16 February 2016 | Great Harbor Cay
Bimini to Berrys that is. Our plan to sail from Bimini to the Berry Islands went off almost perfectly. Only the wind didn't offer a nice broad reach across the Little Bahamas Banks. But the trip was under sunny skies and we made the crossing in good time to get settled outside of Bullock Harbor before dark. We crossed with Dean and Kim on "Dream Catcher", an Island Packet 38. The anchorage outside the channel to Great Harbor Cay Marina offered more water than was on the charts and we spent such a calm night we awoke thinking we were aground!
A dinghy inspection the next day with our Hawkeye depth sounder revealed we could anchor closer to shore and in a better position to the upcoming winds. We also explored the channel into the marina in anticipation of taking 'Whisper' inside. We raised anchor and traveled the channel to find fuel and water at the marina before retuning to our new anchorage. But not before we signed up for the marina BBQ party that evening. Local chefs prepare chicken, ribs or lobster and fixings for the boaters once a week, $10 a head. However, the ride back out to the anchorage in the dark dark night was challenging!
We took advantage of one more day at anchor, inside the channel in the Bay of Five Pirates. We saw none.
We found Great Harbor Cay Marina (pronounce it Key not Cay or you'll hear about it!) a wonderful refuge. The harbor is inside of a protected bay so there is no weather. The marina is surrounded by two story townhouses, so no wind reaches the boats in the slips. There were many boaters who opt to spend weeks and months in this marina and all it offers. There is a terrific grocery with fresh produce and a man who sells his catch from a dockside stand. There are beachs and trails to explore, one leading to the former lodging built for the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr,, Peter Lawford and Bridget Bardot) which is now just ruins on a hilltop overlooking the golf course, which boaters can use for free. Just about every day there is a morning and an evening activity. Some of them are orchestrated or led by the long-term boaters. Bill took advantage of the conch (pronounced konk) horn class, and built himself a fine instrument. We attended a potluck dinner and participated in the sunset dink and drink drift. We had to skip the weekly group dinghy ride to Snake River to see the turtles as we didn't have enough gas in the dink to make the long trip.
An offer of lobster tails ($30 for a dozen) from a local fisherman gave us two fabulous dinners and a lobster cocktail appetizer. And on Valentine's Day, the dockmaster distributed a cardboard heart full of chocolates to each boat. Class act! It was hard to leave such a welcoming place and all the wonderful people we met there.