It’s easy to leave behind the workweek physically. Power down the computer, step away from the desk, climb into the car and put a few miles between you and the office. But mentally? That’s a different story. We’re all connected, all the time. Just because the calendar says “Saturday” doesn’t mean the mind registers “relax.” So when Boston Whaler announced an opportunity to escape to the Bahamas, the appeal was about more than just the miles—it was about the mental. In other words, as 370 Outrage owner Marc Napolitano says, “The best feeling in the world is when you look down… and you’ve got no bars on your cell phone.”
Anybody with a smartphone or a Gmail account is probably nodding his or her head in agreement. Riiight…no bars…no strings…no calls, dropped or otherwise. Might as well be the new definition of “vacation.” Marc and a large group of fellow Whaler owners enjoyed that sublime feeling this June when, recognizing the appeal of digital liberation, Boston Whaler hosted a getaway to eclipse all getaways: the annual Bimini Rendezvous, hosted at the Bimini Sands Resort. Rolling out the red carpet, this five-day affair included island excursions, cocktail hours, a fishing tourney, a costume party and more. Plenty to help keep one entertained even without email, Facebook and their ilk.
Marc cruised down from Lauderdale Marina, just outside of Port Everglades, Florida, with a group of likeminded boaters and team members from Boston Whaler. Onboard the Napolitanos’ Outrage were Marc’s wife, Mindy, and the couple’s children, Jo Marie and Christian. As in years past, on the night prior to setting out, a captains meeting gave everyone a chance to meet ‘n’ greet and let the anticipation build.
“The way it was set up was great,” Marc says. “Whaler really makes you feel like family and makes you feel really important and like you made the right decision by choosing the brand.
“Where else can you buy something,” he continues, “be on a trip with the company president, the marketing folks and the head of engineering, sit and have a beer and just talk about old boating stories? You buy a car and you don’t get that experience. It’s incredible. We absolutely had a fantastic time. Everybody who was involved just bent over backward to see that we had a good time.”
Admittedly, Mother Nature threw in a couple of curveballs. As Christian Napolitano puts it, “The trip down was epic.” Recalling the 6- to 8-foot seas and 20-mph winds that lasted for more than four hours, Marc adds, “It was brutal. But it was fun! I never felt unsafe. Listen, our Whaler is seaworthy. And the guys in 18- to 20-foot boats made it just as safely, too. Whaler is second to none. Nobody builds a boat like them.”
And everyone—organizers and guests alike—was determined to make the best of it, regardless of the forecast. How could you not when surrounded by paradise? In no time rain jackets had been traded for bathing suits and any grumbling about being wet was the good-natured kind—because the primary source of soak had shifted to the pranksters in the group. “Squirt guns, water balloons, slingshots…they told us to be prepared,” Marc says with a laugh. “They weren’t kidding!”
Of course, throughout the weekend, there were opportunities galore to get fully and joyously doused. On the first full day, the group anchored out at a sandbar near a submerged airplane, a spot that engendered terrific snorkeling. “The kids were loving it,” Marc notes.
And yes, there were plenty of colorful birds spotted—just not of the “Angry” variety. Whaler also served up an exclusive cookout with barbecued fare and beach games with prizes to be won. Attendees socialized, sought out shade and rubbed elbows—make that fins—with the stingrays populating the water. A fishing tournament gave anglers the chance to test their lines.
Back at the resort, there was no shortage of time to unwind. Bimini Sands offers visitors shelter from the 9-to-5, the tick-tock of the alarm clock… whatever needs escaping. Guests took advantage of the friendly Square Grouper bar and ample hidey-holes to rest in the shade. A big part of Bimini’s charm is the lack of hustle and bustle. “It was incredible,” Marc says. “We came away wondering why nobody has actually developed the island. Not that I’m complaining! It’s a sleepy little place. The south end of Bimini, where the resort sits, is less developed than the north. Which we loved, being away from everybody else.”
Brian O’Neil and his wife were also among the many who came seeking relaxation. The couple made the trip from their home near Merritt Island, Florida, aboard their 295 Conquest. The repeat attendees of the annual Bimini event came away with lots of fodder for their scrapbook. “We had a wonderful time,” Brian says. “And we felt totally taken care of. Boston Whaler really knows how to host an event.”
So was it an adventure that bears repeating? No question. “I would absolutely go again,” Marc testifies. “I wouldn’t hesitate even if the weather was bad. It’s a bonding thing. Even those who were total strangers before—it’s like you just met these people and by the last day everybody’s hugging. It’s something special.”
That’s right—real, honest-to-goodness, in-the-flesh hugs. No data plan required.
Want to see more? Click here to check out the gallery from this year’s memorable Bimini Rendezvous.