobel Prize in 1954 and many of his works are literary classics. He lived a colourful and extreme life. A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's memors (of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties) are deeply personal, warmly affectionate and full of wit.
Hemingway has a beautiful passage in A Moveable Feast about “skiing through the forest following the tracks of hare and of foxes,” and of spotting a fox snatch a ptarmigan from the snows above treeline. He writes of snows and winds and traversing through blizzards.
Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.
In an interview featured in The Telegraph in 2013, actress Mariel Hemingway states:
“So many writers glorify my grandfather’s way of living as much as they glorify his work. And so they try and mirror that. I think it’s the misconception of addiction and living life on the edge, as if it’s cool,” she argues.
Ernest Hemingway did indeed live his life on the edge: on the edges of his skis, and on the edges of the glaciers of Europe. The kinetic nature of his stories show traces of skiing-induced exhilaration, and a mind that lived on the precipice of danger and adventure. He often said that writing broadens both the ass and the mind, while noting that he liked to write standing up.
This makes us wonder how many stories he concocted not just from an upright position, but while soaring down the slopes of Europe. —www.shipskis.com/blog/skiing-hemingways-tracks/
Islands in the Stream, published posthumously, eludes to Hemingway’s time on Bimini, The Bahamas.
Hemingway's permanent home was in Key West from 1931 to 1939; Hemingway acquired a 38’ boat on April 18, 1934, after returning from a safari in Africa. During the summers of 1935-1937, Bimini offered better fishing and a more rugged environment. It is suggested that Hemingway used his Bimini experiences to write famous novels like the Old Man and the Sea, and Islands in the Stream.
Ernest Hemingway is closely tied to Bimini’s history, because he led the way for fishermen who pilot their own boats across the Gulf Stream from Florida to follow in his footsteps, becoming rivals of some of the world’s feistiest game fish and each other. Hemingway caught numerous record-breaking fish from yacht Pilar. In 1935, he won every tournament in the Key West-Havana-Bimini triangle. In 1938 he established a world record by catching seven marlin in one day, likely attributed to his skills achieved the summers before while in Bimini.
Hemingway lived on his yacht, Pilar, or at the historic Compleat Angler Hotel. The Compleat Angler Hotel was a modest three-story hotel on the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas. The establishment, located in the center of Alice Town, contained 12 guestrooms in addition to it’s rowdy bar. It is said Hemingway worked on To Have and Have Not there. After many years of business, The Compleat Angler unfortunately burned down in 2006.
Bimini resident Thomas Hudson is the central character in Islands in the Stream, which was written in the 1950s but not published until 1970, several years after the author's death. An artist by profession, Thomas is solicited to paint a picture "to end them all...You got to have vision, Tom. We can paint the end of the world…”.
The End of the World Bar has been a Bimini fixture since at least the 1950s and it is tempting to believe there is a connection with Hemingway's novel. No more than a shack on the dune, the saloon attracts innumerable online references, although it is unlikely that Hemingway (who committed suicide in the US in 1961) ever drank there.
S. S. Sapona
The S. S. Sapona was a cargo steamer built by the Liberty Ship Building Company in Wilmington, North Carolina and launched in January, 1920. The Sapona was purchased by Carl G. Fisher in Miami Beach, Florida. Fisher traded the ship's engine and machinery to a dredging company in exchange for dredge work and the ship itself was used for oil storage.
In April of 1924, the Sapona was sold to rum runner, Bruce Bethel, in the Bahamas. He towed the ship near Bimini where she was used as a floating warehouse for rum and whiskey during Prohibition. Bethel also planned to use the ship as a night club.
In 1926, the Sapona ran aground on a reef during a hurricane and the stern of the ship broke off from the rest of the ship. Bethel's liquor stocks were also destroyed and he died penniless in 1950.
During World War II, the wreck was used for target practice by the Air Force and Navy. The legendary Lost Squadron of Flight 19 disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945 while returning home from a practice bombing of the Sapona. It is said that the bombing of the Sapona was stopped shortly afterwards.
The S. S. Sapona lies in 17 foot deep water, 4 miles south of Bimini Island in the Bahamas. The wreck is a very popular diving site since it is in such shallow water and attracts a multitude of fish. Sapona was also a key set in Thunderball, 1965.
Recently, Resorts World International opened a grand marina that can accommodate vessels up to 200’. Bimini has many amazing dive sites and the fishing is STILL unparalleled, and Resorts World Bimini are still hosting several annual fishing tournaments. The 39’ Nortech tender of Yacht Sweet Escape is ready to make your fishing experience your most amazing one yet. Our Deck Crew are capable and enthusiastic to get you out there, following Hemingway’s spirit of adventure. Of course the alpine ski and Chalet Sweet Escape’s season is in full swing, but don’t hesitate to inquire about last minute availabilities or plan for the 2019-2020 season with special early booking incentives.