Exotic waters and the cooling trade winds have earned The Bahamas an international reputation for sailing, with regattas and races held year-round. The islands are actually the birthplace of the Gulf Stream, a phenomenon that also accounts for their astonishing variety and abundance of marine life. Legendary game fish draw sport fisherman in search of the "big one," and more than 50 international fishing records have been set in these waters. The great writer and fisherman Ernest Hemingway considered the Bahamian island of Bimini a home. The same conditions that make these islands so appealing to sailors and fisherman draw visitors to the vast and diverse underwater parks. With more than 5% of the planet's reef mass, the Bahamas offer inexhaustible pleasures and challenges to snorkelers and divers. The natural beauty of the water extends to the thousands of miles of shoreline, which has some of the world's most stunningly beautiful and unsullied beaches. From the pink sands of Harbour Island and Eleuthera to the deserted strands of the Exumas and San Salvador, there is a lifetime of beaches to experience. Further inland are gardens and National Parks with rare and endangered species, such as the exotic Abaco Parrot and the Bahamian Iguana. Although The Bahamas are as diverse and numerous as the days of the year, the reassuring unifier is the charm and hospitality of its people.