Friday, April 01, 2011

Northern Berry Islands

One more beautiful beach, this time with a table, benches,
hammock and cave!
At Frozen Cay we knew from Chris Parker's weather forecast that high winds and squalls were coming our way so we moved to a more protected spot - White Cay at the end of Hoffman's Cay. Julie and Peter's friends and the former owners of Anything Goes, Glen and Pam on Cacique were there already and thought it well protected. Both Alice May and Vagabundo were already there.
It was a great anchorage with room for us all (all though less room for the rest of the boats who came later).
We established an anchor watch for the expected stormy evening, 1 and 1/2 hours each boat and it worked well. Fortunately we didn't see those squalls up to 40 knots, although they did down in Fraser's Cay. We had sustained winds of 20 to 25 with no problem.
Lobster heads on the coral near White Cay
Sunset before the expected squalls and anchor watch
We explored the beaches around the anchorage, all nice. One on the western side, over the nearest cay, had a pretty beach with a table, bench, cave and hammock. A number of lobster heads "decorated" the coral around the island. On Hoffman's Cay, reachable by either the first or second beach on the western side by a clear path, was the Blue Hole. This beautiful deep salt water hole is ringed with 30 to 40 foot cliffs of coral. There's a good spot for jumping and many of us enjoyed it. There are fish in the hole so it must be connected to the ocean way underground. The water was clear and inviting. While there a US Coast Guard helicopter passed over head. They left and then returned down low taking pictures and waving! I bet they wished they were down with us.
Kevin, Marie, Ron, Scott, Peter and Julie on board Scott
Free for a Conch Chowder made from conch the men
caught, cleaned and pounded themselves

Moonrise at White Cay anchorage
We had some excitement here and there. Molly Bloom dragged while we were at the Blue Hole and Glen and Pam dashed over in their dinghy to get us (they had already stopped the dragging). Ron had to reanchor one more time before the stormy evening but found a good spot. Anything Goes's bridle snapped and they started going around in circles to their consternation, but they were able to fix it. Everyone jumped in to help, with computer problems, electrical problems etc. After several days there we had another decision to make. A second front was predicted with bad squalls. This time we all decided to go to the Great Harbor Marina for the duration.
On the way up we stopped at Hawksnest Beach for lunch. Unfortunately the restaurant I thought was there wasn't evident or in the guide book, so we had lunch on Anything Goes pot luck style and then walked the beautiful beach. While there we met a second home owner and her young friend who gave us a ride around the island.
The Blue Hole on Hoffman's Cay, rumored to be
bottomless, but definitely beautiful, clear water with fish!

Peter in mid air jumping down from the cliff
Heather takes the plunge!

Marie and Julie ham it up!
They showed us the charming Beach Club restaurant which we had taken for a house and later we returned there in an easy walk from the marina. Nice spot and reasonable! We left mid afternoon and spent one night at Shroud Cay, just south of there. It was good protection but we had some swells coming in from between the cays. We didn't see much as we left early in the morning and had an easy trip around the north end of the Berrys to Great Harbor Marina. This is in a very well protected inner lagoon, reasonable ($1.25 ft), with nice personnel. It is surrounded by multi colored townhouse like condos and has a small pool and restaurant on premises. We all trooped up there to have lunch and rather surprised the staff. They only had 2 cold beers and no rum! But they sent down to the store for reinforcements and served us a very nice lunch (although a bit expensive).
The two grocery stores were a long walk away, although we got a ride part way. They had a reasonable supply of everything but fresh vegetables. Like most of the islands, you need to get there just after the mail boat arrives with fresh produce. We were able to get a few things.
The Beach Club on Great Harbor Cay beach


Scott has lunch on the same plates we have
at home in Vermont (grocery store specials)
We worked at getting our boats ready for the bad weather but again we lucked out. One heavy rain squall came through but not bad and then that was it. Better to prepare for the worst and get the best. We now were ready to head for Nassau. Rather than go overnight we staged down to Alder's Cay. The trip around the north end of the Berrys was really rough after the wind the night before but we all hung on. Once we turned southeast it improved and then the next day had a great sail to Nassau.
We had made reservations at the Nassau Harbor Club Marina so we didn't have to deal with the difficult anchoring situation there. Kevin however didn't have any problem at the southern most anchorage just off our docks. We've anchored there before when we couldn't get a purchase at the anchorages further downtown.

Entering the narrow dug channel into Great Harbor


Captain Kevin on Vagabundo gets ready to depart, notice
full safety gear!


We passed this cruise liner on our way south from Great
Harbor - the water was very rough but you can't tell from
picture.

1 comment:

Judy and Bill aboard S/V BeBe said...

Truly LOVE the photo of the moonrise!

You post the most beautiful photos.